Book review by Michael Greenstein
Depending on who you talk to, life has never been worse. Cancer seems to plague almost every family, financial ruin is at our collective doorsteps, divorce rates remain alarming high and the news is rampant with spiritual leaders that have abused our young and led us astray. Without much difficulty, you can add your favorite demise to this list. What are we to do? Almost every month a new remedy for our woes appears on the New York Times best sellers list. Each book promises the same hope as the one we read before. And if we are lucky, we glean some nuggets of wisdom. But all too often these nuggets somehow fade from our consciousness the moment we put down the book.
The problem is not as simple as looking for a needle in a haystack. The problem is that with so many needles and so many haystacks, it is often difficult to spot a genuine article among the rubble. And that’s where Dr. Stewart Bitkoff comes in. Professionally, Dr. Bitkoff has served the most severely behaviorally challenged persons in both private and government sponsored agencies. He has helped thousands of people lead more productive and satisfying lives. He has also taught on the college level helping to inform the next generation of professionals. It is this background of care, compassion and living a life of service that is the starting point for Dr. Bitkoff’s exploration of Sufism.
This is not a book for academics. It is not rooted in the past, though Dr. Bitkoff brings modern interpretations to the wisdom of the ancient masters, making it fresh and understandable for today’s readers. It is not a step-by-step guide to enlightenment, as if such a book could be written. This is not a book about Sufism written by an outsider drawing conclusions from research and scholarship. What this book is, is a journey and a guide, from a teacher and a friend, for persons seeking the next step in their own conscious development.
In poetry, prose, allegory and narrative Dr. Bitkoff peels back the inner world of Sufism for the western reader. He generously shares stories from his past, steps along his journey, mistakes made and roads not taken. He makes it possible for us to absorb the gentle message of the oneness of creation and our place within it. There is traditional learning within these pages as well as inner meaning that seeps into us from between the words. Like seeds which ripen in its own time, these buds of knowledge can take root within us and, if the time and place are right, blossom into the type of understanding that will stay with you long after you have finished reading this book.
You can purchase your copy of Sufism for Western Seekers, which is published by CreateSpace/Amazon, for $10.95 by visiting Amazon.com or CreateSpace.com and searching for the title.
About the author: Dr. Bitkoff is an avid student of Sufi Mysticism and the perennial philosophy. Professionally specializing in the healing applications of therapeutic recreation, psychiatric rehabilitation and mental health treatment, Bitkoff holds a doctorate in education and served as a faculty member for six colleges and universities. He has authored two other books A Commuter’s Guide to Enlightenment, Llewellyn, 2008 and Journey of Light: Trilogy, Authorhouse, 2004 and currently lives in the Poconos. He grew up in New York City and spent most of his professional career living and working in the New York City area. Visit his blog www.stewartbitkoff.com, a one-stop shop where you will find all of his latest blog posts, poetry, information on recent books, publications, events, and spiritual insights. Don’t limit the possibilities.