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Wake Up From the Dream!
by Mitch Ditkoff

I speak today as a resident of Woodstock, New York – a town known around the world for peace – a place now metaphor for the highest aspirations of the human race. What I have to say existed long before speech, long before teachers and those who thought they needed to be taught. I speak of the time before time, before “us” and “them,” before otherness, separation, and the need to make amends. Pure presence there was back then. Isness. First light. What the wise ones among us call by many names according to their faith. But it has no name, this “impulse to be,” this pulsation of life – what poets feel before they pick up their pens, why dancers – quivering in their own skin – look around the room for space in which to move.

Back then, before the yes and no, the good and bad, the black and white, the East and West, before our addiction to naming and knowing and the curious claim people make that God is on their side and their side only – there was only one thing, one infinite expanse of grandeur, one breath. The human voice was silenced with awe before it. I speak of presence and wonder and the state of divine receptivity, being at home in ourselves and with each other – what children feel before sleep, alone in their bed, knowing their parents are awake in the next room. The place where no fear of death abides, and even more importantly, no fear of life.

In this beginning is life – this fresh start that comes with each and every breath, the only path there is, the one we make by walking on it. The path Mohammed walked and Buddha. The path Jesus walked and Krishna. Moses, Rumi, Kabir, Lao Tzu, The Ba’al Shem Tov, Hafiz, Mother Theresa, Masters known and unknown, YOU, your neighbors, your friends – each on fire with the possibility of living life as it was meant to be, each ignited by the very same power some call God – the God whose name lovers, no matter what their path, scream at the height of their passion. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Gypsy Rose Lee. The God of Wizards. The God of Fools. Why the earth turns… and the Sufis… and the seasons.

It is this unreasonable force, this power of love, this mirror of our selves to whom we pray even when we sleep, that joins us all together here today. Why men with beards dig deeper underground half a world a way and others penetrate the sky, each fueled by what they think is noble enough to die for.

The question, my friends, on this first day of the rest of your life, is not what to die for, but what to live for. What is your calling? Your dream? Your gift? Your personal responsibility? The choice is yours. The messenger abides within you…comes to your threshold…sneaks past the guards you’ve posted at love’s door – and speaks:

The cave you seek is the cave of the heart. The air you patrol is your breath. Walk whatever path you choose, but know that each step is also an arrival. Slow down. Breathe deep. Trust. Give roses to people you barely know. Make someone tea. Embrace humanity all you want, but don’t forget to embrace each other – now, the only time there is. Let your weapon of choice be cupid’s bow. See God in everyone. Have fun. Be real! Let go! Live as if this was the first day of your life.. or the last. Men, be men. Women, be women. Win the war inside you – the battle between the darkness and the light. Rejoice in the undeniable fact that you are alive. Find your voice. And when you do, use it wisely. Sing! Praise! Dance! Do whatever you can to wake up from the dream.

Mitch Ditkoff

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