Dr. Stewart Bitkoff, Guest Writer
The breath that does not repeat the name of God is a wasted breath. –Kabir
According to Sufi tradition, humanity originated ‘far beyond the stars’ and is on a return journey back to the Source. While in the earth phase, there are numerous opportunities to embrace ‘our real’ or ‘lasting nature,’ and begin the spiritual journey home. In this physical world, because we are in a sense estranged from our real or lasting nature, there is an unease and inner hunger that pushes us forward to search and make the inner spiritual connection.
While in this world, many become fooled and attempt to fill the inner emptiness with all manner of things and experiences; this further compounds the problem of remembering who we are.
Just like ET in the movie, we need to contact home -through our own inner spiritual awareness- so the factors might align and we begin the return journey.
While in the earth phase, because of its endless diversity, beauty and splendor, each traveler has the opportunity to create and freely join in Kingship with the Source. Daily, we create our own multiple level realities and in this world of opposite forms, we create multiple opportunities to express who we are. Inside each of us is a spark or piece of the Life Force; that is our guiding element and leads us through the many worlds, back to the Source.
The Riddle: Who We Are?
O spiritual traveler, rise-up and know who you really are; temporarily shed the identity that has been placed upon you by others and this wondrous physical body we have created. On different levels, this multi-level physical form is an illusion, a contrast and story, created to help, contain and even set us free. Although many were well-intentioned, they were fooled by this riddle of physicality and spirituality; ultimately, this contrast and duality exists to help, so we might learn, experience and enjoy the wonders. We may create and experience it all, as long as we Remember; go deep within and experience that which we really are- a Child of Light. We are the son and daughter of a King, and have been sent on a journey to experience all the parts of self; finding our true, lasting nature, only when we help others and align with the Light.
This present life and experience- is all about you and what you individually wish to accomplish and create. That is the wonder and challenge; we were given free will so that we might freely choose to Remember and join in the creative process: alternating between our will and the will of the Source.
Perhaps this riddle is confusing? O Spiritual traveler- set your self free; stop thinking about it all. Go deeper and learn to experience and perceive your own true lasting nature; you and the Light are One. This Oneness will set you free so you may create that which you came here to create. Enough of riddles and words that make little sense and cannot be thought out- arise and embrace your Lasting Self; then this foolishness of words will no longer be necessary. You will know what you came here to know.
Guidelines for Travelers
Beyond religion, beyond individual creed and spiritual form, there is a knowing that arises from the heart. The heart is our spiritual center, and is connected to the Light or Source; this Light is most like the Source and, while in the physical body, is the conduit through which we travel home. Make your life a song, a celebration through which you join in Kingship, Remember, and embrace your lasting spiritual nature.
Come, join me as a Spiritual Traveler; a traveler who seeks the inner, spiritual core of religious experience and follows the Light through the many worlds. This way of knowing has always existed. It is the religion before there was religion. It is the first commandment: Love God (or the Light) with all your heart and soul. Yes, it is as easy as that . . . .
And because we are in the world of forms, we need a structure or framework from which to begin; here for the Spiritual Traveler, is a set of guidelines that have served me well. These guidelines are not of my creation, but part of the wondrous Path that has always existed; like a scribe I write them down so you too might learn, experience and benefit.
And if you think I am a madman, and have lost my way, leave this writing and find your own experience, or way, to embrace your true lasting self. One way is not better than another. Each is a child of the universe; and each must ultimately find their own path, that is both unique and the same. For we all are travelers. May your journey be glorious and your effort rewarded.
- Love God. This is the first commandment and contains the entire journey- which is Love God (or the Light) with all your heart and soul. Some need no other instruction; traditionally, these travelers have been called- the Lovers. The Lovers seek to make their lives an extension of the Divine, and do everything for their Beloved.
