There is only one secret, and that is your secret. When your secret is unlocked by the company of a master, you too, become your own master. The essence of the religion of Islam is to unlock the secret in all of humanity, making each and every one of us a master and a gnostic and a knower of the secret.
The secret can be and has been formulated, and there are three levels of knowing and practicing this formula. The first level is on the tongue, holding it there, treasuring it there and valuing it there. These are the people of knowing the truth and they are in two categories. There are those desiring to know more of the truth and those thinking that their knowledge of the truth is as far as it goes and that there no more than that. If they treasure it as a key to deeper understanding and further search and walking in the way of God, then they will be led by their desire to know, and caused by their destiny to encounter a trail that will lead them further than they could have ever imagined. These are the travelers on the way.
If however they value their knowledge in the way of knowing that it provides for them the medicine for their personal insecurities in the form of the illusion, dream and goal of material acquisition and stability, then they will be hesitant if not completely resistant and vehemently against the idea of learning more. They will stop with the outside picture and claim loudly and vociferously that there is no more to life and religion than what they understand of it, and claim majority agreement as proof.
The second level of knowledge is that of the sincere students who treasure the knowledge as it should be treasured and use it to guide them though the adventurous waters of life, trusting in its source, and thereby knowing that it comes from and will lead them to the solid shores on the "other" side.
And the third level of knowing is held by the masters of surrender, who honor the inner tradition to its utmost, and thereby attain to the knowing without knowing, that the knowing, the knower and the known are all one and the same. There is no "other". There is only the travel from illusion to truth, from fanciful imaginings to an imperishable reality.
It is not beyond the power of God to create in such a way that the essence of the secret of His creation can be delivered in a simple formula. After all, Old Testament states that in the beginning there was a word, and from a Sufi standpoint the word could be one of several. The first could be the Divine Name of God - Al-llah! His manifestation of Self Knowledge and the means by which He is known. The second could be simply the word "BE!" For it is said that with this word He brought all of creation into being.
The third, and the "formula" that I wish to introduce here, is what is known in Islam and Sufi circles as being the "Kalima Tayyiba" or the Best of Words, "La ilaha illa `llah, Muhammadun Rasulullah", sometimes and loosely translated as "There is no God but One (Al-llah!) and Muhammad is the Prophet." Sufi and Islamic tradition tells us that these are the words of truth written on the Throne of God before time and creation.
The point here is not to argue what the "word" might be by which all creation came into existence. It is only to exemplify that it is possible for the Divine Creator to bring creation into being in such a way as to make it easy for us to know Him, and His "secrets", including His guidelines for correct, constructive and successful behavior. And that it is possible, witnessing the spread of Islam, to make that information known in the shortest amount of time to the largest number of people.
All this is to introduce the point that among the Sufis and Muslims in general, there is a formula which is being valued, treasured and lived by a unified approximation of one fifth of the world's population today. And it is spreading as fast as there are seekers to find it. This formula is the holiest affirmation and the divine words of truth to the believers, and it is not contradictory in spirit to the truth in any other religion, psychology or spiritual realization path. This formula leads from and to the truth of the Author of the whole of creation itself. It is the guiding light of the Sufis and the basis of the realization that can bring from us moments of inspiration that can guide worlds and nations.
Bearing witness to the truth of these words - that there is only One God, and that this testimony is and was the message of the prophet Muhammad - is such a personally revealing and heart opening experience, that it is repeated with love, devotion and gratitude more than five times daily. This witnessing is enshrined in holy mosques, hearts, ritual purification, prayer and worship all over the world by an ever-increasing number of people coming to this belief.
Once one has reached to the conclusion that these words were designed to bring one to, one knows all that one needs to know. And in that knowing, all masters are peers, and it no longer matters by which tradition that knowing came to be. And this knowing, although with great sacrifice attained, is, by its new availability, made that much closer to the reality of the deep understanding of the "common" person.
It is not only closer in reach to the students who know about it and want it, or are searching for it and will find it. But the charismatic force of yet another enlightenment, a lifting of the burden of not quite knowing for sure, of another realized being, reaches out into the fabric of society stabilizing and encouraging ordinary people to be satisfied and grateful for their lives. It is yet another spiritual vote encouraging gratitude, peace and trust in the plan of the Divine.
So there it is. Want to know the way and the light? Understand the truth of these words. Walk in the path of them who are in it. Follow the Sufis. Study, learn and teach.