"This morning's 6:45 a.m. radio traffic report warned of late-running construction on the southbound Deegan just north of Fordham Road.

"The traffic report advised drivers to take an alternate route. I didn't, as I was hoping the backup would be cleared by the time I reached the area. The construction was finished when I got there; however, the Deegan was backed up anyway. Rubberneckers checking out a police car and motorist north of Van Cortlandt Park and a backup at the ramps to the George Washington Bridge cost me another fifteen minutes of travel time.

"Sometimes you just have to accept what is before you.

Croton Reservoir Bridge

"Every morning I drive across a bridge that is part of the Taconic State Parkway. It is one of the most scenic spots that I have ever seen on any highway.

"I occasionally see people who have hiked to the area to take photographs of the view across the Croton Reservoir, which is part of the reservoir system that feeds New York City its water supply. The reservoir is surrounded by lush green hills, and visitors can easily imagine they are in the middle of the Adirondack Mountains, gazing at a secluded lake.

"In thirty minutes, as I continue my drive, I am gazing at thousands of buildings in the Bronx — what a contrast!

"O Lord, is this diversity there to convince us You exist?

Hauling Food

"All around me are anonymous truck drivers doing their jobs and hauling products throughout the metropolitan area. The average person receives no applause or fame for doing their job. The rewards are something other than that — a paycheck or a sense of contributing to the welfare of others. Most often we go about our days with little or no recognition; we are the quiet heroes.

"In another realm, there is a similar group. These are the guardians of the Light, who work in total anonymity. They reflect the Light of the Universe, and without their guidance we would wither from spiritual starvation.

For Sale

"After leaving the 7-Eleven, I drive down Underhill Avenue to the Taconic State Parkway. Underhill Avenue still has a lot of undeveloped land, and much of it is for sale.

"A 'For Sale' sign tells you a great deal about a culture. First, it implies that someone owns the land and by law can decide what to do with it. Also, the owner decides what the land is worth and whom to sell it to. These rights are passed on after death, in a will.

"Yet in other cultures the concept of land ownership does not exist. American Indians lived on the land and were its caretakers. They considered the land a living organism that was part of the Earth Mother. How could anyone own a living thing?

"Within each culture there are certain assumptions that become operating rules. In our culture we have glorified the needs of the individual, which has resulted in a materialistic or ownership frame of reference. The individual's needs are most important, and individuals can own or acquire many different things.

"Neither of these cultural assumptions is good or bad. It is a matter of degree and balance. Both sets of assumptions call to different aspects of our consciousness. What is most important is that we understand this about ourselves, and are thereby able to utilize both sets of assumptions, finally learning to transcend them.

Knowing Right from Wrong

"Driving down the highway, you quickly learn to watch out for police cars. They are cruising the road, looking to assist stranded motorists or serving as a warning to drivers to heed the traffic rules. They serve an important function; without their presence, it is likely the roads would be more chaotic.

"Similarly, within each of us there are policing mechanisms. For the body, an example is pain. Within the ordinary consciousness, the voice of conscience suggests what is right or wrong.

"When fully awakened on a spiritual level, intuitive perception is the certainty of one who knows. Sometimes this comes about via a quiet voice or an idea. Other times it comes in a flash of spiritual knowledge."

Stewart Bitkoff in A Commuter's Guide to Enlightenment