The Heart of the Matter
March 24, 2024
Michelangelo's Reply


When asked how he created his iconic statue, DAVID, Michelangelo, as the story goes, said the following:

"I simply took away everything that wasn't."

The statue, you see, was ALWAYS in the stone. All it took was the sure hand of a master sculptor to remove whatever was not the masterpiece. Simple? Yes. But not necessarily easy.

In my brief time here on planet Earth, I have never met anyone quite as masterful as Prem Rawat in the fine art of removing the unnecessary. Listening to him speak his truth in ways that are utterly enchanting, the inconsequential falls away and what remains is the Masterpiece -- who we truly are behind the stone surface of our lives.

And as if THAT wasn't enough, he provides a simple way for people to stay connected to this experience wherever they happen to be at the time.

PHOTO: TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2023
Home Is Where the Heart Is

When I was a small boy, I used to lay in the grass outside my bedroom, look up at the sky, and think one thought, "I want to go home."

Though my parents tried their best to love me (allowance! grilled cheese! dog!), I was certain I came from someplace else very far away. I felt like an orphan.

It wasn't that I was unhappy. I wasn't. I just felt displaced.

As I grew up and translated my boyish sky-prayers into a more classical spiritual quest, I began to notice a pattern in the books I read. Beyond the jargon and the all-too-common habit of implying that their way was the only way, a central theme was emerging -- the home I was looking for was within me.

My unquenchable thirst to have the experience of arriving was not going to be a matter of traveling to exotic places. It was going to be a matter of finding home inside myself.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2023
Once Upon a Time There Was No Time

TimeMirrors.jpgOnce upon a time there was no time. No time and no space. No heroes, no plot, no drama, no obstacles, no twists, no turns, no hero's journey, no redemption, nothing to learn, nowhere to go, and no one needing to be saved. The sky was blue. The trees were green. People danced for no reason, sang like the birds, and looked up at the sky and down at the ground with the same reverence. This was the time before story, before the need to understand, make meaning, convince, persuade, teach, transmit, entertain, distract, or make a single point.

The point? It was already made. And everyone already understood. Hmmm... I thought about writing THIS story, but then it dawned on me, how presumptuous that would be, how full of paradox, contradiction, Facebook Likes, Tweets, lists of things to do, copy edits, me, cash projections, reviews, complaint, business, and all the other assorted flora and fauna of life AFTER the story needed to be told. So I took out the garbage, washed the dishes, and walked the dog.

This is not available on Amazon, nor will it ever be. But hey, in the past month I cam across a really good book that gets at this feeling in a really beautiful way. Worth a read (even if there is no time).

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:49 PM | Comments (1)

October 09, 2023
Going Beyond Words


This just in! This morning, after breakfast, I began writing an article about the challenge of communicating anything meaningful via words -- how to give voice to the ineffable, how to give shape to that which has no form, how to evoke the deepest feeling of wonder beyond the limitation of language.

It would be way easier for me to wash the dishes in my sink (which I will get to later today), but I am moved to write this piece -- the ultimate Zen Koan -- trying to see my eye with my eye.

I know it cannot be done, but I am going to do it, anyway -- kind of like John Cage's definition of poetry: "I have nothing to say; I am saying it, and that is poetry."

And yet words, at least sometimes, have value. They do. As does music, art, dancing, photography, and a myriad of other forms of self-expression. Indeed, that is a big part of what it means to be a human being -- to step up to the plate or off the cliff and make the effort to give voice to that mysterious, deep-seated, beyond-language essence of who we are at the core of our being.

What follows are some inspiring quotes I found this morning on this fasinating topic. If you have a few minutes, please take a look and let me know, in the comments box below, which quotes move you the most. Merci! Gracias! And a big thank you from the bottom of what I have no words for.

"Words have no language that can utter the secrets of love." -- Hafiz

"Words are the voice of the heart." -- Confucius

"In spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody." -- Aldous Huxley

"Silence hides nothing. Words conceal." -- August Strindberg

"Words are the mind's wings, are they not?" -- Helen Keller

"Prayer is an act of love. No words are needed." -- Teresa of Avila

"True words seem false." -- Lao Tzu

"The reality we put into words is never the reality itself." -- Werner Heisenberg

"Teach me to go the country beyond words and names." -- Thomas Merton

"Experience is the truer guide than the words of others." -- Leonardo da Vinci

"My words itch at your ears until you understand them." -- Walt Whitman

"Your hand is a warm stone I hold between two words." -- Margaret Atwood

"O goddess, bestow on my words an immortal charm." -- Lucretius

"There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen." -- Rumi

"Men who have much to say use the fewest words." -- Josh Billings

"You had better run from me. My words are fire." -- Rumi

"It is the stillest words that bring the storm." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Enough of words. Come to me without a sound." -- Rumi

"I rarely think in words at all." -- Albert Einstein

"The highest truth cannot be put into words." -- Lao Tzu

"Much wisdom goes with fewest words." -- Sophocles

"It's only words unless they're true." -- David Mamet

"Freeing oneself from words is liberation." -- Bodhidharma

"Where words fail, music speaks." -- Hans Christian Andersen

"Words like nature, half reveal and half conceal the life within." -- Alfred Lord Tennyson

"My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel -- it is, before all, to make you see." -- Joseph Conrad

"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." -- Ludwig Wittgenstein

"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." -- Ansel Adams

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost." -- Martha Graham

"None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I have no desires, save the desire to express myself in defiance of all the world's muteness." -- Vladimir Nabokov

"You must forget all your theories, all your ideas before the subject. What part of these is really your own will be expressed in your expression of the emotion awakened in you by the subject." -- Henri Matisse

"Our self-expression is meant to be a manifestation of the silence of our hearts." -- Matthew Fox

"We talk about self-expression, but need to pause and remember that self-expression requires a self to express." -- Julia Cameron

"To the poet fated to be a poet, self-expression is as natural and as involuntary as breathing is to us ordinary mortals." -- Octavio Paz

"Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing." -- Marc Chagall

"Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words." -- Rumi

"If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint." -- Edward Hopper

"Most words evolved as a description of the outside world, hence their inadequacy to describe what is going on inside me." -- Hugh Prather

"When words are both true and kind they can change the world." -- Buddha

"We've been given the opportunity to express ourselves -- to paint beautiful pictures with the strengths we have inside. Each new morning, we can choose to be the most fantastic version of ourselves. Ignore the numbers. Paint outside the boxes. Paint what's in your heart. Paint the most dazzling version of who you are." -- Prem Rawat

"Those who know do not speak, and those who speak do not know." -- Lao Tzu (PS: This is something he said!)

Photo by Marc Schaefer on Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:45 PM | Comments (2)

October 04, 2023
When the Red Sea Parts

A Universe of Stories 3.jpg

Two days ago I had a very interesting experience upon walking into the town of Catskill for my morning coffee and scone. Halfway there, I started feeling like I was on my death bed -- the time of life when I was preparing to leave this world.

Much to my surprise, it was totally blissful. There was no fear, no holding on, no bargaining, and no regrets. Free. I was absolutely free. Gone was the drama of everything. In it's place, only pure being.

Nothing was undone. Nothing needed to be done. There was nothing I had done that I wished I hadn't done. Perfect. It was all perfect, this feeling, that is -- the feeling of just how perfect everything is, was, and will be.

This moment, upon walking into town for my latte and scone, was a great liberation, a moment out of time, a visitation from the other side of sense-making -- not so much a "sneak preview" of what's to come, but the EXPERIENCE, however brief, that behind and beyond the various scenes of my life I've played out with varying degrees of skill, surrender, gratitude, struggle, doubt, drama, and laughter was a place of perfect peace, a realm of existence needing nothing to make it better, different, or more than it already was -- or should I say, IS.

In this moment, no effort was needed, only consciousness -- not the kind of consciousness that had to be attained, accessed, or climbed like some kind of spiritual ladder -- but a consciousness that is everywhere, always, and forever.

Free Parking in Monopoly. Home base in a child's game of tag. An infinite Sunday where not only the Lord is resting, but all of us, including me, are in perfect repose -- a resting most arresting. Yes, there was a sky overhead and ground beneath my feet.

And yes, there was somewhere I was going and somewhere I had come from, but none of it mattered -- not because the sky and the ground and the various longitudes and latitudes of my life didn't matter, but because, in this liberated death bed state of walking into town, they were all just stage props.

"All the world's a stage," wrote Shakespeare. "And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts."

Yes, indeed, Willie, my man! Many parts! And while those many parts are being played, there is the inevitable moment where the Red Sea parts. "Cut" yells the Director. "It's a wrap!"

And so it is. And so it shall be for each and every one of us -- here, on planet Earth, for just a little while even if it often seems like a loooong time.

So many actors! So many scenes. So much popcorn, the audience either clapping, snoring, or wondering where to have dinner when the show is over -- which, of course, is ALSO part of the play.

I'm not exactly sure how this stuff works, but when it comes right down to it, life is a GIFT, a big, beautiful gift. Do we deserve it? I'll leave that question to the pundits. All I know is this: life IS a gift, a precious gift, a holy gift, a divine gift -- and all of us -- you, me, the people you like and the people you don't like, get a chance to open it.

The soy latte, by the way, was quite delicious and so was the scone, no thoughts of "I really should be eating something healthier" anywhere in sight. And with that, my friends, I wish you well no matter what you do or don't do today, no matter where you go or don't. Yes, the journey you are on may be a long one, but know this: each step is also an arrival.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:40 AM | Comments (2)

July 04, 2023
Unexpected Tears of Joy

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There are times, these days, when I am driving in my car or sitting at my kitchen table late at night, alone, when my eyes fill with tears -- not tears of sadness, tears of joy.

Inundated by a feeling of unspeakable gratitude, tears come, welling up from the same place where poetry comes from and prayer and realizing we are only here for a very short time. These tears have no denomination, no religion, no philosophy. What triggers them at any given moment is a mystery to me, but I wouldn't trade them for all the money in the world.

Yes, I understand there are lots of spiritual practices to choose from, lots of pilgrimages to go on, and lots of holy books to read, but if they don't lead to the moment when tears of joy bubble up from the great beyond within, what difference do they make?

Here's to feeling deeply, my friends. Here's to gratitude. Here's to each and everyone of us being smitten with the power of life that animates us all.

Inspirational videos

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:52 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2023
The "D" Word


Most people who accomplish anything extraordinary in their life usually put in a lot of hard work towards that end. They know, from experience, that going beyond the status quo requires effort -- lots of effort.

Entrepreneurs, for example, often work seven days a week. They put in long hours, every day, to follow their dream and build something of value. Writers and artists spend countless hours, in solitude, in service to their muse. Moved to create something meaningful, they put in the work -- knowing, as they do, that the time they invest in themselves is time well-spent.

And the list goes on and on: Single mothers. Teachers. Nurses. Athletes. Long-haul truckers. Inventors. Recovering alcoholics. Monks. Immigrants. Each, in their own way, know that perseverance is required if they are ever going to realize their dreams.

Or, as Albert Einstein once said, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

Each and every one of us, at some time in our lives, has had a dream -- an inspired aspiration -- something well beyond the status quo that called to us.

Maybe it was a book we wanted to write or a school we wanted to start. Maybe it was a business we wanted to launch or a cause we wanted to support. Maybe it was a pilgrimage we wanted to go on or a difference we wanted to make.


Often, our aspirations seemed to be "against all odds". And, quite likely, other people -- even those closest to us -- doubted our intentions and sanity.

Obstacles, frustrations, and disappointments came with the territory. Patience was needed. Clarity. And holding strong to the vision that moved us to make effort in the first place.

It took Tolkien 16 years to write the "Lord of the Rings". Moses wandered in the desert for 40 years. And countless monks spend countless years meditating in monasteries hoping to experience enlightenment, often with nothing to show for their effort than a sore back and a begging bowl.

Most people with bold dreams bail out along the way. Of every 100 aspiring authors who begin writing a book, only three complete it.

If you ask the average person trying to accomplish something extraordinary what quality they wish they had more of in order to put them over the top, almost always you'll hear the same thing: discipline. Indeed, when push comes to shove, that's what most people think is missing from their lives. The lack of discipline, they will confess, is their Achilles heel.

Logically speaking, this makes sense. The ability to be organized, focused, and persevering is essential to achieving results. No one, in their right mind, would dispute this. Discipline is required. Sustained discipline.

But here's where things get interesting.

When people bemoan the lack of discipline in their lives, their lament is often tinged with a dose of heaviness and dread -- how high school students often feel on a Sunday afternoon when they realize they haven't yet done their geometry homework. They know they have homework to do. They know it's important. But they just can't get up for it.

"You've got to be more disciplined," their parents tell them.

But no matter how hard those teenagers try to get their act together, the same drama plays out the next weekend and the one after that.

Yes, discipline is important. But discipline, per se, is not the really question. The question is: "What is at the root of discipline?" Or, put another way, "How can we access the kind of discipline that truly works for us?"

The dictionary definition of discipline sheds light on why so many of us bridle at the word: "The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience."

Ouch! Oof! Ugh! Who really likes obeying rules? Who looks forward to being bound by codes of behavior? Who enjoys being punished for disobeying?

The root of the word "discipline," curiously, comes from the Latin word for pupil -- "discipulus" -- a word that translates as "someone who wants to learn" -- the same root from where the word "disciple" originated.

Think about it for a minute. People who become disciples are people who are deeply committed to learning something. On fire with purpose, their subsequent actions towards that end are behaviors they commit to in response to what it is they want to learn. Their motivation is intrinsic. It comes from within. Their actions spring from their deep-seated recognition that there are is a specific kind of effort they need to make that will lead to the results they're looking for.

In other words, their discipline is rooted in choice, aspiration, and love -- not guilt, heaviness, and dread. Should is not their driver. Need is. Heartfelt need. They are, quite simply, responding to an inner calling and understand that the effort they need to make is a genuine effort -- one that is supported by the path they are on and the teacher or guide they are learning from.

Social scientists who study human potential have come to the conclusion. that intrinsic motivation, is the ultimate driver of extraordinary performance -- not carrots and sticks.

When a person is moved from the within to experience a particular outcome, their motivation is self-generated, authentic, and sustainable. They are not doing geometry homework. They are following what is calling them. And though, to outside observers, they may seem to be disciplined, their actions are inspired by fascination, will, and trust in the process they have embraced.

How much discipline does it take to eat when you're hungry? How much discipline does it take to look up when you see a rainbow? How much discipline is required to hug someone you love? Not much. And why not? Because you are intrinsically motivated to perform those actions. You are moved from the core of your being. Something inside of you is going for what it loves. Your effort is not forced. There are no shoulds, no guilt or self-recrimination -- just the natural expression of what genuinely moves you.

Is effort required to practice the knowledge that Prem Rawat offers? Yes, most definitely -- a daily effort -- one that requires focus, attention, and sustained commitment. Just like athletes train to master their sport, people who take Prem up on his offer to experience personal peace also need to make their effort. But it is not a heroic effort that's required, or a bang-your-head-against-the-wall kind of effort.

Prem understands the kind of effort it takes for people to plumb the depths of the experience he reveals. And, accordingly, he doesn't just talk about it or teach techniques for accessing it. He sees the big picture. He's in for the long haul. And he knows that he has a vital role to play for those who find value in his assistance -- encouraging, inspiring, and reminding people what it is that moved them, in the first place, to discover their true nature.
PEAK: Prem Rawat's Online Course on How to Discover Personal Peace
Hear Yourself: How to Find Peace in a Noisy World

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2023
The Mind Does Not Understand What the Heart Experiences

Let go2.jpg

As time rolls by and I continue noodling on this wonderful opportunity called "life", I am increasingly realizing that the MIND has very little capacity to understand what the HEART experiences.

The heart experiences ecstasy, unconditional love, and the peace that passes all understanding while the mind, like some kind of over-caffeinated 11:00 news anchor, tries to report what it THINKS the heart just experienced.

Ha! Sorry, ladies and gentlemen. No can do. The mind simply does not have access to the realm of the heart, nor does it have the language, no matter how learned it may be. And this is one of the great plays of life -- what Mark Twain once described as the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

All of us, at some time in our lives, have experienced the ineffable grandeur of existence, though the catalyst for our beyond-the-beyond experience may have been totally different.

Trying to tell others about it always comes up short.

Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir made noble efforts towards this end -- or is it the beginning? And the afterglow of reading their poetry often sheds enough light to see more clearly than ever before. But even that afterglow fades.

The key for all of us? To abide in the heartland of what life is really all about. To experience the utter WHOO HOO of the whole kit and kaboodle with ease, grace, and gratitude. And then, to stay there, as best we can, no matter what.

And if we choose to express something or other from this realm of wowee zowee, to do so in the same way a child laughs, the full moon shines, and all the great Masters, since the beginning of time, teach without teaching.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2022
Snow Day!


Growing up in New York, there were three things I found utterly amazing: the accents of people from other places, baseball, and snow days. If you're from California, Mexico, or Hawaii, you probably know what the first two are all about. But the third? Allow me to explain.

A snow day is an unexpected day off from school granted by a benevolent universe. You go to bed at night, dreading your history test the next day and wake up with three feet of snow outside your window -- your mother telling you that school is closed.

Hooray! It's a snow day!

Somehow, while you slept, the whole world shut down. Everything came to a halt. The only thing you can see out your window is a solitary bird looking for food and the kid next door, arms outstretched, making snow angels. You jump for joy! Yahoo! Hallelujah!

