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#3621 - Tuesday, August 11, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz
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I'm always pleased to feature the articles of Dr. Stewart Bitkoff. He writes from the place of love, surrender, and the Sufi Path. Perhaps most notably, he's practical, telling you how to surrender to God while making breakfast. I think this may be his best article yet!
Traveler: Co-creator & Servant
By Dr. Stewart Bitkoff
The Sufi is
absent from self and present with God.
For the spiritual traveler, one
of the most intriguing spiritual practices, through the use of
focused prayer, turns free will choice into submission to the higher. In some paths, submission to
the higher is the goal and accompanying this level of service is greater responsibility. In this
transmutation, love is the catalyst. As the traveler loves, they are brought closer to their goal,
becoming an extension of the divine.
Following a spiritual path, early
on, travelers are taught that life is up to them: we come into
the earth phase with a multitude of talents, free will, a destiny or life plan and a wondrous world
to express the many aspects of self.
Similarly, spiritual travelers
are taught that higher levels of spiritual expression are
through submission; turning personal intention over to that which is highest both in themselves and
the universe. Further in submission or giving up of self, which is not passive but active, the
spiritual traveler finds completion and service. According to Hujwiri, the great master or Sufi
exists as an extension of the higher will; with each breath and action taken for the Beloved.
At first glance, personal action
based upon free will choice and submission to that which is
highest appear opposed, and directly opposite to each other. Yet for the spiritual traveler, there
is a point at which these seemingly contradictory states merge; this coming together of personal
will and submission to the higher is achieved through the alchemy of love.
Bending of Will
Because we are in love, we wish
to do what our Beloved wants. This fire of love, or burning,
described by the mystic alters the consciousness: turning personal need into submission or bending
of will; by practicing this bending of will, like the willow in the wind, the traveler becomes a
stage upon which the Divine enters.
As the willow bends to the
And the leaf curls to the rain,
O Lord, I surrender myself to You.
In spiritual submission, outcome
is tied to intention: is the action taken for self or for
something higher. For example, does one get-up in the morning: shower, shave, eat and dress for
self or as a servant? Daily entering into the commerce of the world to make the world better, as a
representative of the most high, or as a 'player' in the game of life- amassing as much personal
wealth as possible?
As in any organization, or chain
of command, individual action is delegated. In order to be a good
worker, parent, or servant we use all talents, including free will, to make the situation and world
better. Spiritual travelers are not automatons that assume God wants this or that; they take action
based upon an evaluation of what is happening in front of them and through personal intention, turn
this action over to God, i.e., submit to the situation.
From ordinary life, here is an
example to illustrate the point at which free will bends,
to the situation, and love enters.
Let us assume that I am tired,
but I need to get-up early in the morning to prepare breakfast
my children; that is my job as a parent. However, as a spiritual traveler, because I do not have
time for my morning meditation- I must make breakfast- I wish to turn this duty of making breakfast
into a prayer. Remember, I am tired with a poor attitude from staying-up late the night before and
really wish that I didn't have to do this 'chore.' Question: How do I get past personal friction
and resistance, turning breakfast into a cheerful activity and spiritual practice?
Answer: By slowly repeating,
feeling and embracing the Light in each word, a version of the
of submission: this practice turns breakfast into a prayer; a reverent opportunity to make the
world a little better. "O Lord, help me prepare breakfast for my children with joy and gratitude,
so, that they might grow and be healthy, fulfilling their role as your servant. In this duty, help
me be cheerful and serve your will. O Lord, I surrender myself to You."
Potentially, the energy of these
words, in the form of a prayer of intention, alters my
consciousness. A little happier, I serve breakfast to my children. By slowly repeating these words
through the grace of the Path, a 'chore' turns into spiritual practice. For those moments, I have
aligned my thought and action with the higher destiny.
According to the Koran, each
traveler can serve as God's vicegerent or representative on
This is our birth right and higher destiny. Through repeating the prayer of submission, we can turn
daily activity into a form of spiritual practice. Each traveler is born with many talents and free
will choice; each is destined to rise higher and participate as co-creator in the Divine Plan. And
because God Loves us; God has created a Way or Path for us to reach higher. This is the path of
submission; the path of love and service to humanity. We love, serve and help, because it is our
higher nature and the nature of God.
God said, "I loved to be
known, so I created creation." This is reflected in the ones
loves. The qualities of loving, knowing, hearing, seeing, will, power, talking are all God's gifts
to humanity. But God's greatest gift is love, the manifestation of His love of knowing Himself.
Love is the primary sustenance for human beings. They cannot live without it, and mankind learned
to love from God. -Sheikh Badruddin
Listen to Dr. Bitkoff's weekly
show on internet radio: Practical Wisdom, Tuesday 1-2 pm, go to
Also by Dr. Bitkoff, A
Commuter's Guide to Enlightenment (Llewellyn, 2008) and Journey
Trilogy (Authorhouse, 2004); these books are available on Amazon.com or from the publisher. To
contact author go to www.stewartbitkoff.com.
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