- Citizen of the Universe. Learn to share this planet and the universe with all the many life forms; we are all expressions of the Source. To hurt another is to hurt self; we all are connected in spirit. We share the same Life Force, which is our self. When we turn toward the Light, the Light will guide and protect.
- Align With the Highest. In every action and thought, seek to take the high road and make each moment an expression of the Divine. Listen to your heart and make your decisions based upon that which will serve your higher nature, and the emerging higher destiny of the universe.
- Love Another. The nature of God or the Light is pure Love; when we love another and seek to help and share with that person; we are fulfilling our higher destiny. Many of the ills of the world come about, because travelers are fearful and seek to fulfill their own need at the expense of others. Mature travelers know the difference between helping and hurting; their hearts will not let them intentionally cause harm.
- Live Fully. Each traveler is a multi-level being with an assortment of feelings, thoughts, desires, and dreams. Live fully and embrace the many parts of self. Also, do not forget to go deeper and thank the One who gave these things to you.
- Seek Excellence. In every action and thought, seek to do your best. Each traveler has the potential to reach toward excellence; each has a unique skill set and must learn to maximize their potential by expressing individual talents and ability. A complete life merges individual and higher need.
- Be Yourself. In knowing who you are, you will know the many parts of self and merge with the Higher. Do not let others keep you from finding and expressing who you are; you are a unique being- that is your gift to yourself and the universe.
- Help Others. In helping others, we help our self and serve the Highest. Though we may forget, we are all one; having a social duty to help others of our human family. No one is suggesting that we are not first to care for or protect self; however, every one is connected and on the higher level, when our neighbor is hungry or sick, we are experiencing this as well. In everything, we must use our common sense, and experience suggests, if one is being exploited or harmed, one day this ill will present itself at our door.
- Do Good Deeds. Inwardly, the healthy person knows the right thing; we are born with this inner awareness. It is only our fear that blocks us; learn to go beyond fear, and listen to your heart. Then, the promise of a better world will be achieved one person at a time.
- Gratitude. Thank the universe, thank yourself, and thank the Creator for all you have been Given. This activity will make you joyous; and its energy will fill you with good health.
- Pray. Each morning and evening, and throughout the day: communicate and speak with God. Have an ongoing conversation with your higher self and the One who provided this opportunity to go through the many worlds. One of my teachers used to say, “if you’re going to be angry or sad, be angry and sad with God. Similarly, if you’re going to be happy, be happy with God. When we are depressed and most distant from God that is when we need God the most.”
- Travel Beyond Teachings. All we know about any great teacher and their specific teaching is what others have recorded, and wanted us to know about these teachings. This is both good and bad. Often, much has been omitted or distorted. That is why each traveler is urged to have their own experience and travel beyond specific teachings. Knowledge is different than teachings.
There is one thing in this world that must never be forgotten. If you were to forget everything else, but did not forget that, then there would be no cause to worry; whereas if you performed and remembered and did not forget anything else, but forget this one thing, then you would have done nothing whatsoever.
It is just as if a king had sent you to another country to carry out a specific task. You go and perform a hundred other tasks, but if you have not performed that particular task, it is as though you have done nothing at all.
You have come into this world for a particular task, and that is your purpose; if you do not perform it, then you will have done nothing.
Check-out my two new books: Sufism for Western Seekers: Path of the Spiritual Traveler in Everyday Life and The Ferryman’s Dream. Both books are available through Amazon.com or local bookstores.
About the Author
Dr. Stewart Bitkoff, spiritual traveler, poet, is a student of Sufi Mysticism and the perennial philosophy. Professionally specializing in the healing applications of therapeutic recreation, psychiatric rehabilitation and mental health treatment; he holds a doctorate in education and served on the faculties of multiple colleges and universities.
Sufism for the Western Seeker, published in 2011, was nominated by ‘Foreword Magazine’ for Adult Non Fiction Religious Book of Year Book of the Year Award, placing 4th (honorable mention) and is a must read.
For more information about the author, go to:www.stewartbitkoff.com.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
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