Gone is the need to rush through breakfast. Gone is the need to catch the bus. Gone is the need to perform. All bets are off. Your time is your own. You are free! You look out the window and everything is white. The jagged edges of the world have been softened, curved, and relaxed. Everything is completely still, as if the God you've heard so much about in Sunday school has just hit the pause button.

You have time to slow down, time to do nothing at all and feel really good about it. After all, this isn't a sick day, it's a snow day -- a complete and utter gift, an unexpected bit of grace, an inheritance you didn't realize was on its way.

For me, the gift that Prem Rawat gives is a bit like that. And the ultimate beauty of the whole thing? You don't need to wait for an "Act of God," while you sleep, to enjoy its benefits. It's with you every second of the day.

Every. Single. Second.

Video excerpted from the Practical Peace Libary
Also posted on Medium
Photo: Gabriel Tovar, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2022
I Thought I Was a Small, But I'm a Medium


Greetings! It's me, Mitch Ditkoff. I hope this brief post finds you in good health, good spirits, and enjoying life to the fullest.

If you have enjoyed any of my writing over the years, you might also enjoy the content on my newly published Medium postings.

Medium is an online publication that features lots of interesting stuff. For the next three months, on Medium, I will be posting an article or story of mine every single day. Whoo hoo!

The topics? Humor, storytelling, creativity, feeling, change, teamwork, longing, poetry, timelessness and the human quest for fulfillment. If you like what you read there, feel free to click the "Follow" button in the sidebar of my page there.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2022
Focus on What's Right

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One day Albert Einstein wrote on a black board:

9 x 1 = 9
9 x 2 = 18
9 x 3 = 27
9 x 4 = 36
9 x 5 = 45
9 x 6 = 54
9 x 7 = 63
9 x 8 = 72
9 x 9 = 81
9 x 10 = 91

In class, everyone laughed at him because of his mistake at the end of the list. Einstein waited until everyone was silent and explained:

"Although I answered the first nine questions correctly, nobody congratulated me. But when I made a mistake, everyone laughed at me. That means that despite our many successes, society will note our smallest mistake and enjoy it. Don't let simple criticism destroy your dreams. Only those who do nothing make no mistakes."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2022
Quarantining the Mind


The practice of quarantine began during the 14th century in an effort to protect coastal cities from plague epidemics. Ships arriving in Venice from infected ports were required to sit, at anchor, for 40 days before landing. This word for this phenomenon harkens back to two Italian words, "quaranta giorni", which translate as "40 days".

OK. I get it. Quarantining makes sense. When someone or something is infected and contagious we remove it from society. We protect the whole, by isolating the parts.

But the body is not the only part of us that gets infected. So does our mind -- what the dictionary defines as "the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences -- the faculty of consciousness and thought."

On a good, uninfected day, our mind is a capable of many glorious things: wonder, gratitude, focus, clarity, creativity, compassion, generosity, appreciation, and wisdom, just to name a few. But when it gets infected, watch out, my friends, watch out. The game changes quickly. All hell breaks loose.


The symptoms of the body's contagion are relatively easy to recognize, especially these days with all the coverage Covid-19 is getting: fever, chills, sneezing, coughing, body aches, and fatigue.

The symptoms of the mind's contagion? Not quite as easy to detect. Why not? Because, like pollution and hidden bank charges, we've become so accustomed to them, we barely notice anymore. But just because we don't, it doesn't mean the contagion isn't wreaking havoc. It most definitely is.

The symptoms of an infected mind? Take your pick: worry, doubt, fear, stress, anger, blame, confusion, panic, powerlessness, loneliness, hopelessness, irritation, frustration, hypochondria, lethargy, and overwhelm -- and that's just for starters.

Simply put, our body gets physically infected and our mind gets metaphysically infected. And when it does, its contagion begins spreading exponentially. Other people are affected -- our families, our friends, and our communities.

These days, I have never been more aware of my mind's infection.

No longer in lock down or quarantine, but still with more time on my frequently washed hands than usual, I am acutely aware of the condition I have. I've caught something. I have something. But the thing that I've caught and have doesn't need to catch and have me. It doesn't. Nope. No way. I'm in charge. Not it.

That's where choice enters the picture -- to quarantine the infected part of my mind before it gets out of hand.

What does this so-called quarantining look like? For me, it begins with a kind of peeing around my soul's territory and then choosing not to engage, not to react, not to fight back, and not to take a single bite from the seeming infinite supply of poisoned cookies my mind tosses my way.

Instead, I take a breath, return to the place of peace inside me, and send the feral monkeys of my mind back to their room for a long time out. And if they refuse my directive, as often they do, I simply turn and walk away, their nervous chattering now fading background noise in the soaring symphony of my life.

Does it always work? No. But sometimes it does. And the more I practice quarantining my mind, the flatter the curve.

Covid-19 is just a dress rehearsal, folks, an opportunity for each and every one of us to see through the illusory nature of the world and all we've constructed -- our identities, personas, possessions, accomplishments, systems, institutions, civilizations, and distractions. None of them are real. All of them come and go in the blink of an eye.

What remains when they skedaddle out of town? Now that's the 279 trillion dollar question, isn't it? What remains?

For now, let's keep it real simple. You and I and the other 7.7 billion people on planet Earth have a choice -- the choice to choose life over death, light over dark, love over hate, now over later, and presence over absence. And, perhaps above all else, the choice to pay attention to that which is truly worthy of our attention. You know what it is. I know you do. No matter what name you call it or how you invoke it, I invite you to pay more attention to that during these crazy Coronavirus days of change.

Photo: Courtesy of TimelessToday
The Two Wolves
Ending Violence with Chopsticks
Is That So?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:12 AM | Comments (3)

February 04, 2022
The Hall of Regret?


This just in from Alla Rogers:

In Egyptian mythology, there is a moment when a soul passes from this world into the next. In the Hall of Final Judgment, the soul stands before the God Osiris, the ruler of the Netherworld, who was also god of vegetation and the annual Nile flood and was closely associated with death, resurrection and fertility.

The soul stands before a tribunal of 42 judges and asked about good and bad deeds. The Book of the Dead offers spells and suggestions on how to pass the test. As the soul stands before the God Osiris, the final test, it is asked to lay its heart on a scale to be weighed before the god.

The counter weight on the scale is a single feather. If the soul is light as a feather, it passes into the next world.

The allusion to the heart as the final arbiter of Truth is a very powerful statement. What is my heart's Truth?

Will my Hall of Judgment be a Hall of Regret as I make an accounting of my life, or will my heart be as light as a feather? At this moment I weigh my own heart.

As I recall distant memories as well as benchmark and breakthrough moments on my journey, there is one truth for me -- it all had purpose and meaning. My heart felt delight, wonder, awe, sadness, loss, despair, desire, yearning, longing, joy, kindness, exhilaration, gratitude, acceptance, peace, love, the sacred within me, and no regrets.

Light as feather!

Photo: Pedro Vit, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

The Power of Your Next Breath

You know what is really extraordinary about being alive? We are never more than a breath away from being totally in the zone -- and by "zone" I am referring to the state of being that is full of joy, gratitude, fulfillment, ease and peace.

Yes, we all have dramas in our lives -- ones that often take us for a ride and spark a weird stew of worry, doubt, fear, anger, and judgment. Humbling stuff, indeed. But no matter what ride our mind takes us on, we are never more than a breath away from returning to our true home within our own beautiful selves.

It doesn't require a pilgrimage, spiritual retreat, or change in diet -- just knowing how to let go and return to the safe haven of our own inner being.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2022
Success is Enjoying Life


Here is a remarkable piece by Sushila Wood, her recent update on her husband, Michael's GoFundMe page. Last year, Michael had a stroke. Since then, he and his family have been in the process of adapting, adjusting, and recovering. As you can imagine, it has not been easy, but a lot of progress is being made. If there is a way for you to contribute to Michael's campaign, please do. No contribution is too small. And now, Sushila's update...

"Do you think if you've done something that many times you're likely good at it? 15,131. That's almost how many days I've been alive. That many reliable sunrises and sunsets. How many breaths is that? Heartbeats?

When do you start feeling good at it, this day by day of this gorgeous life?

I think children are really good at living. Then, for some of us, we could spend the rest of our lives trying to get good at life. We might not succeed. It might feel like a carousel ride where we just don't seem to get anywhere.

Define success, you say?

Success is enjoying life.

I think this guy is succeeding, despite recently having to learn to walk again. Around 26,300 days so far, him breathing. He is approaching the threshold of exceeding his life expectancy of 27,776 days.



A car wash is known as a hairy monster around here and I don't need a castle to want servants. The day to day upkeep is both satisfying and boring. Lo and behold, I found a definition of boring that I love:

"Boredom is your imagination calling to you." - Sherry Turkle

Thank God. Because chores and keeping up with it all is very far from my idea of joy. There is joy in order, I can see it, but the order is an illusion, like a bird who collects blue objects for their nest just because. And once things are ordered, boom! Things start to unravel immediately. Yet boredom comes as a gift, awakening imagination. It's like waiting for good surf. Then waiting for the right wave. Boom. What a ride.

When I was a kid, I would occasionally empty the linen cupboard and re-fold everything because it brought me great satisfaction to have control over the all mess, in the confines of one or two cupboards. So yeah, I do still order things for some semblance of control.

Suddenly I did a lot more ordering when Michael was in rehab for his stroke. Grappling for control of a sustainable daily life, working and with three home-schooled kids. Now I'm ready for my own space again, beyond the 2-4 am typing with one finger or two thumbs. I'm ready to get better at my own joy again.

So the house might revert back to a state where I once again declare it off limits for visitors. Being visitor-ready was never my aspiration. It was just necessary with all the therapists coming to the house. Success is not having friends who visit, and this time of COVID has just given me poetic license to say that no visitors is normal (it's how I grew up, so it's normal to me).

Success is nothing to do with order, unless the order is finding joy in my heart.

To do lists be damned. The pile of books I want to read is calling me, as are the horses, the trails, the clarity. But I made a promise to myself to catch up on paperwork and all the things. Paperwork, the obstacle to buying a house and having a passport. Wanted things, not needed, wanted.

Printed, stamped, drawn, torn, shredded, burned, origamied. Paper is good for so many things. How do you look on paper? It's not a request for a self portrait. Ha! Financial stuff. Useful.

I loop around on that carousel. Back to the part where I pass the ocean at dusk, and struggle to find the words to capture phosphorescence..

It glows.

It's unpredictable.

Always look for it.

You never know where it will surprise you.

It is hope.

Michael's GoFundMe campaign
Video: 25,500 days
Michael's website

A sampling of Michael's photographs:

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Michael's GoFundMe campaign

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2021
Looking Back, Looking Ahead, and Looking Within


One week from now it will be 50 years since I received the gift of Self-Knowledge from Prem Rawat. Even though I write a lot, I have no words to express the kind of gratitude I have for this man and how his gift has enabled me to flower as a human being.

I've seen him in India, Australia, Italy, Canada, England and more than 30 cities in the United States. Every time I see him it's like the first time, even though every time I see him I know it might be my last. Some of my friends who don't know all that much about him wonder why I see him as often as I do.

"Haven't you heard it all before?" they ask. "Does he ever say anything new that you don't already know?"

While I very much understand their point of view, from where I'm looking, I see something else. If a rainbow appears above my head, am I not going to look at it because I've seen a rainbow before? Or a full moon? Or a hummingbird? Or lightning?

Suffice it to say, my friends, it's less about the words than what the words evoke, not to mention his laughter, smile, glances, stories, irreverence, humor, wisdom, simplicity, pauses, and zest for life.

When I met him for the first time I was 24. Now I am 74. My long hair is short, my short fuse is long, and I laugh more often, feel more grateful, and sometimes cry for no reason at all. I've had moments with him -- sometimes a minute or less -- that have become radioactive isotopes of love deep within my cells, radiating both outward and inward -- lighting my way with lightness, wonder, ease, and the recognition that THIS MOMENT is the only time there ever is, was, or will be.

Recently, he just came out with a book that I consider to be a masterpiece -- so simply done, so full of love, and such a GPS for the journey we're all on. Here's the link to it, just in case you are curious or want to get a whiff of the party he is inviting everyone to.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:19 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2021
We Are All Here for Just a Brief Moment in Time

We are all here for just a brief moment in time. Very brief. Now you see it, now you don't. A wisp of smoke... a flash of light... a guest appearance. But while we are -- HERE, that is -- let us live with as much love, kindness, generosity, patience, awareness, gratitude, and consciousness as we can. And we can! You. Me. And all of the other 7.9 billion people on the planet. What an opportunity we have! What a joy! Will there be hard times? Of course there will. Moses wandered in the desert for 40 years. Jesus was crucified. Martin Luther King was assassinated. No one ever said this was going to be easy all the time. But above and beyond all of the difficulties, there is an infinite supply of grace, wisdom, healing, freedom, joy, laughter, poetry, music, art, dancing, friendship, peace and love.


Illustration: Raising Ecstasy

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2021

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There is a little boy in me making snow angels in the sky, mouth open, tongue out, waiting to taste whatever it is that is floating down to him from on high. This little boy wasn't born, but has always been here, playing with moods and mud, laughing for no reason, and seeing, without looking, just how beautiful everyone is even if they think they are anything but. I love this little boy and he loves me, as we take turns learning how to play the game of life, reading each other not like a book, but the look in our wide open eyes which always seem to be saying something we cannot, though we try -- and it is in this trying that every day is Sunday, no plans, nothing on the agenda, nothing to do but be. At the often odd amusement park called Earth, this lad is just tall enough to get on the rides and he does, less for the thrill than the feeling of wind through his hair and the remembrance of something he never wants to forget. Alas, he doesn't have a single hobby, this boy. He doesn't collect stamps, coins, butterflies, or tin soldiers, though he once collected bottle caps and spent the better part of a day, putting hundreds of them, ridge-side up, on the floor of his bedroom, after which he screamed for his sister as if something was wrong and she came running, barefoot, into his room and at least one of them laughed (and it wasn't her). What a game this life is, what a glorious game -- a game of ungoing and undoing, a game of seeing who can really BE HERE all the way, a grand and glorious play even when it seems like a tragedy, which he's been told it sometimes is. You can argue with him if you like. You can. You can try to get him to see that he is wrong and sometimes he'll even admit it -- alone but not lonely, on fire, but not burning up, buoyant, blessed, and bubbling on the sea of life, surfing slowly to the shore even if he doesn't know how.

One of his favorite books

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2021
Words of Love

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I want to give a big shout out to Prem Rawat for the past 50 years of inspiration, wisdom, laughter, and love. His July 17th talk at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles was a total delight. I've met a lot of interesting people in my life -- conscious, wise, intelligent, and creative people -- but no one like Prem.

One of his one-liners during his talk completely knocked my socks off: "Make humans human again." That is, from my perspective, the essence of his work -- helping anyone who is curious enough to listen to his message plumb the depths of their own humanity.

It is a total gift to be born, the odds of which are very small. What we DO with this gift matters, big time. In my experience, Prem Rawat helps people OPEN the gift of life -- and what they find beyond the wrapping and the box is a total delight. How simple it all is! The "path" is enjoying your next breath and the one after that and the one after that.

PRESENCE is the name of the game -- because only when we are PRESENT does any of this matter. "What you are searching for is within you" is Prem's bottom line message. It's not on a mountaintop, not in a cave, not in a monastery, not in an ashram, not in a temple, not in a church, not in a book, but right inside of each and everyone of us. How cool is that! Among other things, it takes all the pressure off. You don't have to become "better" or "more spiritual" or "more disciplined" or "cooler" or whatever. All you have to do is experience who and what you already are.

Then the real fun begins.

Photo: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:42 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2021
The Year of Living Creatively

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Greetings, Mitch Ditkoff here, author of this blog and happy dust particle. If you are feeling called to create something new and beautiful in your life (or the world), you might be interested in participating in my Year of Living Creatively course -- an eight-week online experience designed to increase the odds of you transforming your juicy idea, aspiration, wish, creative impulse, or heartfelt desire into reality.

If you have any questions about it, feel free to contact me and I will respond ASAP:

Who is The Year of Living Creatively for?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2021
The Art of Self-Reflection

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"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius

"In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone." - Rollo May

"Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful." - Margaret Wheatley

"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom." - Aristotle

"I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better." - Frida Kahlo

"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates

"He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed." - Albert Einstein


"Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave." - G.I. Gurdjieff

"I only go out to get me a fresh appetite for being alone." - Lord Byron

"The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone." - James Baldwin

"Knowledge of the self is the mother of all knowledge. So it is incumbent on me to know myself, to know it completely." - Kahlil Gibran

"Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?" - Charles Bukowski

"We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see." - Zen proverb

"We have so committed ourselves in different ways that we have hardly any time for self-reflection, to observe, to study." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"There is one art of which people should be masters -- the art of reflection." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination. Until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life." - Iyanla Vanzant

"The soul usually knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind." - Caroline Myss

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being." - Hafiz

Year of Living Creatively

Illustration: T.Gainey

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:43 PM | Comments (3)

January 20, 2021
20 Questions to Contemplate in the Age of Coronavirus

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Yes, we are all looking for answers these days. For sure. But the answers are more likely to come if we have tuned into the right questions to ask. Check out the 20 below. Maybe there is one here for you to noodle on. One breath at a time. The answers will come...

