Rumi Wisdom: The Secret Way


If the door shuts, do not go away.

Be patient, even if every possibility seems closed.

The friend has secret ways known to no one else knows.

- Rumi -

Unknowingly, I opened myself to the secret way. And then this quote appeared, explaining everything.

The secret way is the way of minimal effort. No, it’s not the lazy way, but it is the way of aligning yourself with the natural flow of the river, the way of riding the crest of the wave. So many of us fight with life as if it’s opposed to our will. And, yes, I suppose it is opposed to our will, if our will is defined as our pig-headed intent to have things unfold exactly as we’ve planned. But if our will is aligned with our true calling, if it is aligned with how we can use our talents, passions and gifts for the benefit of both ourselves and the world, then life will not only not oppose us; it will remove every obstacle from our path and make a way, as Southern black Christians say, out of no way. I have seen it with my own eyes and lived it from inside my own life.

Steve Jobs discovered the secret way when he was fired from Apple and, after flirting with the idea of leaving Silicon Valley, realized his work was not done. He redoubled his efforts and created Pixar and NeXT. NeXT became the secret way. Jobs sold it to Apple and Jobs returned to the helm of Apple, the company he’d founded and been ousted from, using NeXT technology to build what would become the most popular products of the Apple brand. He didn’t see it coming, he didn’t plan it, but he did dig in and do the thing he was called to do and when the secret door opened, he had the good sense, and the practical tools he needed, to walk on through.

I’ve started to experience the secret way in my own life and here’s what I know about how it works. You set a goal to live your own most fully realized life. You dig into what that means. You figure out what you love, what you do well, what you are most passionate about way down inside beneath the level of the specific form you think it’s supposed to take (because one of the interesting things about the secret way is that the friend knows things about you that even you don’t). In other words, you do your inner heavy lifting, you find out who you are — not who the world thinks you are or wants you to be, not who you think you have to be in order to survive — but who you really are. Then you roll up your sleeves and you do the work, just like you’ve always done — or, if you’re new to sweat equity, you can go ahead and roll up your sleeves now. If you’re being called in a new direction, you may have to do double duty, doing your current job, whether that’s career, parenting or both, while simultaneously taking on your moonlighting job of taking the small steps toward the things you want and deserve and were born for. It won’t always be easy (did I mention we’re all so busy), but it will be worth it, not just in the end, but along the way.

If you make that investment, you’ll discover, as I have, that the friend makes away. Things literally land in your lap — though my perfect husband reminds me that I worked for it. He’s right. I excavated the archeological site of my true self. I did massive amounts of research to learn about arenas I knew nothing about. I tried out ideas and when I realized they weren’t quite right, I pivoted, as they say in the entrepreneurial world, where getting it wrong on the way to getting it right is par for the course. I invested the sweat equity. And then, out of nowhere, doors started to crack and swing open. Invitations   came to do things that I’d casually mentioned to myself that I wanted to do. And suddenly, upon committing to the goal to do this or that (write a novel, do some public speaking) access was suddenly granted to worlds that I hadn’t been part of, as if to let me know that, if I continued on, there would be space for me. It’s as if the friend had been eavesdropping on me and decided to open wide the gates to the secret way.

How has the secret way made itself known in your life? 


PAULA PURYEAR is a Lawyer, Film & Television writer, HuffPoster and Founder of Revel In It Mag.

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  • Otha Day

    Hello There – I am finding this at 2.12 a,m on 8/20/13….. I love the way you describe your process of coming to understand and realize the “way out of no way”……. and this Rumi quote is one that has both sustained and also confused me…… Here I ask for your opinion (even tho’ I don’t know you AT ALL! but rather because I’m drawn to what you say!) Do you think the Rumi quote pertains also to relationship? As in love connections that seem on the surface to have faded and disappeared….or only to the work-a-day world of business and careers? THANKS for Any response you might care to share! Peace, Otha

    • Paula Puryear Martin

      Hey there! So lovely to hear from you and nice to meet you! (There, we officially know each other :-). Thank you so much for your kind words. I definitely think it applies to relationships. In fact, now that I think about it, I owe meeting my husband to just such a philosophy. I tried everything, every door seemed closed, I gave up all efforts but still expected to find someone and then we met in the most unexpected way. I was invited to a political fundraiser at a friend’s home in another city and fully expected everyone there to be married, gay or both, but because I was there alone, I was super outgoing and friendly and met lots of great, interested married/gay/both people…and then, towards the end of the evening, I met my husband who was single and straight. He was invited by his friend, who was one of the co-hosts and he almost didn’t come. So, yes, the friend has secret ways in love as well! Wishing you all the best in love and life!

      • Otha Day

        THANK YOU Paula – I’ll be interested to share with you what happens in my life regarding “the shut door” and “not going away”…..whenever there is a change in what is now. I appreciate your sharing your story of meeting your Husband. The Friend is wonderful!! Be Well!

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