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#2869 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nondual Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights  

One: Essential Writings on Nonduality: http://tinyurl.com/2blmhy    


  In this issue I review Journey of Light: Trilogy (JOLT), by Stewart Bitkoff, Ed.D.   The following is from his website:   Dr. Stewart Bitkoff, while studying in university, was accepted into another far more mysterious form of learning.  While both educational experiences were located in New York City, one specifically trained scholars while the other prepared spiritual travelers.

For 30 years, Dr. Bitkoff has walked the way of the Sufi and reveals in this trilogy ancient mystery teachings in clear and accessible language.

Dr. Bitkoff is the author of multiple titles under the banner of Goldpath.  After receiving his Doctorate of Education at New York University, he taught in various colleges and universities.  Professionally, Dr. Bitkoff has helped the mentally ill integrate their altered state of consciousness into the physical world.

You may read more about this book and order at the following online places:

http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail~bookid~21771.aspx

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product//1418402567/ref=cm_rv_thx_view/102-5936403-4980917

   


   

 

 

Journey of Light: Trilogy (JOLT), by Stewart Bitkoff, Ed.D.

 

Reviewed by Jerry Katz

 

Stewart Bitkoff knows how to tell a story. The spiritual foundation of this book, JOLT, is Sufism. The cultural foundation is New York City middle class Jewish. The author has been immersed in both.

 

I’ll give you an example of how the two come together in a subtle way. The New York street pleasures of soft warm pretzels and chocolate drinks are enjoyed in two of the three stories. In the third I felt a little cheated. Then I realized this is where the Sufi side enters. Maybe the author intentionally left out pretzels and chocolate drinks in the third story in order to make the reader feel hungry. Hungry for what? For truth, for God.

 

Pretzels and chocolate make up one small knot in the weaving of this book, but it caught my attention. Bitkoff uses other subtle cues to hold the book together and guide the reader. In any case, you don’t have to worry about the hidden messages. They are literary inclusions you have to stumble upon for them to jolt you into receiving a  personal message.

 

This book is not subtle though. The stories are drawn in masterfully controlled, well-defined strokes. JOLT consists of three novellas. In each story the main character has reached a point where he must face the truth about his life. Each story tells of a different situation and each one features a teacher guiding the main character.

 

The characters in this book are well-defined and believable. The scenarios are either realistic or fantastic, however they too are all believable. Bitkoff has a fine literary touch, using flashbacks frequently and seamlessly. The reader is taken on journeys through the peaks and valleys of life, with the Light as the known end of the road. (Later I’ll talk more about the meaning of Light in relation to nondual teachings. The Light is basically the I AM, God, the Self, according to my understanding.) Never is the journey predictable or contrived.

 

Characters are drawn from the author’s life and people he knew. They are treated with love, truth, and humor. The characters are three-dimensional, and their development is radical, as the main character in each story realizes his truth as Light.

 

The main theme through all the stories is that we are beings of Light and our individual movement from darkness to Light is unique and dependent upon our own make-up and our environs.

 

In the first story, the author is the unnamed main character. He is a newly married graduate student who finds himself wandering the streets of New York, mad, muttering the name, “Amoun, Amoun.” The spell of madness begins with the urge to enter a metaphysical bookstore. Now he must find the source of his madness.

 

A quote from his Master: “You think that by coming here and asking questions you will get answers, but you are not yet fitted for the answers. You have not done the necessary work, which is examining your assumptions. How do you know you can benefit from this situation, because you think you can? ... For an action to be beneficial, it must be the right time, in the right place, with the right people.”

 

In the second story, family events bring great darkness to Teddy’s life: an institutionalized son, a wife with Alzheimer’s, an estranged daughter. For Teddy there is no happiness in any corner of life. A recurring dream of an amusement park pulls Teddy toward resolution, while a turning toward God grows until understanding dawns and a life change occurs. Teddy’s teacher: “Why God created a world where pain is as common as laughter, that, my friend, is something you must experience... .”

 

In the third story, Julie (Julius) is experiencing the afterlife. He has to face the facts of the life he has just left. He had neglected the development of his abilities and so could not make a good living for his family and generally felt inadequate throughout life. Because he felt lousy about himself, he brought pain to others. He is shown something different than what he thought his life to be, however, and lesson after lesson in the afterlife bring Julie to the Light. Julie’s Master of Light: “Julius, for the most part, you are in your own mind. This place, the people who visit and some of the experiences are all thoughts. They are extensions of your mind and are connected to the Light so you can unravel the meaning of your life.”

 

I want to now talk about the Light and consider this book in the context of nondual literature, according to my understanding. As used in this book, Light (and Source) are terms for I AM or the deeply knowable Self. When we give our attention to who we are, whether we call that essence the Light, the Self, the I Am, we are living a mature life. What these stories are about then, is what Jed McKenna has called Human Adulthood, which is about knowing and looking after your natural commitments. It is about knowing who you are in a bottom line way.

 

Human Adulthood, and this book, is about how to live, how to die, how to love, how to be intimate, how to give and receive, how to set forth, how to be a human being. Let’s face it, many, if not most of us, suck in one way or another when it comes to fulfilling Human Adulthood, even though we can talk beautifully about it. I’m just being honest. But JOLT reminds us, inspires and teaches us, and gives us time with our true nature. That makes this a book that is healthy to read. I highly recommend it.

 

The theme of Human Adulthood is part of the teaching of nonduality. It is the aspect of nonduality that can be taught. That which cannot be taught is confessed or claimed. For example, you can teach someone to hold a greater or vaster perspective of life. You can teach someone to feel a contact with the Light or Source or I Am.

 

But there is a step beyond the Light; anything we say about that place makes no sense. From that place, which is no place, all one can do is make claims and confessions. It cannot be said that that place is beyond anything, although I just did, even though there is no I. You can’t teach anyone to “be there” at that place. Tony Parsons speaks of that place as Being: “Being is the one and only constant that never comes and never goes away. Because it is nothing and everything it cannot be gained or lost, given or received, approached or avoided.”

 

There you have the two sides of nonduality: one side is about teaching, attaining, achieving, realizing; the other side is Being as Tony has described. As long as you don’t carry either one of those rafts of nonduality beyond the banks of this review, you’re okay. Why adhere to a definition of anything? Just read this review, order the book if you feel like it, and get on with whatever you’re doing.

 

Journey of Light: Trilogy is about what can be taught. The main strength of this book is the writing and storytelling. This book should be far better known than it is. JOLT is a masterfully composed, undiscovered gem.

 

Journey of Light: Trilogy (JOLT), by Stewart Bitkoff, Ed.D.

http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail~bookid~21771.aspx

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product//1418402567/ref=cm_rv_thx_view/102-5936403-4980917

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