1. How can I practice self-care during these stressful times?
2. How can I be fully present and accounted for?
3. How can I go beyond the call of duty?
4. How can I remember that life is a gift?
5. How can I be more of support to the people around me?
6. How can I ask for help when I need it?
7. How can I wisely adapt to changing times?
8. How can I be a better, more soulful listener?
9. How can I find ways to live more simply?
10. How can I go beyond worry and stress?
11. How can I be more empathetic?
12. How can I maintain a positive state of mind?
13. How can I volunteer my services in a meaningful way?
14. How can I free myself from mental clutter?
15. How can I deliver my services online?
16. How can I boost my immune system?
17. How can I create authentic community?
18. How can I create a new business that makes a real difference?
19. How can I take more time to reflect?
20. How can I learn something I've always wanted to learn?


On the importance of asking the right questions
The Sanctuary Within
The storytelling at work blog
ILLUSTRATION: Sidney Perry, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:57 PM | Comments (1)

December 12, 2020
The Plane Truth


Every once in a while, something Prem Rawat says penetrates me to the core of my being -- a kind of radioactive isotope planted in me that continues radiating from the inside out for the rest of my life. Sometimes it's a metaphor, sometimes an image, and sometimes just a sentence or two.

Here's an example:

Some years ago, he was speaking about the "effort" human beings often make -- actions that may look good to an outside observer, but have no real impact. Indeed, not only does the action have no impact, it is often WASTED effort.. SILLY EFFORT... or IMPATIENT effort... (and here I paraphrase)... "like being on a jet plane traveling at 650 mph, but running up and down the aisles trying to get there faster."

Nailed me! One of the stories of my life.

In fact, in some ways, what he said might be the best description of how I have run my business for the past 30 years. So much effort made. So many tasks done. So many TO DO lists generated. So much movement... but much of it uninformed, reactive, or just plain nervous energy... wanting to do SOMETHING to get a result, but way too much running up and down the aisles trying to get there faster.

This is not to say, of course, that NO effort is the solution -- merely that a DIFFERENT kind of effort is required -- the diamond cutter's stroke, not the sledgehammer from Mars.

These days, in semi-quarantine mode, having sold my house and unplugged a lot from the aisle-running momentum of my life, I am seeing, more than ever, the deep wisdom embedded in Prem's metaphor. I am also seeing that it is possible NOT to be at the mercy of that hyperactive phenomenon and that, indeed, not only is LESS MORE, but doing nothing is sometimes the best thing one can do.

"Let it Be" sang the Beatles.

Or, as the muy fabuloso Lao Tzu once said, "The foolish man is always doing, yet much remains to be done. The wise man does nothing, yet nothing remains undone."
Photo: Andrew Scofield, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2020



This. Is. It. Right now. Right here, wherever we happen to be at the time. The past is over. The future is a dream. And while it's absolutely fine and sometimes necessary to plan, planning can only take you so far. This. Is. It. Right now. Right here.

"Bloom where you're planted," the old adage goes. So true. All the rivers of your life have brought you here to where you are right now. It is not "good." It is not "bad." It just is. We get a chance to embrace it or not, to sanctify it, to bless it and be blessed by it. Yes, there are challenges in this world and in each of our lives. But more than that, there is grace, wonder, love, kindness, compassion, sweetness, gratitude, and the joy that comes from realizing that THIS MOMENT is the perfect moment and could be no other way.

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood" wrote Robert Frost. But before choosing one road or the other, there is the timeless moment of PRESENCE, one breath at a time, and the recognition that no matter what path we choose, each step is also an arrival.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:13 AM | Comments (2)

August 31, 2020
Who Can I Share My Joy With?

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:17 AM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2020
An Intro to the Wisdom System


Recently, Dr. John Horton, via Skype, had a very informative and inspiring conversation with Prem Rawat about Covid-19, part of Prem's recent series of Lockdown talks. It's nine minutes long. Here it is.

What follows are excerpts from a book John is currently writing: The Wisdom System -- an exploration of what it really means for human beings to live up to their full potential.


"As we try to understand what it is to be a human being and appreciate life, I am asking myself, these days, what can we learn from brain research? Towards that end, I find myself increasingly fascinated by neuroscience's discovery of the two unique brain networks inside our heads. One is known as the "executive function network" and the other is known as the "salient network."

The function of the executive function network is to prioritize what is most important to a human being at any given moment in time so we can continue to thrive. According to the highly regarded psychologist, Abraham Maslow, self-actualization is a human being's most important priority -- one of our five primal needs, the other four being: survival, safety, socialization, and self-esteem. We share these needs with our fellow primates.

Self-actualization (a modern day term for "know thyself"), according to Maslow, has two aspects to it. The first is what it takes to access and express our highly individual abilities, understandings, and potentials. The second is about the choice we all have to cultivate our own inner contentment.

The need we all have to become fully ourselves in actions and relationships evolves over the course of lifetime, accompanied by many different learning experiences and discoveries. This is the first part of self-actualization. The entire process, you might say, is the dance of our outer lives enlivened by our own, unique inner being.


This dance, however, is only part of the story of what it means to be a fully functioning human being -- the husk, but not the seed. Ultimately, human beings are more than just their the quest for survival, safety, socialization, and self-esteem. While these four aspects of our life are necessary, they are not sufficient. Indeed, there is another force at work, inside of us -- the need for inner contentment.

Bottom line, our need for inner contentment is very simple. We knew this need as children and, unlike the first part of our need for self-actualization, it does not evolve as we grow. It is always with us -- right from the beginning of life -- a need that is so simple it is often overlooked or ignored.

The essence of this simplicity is something I have increasingly come to understand in response to the input, guidance, and inspiration Ive received from Prem Rawat over the the past 50 years.

For me, busy as I've been being a full-time physician, simplicity, too often, has remained only a remote possibility, as well as the effort required to enjoy inner contentment in the midst of my normally very busy day. However, with the inner practice I usually do first thing in the morning, I have a way to connect to simplicity and feel the priority of enjoying inner contentment.

All well and good. But what about the rest of my day? Just because I've connected with my inner contentment in the morning, does than mean I can neglect my other needs (survival, safety, socializing, and self-esteem?) No, it doesn't. It just puts those needs into a much more human context, helping me stay aware of them during my busy and sometimes challenging day. Yes, there is the heartfelt enjoyment of inner contentment, but there is also a mental component to my choice.

This is precisely where the salient network of the brain comes into play. Since this network is designed to focus on the most important feature needed to accomplish a particular goal, I can choose to activate it to focus on the kindness of existence.

"We are all connected to an infinite source of kindness," Prem said years ago. And the memory of that single sentence still provides me with the inspiration I need to call on the salient network -- the prioritizing and focusing part of my brain -- to help me connect with the kindness within me.

Here's an example of what I am getting at: Sometimes, when I'm driving on the freeway, in Los Angles, a question comes to mind: "How, in the world, are thousands of people able to drive their cars, in five lanes of traffic, with only few feet separating them, and not have tons of accidents -- especially when the people in the cars are talking to friends, listening to music, thinking about other things, or worse, are stressed out of their minds trying to get to their destination on time?

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Sound familiar?

Thank God for the salient network of our brain! With so much going on around us, it regulates the focus we need to accomplish our goals, while not having a traffic accident. Simply put, it keeps us attentive to one essential focus, watching the road and we are good at doing this with nearly 100% efficiency. If our focus wavers for just a second, we immediately refocus or somebody honks their horn to remind us we have drifted from our lane.

Here's my big takeaway from this.
If my innate drive for inner contentment is life's way of helping me reach my destination, then it is the salient network of my brain is the GPS for my journey, enabling me to multi-track, but still enjoy the kindness within.

My aspiration? To become as sensitive to paying attention to inner kindness as I have learned to pay attention to the road.

When I attend to the innate kindness within me, it becomes my full-time companion, my co-pilot -- as I navigate my way forward on the highways and bi-ways of life, all the time knowing I have a choice of what to focus on."

PREM PHOTO: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:14 AM | Comments (1)

January 21, 2020
Real Forgiveness


"Forgiveness," it has been said, "is the fragrance flowers give off when they have been trampled on" -- an ennobling sentiment, for sure, though, of course, much easier said than done. Who of us hasn't been hurt, wounded, or betrayed by another in this life? Who of us doesn't have someone we need to forgive? And who of us, no matter how loving we think we are, couldn't use a little nudge to help us on our way?

Allow me to be more specific.

The year is 1988 and I am sitting in an audience of 10,000 people in the Miami Beach Convention Center -- many of whom had flown from very long distances to listen to Prem Rawat hold forth. The occasion? "Holi" -- a celebrational event in honor of a sacred festival from Prem's home country, India.

Sitting in my seat, I am the proverbial happy camper, soaking it all up, when I hear him say these words I will never forget: "Holi is such a time when even the mothers of sons who have been murdered forgive the murderers of their sons."

I am stunned. Nailed to the back of my seat. Penetrated to the core of my being. In the ten seconds it takes him to speak those words, I know exactly what I need to do. HERE, NOW, TODAY -- my time to forgive someone I'd been holding a major grudge against for the past 10 years -- someone I knew was very likely in the hall, as well.

And then, without missing a beat, Prem announces there will be a 30-minute intermission -- a chance for everyone to do what they needed to do before the program resumed.

My first thought? "How am I possibly going to find this guy? There are 10,000 people in the hall!"

But this was not the time to calculate. This was the time to act. So I stand up, turn around, walk up the aisle, and enter the lobby. The FIRST person I see is the person I know I need to forgive. The FIRST person. Not the second. Not the fifth. Not the tenth. The FIRST person.

An extra spring in my step, I begin moving boldly in his direction. He sees me coming, turns around, and quickly walks away. At least I THINK he sees me. Maybe he didn't see me. I don't really know, for sure. What I DO know is that I had just experienced true forgiveness from the bottom of my heart. Gone was the weight I'd been carrying around for years. Gone was the knot in my stomach. Gone were all those dark thoughts. In their place? Wide open space, lightness, freedom, and relief.

It is now 31 years later and I can still hear Prem's words reverberating within me: "Holi is such a time where even the mothers of sons who were murdered forgive the murderers of their sons."

That singular, exquisite sentence continues to work its magic inside me. I am still drinking from its healing waters -- still doing what I can to LIVE those words, not just remember them -- especially when I feel slighted or offended by another. Easy? No. Possible? Yes.

Would I have had the same response to those words if someone other than Prem had uttered them that day? I don't really know. What I DO know is this: Prem Rawat spoke those words and they found their way inside me -- words, like keys, that opened a locked door in a prison I had unknowingly entered years before. But not just opened the door -- INSPIRED me to walk through the opening and turn those words into action.

Imagine having someone like this in your life -- someone who has the knack for saying just the right thing at the right time in the right way to lighten your load. Wow.

Who might YOU need to forgive? What old hurt, wound, or betrayal is it time for YOU to let go of? And what can YOU do, this week, to forgive whoever it is that needs to be forgiven?

Prem on forgiveness
Digital art: Evelyne Pouget

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2019
What Remains


As I sort through 25 years of possessions, preparing to sell my Woodstock home -- infused, as it is, with the many memories of birth, death, fire, celebration, ecstasy, devotion, countless guests, exaltations, rites of passage, madness, dreams, dancing, bedtime stories, clinking of glasses, baby showers, live opera, dead mice, and ten thousand outtakes from the movie that seems to be my life, it dawns on me how little there is I want to take from this abode, in physical form. And while it won't come close to fitting through the eye of a needle, it will, I think, fit into a VW bug.

Michelangelo, when asked how he created The David, said it best. "I simply took away everything that wasn't." Indeed! Indeed! The statue was always in the stone. All he had to do was remove what wasn't. Less is more.

And so as I give away, throw away, and sell, I get to experience the odd pleasure of seeing what remains -- my own David, you might say -- the treasured totems of my life, all of which, no matter what form they take, serve the exact same function. REMEMBRANCE!

What remains from my estate -- what I have bought, inherited, or received -- reminds me of what it is I truly value here on planet Earth. A FEELING, a sacred moment out of time -- my soul's longing, God within, a wink from the Great Beyond: Many Buddhas, especially, Hotei, the laughing Buddha. Photographs of Evelyne, Jesse, Mimi, and me when we were at our best, loving life and each other. A 40-year old I-Ching. The Tao Te Ching. The poetry of Hafiz, Rumi, and Kabir. Many, many photographs of my amazing Master, Prem Rawat -- some beautifully framed, some tattered. A black and white photo of my parents kissing on their wedding day. My dog Chili's collar. And a box of journals I have never been able to throw away -- the hieroglyphics of my soul on fire. This is what remains. I'm guessing it will all fit into a box. Just like my body. This is my David. The rest? Just stuff.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2019
Back to the Garden


I'm sure there was a time back in the Garden of Eden before the biting of fruit, naming of lizard, and placing of fig leaf, when Adam turned to Eve or Eve turned to Adam and, in the delightful absence of language, greeting cards, or text messaging, found a simple way to communicate something real about their experience of being alive.

Ever since those halcyon days, we've been trying to do the same -- to express something basic, primal, and pure about what moves us and why we often linger in the gaze of another who lets us in just long enough to experience the blessing of being received, no strings attached.

It is into this space I find myself being transported upon seeing Prem Rawat -- a space that continues expanding the moment he leaves the stage. He's gone and so am I -- my body now a hologram, my heart a happy camper.

Stunned in my seat, I am completely still, infused, fulfilled, free, my blood a kind of overflowing champagne fizz.

I'm sure I could move if I wanted to, but I don't want to. The desire to go anywhere has vanished. All I want to do is sit here and soak up the feeling forever. My name, my plans, the details of my life all seem like odd relics.

I am driftwood here, washed ashore, something a curious tourist might find on a sunny day.

I breathe. I bask in the light of an interior sun now made brighter by the one I have no words for. I follow my breath like a happy drunk follows the dotted white line home after an endless night of celebration.

PEAK: Know Yourself

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:33 AM | Comments (2)

August 01, 2019
The Pause that Refreshes





Feel free to download and repost

Calligraphy by Barbara Bash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2019


If you happen to be feeling overwhelmed at the moment, unappreciated, neglected, ignored, unloved, unsettled, diminished, disappointed, disillusioned, disgruntled, or just plain dissed, the following words from Saint Francis -- spoken over 800 years ago -- may be just what the doctor ordered.

By the way, you don't have to be a saint to get the value. Just a human being.


"O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light, and
Where there is sorrow, joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:13 PM | Comments (5)

July 12, 2019
Whatever It Takes

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Illustration: GapingVoid

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2019
The Case for Doing Nothing

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Fabulous article in the NY Times about the power and glory of doing nothing. Hooray! Thanks to Booth Dyess for the heads up.

PS: Very much related to something Lao Tzu once said: "The foolish man is always doing, yet much remains to be done. The wise man does nothing, yet nothing remains undone."


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2019
What Storytelling Themes Most Intrigue You?

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IF YOU HAVE THREE MINUTES TO SPARE, please respond to my new online storytelling poll. I will be launching a series of Wisdom (storytelling) Circles in Woodstock, NY on April 10th and am curious to find out what storytelling themes people find most compelling.

PS: You do not need to live in Woodstock in order to respond to the poll -- especially since I will be taking this on the road in the Fall and also teaching people how to facilitate Wisdom Circles in their own homes, towns, cities, or organizations. Thanks, in advance, for chiming in. Much appreciated!

Here's what people are saying about their Wisdom Circle experiences.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2019
Last Night, I Had a Dream


In the dream, someone told me that Prem Rawat was going to have an event within driving distance of where I lived. This very much inspired me and I began making preparations to go. I got my ticket, but I couldn't find the exact address, so my attempt to use my GPS didn't work and I felt some anxiety.

As I began my journey, I realized I had four people to pick up -- four people who also wanted to attend the event. Me getting a "late start", I felt some crankiness at having to slow down and pick up four more people (running the risk of getting to the event after it began), but I went with it.

When I got to the house of the fourth person to pick up, I was informed that he was upstairs, sleeping. Ouch! Now I was faced with a choice. Do I wait for him to wake up, increasing the risk of missing Prem's event, or do I just make a beeline to the event? I waited a few minutes, impatiently, and then, his mother informed me that he (the sleeping son) decided NOT to see Prem, so I immediately took off, asking the person in the "co-pilot" seat to enter the address of the event into my GPS -- still anxious that we wouldn't find the venue.

2 roads diverge.jpg

Then, out of the blue, much to my surprise, a disembodied voice tells me to make the next left turn, which I do and, VOILA!, there we are at the event! Just like that. I get out of the car and see a whole bunch of happy people making their way to a big building. I fall into step behind them, enter the building, and come to a staircase, where everyone has stopped -- waiting for the event to begin. I am standing at the bottom of the stairs.

At that precise moment in time, I begin sobbing from the depths of my being -- volcanic sobs -- having finally "come to rest" and realizing how much of my life I had been spending "attempting to get there" -- making all kinds of heroic efforts, dealing with all kinds of difficult choices and responsibilities, when all I really wanted to experience was the moment of "having arrived" which I was NOW feeling very deeply -- waiting, on line, at the bottom of the stairs -- the feeling of LETTING GO COMPLETELY... the feeling of BEING IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME... the feeling that all of the FORCES OF NATURE were not only behind me, but inside me.

That's when the line started moving and I began to feel a massive sense of appreciation and gladness that I WAS NOT LATE, but RIGHT ON TIME, exactly where I needed to be.

When I got to the top of the stairs, instead of there being a collective rush of people trying to get into the hall -- which is what I had been imagining -- we were informed that there had been some delays, that the event would begin in a little while, and that, in the meantime, refreshments would be served to everyone.

