The Heart of the Matter
June 06, 2023
The Name Game


I first heard about Prem Rawat in 1971. He was 13 then and known as "Maharaji." I was 24 and known as "Ditty." A long-haired, seeker of Truth, I was astounded by what this young boy from India had to say and how he said it, stunned by his clarity, wisdom, and ability to engage my attention in such a heart-opening way.

Now it is 52 years later. He is 65 and I am almost 76. I am still astounded by him.

In the early days, I used to refer to him as a "Guru" -- a Hindi word that translates as "the dispeller of darkness and the revealer of light."

Continue reading "The Name Game"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:21 AM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2023
Fall Back Into Me

A beautiful new song by Stuart Hoffman. Let it in.

A just-published interview with Stuart on Medium
Stuart's GoFundMe campaign

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:16 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."

Continue reading "The "D" Word"

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

May 15, 2023
My Tray of Hors D'oeuvres Is Empty


I have been a student of Prem Rawat since 1971. For the past 52 years, inspired by the feeling of deep peace and gladness he has awakened in me, I have been attempting, in various unsuccessful ways, to describe who he is.

In the beginning, my descriptions were extremely effusive. Borderline inflated, you might say, and tinged with a hint of the zealot -- not unlike the poetry of one in love for the first time and badly in need of an editor.

Charming? For sure. Engaging? You bet. Attention getting? That, too. But also confusing to anyone sincerely wanting to understand what the big deal was all about.

In time, like wine, I have mellowed, no longer ruled by the need to label, define, and explain. It's a game I choose not to play any more.

Continue reading "My Tray of Hors D'oeuvres Is Empty"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:15 PM | Comments (4)

May 11, 2023

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One of the curious things about the so-called 'spiritual life" is the palpable gap between theory and practice. On one hand, practitioners, in their effort to keep themselves in a positive state of mind, usually maintain an image of themselves as devoted, conscious, centered, and peaceful people. On the other hand (the one with the hangnail), those same people realize that, above and beyond their well crafted personas, they are much closer to being a fool than a sage. Or maybe it's only me I'm talking about.

Here's what I mean:

At one of Prem Rawat's five-day retreats, in Australia, a few years ago, I was having a leisurely lunch with a friend, neither of us with a care in the world. If this was Monopoly, we had both just landed on Free Parking.

When It was time for Mark to return to the Gift Store where he was helping out, I decided to linger a few minutes before trekking back to my tent, not wanting to rush things. Three minutes into my walk, I noticed I didn't have my iPhone, so I turned around and made my way back to the lunch table, expecting to see it just where I most likely left it. It wasn't there.

Continue reading "IPHONE, THEREFORE I AM?"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2023


One of the amazing things about life is that every moment has, contained with it, the potential to spark an awakening -- a meaningful, memorable, life-changing insight about ourselves with the potential to take us to higher ground.

And to make things even more interesting, we never know WHEN these surprise moments will occur and what impact they will have on us.

Which brings us, I guess, to the following story -- a kind of "as above, so below" moment for me back in Denver, Colorado in 1979 -- something I learned that I am still plumbing the depths of (even if, technically speaking, I am not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition).

Back then, having taken a vow of renunciation and living in one of Prem Rawat's ashrams, I was (at least in my own mind) on the high road to happiness, having left "the world" behind like a too heavy bag of rocks.

Continue reading "RUMI AND THE DODGE DART"

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

April 21, 2023
Today is the Launch of "Unspoken Word: Love, Longing & Letting Go"

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Dear Friends:

If you have been reading Heart of the Matter , there is a very good chance you will enjoy my just-published book of poetry dedicated to Prem Rawat, "Unspoken Word: Love, Longing & Letting Go."

Today is the day it launches on Amazon.

If you are thinking about buying it (or even if you're not), today is the day to buy it. Why? Because the more people who buy the book on the same day, the greater the chance the book will rank high on Amazon's NEW RELEASES list. And the higher it ranks, the more visibility the book will get. And since my vision is that millions of people read this book, visibility is a good thing.

