On Oprah’s website there is a story by Elisabeth Lesser about what Rumi called The Open Secret. Below I have included page 2 of the three page article. Please click on the link to see the rest.
The Persian poet Jelalluddin Rumi wrote poems so alive and clear that even today—eight centuries later—they shimmer with freshness. Their wisdom and humor are timeless; whenever I have an a-ha moment with one of Rumi’s poems, I feel connected to the people throughout the ages who have climbed out of their confusion on the rungs of Rumi’s words.
In several of his poems and commentaries, Rumi speaks of the Open Secret. He says that each one of us is trying to hide a secret—not a big, bad secret, but a more subtle and pervasive one. It’s the kind of secret that people in the streets of Istanbul kept from each other in the 13th century, when Rumi was writing his poetry. And it’s the same kind of secret that you and I keep from each other every day. You meet an old acquaintance, and she asks, “How are you?” You say, “Fine!” She asks, “How are the kids?” You say, “Oh, they’re great.” “The job?” “Just fine. I’ve been there five years now.”
Then, you ask that person, “How are you?” She says, “Fine!” You ask, “Your new house?” “I love it.” “The new town?” “We’re all settling in.”
It’s a perfectly innocent exchange of ordinary banter; each one of us has a similar kind every day. But it is probably not an accurate representation of our actual lives. We don’t want to say that one of the kids is failing in school, or that our work often feels meaningless, or that the move to the new town may have been a colossal mistake. It’s almost as if we are embarrassed by our most human traits. We tell ourselves that we don’t have time to go into the gory details with everyone we meet; we don’t know each other well enough; we don’t want to appear sad, or confused, or weak, or self-absorbed. Better to keep under wraps our neurotic and nutty sides (not to mention our darker urges and shameful desires.) Why wallow publicly in the underbelly of our day-to-day stuff? Why wave the dirty laundry about, when all she asked was, “How are you?”
This is an incredibly valuable piece of advice for learning how to be with someone who suffers. It is a pathway to healing for both the sufferer and the listener.
Since I have begun my spiritual journey I have come across a number of amazing online resources that have helped me tremendously in my spiritual development. Below I have listed the best ones out there. Please do check each and every one of them out for yourself.
Shots of Awe – This is a YouTube channel run by Jason Silva who develops these wonderful videos on a bi-weekly basis. The primary theme of his videos is, unsurprisingly, Awe. Experiencing awe is an amazing way of turning off your brain and letting your soul seep in. He has about 40 videos. Start with the one below and go from there.
Gautam Sachdeva – Gautam may be a lesser known spiritual teacher in the western part of the world but I look forward to watching every video he posts. My favourite is this one on non-attachment. His primary teacher was Ramesh Balsekar but he has also spent time with Nisargadatta’s translator offering some powerful insights on his teachings. Please check out and subscribe to his YouTube channel so you don’t miss anything!
Eckhart Tolle on YouTube – Perhaps the most relatable spiritual teacher in the world Eckhart Tolle led me into the spiritual realm. He holds regular retreats and then posts little snippets online free of charge. He used to host links to videos on his website but now his YouTube channel is the best source. However, for a modest fee on his website you can gain access to years of powerful spiritual teachings.
Mooji – I can not stress enough how amazing Mooji is as a spiritual teacher. He often says he teaches the lazy mans way to enlightenment. He posts loads of content and has a backlog of over 500 videos on his channel. Please check him out. You will not regret it.
Super Soul Sunday – Whether or not you are an Oprah fan (I am) she has given the spiritual movement a lot of mainstream credibility. The Twitter account linked above is a great avenue for connecting with your favourite spiritual teacher. Her initial sessions with Eckhart Tolle was watched online by millions worldwide. She is actually redoing those classes with Eckhart every sunday. Check out that Youtube playlist here.
Tragedy and Hope – This YouTube channel is how I discovered the brilliant lectures of Alan Watts. Whomever runs this channel combines his teachings set to a backdrop of amazing footage and music to maximize the impact. My absolute favourite is the one below:
The Honest Guys – This is a guided meditation/relaxation channel. At first the accent in the meditations can be a little distracting. But once you’re over that they are actually quite brilliant. The relaxation sounds are excellent as well. Here’s one of my favourites:
There they are! Please let me know if you have other ones that I would enjoy.
Bonus Resource – This is my own collection of spiritual videos from all of these sources and more that I have posted on my blog. Please enjoy!