Taking a breath, I found my way to a table and sat down with some friends, feeling only gratitude and the deep desire to ENJOY EVERYTHING in my life -- the journey, the waiting, the choices, the not knowing, the chance to be of service, and especially the DEEP FEELING of gratitude I was capable of having no matter what was happening on the outside.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2019
On Maintaining a Positive, Healthy Mindset


Yesterday, I posted the above graphic on my Facebook page and asked people to share one way they stay in a positive, healthy mindset. Here are the replies:

Claudia Neuman Watts: "Practice having fun."

Mary Mcmanus: "No matter what happens, know that unless it's life threatening, ALL IS WELL."

Susan Armstrong: "Spend time paying attention to my inner resources."

Ranjini Rusch: "Clean up the mess."

Melissa Ward: "Laugh."

Paddy Noble: "Walk in the woods."

Linda Azato: "Listen to your heart. It's waiting for you."

Sarah Grace Powers: "Notice everything that is working in your life."

Janis Wilson: "See with the eyes of beauty the incredible gift it is to be alive on earth feeling peace."

Mary Foxen: "Keep the company of the Good in me."

Jos van Laar: Before you do ANYTHING, first tune your instrument PERFECTLY."

Sheila Lindsay: "Just be."

Jennifer Boire: "Get a good night's sleep. What a difference it makes."

Sandeep Agarwel: "Trust and have confidence in yourself."

Patty Lancaster: "Laugh."

Muriel Stockdale: "Express gratitude."

Robyn Botelho: "Focus on the good and positive, and water it, and it will grow more than the bad."

Lin D. Miller:
"Value each moment."

Sharon Jeffers: "BE in LOVE."

Joyce Gerber: "Turn my attention within inside myself. Center myself by going to my inner tuning fork."

Heike Schmeling: "Have a good laugh."

Priscilla Kelly: "Remain grateful."

James Hickey: "Remember the breath."

Venu Gopal: "Read Sri Nisargaddata's spiritual classic: I Am That."

Joan Ferlazzo: "Feed the good wolf."

Lisa Hart: "It's great to start the day laughing."

Lynne Ciccone: "Gratitude, baby."

How about YOU? How do you stay in a positive, healthy mindset?

More about this
Illustration: gapingvoid

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2019


There is something within each and everyone of us that is timeless, universal, and divine -- a call from the great Beyond that is paradoxically fully present at the same time.

This something has been called by many names since language first began, but it does not need a name in order to exist. Indeed, it existed long before words, a naturally occurring primal force. Like gravity. Or cross-pollination. Or the way rivers run to the sea. This pre-existing force -- tidal, volcanic, and completely uncontainable -- is the raw energy inside a human being that activates the ancient quest for that which is truly worthy of questing. And because the full expression of this seemingly unquenchable energy can be profoundly uncomfortable and crazy-making, most of us find a thousand ways to mask or distract it, unwilling to endure the recognition that what it is we truly want can never be satisfied by this world. We look for love in all the wrong places, grab at the reflection of the necklace in the water and wonder why the experience our heart is aching for too rarely reveals its radiant face.

For want of a better word, let's call this state of ancient questing THIRST -- a state of being so lucid that no conversation is needed, no philosophy, no ritual, or debate. When you're thirsty, REALLY thirsty, all you want is WATER. That's it. Memories of past water-drinking experiences do not suffice. Nor do beautiful photographs of water or impeccable explanations of its molecular structure.

Only water, itself, will do.

In the so-called "outer world," it is not difficult for a person to quench their thirst -- at least in most countries. A turn of a faucet will usually suffice... or proximity to a water fountain... or the town well.

But the thirst I am talking about is not that easily quenched. The faucet may exist, but not the handle The well may exist, but the bucket is nowhere in sight. Something deep within us, deeper than the shale of our self-invented life, seeks something ELSE -- why wolves howl at the moon, birds sing for no reason, and lovers do not want the morning to come.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2018
Put the Glass Down

glass down.jpg

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:43 PM | Comments (1)

November 05, 2018
At World's End

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2018
Words to the Wise

right to be in peace.png

what seedssow.png

you will be given gift.png

Click here if you breathe
Click here if you know someone who breathes
Do not click this link

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:12 AM | Comments (1)

October 08, 2018


There is something within each and everyone of us that is timeless, universal, and divine -- a call from the great Beyond that is paradoxically fully present at the same time.

This something has been called by many names since language first began, but it does not need a name in order to exist. Indeed, it existed long before words, a naturally occurring primal force. Like gravity. Or cross-pollination. Or the way rivers run to the sea. This pre-existing force -- tidal, volcanic, and completely uncontainable -- is the raw energy inside a human being that activates the ancient quest for that which is truly worthy of questing. And because the full expression of this seemingly unquenchable energy can be profoundly uncomfortable and crazy-making, most of us find a thousand ways to mask or distract it, unwilling to endure the recognition that what it is we truly want can never be satisfied by this world. We look for love in all the wrong places, grab at the reflection of the necklace in the water and wonder why the experience our heart is aching for too rarely reveals its radiant face.

For want of a better word, let's call this state of ancient questing THIRST -- a state of being so lucid that no conversation is needed, no philosophy, no ritual, or debate. When you're thirsty, REALLY thirsty, all you want is WATER. That's it. Memories of past water-drinking experiences do not suffice. Nor do beautiful photographs of water or impeccable explanations of its molecular structure.

Only water, itself, will do.

In the so-called "outer world," it is not difficult for a person to quench their thirst -- at least in most countries. A turn of a faucet will usually suffice... or proximity to a water fountain... or the town well.

But the thirst I am talking about is not that easily quenched. The faucet may exist, but not the handle The well may exist, but the bucket is nowhere in sight. Something deep within us, deeper than the shale of our self-invented life, seeks something ELSE -- why wolves howl at the moon, birds sing for no reason, and lovers do not want the morning to come.

These days, I am in this space, squirming, shaking, and feeling massively called to surrender to it and, God willing, write my next book from this place...

I know it's possible.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2018
What Do You Have to Say?


Well... what is it? Leave a comment below...

Illustration: gapingvoid

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2018
What Have I Accomplished?

Mitch Ditkoff.jpg

As I dive deeper into the eighth decade of my life I find myself at a curious crossroads -- the intersection of WHO and WHAT, one of those strange intersections far out of town where the sagebrush rolls and the GPS signal is just out of range. Sitting in the front seat of my leased 2015 Honda, wondering how I gained the last five pounds, I ask myself a question highly unlikely to make me the life of the party: "Have I done anything of significance these past 70 years?

It's an age-old dilemma, methinks, a classic rite-of-passage -- the time when a man takes stock of himself and realizes his so called "portfolio" of accomplishments doesn't necessarily measure up to what he imagined it would one day be. And though I have always felt a breathtaking magnificence inside me, outwardly much of what I have expressed, in this life, seems to have been lost in translation -- not unlike a child's game of telephone where you whisper something to the person next to you and they, in turn, whisper it to the person next to them and so on and so forth around the circle until the last person blurts what they've heard -- a jumble of words not even remotely close to what it was the started the whole game.

Two months shy of 71, focused more on the butterflies in my stomach than the ones that herald spring, I find myself looking in two directions at once. One is forward, trying to make out what I see with the time I have left. The other is backwards, trying to make sense of the forces that have brought me to this precise moment in time.

What I see, behind me, is my father coming home from a long day's work. He's exhausted, unsettled, my mother greeting him with a martini and the officiousness of a 50's housewife, me tentatively approaching, receiving a quick hug and the all-too-familiar question my father routinely greeted me with: "What have you ACCOMPLISHED today?" -- a kind of Zen Cohen that always left me feeling I hadn't done enough. Yes, I played roof ball and punch ball and kick ball and stick ball. And yes, I played with my dog and read the backs of my baseball cards. But did I accomplish anything? Did I do anything that really mattered?

The older I got, the more my father's accomplishment mantra embedded its way into my psyche, a kind of microscopic parasite a person might pick up on a quick trip to a third world country. And though I couldn't see it, I could feel it -- radiating outwards, driving me to DO, DO, DO -- moving me to create something I considered significant -- something meaningful enough I could sign my name to once and for all.

My friends, I think it is time for me (and maybe, you, too) to answer the question my father used to ask. Ready? IT'S THE WRONG QUESTION! While the intention may be harmless, the act of being ruled by it is not. "The foolish man is always doing," said Lao Tzu, "yet much remains to be done. The wise man does nothing, yet nothing remains undone."

Kapish? In the end, there is nothing to do! Nothing to prove! Zero. Nada. Zilch. Unless we can live fully in this present moment where everything is already perfect, our life will never be more than a programmed/neurotic/obsessive attempt to achieve -- a carrot dangled in front of us by the collective hallucination that we have never really done enough.

Face it. There is absolutely nothing we can do that will ever be enough compared to the outcome we imagine it should be. Maybe that's why Van Gogh cut off his ear. Maybe that's why countless creative souls drink too much and think too much. You see, the obsession with proving our worth is a losing game. First of all, the self does not need to be proven. It is already complete just the way it is. And second of all, there is no second of all.

THIS is the moment. THIS. NOW. HERE. Just the way it is. In the end, what we do is way less important than how we do it. When that recognition dawns, joy replaces struggle, gratitude replaces complaint, and everything comes to us in its own, sweet time.

Excerpted from this book


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2018
The Scorpion and the Saint

Adapted from a story I first heard from Prem Rawat many years ago.

Once a upon a time a traveling saint, on his yearly pilgrimage to the Holy Land, found himself being approached by a small group of agitated villagers. He could tell by the look in their eyes that something was wrong. So he stopped, put down his begging bowl, and asked them one simple question: "What seems to be the problem, my friends?"

"Oh, Great Saint," the first villager began, "less than a mile from here, a powerful scorpion is terrorizing our town. Every time any one of us tries to fetch water from our lake, the scorpion attacks. His sting is painful. His poison paralyzes. Everyone in our village is filled with fear. PLEASE, sir, can you help us?

"Hmmm", replied the saint, "yours is not a good situation. Not good at all. Bring me to the place you speak of and let me see what I can do."

And so the saint and the small band of villagers walked the distance to the lake. Ten feet from the water's edge, the villagers stopped dead in their tracks, shaking in their boots, but the saint kept on walking, wading into the water until he found himself just a few feet from the scorpion, now sunning himself on a rock.

Without a word, he lifted his arm, reached forward, scooped up the scorpion, and gently cradled it in his right hand. Immediately, the scorpion attacked, stinging the saint. And just as immediately, the saint let go, losing control of his prey, now free to return to his perch on the rock.

A few minutes passed. Then the saint, still wincing from the sting, reached out and cradled the scorpion again, this time in his other hand. And again the scorpion attacked. And again, the saint let go and again the scorpion made his way through the water back to his perch on the rock.

This little scene continued for the rest of the day -- at least 20 times -- the saint reaching and the scorpion stinging. In time, the sun went down and the saint, no long able to make out the shape of the scorpion on the rock, turned around and made his way back to the shore.

The villagers gathered around.

"Oh great saint," the first one began, "you have our eternal gratitude for the efforts you have made here today on our behalf, but with all due respect, kind sir, we are confused. Each time you reached and held the scorpion in your hand, he bit you, sinking his poison into your flesh. All day you worked to rid our village of this evil menace, but no progress was made. If you would be so kind, please explain. What kept you at your task?"

The saint took a long, slow breath, and looked to the sky. Then, slowly, oh so slowly, he began rubbing his hands together, again and again and again.

"My friends, it is really very simple. There is nothing mysterious about what happened here today. All I was doing was fulfilling the natural order of things. You see... it is the scorpion's nature to sting. It is my nature to save.:


Most experienced storytellers will say the same thing about the stories they tell -- that the really good ones stand on their own and need no explanation. Like Mozart's music. Or Picasso's art.

Talking about a story, after it is told, they believe, runs the risk of denying listeners the chance to discover, for themselves, the deep meaning of the tale -- not unlike the way political spin doctors hold forth on the nightly news, interpreting the so-called meaning of things for others.

Yes, this is true, but it is not always true. Sometimes, deconstructing a story after it's told has great value. Indeed, the act of digging into the nooks and crannies of a story often reveals the kind of insights that have the potential to change our lives for the better -- the way we think... the way we feel... the way we perceive... and the way we behave -- responses that increase our ability to make wise choices in the world.

And it is precisely these wise choices that all of us will need to make if we expect to survive during the challenging times ahead.

Clearly, the scorpion-like nature of the obstacles upon us has never been more apparent. Terrorism, war, greed, corruption, fear, hunger, homelessness, the loss of human rights, climate change, environmental collapse, and the toxic political posturing of our so-called leaders is at an all time high. The proverbial plot has thickened, big time, bringing with it the need for each and every one of us -- the CHARACTERS in the story -- to respond in ways that truly make a difference.

Our choices? Many.

Some of us choose to work within the system. We sign petitions. We call our political representatives. We meet with other concerned citizens. Others, having long ago concluded that the system is hopelessly corrupt, take it to the streets -- marching, waving signs, and blocking traffic. Civil disobedience is their approach. Still others, on the far out fringes of despair, call for revolution -- the complete overthrow of all existing institutions -- while others, highly doubtful of their ability to have any kind of impact, choose only to vent on social media. And then, of course, there are the peacemakers -- those who pray, meditate, chant, and quote from their favorite holy book -- firmly believing that only a change of CONSCIOUSNESS, not government, will make a lasting difference.

Does any of this stuff work? Of course it does. At different times, in different ways, ALL of it works. Not immediately. Not overnight. And not always as planned, but it works.

Is one approach better than the other? That's for YOU to decide -- a decision you will need to make very soon, as the scorpions of this world continue to take up residence all around us.

The hero of our story -- the traveling Saint -- chose to take the high ground. He did not attack. He did not kill. He did not demonize the demon. Did his efforts succeed? At first glance, no. Nothing was resolved. At second glance? Who knows what impact his efforts made on the villagers beyond the realm of their little lake?

Maybe his approach changed the way they related to their spouses or children that night. Or maybe the villagers, as a result of his efforts, became more courageous.. or more committed... or more tenacious in how they approached the challenges of their lives. True, the scorpion wasn't dead at the end of the day, but maybe something else was -- the villagers' unwillingness to lend a helping hand when all the odds seemed to be stacked against them.

I am not suggesting that you should become more like the saint. I am not suggesting you take the "spiritual path" and love thy scorpion as thyself. All I'm suggesting is that you pause by the water's edge and ask yourself one simple question: What is my responsibility?

When facing seemingly insurmountable odds.. when your back is up against the wall... when there is no easy solution, what choice will you make?

YOU -- part villager, part saint, part scorpion -- what is YOUR path forward during these days of political upheaval and unrest? What will YOU do to make a difference? What efforts will you make to help relieve the suffering in the world. And WHAT is your next step?


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:50 AM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2018
Doing Something That Matters?


Illustration: gapingvoid

Website that matters
Workshop that matters

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2018
Unwavering Focus

Excellent TED talk about the power of unwavering focus and concentration.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:31 AM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2017
The Flower from the Sky


In the early 1980's, as a young spiritual seeker, I attended one of Baba Ram Dass' presentations in Boston. It was a very wonderful evening. Lots of inspiration was shared. Lots of wisdom. And lots of laughter. At one point during the evening, I had a most unforgettable moment -- one that I am still learning from. The story of that moment has just been published on RamDass' website. Click here to read it. And, if it moves you in any way, feel free to leave a comment at the end of the story and forward the link to your friends. The moment I describe is a "non-denominational", moment. I hope you can relate.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2017
The Unsubscription Phenomenon

I can almost always tell when someone is going to unsubscribe from this blog of mine. A fascinating phenomenon, indeed. I feel, sometimes, like Dylan when he went from folk to electric. Oh well, life is not a popularity contest. Nor, in the end, does it matter how many fans or followers I have.

Maybe the goal is to get down to ZERO -- like those times when I call my voice mail and the little digital lady tells me I have no messages. The teenager inside me is always a bit disappointed. "Really? No messages? Doesn't anyone care?" The little Zen monk inside me is brewing tea and laughing his ass off...


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2017
The Two Wolves


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

"One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

"The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Prem Rawat excerpts: 4/10/16
Prem Rawat excerpts: 4/9/16

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2017
What Have You Accomplished?


As I gear up to enter the next decade of my life, I find myself at a curious crossroads -- the intersection of WHO and WHAT, one of those strange intersections far out of town where the sagebrush rolls and the GPS signal is just out of range. Sitting in the front seat of my leased 2015 Honda, wondering how I gained the last five pounds, I ask myself a question highly unlikely to make me the life of the party: "Have I done anything of significance these past 69 years?

It's an age-old dilemma, methinks, a classic rite-of-passage -- the time when a man takes stock of himself and realizes his so called "portfolio" of accomplishments doesn't necessarily measure up to what he imagined it would one day be. And though I have always felt a breathtaking magnificence inside me, OUTWARDLY much of what I have expressed, in this life, seems to have been lost in translation -- not unlike a child's game of "telephone" where you whisper something to the person next to you and they, in turn, whisper it to the person next to them and so on and so forth around the circle until the last person blurts what they've heard -- a jumble of words not even remotely close to what it was the started the whole game.

A few months shy of 70, focused more, today, on the butterflies in my tummy than the ones that herald spring, I find myself looking in two directions at once. One is forward, trying to make out what I see with the time I have left. The other is backwards, trying to make sense of the forces that have brought me to this precise moment in time.