PS: If you read the book and enjoy it, please consider writing an Amazon review -- one more way to help me get the word out there. Gracias!

Buy on Amazon
What ChatGBT says about my poetry
The website

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2023
"Unspoken Word: Love Longing & Letting Go" Just Published!


I am happy to announce that my new book of poetry, dedicated to Prem Rawat, is now available on Amazon.

The cost? Four cappuccinos worth, but the buzz lasts a lot longer.

You may want to check out the Unspoken Word website, as well. There you can listen to songs by Tim Hain and Stuart Hoffman, each of whom chose their favorite poem from the book and set it to music.

On the website (beautifully designed by Larry Lefkowitz), I also do some spoken word. If you want to read excerpts from the book before deciding to buy it, you can download a PDF. And if you are curious about what ChatGBT has to say about my poetry, click here.

My outreach efforts are all grassroots. I don't have a big publisher behind me or a publicist. It's just me and my tribe of good-hearted friends and fans around the world.

If you find value my writing, I invite you to forward this post to your friends and/or post my website link on social media.

Thank you, in advance, for whatever help you can provide. And if you know any podcasters or media outlets looking for an interesting guest, ask them to contact me:

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2023
Paint Outside the Boxes

I love this quote from Prem Rawat:

"Weve 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."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2023
The Umbrella


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2023
On Simplicity


"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." -- Confucius

"If you can't explain it to a six-year old, you don't understand it yourself." -- Albert Einstein

"It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials." -- Bruce Lee

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." -- Leonardo da Vinci

"The more simple we are, the more complete we become." -- August Rodin

"Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple." -- Pete Seeger

"Beware the barrenness of a busy life." -- Socrates

"Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." -- Lao Tzu

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." -- Albert Einstein

"Simplify. Simplify. Simplify." -- Henry David Thoreau

"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art." -- Frederic Chopin

"The less you have, the less you have to worry about." -- Buddha


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

March 10, 2023
Last Night I Googled Longing


Last night I googled longing.

What I found surprised me. Ninety-five percent of the images were women: Women dreaming. Women staring out windows. Women brushing their golden hair beneath the full moon. Oh... and lots of Goddesses, too.

Where were the men?

Hunting buffalo? Watching the Superbowl? Mowing the lawn? I'm guessing their absence had something to do with the male concept of survival. After all, wars, hunting, and politics aren't all that conducive to inspired questings of the heart, are they?

OK. So, maybe men don't stare out windows or wait by doors for their wives to return home from war, but surely they are feeling something. Surely, men want more out of life than just a cheeseburger, beer, and tattoo. No?

Continue reading "Last Night I Googled Longing"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:07 PM | Comments (5)

March 03, 2023
What People Find Compelling About Prem Rawat's Storytelling


Prem Rawat is considered by many to be master storyteller. Indeed, his most recent book, Hear Yourself: How to Find Peace in a Noisy World, is filled with some of his favorite and most entertaining stories. Below are a selection of comments from various people who are big fans of Prem's storytelling with a focus on WHY they find his storytelling so compelling.

"His stories have the power of transforming something that is so complex to a very simple message that can be understood easily." - Uma JL

"I love how his stories take us back to the simplicity of life, with wisdom and kindness at the root." - Joanne Dorrance

"The stories renew my sense of childlike wonder. They are often playful with an invitation to laugh at life and our humanness. They are kind and provoke thought. Even though some are ancient. they remain relevant today." - Sigrid EA

"I think he has the best sense of humor. He has a way of communicating that helps me feel free." - Elise Lee

"His story telling addresses the innocence of childhood in us. The story always contains a truth that is universal and even a child can understand. His storytelling is not a showcase of his cleverness. It is the express lane, conduit to the heart." - Alla Rogers

"Stories from Prem are lovely expressions of wisdom for my heart's delight." - Allen Feld

"What do I like about Prem and his storytelling? It is an art, and for Prem, it is art straight from clarity, with a sprinkling of wisdom, and a side dish of kindness. Beautiful stories which somehow engage everyone in the audience. Engaging. Amazing." - Heather Joy Westley

