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A monk looking off a cliff with a tree in the foreground

A Guide for the Spiritual Traveler


Traveling is an essential activity; our physical and mental spaces become aligned, and thus enable a new dimension of discovery (from the most intimate to the most foreign).

Traveling is one of the most essential activities for gaining knowledge. It is, undoubtedly, a pleasurable act, but one that even transcends pleasure in order to venture into discovering that which was unknown or lay hidden behind the veil of the quotidian.

The paradox of traveling —if it is done in state of alertness and openness— is that one crosses thousands of kilometers to reach one’s own center; we travel to faraway lands and exotic landscapes to penetrate our own self. And destiny is no longer a place; it is a state of being. In this sense, traveling is absolutely fundamental: the self can only be asserted after knowing the other, just like all the colors of the prism return to the ray of light.

Doctor Stewart Bitkoff, follower of the Sufi tradition, has put together a guide for “the spiritual traveler”: he who moves through the physical world and seeks personal development at the same time. Bitkoff reminds us that “according to the Sufi tradition, humanity originated ‘far beyond the stars’, and is now on its way back to the Source”.

In the traveler’s philosophy, when you embark on a journey you must give yourself to the spiritual force that moves the world, and yield to that which you consider is the principle that rules the universe. Chance, like the mysterious and perfect law that it is, will behave as a metaphysical compass which, taking the form of coincidences and signs, will guide you towards the moment —the precise instant when you can establish a real communion with the path.

While traveling, it is important to accept we are citizens of the universe. This allows us to connect with everything we see, with the processes that bloom before our eyes, beyond prejudices, through our flexibility.

Loving our neighbor remains the golden rule, both in our homes and on the path. This could unleash a virtuous karmic relationship. Travelers that invariably offer their help and share what they have, will find, upon reaching their next destination, that doors open before them and hospitality constantly blossoms around them.

The spiritual traveler must be bent on living each moment to the fullest. This distinguishes him from tourists that travel to tell others about their flashy adventures. The spiritual traveler moves to live and grow, and to do this he must pay attention to the little things instead of the monuments. Beyond his itinerary, he must abandon himself to the present instant: he who fully visits one place will become the place and the people he meets there. This is why he takes them with him, and on principle, becomes a citizen of the world.

The spiritual traveler listens and learns but does not adopt fashions or jargons; he remains always himself, because only in this way he can have a true exchange.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, is gratitude. While contemplating the wonders of the world, embodied by polychromatic diversity, the traveler acknowledges the beauty and wisdom of creation —like falling in love with a kaleidoscope. In that state of consciousness, gratitude and gracefulness, communion takes place. The alliance is sealed. William Blake used to say: “gratitude is paradise”, and to the spiritual traveller, paradise is everywhere.

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