What I see, behind me, is my father coming home from a long day's work. He's exhausted, unsettled, my mother greeting him with a martini and the officiousness of a 50's housewife, me tentatively approaching, receiving a quick hug and the all-too-familiar question my father routinely greeted me with: "What have you ACCOMPLISHED today?" -- a kind of Zen Cohen that always left me feeling I hadn't done enough. Yes, I played roofball and punchball and kickball and stickball. And yes, I played with my dog and read the backs of my baseball cards. But did I accomplish anything? Did I do anything that really mattered?

The older I got, the more my father's accomplishment mantra embedded its way into my psyche, a kind of microscopic parasite a person might pick up on a quick trip to a third world country. And though I couldn't see it, I could FEEL it -- radiating outwards, driving me to DO, DO, DO -- moving me to create something I considered "significant" -- something meaningful enough I could sign my name to once and for all.

My friends, I think it is time for me (and maybe, you) to answer the question my father used to ask. Ready? IT'S THE WRONG QUESTION. While the intention may be harmless, the act of being ruled by it is not. "The foolish man is always doing," said Lao Tzu, "yet much remains to be done. The wise man does nothing, yet nothing remains undone."

Kapish? In the end, there is nothing to do! Nothing to prove! Zero. Nada. Zilch. Unless we can live fully in this present moment where everything is already perfect, our life will never be more than a programmed/neurotic/obsessive attempt to achieve -- a carrot dangled in front of us by the collective hallucination that we have never really done enough.

Guess what? We have.

Face it. There is absolutely nothing we can do that will ever be enough compared to the outcome we IMAGINE it should be. Maybe that's why Van Gogh cut off his ear. Maybe that's why countless creative souls drink too much and think too much. You see, the obsession with proving our worth is a losing game. First of all, the self does not need to be proven. It is ALREADY complete just the way it is. And second of all, there is no second of all.

THIS is the moment. THIS. NOW. HERE. Just the way it is.

In the end, WHAT we do is way less important than HOW we do it. When that recognition dawns, joy replaces struggle, gratitude replaces complaint, and everything comes to us in its own, sweet time...

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:53 AM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2017
Less Noise, More Space


Illustration: gapingvoid

Less noise, more space

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2017
The Supreme Art of the Teacher

Einstein awaken.jpg


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2017
No Excuses


ED NOTE: Last night, Paul Murtha emailed me the following inspired rant. Here it is, for your enjoyment -- deeply considered reflections on the gift of life that he is very much enjoying. Paul, by the way, is the gent who launched an astounding initiative, in Ecuador, that helped end teen-gang warfare on the streets of Ibarra.

In 1967, I went to Ecuador as a 17-year-old exchange student. The culture, the people, and the ecology got under my skin. In 2005, I sold everything stateside and returned to see what would happen. It was an excellent decision.

Along the way, I learned some techniques of meditation -- as in focus -- that have made all the difference. It is amazing to know, not just believe, that the fulfillment I am looking for is already parked inside me -- full-on, pre-installed, ready equipped, standard issue, innately inherent, and unequivocally right under my nose.

I suspect that if we human beings spent more time discovering what already exists, rather than groping about trying to find what seems to be missing, that the whole ball game might make a lot more sense.

The interesting piece of the puzzle is that I really do know this. I know that the whole enchilada is a pre-given -- closer and more easily available than I can imagine.

As a being of deft feeling, it was a matter of simply redirecting my attention inwards. I mean, what would happen if this stupendously fantastic ability to feel were carefully aimed at the most beautiful, the most spectacular -- the unhinged joy hanging out within?

This already-existing-wonder-within is not owned by anyone. Therefore, there's no certificate to show off, no master's sash, craven image, team membership, rule book, mountain tops, ultimate sacrifice, fees, or donations involved.

I like to consider that an exquisitely wise, creative force knew that I would need a leg-up to complete the mission in this tricky short lifetime. So, all things considered, the treasure was duly placed in the most accessible spot (where I would least think to look) -- smack under my own pillow, as if my million distractions, delusions, and ignorance were already taken into account.

Great, OK then. So let's say that this modern-day mega-bombardment of distractions was un-diagnosed and not taken into account in the original grand design. Meaning, that my increasing inability to focus is thereby a legitimate excuse for staying ignorant of the obvious. That's it, of course. I'm officially off the hook!

But, what if (as gracious compensation for said prevailing challenges) the entire treasure trove was placed intentionally so close-by, handy and easily relearned as to be not only helpful, but generous, kind and trusting to boot?

And Ecuador? I now manage a foundation for social service in the Northern Andes. The latest project is diminishing the crisis of infant malnutrition via agro-ecological family gardens. It is super interesting. And yes, I maintain some sense of clarity in it all by directly accessing the beauty within, regularly. I have no excuses.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:35 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2016
101 Things I've Learned So Far

Samurai with sword.jpg

1. Everything I need is within me.

2. There is only NOW. The past is over. The future is a dream.

3. Love is the only game in town.

4. It's easy to forget. But it's also easy to remember.

5. Eventually I have to let go (so why not let go now?)

6. Everything changes.

7. I am not the doer.

8. It feels good to give away stuff I don't really need.

9. I am never more than a breath away from fulfillment.

10. It's a huge help to have a teacher -- especially one I love.

11. Everything happens for the best.

12. Life is a gift.

13. I can't clean a muddy pond by poking at it with a stick.

14. Every time I point a finger, there are three pointing back at me.

15. First effort, then grace.

16. It's a blessing to serve.

17. I am not here to teach anybody anything. I am here to love -- and the love will do the teaching.

18. There will never be peace on Earth until the people on Earth are at peace.

19. Worry is optional.

20. When I stop projecting my stuff on the universe, I begin to enjoy life.

21. Marriage is a yoga.

22. Life is not supposed to be a struggle.

23. Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby.

24. Doubt is a killer. Give up doubt.

25. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like bananas. (Groucho Marx)

26. I am not taking anything with me that I don't already have.

27. Don't take myself so seriously.

28. Life is not what I think.

29. Take more time to smell the roses (and plant some, too).

30. There is a feeling deep within me that is absolutely exquisite.

31. Chop wood. Carry water. Floss.

32. There is a difference between desire and longing. Desire is wanting what I don't have. Longing is wanting what I do.

33. People appear more beautiful the more beautiful I feel.

34. Thirst is a good thing.

35. Let go of letting go. Then let go of that, too.

36. There is nothing to be afraid of.

37. Drink more champagne.

38. Trust that which is trustworthy.

39. Stretch more.

40. Don't turn my point of view into a religion.

41. Be kinder.

42. Get enough rest.

43. I don't really need anyone's approval.

44. I am not a victim. No one has power over me.

45. I am responsible (and so are you).

46. Money is not the root of all evil. Ignorance is the root of all evil.

47. Most conversations are about the past, the future, or unfinished business.

48. Honor thy incarnation (Ram Dass)

49. When I'm not on the path, it's razor thin. When I'm on the path, it's a million miles wide.

50. One man's ceiling is another man's floor. (Paul Simon)

51. All Masters have said the same thing in different ways.

52. Everything I need is coming to me, and I already have everything I need.

53. Keep it simple.

54. We're all in this together.

55. When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are pockets.

56. Ideas are sometimes more than ideas. They are inspirations from the beyond.

57. We all have a story to tell. Let's tell it already.

58. Learn from mistakes.

59. Enjoy this "come as you are" party.

60. The goal is not perfection. The goal is to become fully awake.

61. Say YES!

62. I can only take one breath at a time.

63. Life is a dance.

64. I am both the center of the universe and an extremely small particle of dust.

65. Drink more water.

66. The people I don't like often teach me more than my friends.

67. I am a nobleman. My father is the King.

68. Life is not so much about the what, but the how.

69. Be careful not to get addicted to my own story.

70. When I meet the Buddha on the road, ask him if he wants a foot massage.

71. Celebrate more.

72. Learn how to say no without being negative.

73. Each step is also an arrival.

74. There's nothing wrong with inconsistency. Yes there is.

75. Peace is possible on planet Earth.

76. Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted, counts. (Einstein)

77. Read all contracts carefully before signing them.

78. The mind is a chicken with its head cut off.

79. Breathe.

80. Ask for help.

81. God is in the details.

82. Stop trying so hard.

83. Write a letter, by hand, once in a while.

84. It's not about what others think of me. It's what I think of myself.

85. When I find a pair of pants I really like, buy two.

86. Be the same in a room full of people as I am when I'm all alone.

87. 69 is the new 68.

88. Forgive.

89. Stop complaining.

90. Treat people to dinner.

91. Listen more deeply.

92. The average life span is 25,500 days.

93. Be happy for others' successes.

94. Gratitude is the most authentic prayer.

95. Don't judge the judgers for judging.

96. Practice Knowledge.

97. Pause before committing.

98. I have no problems. The only problem I have is thinking I have problems.

99. Every cloud has a silver lining. Every silver lining has a golden lining.

100. Be a field big enough for others to dance in.

101. I can't miss the boat I'm already on.

A big help, for me, along the way

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:14 AM | Comments (17)

June 17, 2016
Light Headed

electric head2.jpg

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2016
And Now a Word from PuppetJi

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2015
Anything is Possible


1. "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi

2. "Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Lewis Carroll

3. "The Wright brother flew right through the smoke screen of impossibility." - Charles Kettering

4. "In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd." - Miguel de Cervantes

5. "The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do." - Henry Moore

6. "It's kind of fun to do the impossible!" - Walt Disney

7. "I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities." - Whoopi Goldberg

8. "What is now proved, was once only imagined." - William Blake

Dog sunglasses.jpg

9. "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't." - Mark Twain

10. "The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible." - Arthur C. Clarke

11. "Never tell a young person that anything cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing." - John Andrew Holmes

12. "God created a number of possibilities in case some of his prototypes failed. That is the meaning of evolution." - Graham Greene

13. "Whether you believe you can or not, you're right." - Henry Ford

14. "Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision." - V.S. Naipaul

15. "I don't regret a single excess of my responsive youth. I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace." - Henry James

16. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki

17. "The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious." - John Sculley

18. "One's only rival is one's own potentialities. One's only failure is failing to live up to one's own possibilities. In this sense, every man can be a king, and must therefore be treated like a king." - Abraham Maslow

19. "The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react." - George Bernard Shaw

Jesse Camel bubble.jpg

20. "We all have possibilities we don't know about. We can do things we don't even dream we can do." - Dale Carnegie

21. "An optimist expects his dreams to come true; a pessimist expects his nightmares to." - Laurence J. Peter

22. "When nothing is sure, everything is possible." - Margaret Drabble

23. "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." - Albert Einstein

24. "I am neither an optimist nor pessimist, but a possibilist." - Max Lerner

25. "If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!" - Soren Kierkegaard

26. "All things are possible until they are proved impossible. Even the impossible may only be so, as of now." - Pearl S. Buck

27. "Until you're ready to look foolish, you'll never have the possibility of being great." - Cher

28. "This has always been a motto of mine: Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work." - Bette Davis

29. "You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices." - Deepak Chopra

30. "Some people see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and say 'Why not?'" - George Bernard Shaw

31. "The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility." - John Lennon

32. "I love those who yearn for the impossible." - Goethe

33. "Every man is an impossibility until he is born." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

34. "If you can't, you must. If you must, you can." - Tony Robbins

35. "A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility." - Aristotle

36. "If someone says can't, that shows you what to do." - John Cage

37. "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

38. "Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today." - Mark Twain

39. "Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." - Louis D. Brandeis

40. "The possible's slow fuse is lit by the imagination." - Emily Dickinson

41. "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

42. "If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves." - Thomas Edison

43. "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." - Les Brown

44. If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." - Henry David Thoreau

45. "Everything you can imagine is real." - Picasso

46. "Everything that is done in the world is done by hope." - Martin Luther

47. "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." - James Dean

48. "I don't dream at night, I dream all day. I dream for a living."
- Steven Spielberg

49. "The shell must break before the bird can fly." - Alfred Tennyson

50. "If not you, who? If not now, when?" - Rabbi Hillel

Illustration: Jesse Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:09 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2015
Time for a Break

Mitch red.jpg

Dear Heart of the Matter Readers:

After seven years of blogging and 1,341 posts, I have decided to take a break. Producing this blog has been a ton of fun for me, very fulfilling, and a great learning experience, but these days I simply have too many projects on my plate to continue. I keep thinking I can just "squeeze it in" to my schedule, but too many times I'm feeling like I'm juggling too many balls. Can you relate? So... with great appreciation for all your encouragement, support, and feedback, I'm going to give it a rest. All things come to an end, even us. Bottom line, there will be no new posts on this blog until Friday, March 6th.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:25 AM | Comments (1)

February 20, 2015
Your Mother Tried Her Best


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:44 AM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2015
Here's to a Compassionate 2015


Prem Rawat.
for us
in 2015

Prem Rawat

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:52 AM | Comments (1)

November 11, 2014
Sun Tzu on Preparation



- Sun Tzu

What do you need to prepare for? What project is looming that requires your due diligence before hand? What can you do, this week, to get ready?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2014
The Seven Letter Word


OK. I admit it. I'm a Scrabble addict -- an online Scrabble addict, to be more exact. There, I said it. If there was a Scrabble Anonymous, I'd be in it, confessing to my word-conjuring comrades the rush I feel every time I lay down the perfect 32-point word. Fourteen games. That's how many I have going on at any given moment, some with folks as far away as South Africa. I've played 3,086 games in the past few years and have won 55% of them.

Methinks I've learned more about life from Scrabble than I did from four years of college. Canterbury Tales? The sonnets of William Shakespeare? How to drink oddball vodka concoctions until I fell down? Interesting pastimes, for sure, but nowhere near the insights I've gleaned from the game invented, 76 years ago, by the little known demi-God, Alfred Mosher Butts.

By my own calculations, I've discovered 114 algorithmic variables to the game, subtle principles of play, point and counterpoint that need to be considered before making a move. And while chess is considered, by many, to be the more sophisticated game, there are strategically synaptic moments in Scrabble that reveal chess to be little more than Pin the Tail on the Donkey at a fourth grade birthday party.

Like all great games, works of genius, love affairs, and near death experiences, there is a defining moment, in Scrabble, that reigns supreme -- one existential, moon howling, Job-in-the-belly-of-the-whale moment that, metaphorically speaking, I imagine was at least partially responsible for Van Gogh cutting off his ear.

I'm talking about the appearance of a perfect 7-letter word in one's rack that cannot be placed on the board because THERE IS NO PLACE TO PUT IT!

This word -- this fabulous, pristine, classic, sacred, mellifluous, God given, off-the-grid word DOES NOT FIT. It does not fit anywhere. Either the board is too cluttered, my opponent has sealed off all openings, or it just doesn't connect to anything I see.

It just sits there. Inert. Unmoving. Zen koan-like. The first word of an acceptance speech I will never give.

So there I am, silent and alone with my perfectly crafted 7-letter word, racking what's left of my brain to find it's perfect home, but there is no home, no home on the range, no home on the board, no home away from home, no nothing -- the perfect habitation for my unrequited need to express now bulldozed by the two-dimensional moment I find myself suddenly tourist in.

I see the word, am seized by the word, believe in the word, but I cannot move. I cannot lay it down. I've been checkmated and I'm not even playing chess.

This game I play, you see, is playing me -- the ancient game of trying to express, the game of giving voice to the void, to say something significant before I die. This game that's been played since the beginning of time, long before the first hieroglyph, is a game that will continue being played until the sun burns down. And long after that.

The rules? There is a board, the board of life -- the one you and I must agree on to play. There are pieces. That's you and me and the 7 billion other souls on planet Earth, each with their own unique dialect and favorite name for God. We do our best to play, to lay down our words, our songs, our symphonies, sculptures, moves, causes, works of art, businesses, theories, inventions, hopes and dreams -- praying they will, somehow, connect, somehow have impact, somehow break open the conspiracy of silence long enough for all the forces of goodness and light inside us to express their unspeakable longing to be seen and heard.

And so, good people of cyberspace and time, by the grace of the compassionate Scrabble gods and the extraordinary luxury of having this Huffington Post platform to stretch my invisible wings, I hereby, and with great respect for you and all the logophiles in your life, lay down, in the boardless space below, a small sampling of my still untallied 7-letter words for your diversion and delight. May you find a place to put them. And if you can't or won't, may you savor the fact that they exist at all.

Aeolian. Coaxial. Equinox. Samurai. Qabalah. Jukebox. Dervish. Exotica. Rainbow. Moonlit. Courage. Kumquat. Homerun. Darshan. Praises.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2014
Derek Jeter Wins the Game!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:56 AM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2014
Honoring David Passes


We lost a good man a few days ago. Anyone who ever knew David was blessed by his presence. David was a radiant, loving, kind, creative, sweetheart of a human being -- full of grace and giving, devoted through and through to the highest there is on planet Earth. The sparkle in David's eyes said it all. Here was a man who not only found peace, but lived it day by day. In the big picture, David has gone just a few seconds before the rest of us. Godspeed, David! Til we meet again!

If you want to leave a message for David or his family, click here. The funeral is September 24th.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:48 PM | Comments (1)

September 11, 2014
The Attitude of Gratitude


3-minute video of Prem Rawat on gratitude

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2014
Rock, No Roll


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2014
The Glowing Ember of Your Heart


Everybody I know has something within them -- ember-like and glowing -- that is completely capable of flaming up at any given moment.

This "something" has been called many things by many people throughout the ages, but it does not need a name to give off light. Primal, elemental, and pure, it is the innate potential every human being has to be fully alive.

What fans the flame of this unnameable ember varies from person to person, but its essence is the same: the power to ignite a transcendental sense of wholeness, goodness, and joy.

