Dr. Stewart Bitkoff, Contributor
According to tradition, humanity originated ‘far beyond the stars’ and is on a journey back to its Source. While in the earth phase, there are numerous opportunities to embrace ‘our real’ or ‘lasting nature’ and begin the spiritual journey back home. In this physical world, because we are in a sense estranged from our real or lasting nature, which is spiritual, there is an unease and inner hunger that pushes us forward to search and make the connection back home. While in this world, many become fooled and try to fill the inner emptiness with all manner of experiences and things; this further compounds the problem of remembering who we are.
Like ET in the movie, we need to contact home, through our inner spiritual awareness, so the factors might align and we can start the return journey.
Now, while in the earth phase, because of its diversity, beauty and splendor, each spiritual traveler has the opportunity to create and join in Kingship with the Creator. 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 home to the Creator.
O spiritual traveler, rise-up and know who you really are; temporarily, shed the identity that has been placed about you by others and this wondrous physical form we have taken. On some levels, this multi-level form is an illusion, a contrast and story, created to help, hurt, contain and even set us free. Even though many were well intentioned, they were fooled by this riddle of physicality and spirituality; ultimately, this contrast and duality exists to help, so we may learn, experience and enjoy the wonders. Yes, we may experience and create it all, as long as we Remember; go deep within and experience who we really are- we are a child of Light. We are the son and daughter of a King.
This present life and experience is all about you, and what you wish to create. That is the wonder and the 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 One.
Perhaps, this riddle is confusing? O spiritual traveler; set your self free and stop thinking about it all. Go deeper and learn to perceive your true lasting nature; you and the Light are one. This Oneness will set you free so you may create that which you came to here to create. Enough of riddles and words that make little sense – rise-up and embrace your Lasting Self; then this foolishness of words will no longer be necessary.
Guidelines for Spiritual 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 Life Force; the Light is most like the Creator and, while in the physical body, is the conduit by which we travel home. Make your life a song, a celebration through which you join in Kingship, Remember, and embrace your spiritual heritage.
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 has always existed . . . it is the religion before there was religion. It is the first commandment . . . to 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 then, 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 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 others. Each is a child of the universe; and each must ultimately find their own way- that is both unique and the same. For we all are travelers. May your journey and efforts be glorious.
- Love God. This is the first commandment and contains the entire journey, which is: To 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 universe with all the many life forms; we are all expressions of the One. 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 each action and thought, seek to take the high road and make every 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 out and expressing who you are; 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, and have a social duty to help others of our family. No one is suggesting, that we are not to care for self or protect self, however, every one is connected and on the higher level, when my neighbor is hungry or sick, I am experiencing this as well. In everything, we must use our common sense, and experience tells me, if one is being exploited or harmed, one day this ill will present itself at my 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.
- Practice 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 are going to be angry or sad, be angry and sad with God. Similarly, if you are going to be happy, be happy with God. When we are most distant from God that is when we need God the most.”
- Travel Beyond Teachings. All we know about any great servant and their specific teachings, is what others have recorded, wanting us to know about their teachings. This is both good and bad. That is why each traveler is urged to have their own experience and travel beyond teachings. Knowledge is different than teachings.
The purpose of religion is to provide a foundation and framework upon which to lead a better life. This was how was one of my teachers characterized the purpose of all religion. It was a framework and foundation upon which to build. It was not intended to be an end in itself.
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.
Stewart is also the author of 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, as well as The Ferryman’s Dream. Both books are also in Kindle format and available on Amazon.com or local bookstore.
Register for an upcoming retreat weekend with Dr. Steward Bitkoff atop Bangor Mountain, in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Kirkridge Retreat Center on Sufism & Enlightenment, May 30- June I, 2014. For information is available here: http://kirkridge.org/programs/upcoming-programs/ – click on Detailed Information for full program highlights.
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