"My experience with Prem's storytelling is that he is telling it from his heart to mine. If someone else told me the same story it just doesn't resonate the same. I guess it is the love between the master and the student why his stories make such a profound shift." - Lalita Mohini

"Prem's storytelling goes straight to my heart. My heart says a very big YES." - Patricia Ade

"His stories take me back to myself. They are an amazing way to communicate his messsage." - Nim Lal Bhandari

"I like his cleverness and wisdom -- like in the story about a place where everything costs three cents. Teachers/Masters, like Prem, are known for their clever, insightful wisdom." - Janice Wilson

"The stories he tells are educational and entertaining. I always feel like I'm enjoying and learning at the same time, not being lectured or preached to." - Josephine Robinson

"I find it compelling when he quotes Kabir or the Gita or Ramayana -- making his points through ancient texts or something he thought about last night. He is the best storyteller, explaining in the deepest and most simple ways at the same time. A very divine experience." - Bob Ellmer

"I think it is his timing and that wonderful grin of his. The way he approaches 'I'm going to tell you a story,' there is something in the way he says that, that just makes you want to hear it." - Jane Mirano

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2023
Wisdom Quotes from Prem Rawat's New Book: Part 2


Here is the second in a series of third-party quotes from Prem Rawat's new book, Hear Yourself: How to Find Peace in a Noisy World.

The post includes inspiring quotes from the following savants throughout history: Aristotle, Albert Einstein, Kabir, Seneca, Lao Tzu, Tulsidas, Robert Herrick, Alexander the Great, Antoine de Saint Exupery, Euripedes, Socrates, Plato, and Rumi.

Buy the book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2023
Happy Valentine's Day to You!

Here is an inspiring Valentine's Day slide show for you. Includes 21 wonderful quotes on love and vocals by Daya Rawat.

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

February 06, 2023
When the Red Sea Parts

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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)

January 30, 2023
For Maureen

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This just in from Larry Lefkowitz:

Today is the second anniversary of the passing of Maureen, my dear wife and companion of 42 years. She was a remarkable gift and brightly reflected the foundational love that lives within each of us.

For Maureen

There is One Love.
You were born from that Love,
you were nurtured by that Love,
you cultivated and shared that Love,
you accepted and reflected my Love,
and then,
you returned to that Love.
You were a Gift.
I feel unspeakable gratitude for the Giver and the Gift.

-- Larry Lefkowitz

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

The Mind Does Not Understand What the Heart Experiences

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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)

January 22, 2023
A Social Media Experiment


During the past two months I have been conducting an experiment on social media and it has been going quite well.

I've decided to curate the best of my writing and publish it on Medium -- an online platform that attracts over 100 million views each month.

Medium is a place where lots of people go to source new content on all kinds of topics and it is a very good way for writers to grow their audience.

What follows are the ten most popular Medium posts of mine. If you like what you read, feel free to forward it to your friends and/or post on social media.

What a Good Educator Does
When an Email at 2:00 a.m Changes Everything
The Real Marriage
The Beginning of the Book My Daughter, Mimi, Asked Me to Write
Back to the Garden
Introducing Eva Snyder
What Have You Accomplished?
Last Night I Googled Longing
What I Learned in a Closet from my 3-Year Old Son
On Being Visited By an Angel

You do not need to be a member of Medium to read the above stories.

If you want to receive weekly emails from me which will include a selection of the most recent Medium posts of mine, send me an email with the words "Keep Me Posted" in the subject line.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2023
The Orange


Every spiritual tradition in the world has its own collection of rites and rituals that make up the warp and woof if it's particular path.

These rites and rituals, the origins of which are not always understood, give its practitioners something to do -- something not just think about or meditate on, but a physical activity they can focus on to help them remember the metaphysical connection to the essence of their path.

I get it. I do. Rituals work. Or as my rabbi liked to say, "If you want to learn to dance, sometimes you need to start with the box step."

My kids, for example, cannot celebrate Christmas without leaving milk and cookies out for Santa, even though its been years since they realized that the fat guy in the red suit didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of making it down our chimney.

Continue reading "The Orange"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

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