Some people have this moment once in their lives. Some have it every day.

Here's my wish for you: Find that which fans the glowing ember of your heart. And when you do, give thanks.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:11 PM | Comments (5)

January 29, 2014
What Would You Like to See Here?

Love pen.jpg

Feel free to let me know what kind of content you'd like to see posted on The Heart of the Matter in the next few months. I will consider it.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:24 PM | Comments (2)

January 03, 2014
Buddha in Winter


This is the stone Buddha I pass on the way to my car now buried in snow. He is not cold. He is not late. He is not wanting it to be Springtime. He just sits there, still, reminding me of everything by doing absolutely nothing.

Photo: Evelyne Pouget

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:21 PM | Comments (3)

September 20, 2013
Running Up and Down the Aisles


One of the good things about having a living Teacher is that often he/she says something that goes in so deep it becomes a kind of radioactive isotope of truth -- radiating from the inside out, forever.

One particular moment like this happened for me a few years ago. I was at an event where Prem Rawat was speaking and, in a very casual way, he used a modern image to make a very ancient point.

He was talking about the phenomenon of impatience and likened the human condition to being a passenger on a jet plane traveling at 650 mph, but running up and down the aisles trying to get there faster. Nailed!


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:29 AM | Comments (1)

August 31, 2013
It's Never Too Late to Create!

Think you're too old to create! Think again. Here are some incredible examples to keep you on top of your game. Go for it! Click "full screen" (bottom right icon) for easiest reading.

The Creative Age

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2013
We Interrupt This Blog to Bring You the Latest From the Huffington Post


it's time to stop
and do nothing.
Here is little something
that emerged
from one of those
timeless times,
just published
in the Huffington Post.

A 90 second video

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2013
Why Groucho Raised His Eyebrows


Order the book here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2013
A Different Kind of TED Video

Funny. Charming. Engaging

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2013
The Importance of Laying Fallow


Click the link below
for a brief
blog posting
on the importance
of laying fallow
sometimes --
and rejuvenating.
We are
human beings first,
human doings second.
From the
Words of Peace Global blog.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2013
Peacebeats in England

Peacebeats is a new intiative, in England, attempting to spread a beautiful message of peace through music, spoken word, and creative expression. The beat goes on!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:03 PM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2013
Yo Yo Mastery and You You

This guy is completely off the charts. Wow! Think about what YOU are committed to and WHAT you need to do to develop the kind of mastery this young man demonstrates.

On practice
The Best Archer in All of China

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:37 PM | Comments (1)

February 28, 2013
The Gift of an Ordinary Day

This is totally exquisite. If you have grown children, you will absolutely relate. If your kids are still at home, this is something to remind you of what you have. If you don't have kids, it's still a profound comtemplation on letting go and enjoying the moment.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)

February 27, 2013
The Five Regrets of the Dying


Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.

She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom.

"When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."



1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

"This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it."

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

"Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

Thanks to David Passes for the heads up

Photo: Shane, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:08 PM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2013
It's Always Something

worried lady.jpg

One thing that's common to most of us is that we tend to focus on what's wrong, instead of what's right... to see what's missing instead of what we have... to let the ever-changing dramas of our lives take us over. If this describes you, know there is an alternative...

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:19 AM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2013
Feel at Home in this Moment


Prem Rawat on this subject

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2013
It's About Awakening

6 awakening.jpg

Excerpted from Amaroo, 9/14
Online videos of Prem Rawat
Schedule of Prem Rawat on TV

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2013
Why Your Bank Account Is Empty

Ever wonder why your
bank account
seems to be empty
most of the time?
To find out, simply
click the link below.
I've done the research
and lay it out for you
in black and white.
I may not know the details
of your economic life,
but it doesn't matter.
There's a universal principal
at play.
Call me "spacey" if you want
but there's no denying
this immutable law of nature.
is everywhere!

empty space.jpg

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2013
Chekhov's Glint of Light


Words of Peace Global

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2012
The Top Ten Postings from 2012

Here are the 10 most popular postings on Heart of the Matter in 2012. (Who knew that Bill Hicks and George Carlin would make it to #6?)


1. Prem Rawat in Johannesburg

2. A Message of Hope

3. Prem Rawat in Accra, Ghana

4. Prem Rawat in Amaroo, 9/13

5. There Is No Door

6. Bill Hicks and George Carlin Speak

7. Prem Rawat in Amaroo, 9/14

8. How To Request an Invitation to a Prem Rawat Event in North America

9. Simple Words to Live By

10. Is Peace Possible: The Movie


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2012
Putting the IS Back in Christmas

Maybe there's a hundred presents under your Christmas tree. Maybe there's one. Doesn't matter. Soon you'll be opening them (or it) and making the decision whether or not to open slowly (saving the wrapping paper) or tearing like a maniac.

The givers, assuming they're in the room, will be watching you for telltale signs of whether you like what they bought you, and you, aware that you are being watched, will be a little too expressive -- in a kind-hearted attempt to calm the fears of your loved ones.

That's the surface stuff.

The real present you'll be receiving is the PRESENT, as in the present moment -- the moment of the world winding down and nothing else happening except the timeless act of appreciating the fact that YOU ARE LOVED. So, here's to the PRESENT moment. Here's to opening it and discovering all that is contained within. It fits! It doesn't need to be returned! It's what you've always wanted!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:46 PM | Comments (2)

December 11, 2012
When You Walk Into the Room

When you walk.jpg

Order the book here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:27 PM | Comments (1)

October 19, 2012
Is Peace Possible? THE MOVIE

'is peace possible' the movie from rohn bayes on Vimeo.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:25 AM | Comments (1)

September 26, 2012
Perception, Reality, and Resolution


Part #1 of this blog post is a brief story I wrote two weeks ago at a retreat center in Australia, based on my observations, in an amphitheater, on the day my teacher, Prem Rawat, had a Reception Line for his students.

Part #2 is the response I received, a few days later, from one of the players in Part #1.

Part #3 is a summary of what I learned from the experience.

PART #1: The Perception

I am sitting in the amphitheater watching hundreds of people returning from the Reception Line, Maharaji's favorite music playing in the background.

On the large screen is an endless stream of photos of happy people, smiling, laughing, or just being totally focused. The line keeps moving, each person a universe folded into itself.

Everyone is radiant, self-contained, walking more slowly than usual.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see a woman, on the line, dancing. She, too, has just returned from seeing Maharaji. The only thing different is SHE IS DANCING -- the most beautiful dance I think I've ever seen -- a dance of uncontainable joy.

The security guy takes note and, mindful of his duty, starts to approach her from behind as she dances by.

She cannot see him, bouncing and bounding from one step to the other, arms to the sky in perfect sync with her invisible dance partner.

Those of us in the audience are watching this little scene unfold, silently rooting for the dutiful security guy to keep his distance and let her keep dancing up the aisle.

He seems concerned, like there is something he is supposed to DO, but the closer he gets to her, the more it seems like there is some kind of invisible force field around her, protecting the dancing from any kind of disturbance.

Her dancing trumps his security and, as the song she is dancing to ends, she keeps dancing up the aisle, eyes on fire -- the rest of us madly clapping -- for her, for the dance, and the extraordinary perfection of this little moment in time.


PART #2: The Reality

A few days after I posted the above story on Facebook, I received the following comment from Michael Nelthorpe -- the "Security Guy."

"Nice story Mitch. I was the guy. Not quite the way you saw it.

I slipped in behind her so no one stopped her dancing or interrupted her 'space'.

Times change, Mitch. We treat EVERYONE as his guest no matter what."

PART #3: The Resolution

What did I learn from this little episode? A lot.

To begin with, what I think is happening and what is actually happening are sometimes two very different things.

It was easy for me to conclude that the "security guy" was doing the traditional "security thing", when, in fact, what was really happening was quite the opposite. He was not attempting to interfere with the beautiful dance going on. He was trying to protect it!

He was protecting. I was projecting.

Why did I assume what I assumed? Because I had an outdated concept of "Event Security". So outdated, in fact, that I did not even know that "Security" wasn't called "Security" anymore -- but "Safety".

You might quibble that this is semantics, but from what I can tell, it's far more than that, as evidenced by Michael Nelthorpe's crystal clear feedback to me -- given, by the way, with elegance, feeling, and the spirit of "we're all in this together" -- which, I now understand is what his commitment was to the dancing lady.

As a writer (or human being... or man... or Virgo... or baby boomer.. or whatever), it's easy to default to habitual ways of looking at things, based on my past experiences and assumptions.

The fact of the matter, is, however, that every moment is a new one. If we really want to appreciate what's going on, we have to let go of old ways of seeing.

It's a bit like the classic story of the five blind men trying to figure out what an elephant looked like. Each of them were touching a different part of the elephant and they each concluded something different, based on what part they were touching.

The guy who was touching the tail got a very different impression of the elephant than the guy who was touching the trunk... or the leg.

This seems to be our challenge. Each of us are looking through our own lens, trying to make sense of things. Then, based on our limited perceptions, we proceed to proclaim to the world what we see -- as if what we see was the only reality.

"When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are pockets," goes the old adage.

I saw the "dancing lady" and the "security guy" and made my own poetic leap to a false conclusion, then proceeded to write about it and get a whole bunch of confirmations -- 68 Facebook LIKES.

Yes, I know the essence of what I was writing about was real and that, indeed, similar scenarios play out, in many ways, every day of our lives.

But the FACT is: my conclusion at the Amaroo amphitheater was faulty.


This was a great lesson for me.

It gave me (and gives me) pause. I am more conscious now of not jumping to conclusions... of allowing more space and time before I proclaim anything to be true.

I am also newly committed to entertaining diverse inputs (second opinions and reality checks) before I go dancing off to the races.

What conclusion have you come up with lately that might be bogus? What assumption have you made -- about someone or something -- that might be completely unreal?

Long videos of Prem Rawat

Short videos of Prem Rawat
More about his message


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:35 AM | Comments (6)

September 25, 2012
The Light at the End of the Tunnel


We are sitting in a tunnel, checking our email, thinking about yesterday and tomorrow, when just behind us, brighter than a thousand suns, is a light streaming in from a place astrophysicists will never find. We're looking down. It's looking in -- illuminating our chance to turn around, stand up, and be amazed.

Photo: Mimi Ditkoff (15)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2012
It's Really Very Simple

B.One breath.jpg

More where this came from
Words of Peace Global

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2012
A Word to the Wise

Montreal M jpeg.jpg

More goodies
Words of Peace Global

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2012
The Beautiful Paradox


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2012
Take What You Need


I don't know
about you.
this sign
on a
snow shovellers,
house movers.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:44 PM | Comments (1)

August 12, 2012
The Secret Revealed



Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2012
Your Virtual Fortune Cookie


Thanks to Lynn Kindler for the image


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:42 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2012
Go Beyond Your Imagination

Wizard wiht light bearing wand.jpg

OK, movers and shakers, lovers of Knowledge, humbled ones, happy ones, gopis, fools, lunatics, learners, Luigis, and other assorted humanoids sometimes bummed by a crumbling economy, shaky world order, and the rising price of cappuccino -- it's time to realize that whatever difficulties you're experiencing these days are actually gifts -- each lovingly wrapped with silver linings beyond anything you can imagine.

Really. There's something in it for you. Know that everything happens for the best.

Say goodbye to the old. Let it go. The old forms are dying. Their time has come and gone. But YOU are still here -- YOU, the crown of creation!


Mostly everything you've depended on in your life has revealed itself to be completely undependable. Your job? Your finances? Your relationship? Ha! Now you see them, now you don't. Seductions, one and all.

Security? Good luck! Helen Keller said it best. "Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

OK, maybe your cash flow isn't flowing, but that doesn't mean that YOU can't flow. YES YOU CAN!

Dudes and Dudinas of the world, it's time to say goodbye to whatever it was that's been propping you up or providing you with a temporary identity to trot out at parties in between the brie and the creeping conclusion you probably should have stayed home.

What remains when all the conditional stuff of our life is gone? What remains when the veil disappears and the show leaves town and everything we think we are or have reveals itself to be nothing but a few flickering shadows on a few flickering walls? Ah, Grasshopper, that is the question.

My big fat opinion?

I can say without a shadow of doubt or any unpaid speeding tickets that there is at least one human being on the planet who not only knows what remains after all the conditional stuff of our life is gone, but has the knack of awakening the rest of us to that place.

Is he the only one? God only knows. Maybe there's a million. Maybe there's 23. Maybe all these Wise Ones are break dancing in a cave in the Himalayas or maybe they're meditating in a mall in New Jersey.


What does Prem Rawat have to say about this matter? "Go search the four corners of the world for this peace and if you cannot find it, come back to me. I'll be wherever you are."

In that primeval place, there is no past, no future, no Wall Street, no Wal-mart, no alimony, no acrimony, no cholesterol, no antioxidents, no anti-Christs, no waiting, no lines, no hanging chads.

In that place, everyone gets bailed out. And the currency is LOVE, sweet sweet love. Not love of this or love of that or love of him or her. Just love. Love with no bounds. Love with no agenda. Love with no strings.

That's it, folks! LOVE!

What everything comes down to. Love, the universal donor. Love, the back stage pass. Love, what you do everything for. What moves you... and where it moves you to.

So let it be and let it go and let it rip. Take the wonderful bull of life by the horns (or at least wave the red flag instead of the white).

Now's the time. Everything up to this point has been prelude, the universe clearing it's throat so it could say something, far beyond words, and say it through YOU!

Oh great people of the blogosphere, don't hold back. Sing it out! Dance it out! Write it out! Speak it out! Be your beautiful self!

And should it come to pass that you choose to ignore the lovely verbs in the previous paragraph because they sound like too much of a rant, so be it! No problem. Whatever. No matter. But whatever you decide to do or not do, do it all the way.

There, you have it in a nutshell.

Do it all the way! Do not hold back. Do not covet thy neighbor's lawnmower, i-phone, astrological signs, tax bracket, or URL. Do not worry about the Dow. The Tao? (No need to worry about that either). Your finances? Oy vey! Don't ask. Let go! Dive in! Have fun!

And remember... YOU ARE NOT IN THIS ALONE!

OK, so maybe no one's going with you when it's time to leave your mortal coil, but while you're here? Rejoice! Reach out! Connect! Find your tribe! And when you do, make whatever effort it takes to get in the groove.

In the words of that famous hip hop philosopher, Johann von Wolfgang Goethe, "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."

(Photo by Dujarandille)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:03 AM | Comments (5)

April 10, 2012
Dare to Be Different


Gaping Void

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2012
A Sign of The Times


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:04 AM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2012
iPhone, Therefore I Am?


I just had a realization. Well, maybe "realization" is too fancy a word. Make that more of an insight. Nah... "insight" sounds just a tad too self-congratulatory.

For want of a better word, let's call my little moment a semi-embarrassing wake up call -- the kind of learning experience I claim is good for me, but I really don't want to have.

It's a moment I've had a hundred times before, but not until two days ago, in Newark Airport, as I was exiting Flight #1140 from LA, did the whole thing really dawn on me.

There I was, merrily walking through Terminal "C", glad to be heading home after a three-day business trip, when I reached into my pocket for my trusty iPhone only to discover it wasn't there.

My iPhone wasn't there! Gone. It was gone. My iPhone was gone!

Gone, as in missing. Gone, as in not in my pocket. Gone, as in WHERE IN THE WORLD WAS MY FREAKING IPHONE with all those apps and appointments and contacts?


No, I wasn't in Kansas anymore. Neither was I in New Jersey. I was in a sudden state of panic -- as far away from samadhi as a person could be, Woody Allen on steroids -- my former digital life flashing before my eyes.

Where just a minute ago I was a conscious human being firmly rooted in a deep experience of peace, now I was wildly slapping every pocket I could find like some kind of poster boy for Tourette's Syndrome

This ridiculous outtake from a movie that would never be made took less than five seconds (iPhone having been joyfully located in the outside left pocket of my overcoat), but those five seconds were very revealing -- me (Mr. Been-On-The-Path-For-40-Years) so easily discombobulated by a temporarily missing phone.

Which, I guess, is a good thing -- as it popped, once again, the bubble of my own pitiful self-image -- that shiny golden calf (half decaf, half soy latte) I all-too-often worship at.

The whole thing reminds me of that classic Zen story of the young monk who -- after ten years of deep practice in the mountain monastery -- is invited by his Master to give the morning talk at the local village temple.

The young monk's discourse was impeccable that day, his Master astounded by his protege's ability to quote from the most esoteric of Zen doctrine.

But when the talk was over and it was time for the young monk to begin his long trek back up the mountain, he could not find his sandals.

Apparently, in his excitement at having been selected to speak, he'd forgotten where he put them.

Unsmiling, his Master shot him a glance and pointed to the mountain top.


"Ten more years, young friend. Ten more years."

And that's exactly how long it took the monk to be asked again to give the morning talk at the village temple.

The good news? On that day he remembered exactly where his sandals were.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:04 PM | Comments (1)

February 25, 2012
A Sign of the Times


Yes, indeed,
it's time to stop waiting for a sign.
Waiting for what sign, by the way?
That everything is OK?
That you are being guided?
That love is what it's all about?
What you've been waiting for
is already here.
Always has been. Always will be.
You got it. You do.
It's where you are right now
And while there may be
many ways to "get there/here",
here's one that works for me.
Breath by breath.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2012
Reboot, Refresh, Renew!


