Friday, August 15, 2008

A Commuter's Guide to Enlightenment | Stewart Bitkoff

During the days of your life,
divine breezes will blow,
so watch out for them.
- Mohammed.

'Spirituality' as labeled by the general mass, in the past used to be seeked through austere practices, in the cave of Himalaya or in total seclusion from the samsara (worldly drama). But there is another kind of spirituality that has always been present and available, another kind of 'reality map of understanding what is spiritual' that pervades the ordinary, every day life. Sometime this is called 'Spirituality of the Market place'. A Commuter's Guide to Enlightenment by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff is a book of that genre which helps transform repeated daily activity, experiences of market place into daily meditation of purpose.

The author who himself has walked the sufi path, captures this in the book in his quoting a famous sufi saying, "The apparent is the bridge to the real."

On the nature of enlightenment the books speaks quite importantly: "In some traditions, enlightenment is attained in one glorious moment of insight, which is transcendent and unifying. It is an experience which changes the course of the person's life. Most seek to repeat this over and over -- some travelers with success; others not as successful.

In other schools, enlightenment is reached through a gradual building of impacts. These are smaller visions, or tastes of the Divine. This is a slower process, but the goal is similar.

Mystic schools teach, each person is capable of learning to put aside the normal stream of consciousness to allow the higher self to emerge. In fact, this is the goal of the mystical process; stilling the world so the higher consciousness may operate. Once the student learns to do this, quiet everyday thoughts so something else might happen, the student is ready to travel alone."

This book is written from the perspective of traveling alone and chose a very universal experience of modern life style - commuting, which is demonstrated as an experience which can be used to tune in to a different stream of consciousness. This is also a manual for the mind to shift our consciousness from ordinary, limited to something cosmic. 'Stewart Bitkoff offers a way to turn an otherwise irritating and unavoidable part of one's day into an opportunity for spiritual growth.' - as mentions one reviewer.

"Somehow, as I drove to work, focusing on the movement of the cars, trucks, and buses, my soul learned to sing. Part of me was busy trying to avoid the other cars, yet, another part sang of its place in the cosmos. While my eyes focused on the road, and my hands guided the wheel and shifted gears, the higher consciousness awoke. It was like listening to public radio, it had its own agenda and helped me realize, anew, we are more than the guy who sweats and curses the building traffic."

Fused with useful metaphors, many guided practices and teachings - this is a great book to have. One part stress management, one morsel spirituality, all parts enlightening - this commuter's guide will speak to anyone who must wake up and face the morning routine.

A Commuter's Guide to Enlightenment was awarded one of the 50 Best Spiritual Books of 2008 by Spirituality and Practice. The book is available via Amazon, Barnes&Noble and Llewellyn Publishing.

. Praise for the Book |
"This is a beautifully explicated work founded in Sufi tradition, which instructs on how to be free from the control of your thoughts. Bitkoff communicates on many levels, from the most obvious and practical to the utterly divine. Prayer, positive thinking, therapeutic meditation and breathing, surrender to God, are all weaved into this story in such a way that you don't always know that you are being instructed."
- Jerry Katz, Editor, One: Essential Writings on Nonduality

"In this unique travel guide, Dr. Bitkoff teaches the basics of spiritual growth using allegory, metaphor, narrative and common sense. While life passes all around us, we are taught that our attitudes and beliefs help determine what we see, hear and feel. Dr. Bitkoff helps us to become aware of the relationship between our external environment and internal response.

Finding one’s center in the midst of heavy traffic is no easy feat, but as Dr. Bitkoff points out, our life rarely travels in a straight path. We often go through the motions in life as if blinded by sun glare; we are forced to slow down or change our direction. In Sufi parlance by remembering who we are, not only does our worldview change, we change as well. Life may be illusion, but the road is real. Let Dr. Bitkoff be your driving instructor."
- Michael Greenstein, M.S.

A Commuter's Guide to Enlightenment, Stewart Bitkoff. About the Author |
Stewart Bitkoff, a doctoral graduate in education, grew up in New York City and spent most of his professional career living and working in the New York City area. An expert in Therapeutic Recreation, Psychiatric Rehab and Psychiatric Treatment, Dr. Bitkoff has been on Faculty or served as Field Instructor (Social Work/Psychology), among other, for New York University, Herbert Lehman College, College of New Rochelle and Northampton Community College.

He has written many works centering on the topic of the completed person and the original human development system. For years, Dr. Bitkoff studied in two modern mystical schools and was designated to help make available aspects of this secret, inner teaching.

In the early 1970’s Stewart Bitkoff was initiated and trained in a 'mystical school' that was located at his place of employment. At the time, this was a psychiatric hospital and people would meet during lunch time or after work. The Master/Teacher was a psychiatrist from Pakistan, and the other students were co-workers and various friends/relatives invited to meet the teacher. This learning experience involving many things, including: initiation, direct perception of the Truth, and question/answer - lasted for about four years, then, the school was disbanded. At this point, the students were told to contact the next teacher.

At the time, people were told this learning was the secret doctrine and what was taught to the adepts in the Egyptian pyramids. Many of these experiences are chronicled in Servant of God; a self- published book, another student and Dr. Stewart Bitkoff co-authored.

The next level to the training involved writing and contacting the Society for Sufi Studies, Los Altos, CA and waiting for instruction. After 6 months, Stweart received a letter that told to study and familiarize with 18 or so books (a list was attached) written by Idries Shah. Further, this letter indicated that once he become totally familiar with this body of material to contact them again for further instructions. The task of studying and immersing in this material, took 10 years or more. By studying this material, all his questions were answered and there was no need for further instruction.

[>] In these two articles, he shares his insight on The Mystical School and Enlightenment.

. Other Reviews :
[.] Spirituality and Practice
[.] Wild Mind
[.] Irish Times Pin It Now!

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