Sometimes, we all need
a fresh start,
a new beginning,
a chance
to wipe the slate clean,
or, to borrow a word
from techno-land,
That's what
this piece is about.
newly published
on Words of Peace Global.
Clear the decks!
Let go!
Begin again, now!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2011
What Lens Are You Looking Through?

Thanks to Mac Knowles for the heads up.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2011
Falling in Love?


Have you ever
fallen in love?

How about
RISEN in love?

I'm talking about
the unconditional kind.

Prem Rawat can help.

This just in from
the WOPG blog

Illustration: Sara Shaffer

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2011
Be Who You Are



Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2011
Pass the Bus


Click here
for a new
posting of mine
just published on the
Words of Peace Global
It's all about
a moment
most of us experience
when we think too much
or inaccurately
about what's really happening,
a trick of the mind
in which we momentarily
the beautiful place
of ease and love

Illustration: Sara Shaffer

More from the wopg blog
(click and scroll)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:21 PM | Comments (1)

April 14, 2011
It's Never Too Late to Create


I sometimes run into people who tell me that their best creative days are behind them -- that they could have accomplished great things if only they had started sooner and that they are "too old" to take on a big, hairy project.


Think again.

If you have any doubt, click on the link below to get a whiff of what some extraordinary people accomplished late in life.

You may not be a Michelangelo or Stradivarius, but so what? You can still accomplish miracles. All you need to do is begin (and let go of the bogus thought that "it's too late.")

It's not.

1. Grandma Moses started painting when she was 64.

2. Michelangelo designed the dome in St. Peter's Basilica between the ages of 72-88.

3. Stradivarius fashioned his two most famous violins when he was in his early 90's.


4. Mary Baker Eddy established the Christian Science Monitor when she was 87.

5. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Guggenheim Museum when he was 91.

6. Mahatma Ghandi successfully completed negotiations for Britain to grant India's independence at the age of 77.

7. Golda Meir serviced as Prime Minister of Israel from the ages of 70-76.

8. Peter Drucker wrote "Management Changes for Turbulent Times" when he was 89.

9. P.T. Barnum joined forces with his arch rival, James Baily, when he was 71.


10. Nelson Mandela was inaugerated as the President of South Africa at the age of 75.

11. Noah Webster published "An America Dictionary of the English Language" at the age of 70.

12. Giuseppe Verdi composed his operatic masterpiece, Falstaff, at the age of 80.

13. Pablo Picasso produced a remarkable sereis of 347 etchings at the age of 86.

All examples excerpted from The Creative Age by Gene Cohen. Great book.

Idea Champions
First Breath, Last Breath

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2011
The Power of Words

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:58 PM | Comments (2)

March 20, 2011
Less Is More


taken me
my life

-Dizzy Gillespie

Beyond less or more

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2011
The Parable of the Brussel Sprout


there was
the eye of the needle,
the mustard seed,
the pillar of salt,
the coat of many colors,
and the belly of the whale
The unheralded
brussel sprout.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2010
The King's Speech

I don't usually review movies on this blog, but in this case I will make an exception. The King's Speech is an extraordinary movie. Inspiring. Lucid. Compelling. And extremely well acted. If you are looking for your "voice" in 2011, this movie is for you.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2010
Snow Day!


Growing up in New York, there were three things I found utterly amazing: the accents of people from other places, baseball, and snow days.

If you're from California, Mexico, or Hawaii, you probably know what the first two are all about. But the third? Allow me to explain.

A snow day, for those of you who have never experienced winter, is an unexpected day off from school granted by a benevolent universe. You go to bed at night, dreading your history test the next day, and wake up with three feet of snow outside your window -- your mother telling you (having just heard it on the radio) that school is closed.

It's a snow day!

Somehow, while you slept, the whole world shut down. Everything came to a halt. The only thing you can see out your window is a solitary bird looking for food and the kid next door, arms outstretched, making snow angels.


You jump for joy! Yahoo! Hallelujah!

Gone is the need to rush through breakfast. Gone is the need to catch the bus. Gone is the need to perform.

All bets are off. Your time is your own. You are free!

You look out the window and everything is white. The jagged edges of the world have been softened, curved, and relaxed. Everything is still, as if the God you've heard so much about in Sunday school has just hit the pause button.

You have time to slow down, time to do nothing at all -- and feel really good about it. After all, this isn't a sick day, it's a snow day -- a complete and utter gift... an unexpected bit of grace... an inheritance you didn't realize was on its way.

For me, the gift my Teacher gives is a bit like that.

And the ultimate beauty of the whole thing? You don't have to wait for an "Act of God," while you sleep, to enjoy its benefits. It's with you every second of the day, every breath.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:54 AM | Comments (1)

Snow Day!


Growing up in New York, there were three things I found utterly amazing: the accents of people from other places, baseball, and snow days.

If you're from California, Mexico, or Hawaii, you probably know what the first two are all about. But the third? Allow me to explain.

A snow day, for those of you who have never experienced winter, is an unexpected day off from school granted by a benevolent universe. You go to bed at night, dreading your history test the next day, and wake up with three feet of snow outside your window -- your mother telling you (having just heard it on the radio) that school is closed.

It's a snow day!

Somehow, while you slept, the whole world shut down. Everything came to a halt. The only thing you can see out your window is a solitary bird looking for food and the kid next door, arms outstretched, making snow angels.


You jump for joy! Yahoo! Hallelujah!

Gone is the need to rush through breakfast. Gone is the need to catch the bus. Gone is the need to perform.

All bets are off. Your time is your own. You are free!

You look out the window and everything is white. The jagged edges of the world have been softened, curved, and relaxed. Everything is still, as if the God you've heard so much about in Sunday school has just hit the pause button.

You have time to slow down, time to do nothing at all -- and feel really good about it. After all, this isn't a sick day, it's a snow day -- a complete and utter gift... an unexpected bit of grace... an inheritance you didn't realize was on its way.

For me, the gift my Teacher gives is a bit like that.

And the ultimate beauty of the whole thing? You don't have to wait for an "Act of God," while you sleep, to enjoy its benefits. It's with you every second of the day, every breath.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:54 AM | Comments (1)

September 30, 2010
The One Minute Seeker


In days gone by, classic seekers had to endure a ton of trials and tribulations to find what they were looking for.

They walked across deserts. They fasted. They hunted for the One in faraway places.

No more. Those days are over. The game has changed. Things have heated up, big time.

Now, that which you are looking for is looking for you. Your inner questing for something timeless, pure, and full of love has been responded to.

Really. Click here to find out more.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:01 AM | Comments (2)

September 03, 2010
Ahhh... Watermelon!


Somewhere along the line you've probably heard of this thing called a "Zen Koan"-- a question or statement that cannot be "gotten" by the rational mind.

For centuries, Zen Masters have used them as a way to confound their students' habit of thinking too much -- with the intention of shocking the mind into a state of true awareness.

Appropriate responses to a koan may vary according to circumstances. Different teachers may demand different responses to a given koan on a given day. A fixed answer cannot be correct in every circumstance.

Sound familiar?

The Master -- Zen or otherwise -- is not looking for an answer in a specific form, but for evidence that the student has grasped something beyond duality, beyond mind, beyond all the strategizing and mental static that separates the seeker from the finder.

And now for the moment of truth...

"Where do you get the seeds to grow seedless watermelons?"

If you think you know the answer (or better yet, don't think, but know the answer anyway), lay it on me. I'll be giving away a copy of my poetry book, Thirst Quench Thirst to the three people who submit the best answer in any of the following categories:

1. Funniest
2. Most Zen-like
3. Most accurate

All responses will be posted HERE within the next two weeks. Stay tuned.

And now... go eat some watermelon!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:58 AM | Comments (8)

July 01, 2010
Life Is Like a Pinball Game, Isn't It?


Life is like a pinball game.

Well, maybe not. But for the sake of the next few minutes, let's stay with the pinball metaphor. OK?

I mean, the whole playing field is tilted, right? And no matter how talented you are with the flippers, or how many bells you ring or lights you flash, that shiny, silvery ball eventually finds its way down that little black hole.


For some of us, this inevitable moment is like death -- the ultimate bummer. All those cool sounds and lights? Gone. The high score you spent so much time racking up? Gone. In their place?

"Player #1" standing there, moaning about the Game Maker and their own lame attempts to manipulate the flippers.

Well... I think there's another way to look at this -- a second option -- the kind of option where the real game begins when that silvery ball disappears down the hole.

And what kind of game is that?

A game that requires no flippers, no beeps, no bells, no lights, and no score. This game is tilted, too, but it's tilted in your favor.

YOU WIN! And the only thing you have to do is be.

OK, so maybe this metaphor doesn't completely hold up. But so what?

No word, no painting, no poem will ever be enough to describe the game that is waiting to be enjoyed when we let go, turn within, and stop trying so hard to rack up a high score.

Hey, we've already won!

Curious? Click here.

Or here. Or here. Or here.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:06 PM | Comments (1)

June 24, 2010
Going Awake


Two nights ago, as I was getting into bed, it dawned on me what a pleasure it is to sleep.

The act of getting under the covers, laying down my head, and letting go of the world is an extraordinary experience.

In that state, there is nothing to do. Nowhere to go. No one to call. In that state, breathing is the only game in town -- or should I say being breathed.

One breath in. One breath out. One breath in. One breath out.

Imagine what life would be like if we let go to waking in the same way we let go to sleep.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:08 AM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2010
The Beauty of What's in Front of You


A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds -- then hurried to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and, without stopping, continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3-year old boy...

His mother tried to rush him, but the boy stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The themes were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: How do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?


Try not to miss the beauty of life coming your way -- it may be right in front of you. Right now, in fact.

Thanks to Larry Lustbader and Matt Miller for forwarding the link.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:14 PM | Comments (3)

March 16, 2010
Be Who You Are!


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:13 PM | Comments (2)

March 06, 2010
The Entire Universe is Yours

If you knew how much you already had, you wouldn't waste a second wanting anything more. The entire universe is yours and still you are longing for something else. The world is a milkweed pod. The more you try to grab it, the further it floats away. Stop for a second. Extend your hand. Receive your inheritance. All the legal work's been done a thousand years ago. Throw a party! Invite your friends and a hundred people you don't know. Feed them. Give them something good to drink. Dance until you cannot stand.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2010
Finding Home

When I was a small boy, I used to look up at the sky a lot, sigh, and think one basic thought: "I want to go home."

Though my parents tried their best to love me (allowance! grilled cheese! dog!)I was sure I came from someplace else. I felt like an orphan.

It wasn't that I was unhappy. I wasn't. i just felt displaced -- absolutely sure that my real home was very faraway.

As I grew up and translated my boyish sky-prayers into a more classical spiritual quest, I began to notice a pattern in the books I was reading.

Beyond the jargon and the all too common habit of implying that their way was the only way, a central theme was emerging -- the home I was looking for was within me.

My seemingly unquenchable thirst to have the experience of arriving was not going to be a matter of traveling to exotic places worthy of my pilgrimage. It was going to be a matter of turning within.

But how? How does one turn within?

Well, that's what my teacher, Maharaji, was (and still is) revealing. In a very simple way, he has a knack for helping people experience their true home.

Yes, home is where the heart is, but where is the heart?

That is the quest. And that is also the destination.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2009
One More Difference Between Men and Women

Since the beginning of time, pundits, psychologists, and philosophers have been waxing poetic about the differences between men and women.

Many well-researched theories and observations have been postulated -- everything from variations of XY chromosomes to moon cycles to shopping habits.

Though I am not a pundit, psychologist, or philosopher, I would like to take this moment to propose yet another difference between the sexes -- something I've been noticing for years, but never completely understood until this morning's opening of Christmas presents:

1. Men and women wrap presents completely differently.

Presents wrapped by women look really good. The edges are square. The tape is in all the right places. There are no unnecessary wrinkles, crunched up paper, or rips. The presents women wrap could easily be photographed for a catalog or Good Housekeeping centerfold.

Presents wrapped by men are usually a joke. Asymmetrical. Random. Pitifully sophomoric. Like an old pair of sweat pants stuffed into a drawer a little too quickly before the dinner guests arrive.

2. Men and women open presents completely differently.

Women look for the seams and the tape and use their tapered fingers in mysteriously delicate ways so the wrapping can be flawlessly removed, flattened, folded, and used again in the future.

Men are huns. They rip. They tear. They plunder the paper as if it was a small village needing to be taken over immediately.

The remains of the wrapping, no matter how beautifully conceived by the giver, ends up in a balled-up heap of chaos on the floor -- unusable for anything but kindling or throwing at other males across the room.

NEXT WEEK: Nail care

Open this present

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2009
Not All There? Says Who?

Twice in the past two days a curious thing happened to me. In separate conversations with two friends at two different times, I was told that two other, mutual friends of ours were "not all there."

After sharing their assessments, each of my friends looked at me as if expecting some kind of acknowledgment about the brilliance of their comments. None was forthcoming. And WHY it wasn't was because I had a completely different experience of the people they were referring to.

"Not all there" was not a phrase I would use to describe these folks. Yes, they were quirky. Yes, they were different. And yes, their "social skills" left something to be desired. But so what? That didn't make them "not all there" -- just refreshingly unique.

Which one of us is so "there" that we have the right or the wisdom to judge another person's "thereness?" None of us. In fact, some of the most "all there" people I know appear to be the "least there" in the eyes of those whose favorite hobby seems to be judging.

"Just not lest ye be judged."


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:39 AM | Comments (1)

July 14, 2009
52 Reasons Why People Like Being with Maharaji

A year ago, on this blog, I posted 34 reasons why I like being with Maharaji -- my attempt to communicate some of the impact that seeing him, real-time, has on me.

At the end of the post, I asked readers to add their own reasons. Eleven people responded.

What follows is my original list and the additional comments of the readers who responded.

Feel free to add your own...

34 Reasons Why I Like Being with Maharaji

1. I breathe more deeply
2. It becomes very easy to savor every moment
3. I stop judging myself and everyone else
4. Time slows down
5. I listen from a still place inside me
6. I feel like I'm dancing when I walk -- or at least, gliding
7. I laugh uncontrollably
8. I cry tears of joy
9. I stop worrying
10. I like what I see when I look in the mirror
11. I have a lot more fun than usual
12. I experience timelessness
13. Everything seems perfect just the way it is
14. I let go of being self-conscious
15. I feel like I'm being massaged from the inside out
16. I move in tune with a hidden music
17. I see how peace is possible for the entire planet
18. I feel like he's talking just to me
19. I am grateful for everything
20. I want to serve
21. I feel whole and complete
22. I feel a vast spaciousness
23. I live in the present moment
24. Everything is profoundly simple
25. I rededicate myself to the practice of Knowledge
26. I stop trying to improve myself
27. I lose my need to gain anyone's approval
28. I am content
29. I come from my heart, not my head
30. Life feels like a party
31. I let things come to me -- and they do
32. I feel more authentic
33. I realize I have no problems
34. I feel like I'm totally home

Why HEART OF THE MATTER readers like being with Maharaji

35. I always leave loving myself a little more. - Candice Wilmore
36. It's incredibly great being around a lot of other people who are also feeling 1-34. - Steve Kowarsky
37. I feel my Heart come alive. - Mka
38. I wake up from the core of my being. - Alan Roettinger
39. I feel like the luckiest person on earth. - Alan Roettinger
40. I realize how much I've missed him. - Alan Roettinger
41. I forget about everything I've missed out on. - Alan Roettinger
42. I get to spend some time with the best friend I will ever have. - Alan Roettinger
43. I am in awe at consciousness & clarity. - Chris Tardieu
44. I am transported back into the ocean of joy, love and strength dwelling within me. Fearlessness presides as magic filled with gratitude resumes as my guide. - Amy S.
45. Magic fills the air and my heart and the hearts of others! I love seeing the Light in their eyes and the smiles on their beatific faces! -Jon Lloyd
48. The silence within me is breathtaking. - Asiebhan
49. I get cleansed of the dirt of the mind. - Asiebhan
50. I get to laugh a lot. - Asiebhan
51. Sometimes, I am completely overwhelmed by an awareness of the possibility of what it means to be a human being and how far short of that potential I fall in my life. Then to hear him beckoning me to join him on this journey of self-fulfillment despite my shortcomings is almost too much to take. Is this what friendship and unconditional love are about? Is this how gratitude unfolds to heal the wounds of a broken heart? Is this the recognition of how fortunate I am to have witnessed the Master and felt the touch of his love in my life? Words are poor substitutes to describe what I am trying to express. - G.S.Smith
52. He has given me 20/20 vision of the heart. - Gaz

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:56 AM | Comments (17)

July 07, 2009
Open Sesame

A couple of days ago, I tried to unlock my car door with my cell phone.

There I was, standing in a parking lot, pushing a random button that had nothing to do with my car, and wondering why the door wouldn't open.

At that moment in time, all technologies converged and what I was doing -- push after push after push -- somehow made perfect sense.

After finding my keys and pushing the right remote, it dawned on me that I WANT ONE DEVICE THAT OPENS EVERYTHING: the car door, the garage door, the TV, DVD, VCR, ATM, and everything else in my life that is ever locked or inaccessible.

At the risk of being overly metaphorical, folks, I do believe I already have that device. It's called "breath." When I'm in tune with it, savoring it, and moving at it's God-given pace, all things -- especially my own heart -- eventually open.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:26 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2009
Being Shown the River Where the Fish Are Swimming

It has been said that it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish.

So true.

And yet, how much better would it be to show a man the river where the fish are swimming?

This has been my experience of what Maharaji does.

If you're thirsty, he takes you down to the river where the cool waters of life, filled with all those fabulous fish, are flowing.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2009
The Art of Seeing the Invisible

See that FedEx logo to your left? What do you notice? Letters? Colors? Height? Width? Shape? Probably. But if that's all you see, you are missing something -- something essential.

Take another look. Do you see an arrow? No? Look again. More specifically, look at the space between the "E" and the "x". The white space. See it? Cool, huh?

The first time someone pointed this out to me, I was astounded. Something that was there, for years, had been completely invisible to me.

FedEx's savvy logo designer, Lindon Leader (Leader Creative), had embedded an arrow in the "negative space" to subliminally indicate a message -- forward movement -- but I had never seen it.

Such is life...

Life. There's so much in it, staring us right in the face, but we often don't get it. We look, but don't see. We listen, but don't hear. We touch, but don't feel.

From what I can tell, all the great Teachers, Sages, and Masters have been committed to helping people see the "white arrow" -- that which is present, but not always easy to see.

They don't create the arrow or require people to go to the Himalayas to find the arrow -- they simply make the discovery of the arrow much, much easier.

They have the knack of redirecting attention to what is already there.

Not Next Day service. NOW service.

More info

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2009
The Courage to Stand Up

Think you have a challenge or two ahead of you? Do you feel hopeless sometimes and find it hard getting back on your feet? Need a reminder about the courage, commitment, and resilience that dwell deep within you?

Check this out. You can do it! Yes you can!

Photo by Live and Learn

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:41 AM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2009
Jumping for Joy

M in Westlake.jpeg

A few months ago I had a beautiful dream. I was a guest at Prem Rawat's residence, along with a bunch of other people and was walking around his very spacious grounds when, out of the blue, he signals me to climb an extremely tall tree. In a flash, I find myself climbing, branch over branch until I reach the top. Thrilled, I raise my arms high overhead in a classic "I did it!" pose when suddenly Prem signals me to JUMP into the pool below. The pool, however, is very far away -- way further away than even the best of jumps could ever possibly come close to. A wave of fear comes over me, but I decide to jump anyway. As I do, the pool moves towards me. I land in the center. Splash!

PHOTO: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:46 AM | Comments (1)

February 03, 2009
Homegrown Words of Wisdom

Thank you to David Gittlin for these words of wisdom -- his own.

What you believe to be your upper limit is only the cracked ceiling you have been staring at for too long. You can go higher. Guaranteed.

Surrendering to self-doubt is the same thing as making a deal with the devil. Instead, make a deal with your dream and soar.

God never says, "I hear ya' knockin' but you can't come in." Keep knocking.

If you want to be great, stop trying to fit in.

The greatest challenge is to enjoy the process of getting from here to there.

Get to know the genius inside you on a first name basis. It is necessary to develop a tough mind as we mature, but not at the expense of a sensitive heart.

Don't judge yourself by the bad things you've done. Focus on the good thing you are about to begin.

The secret to lasting happiness is a heart full of love connected to a mind full of positive thoughts.

Photo by RJeudin

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:50 AM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2008
The Shortest Posts of 2008

In keeping with my height (5'8"), today's posting will be short. More to the point, it will be a hyperlinked list of Heart of the Matter's TOP TEN shortest postings of 2008 -- kind of like an early Christmas present for people with ADD. Each one will take you less time to read than it's taken you, so far, to get through this introduction.

Maharaji: Albany, NY

The Paradox Supreme

Woody Allen Speaks

God Does Not Have a Religion

This Kid...

This Longing, This Ache

The World is an Illusion

Seeding is Believing

Remember This Feeling?

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2008
Diving In Deeper

If you are new to Heart of the Matter, chances are good you've only seen a small percentage of what's available to you here -- more than 200 postings of all kinds: videos, slide shows, excerpts and reports from Maharaji's events, stories, personal reflections, poetry, humor, a talking puppet, links to cool resources, and much more.

You can always access the most recent 30 postings by logging onto the site and scrolling down. For the rest of the content, you'll need to click on the archives (in the sidebar beneath "Recent Entries"). But since you're already here right now, all you need to do is click the link below for a hot-linked list of all past postings. (If you find something you like, please feel free to forward it to friends, acquaintances, family, or neighbors. That's how word about this blog is getting out.)

Heart of the Matter Monthly Archives


Photo by Durango99

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2008
Thirst Quench Thirst

Hello... You can hear nothing but the sound of my voice.

You are lovingly placing your cursor over the hotlinked phrase below, clicking once and buying at least one copy of my new book of poetry, Thirst Quench Thirst.

Do not concern yourself about whether or not you actually like poetry, read poetry, or have ever heard of me. Those concerns, while certainly understandable, are beside the point. Sometimes you just need to trust your instincts. Like now, for instance.

Some of the poems in this blog are excerpted from the book, so if you're still not sure, simply scroll around and read.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the book is only $15.00. At 72 pages, that's only $20.8 cents a page (1/18th the cost of a Starbuck's Frappucino). Such a deal!

Still need proof it's worth the money? Click below and check out the reviews:

Thirst, Quench Thirst evokes a memory of the deepest longings of the soul. Reading Mitch's poetry reminds me of what I already know, but often forget." -- Joan Apter

"This poetry has touched the deepest recesses of my heart." -- Dermott Philpott

"Mitch's poetry touches a universal human longing; the ache for internal connection to the divine. He speaks in a personal, simple, accessible way about things that are ancient and deep." -- Erika Andersen

"Most great love poetry baffles the mind, but delights the heart. And great love poetry cannot be written without great love. Mitch Ditkoff's poems are intoxicating." -- John Adorney

"This is the kind of nourishment that penetrates to the core of Divine Love, and if deeply imbibed, its sweet nectar can be savored for a lifetime." -- Jamie Delay

"Mitch mixed the most profound -- almost indescribable -- with the kind of simplicity that somehow manages to capture a feeling. Lovely stuff!" -- Candice Wilmore

"This book of poetry, delightful and charming, takes me right to the heart of the matter gently, often with wonderful humor! I read and re-read these poems just to take the ride." -- Kim Greene

"Not bad, but buy this book anyway so I can get a higher allowance." -- Jesse Pouget Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2008
Hidden Goodies for You

If you like what you see on this blog, I invite you to click on the April, March, February, and January links in the archives (located in the sidebar). There you will find another 81 postings which you will not be able to access any other way.

Like this one for seekers with only a minute to spare.

Or this one about the joy of heckling at a dinner party with Maharaji.

Or this piece of cosmic wisdom from Woody Allen.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2008
"Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." (Helen Keller)

Feeling a little off today? Cash flow problems got you down? Relationship a bit shaky? Wondering how you're going to pay the rent?

If so, you may want to reflect on the above words of Hellen Keller, the inspiration behind The Miracle Worker, and the first deafblind person ever to graduate college.

Hey, you can SEE! You can HEAR! You can SPEAK! She couldn't -- and still she found her way through the obstacles to become a prolific author and a leading supporter of women's suffrage and worker's rights.

Hellen Keller was right. Security IS mostly a superstition. Life IS a daring adventure or nothing. The key, for all of us, is to stay conscious of this, make our little effort, and have some faith.

Everything happens for the best! Enjoy the adventure!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:20 PM | Comments (2)

A Stroke of Insight

This 20 minute video is extraordinary. It's the story of a brain scientist, Jill Bolte Taylor, who had a severe stroke and, in the process, experienced the true essence of who she was. She makes a compelling case for the choice we all have -- separateness or unity, struggle or peace. Well worth watching. In the words of an old song whose name escapes me at the moment, "You are not your body, you are not your mind..."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:46 AM | Comments (1)

June 01, 2008
Shameless Self-Promotion

AATW cover.jpg

Dear Heart of the Matter reader:

If you are enjoying this blog, chances are good you will also enjoy my new book, Awake at the Wheel.

Part fable, part creative thinking toolbox, the book is a simple way to radically increase your chances of manifesting your most inspired ideas.

Although there are people who will say that "ideas are a dime a dozen," the fact of the matter is: your most inspired ideas are priceless. Indeed, they are often clues that there is something you are here to do.

Maybe it's an idea for a book you want to write. Maybe it's an idea for a business you want to start... or a change you want to make... or a way to serve in a new and exciting way.

Whether your idea is big small or big, it's yours and you cannot get it out of your head.

Why? Because it's trying to get your attention.

You may want to consider honoring this idea, instead of characterizing it as "mind" or "ego" or a bothersome thought distracting you from your "inner life." You may even want to follow the yellow brick road to it's ultimate manifestation.

If you do, Awake at the Wheel can help -- in a fun, entertaining, and useful way.

Intrigued? Then click here to find out more. Want to read what others have said about the book? Then click here. And if you want to read two recent reviews on the web, click here and here.

Oh... if you've already decided you want to buy the book, click here.

"If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself." -- Rollo May

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:52 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2008
An Ocean of Possibilities

W.C. Fields was always an exceptionally gifted performer, but some of his most unforgettable performances took place off-camera.

Like most actors at the start of their career, Fields found himself a little short of cash. A problem? Not for him. The non-traditional Mr. Fields simply created a new kind of job for himself, one summer, in Atlantic City, as a professional drowner.

Here's how it worked:

Several times a day, Fields would swim out to sea, pretend to be drowning, and then be "rescued" by one of his accomplices, the lifeguard. Invariably, a large crowd would gather on the beach as the no longer struggling actor was "resuscitated." Once it was clear that this poor fellow was going to live, the suddenly relieved crowd would turn to Field's third accomplice, the hot dog vendor, (who just happened to be standing nearby) and treat themselves to an "I'm-so-glad-he's-alive" snack. At the end of each water-logged day, Fields would split the take with his buddies -- the lifeguard and the hot dog vendor.


Now, I'm not suggesting that you do anything to deceive, hustle, or con people. Not at all. What I AM suggesting, however, is that you take a fresh look at what you can do differently in order to get an extraordinary result -- whether the result you're looking for has to do with your business, your service, your relationships, or something else.

As the famous pundit, Anonymous, once said, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

In other words, if your business, product, or service is drowning, what can you do to resuscitate it?

Is there a new approach you need to take? A different twist? An experiment you need to try?

And if so, what's your next step?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2008
It's Sunday in Woodstock, But What Day Is It on Alpha Centuri?

It's Sunday here in my home town, the day the Lord rested -- although I must admit, the concept of the Lord resting is one I never completely understood. I mean, if the Lord, the Creator, the Prime Mover and Shaker, made the heavens and earth in just six days, wouldn't you think He/She/It would have celebrated on the 7th instead of taking a nap, especially when you consider that the Lord, the Prime Mover and Shaker etc. was/is, as I understand it, infinite, self-effulgent, made of pure energy, and not subject to the same laws of nature governing us. Then again, maybe there was no one to celebrate with -- Adam and Eve being somewhat dazed beneath the apple tree and not yet up to the challenge of really understanding how to boogey with the Host of Hosts, not just until the sun came up, but forever.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:19 AM | Comments (1)

May 23, 2008
"The Business of Life is not a Life of Business."

Yes, it's true. The business of life is not a life of business. And only when you realize that, will your business (and your life) really flourish.

While multi-tracking has become extremely fashionable this century, remember that you only take one breath at a time -- not several. Life happens in this moment -- not the next or the last.

And while it may be your noble intention to work your tush off to provide for your family or build a nest egg or prepare for your retirement, the fact remains that these noble intentions often seduce us into getting WAY out of balance.

What IS the business of life?

Love... gratitude... consciousness.... giving and receiving... trust... freedom... feeling... learning... service... enjoyment... and really BEING a human being -- the state of mind where prophets mean at least as much to us as profits.

Money comes and money goes, but true fulfillment is forever.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2008
"When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are pockets."

"Motivation," explains psychologists, "affects perception."

In other words, you tend to SEE what your mind is preoccupied with. If you're driving through a town and you're hungry, you'll see the restaurants.

If you're running out of gas, you'll see the gas stations. If someone you love is dying, chances are good you'll see the funeral homes.

What's motivating YOU today? What lens might you be looking through? And what if you could remove that lens -- such that your experience of life was not skewed or limited or filtered?

What if your motivation was joy? What if your motivation was service... or love... or forgiveness? Might you not see the world in new ways?

If, upon seeing a saint, you saw love instead of pockets, possibility instead of doubt, how might your experience of life change for the better?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:05 PM | Comments (1)

May 17, 2008
"Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted counts." (Albert Einstein)


Some things we can measure. Some things we can't. And just because we can measure something doesn't make it more real or significant. Einstein knew this. There was always the "X factor" for him -- mystery, the unknown, the divine, and the impossible to quantify.

That's why he used to conduct "thought experiments" in his lab -- times when he turned away from the blackboard with all those exotic formulas and simply daydreamed -- letting the intuitive side of him take over for a change.

Hmmm... what might YOU be attempting to quantify or measure that would best be left alone? What might you be needing to TRUST that abides outside the boundaries of the rational, logical, analytical, scientific mind?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:02 AM | Comments (8)

May 15, 2008


A couple of nights ago I went to a local concert that featured my friend, the jazz saxophonist, Peter Buettner and his quartet. I had heard Peter play many times before, but never like this. He was soaring, free, transcendental, and plugged into the saxophone Gods that night. After the gig, I saw him in the lobby and told him how awesome he was. Peter smiled and mentioned that he finally figured out a way to go beyond himself and stop analyzing his own playing. In other words, he let go to his natural gifts and just let it rip.

This is the same challenge we all have, no matter what medium we use to express ourselves. When we give up being self-conscious, when we give up worrying about what other people think, the true power and beauty of our art form materializes immediately.

And so, in honor of Peter's breakthrough and the one that's imminent for you, here's a song of praise for all the jazz boppers out there -- the ones who go beyond the boundaries of form and somehow find their way home.

(Please read it aloud for maximum impact...)


There's a billion jazz men in my blood, blowing their horns for love. They've been out on the street too long to wonder what the hell is going on -- for in their freedom -- in their utmost respect for recklessness, they know that life is but a high note held above the head of anyone who listens.

Happy to be playing on a night when others less fortunate than them are recovering from day jobs, these jazz boppers restore all integrity to the underground club that is my body here in this nether world of friends and future lovers. I sing with them! I dance! I tap my soul to the beat of their incessant drumming! And though they do not need to look at me, they smile.

What I see I cannot say, nor can this midnight review redeem the essence of what it is these billion molecules of madness in human form demand.

This is the form of God before your eyes! This is the moment of majesty!

Jazz men, jazz men, play your horns and drums, pound those keys so the vague interrupters of eternity can finally get up and dance and forget themselves once and for all.

Jazz men, play yourselves.

Hey you finger drumming soldiers of man's need to stop finding himself, and so stopping, actually find himself to be found. Hey, you street licking bluesmen of the space between day and night, I love your song, your scream for no one in particular.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2008
The Big Game

A few weeks ago, I watched the NY Giants beat the Green Bay Packers 23-20 in an NFL championship football game. I watched it with eight friends. As always, we had a fantastic time -- an experience that our wives (no matter how wonderful they may be) have never been able to fathom. Our viewing behavior, to them, is a merely a parody of the American male: two-dimensional, woefully predictable, and absurd.

That assessment, however, was not my experience as I watched the BIG GAME. No way. On the contrary, my experience was noble, ecstatic, tribal, and divine. Beyond the pretzels, popcorn, chips, and beer something else was happening.

At the risk of making a mountain out of a football game, allow me to share a few observations about the experience and, by extension, the experience of millions of men huddled together before the Big Game. In that sacred act of viewing, NOTHING ELSE WAS HAPPENING! Zero. Nada. Zilch. No work. No bills. No back taxes. No car repairs. No war in Iraq. No recession. No primaries. No relationship issues. No cholesterol. No this and no that. Only THE GAME. Pure immersion it was. Spontaneous expression. Presence. Unbridled emotion. Liberated laughter. And the kind of concentration most yogis would gladly trade their third eye for.

What, you may ask, has any of this to do with love, longing, and letting go -- the supposed topic of this supposed blog? Plenty. The state of mind (no, make that state of being), of the BIG GAME-watching, pretzel-munching men noted in the paragraphs above is exactly the state of being required of anyone wanting to have even the slightest chance of experiencing something glorious.

OK. Let's go to the slow motion, video replay of that last sentence: I'm talking focus, friends. I'm talking compelling goal. I'm talking feeling, humor, fun. The experience of uncensored delight. And the realization that anything is possible.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about the common garden variety trance experience induced by watching TV or a movie. No. I'm talking about the BIG GAME. The "All In" moment. The Full Monte. The No Turning Back. The This Is It. The There's No Tomorrow. And all of it sprinkled with a healthy dose of pepperoni and celebration even before anyone knows the final score.

Yes, I admit, the eight of us didn't deliver anything as a result of watching the BIG GAME -- no output, no product, no proof that we had used our time well. But so what? When you're eating chips and experiencing the Unified Field of Consciousness on the day the Lord rested and time stops as your team huddles in the freezing cold, against all odds, to gather together one more time, focused on the goal and absolutely free of constraint, doubt, and delusion, what is there left to say except:

Giants 23, Packers 20. (And in overtime, yet!)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2008
Seeding is Believing

I have recently been accused, by one of my friends, of writing overly long blog entries. At first I got a bit defensive, but then I realized how right he was. And so, it is with great respect to the blogospheric code of brevity, that I ask you all to contemplate one, simple, non-hyperlinked question today: Where do you find the seeds to grow seedless watermelons?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

Welcome to Mitch Ditkoff's blog about what's really important in this life: Peace, gratitude, love, joy, clarity, and the effort required to wake up and smell the roses. Enjoy!

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