Super Soul Sunday
Sundays at 11 a.m. ET/PT
Posted: Mon 06/17/2013 12:00 AM
Oprah sits down with the multi-platinum and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, India.Arie as she reveals a series of setbacks that caused her to consider leaving the music industry. This Sunday at 11 a.m. ET/PT, India opens up about hitting rock bottom when she found herself struggling between the demands of the music business, shares her thoughts on a recent controversy that unexpectedly placed her in the spotlight and divulges how she she returned to her spiritual roots, regained her energy and rediscovering her identity.
Tune in Sunday, June 23, at 11 a.m. ET/PT on OWN for the first of their two-part conversation. You can also join our worldwide simulcast on Oprah.com, Facebook.com/owntv or Facebook.com/supersoulsunday.
Posted: Thu 06/13/2013 12:00 AM
Born in 1945 in Deer Lodge, Montana, former NBA coach Phil Jackson grew up in a strict religious home. His parents were both Pentecostal ministers and the family spent almost all their free time at church. At one point, Phil's father and mother wanted him and his siblings to start speaking in tongues. Watch as Phil reflects on that time.
Tune in Sunday, June 16, for Oprah's complete interview with Phil Jackson. Watch on OWN or join our worldwide simulcast on Oprah.com, Facebook.com/owntv or Facebook.com/supersoulsunday.
Posted: Wed 06/12/2013 12:00 AM
Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar.
Cecil B. DeMille would have loved this moment.
Here I was sitting in a limo at the ramp leading into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, waiting for my team to arrive, while an ecstatic crowd of ninety-five thousand plus fans, dressed in every possible combination of Lakers purple and gold, marched into the stadium. Women in tutus, men in Star Wars storm-trooper costumes, toddlers waving “Kobe Diem” signs. Yet despite all the zaniness, there was something inspiring about this ancient ritual with a decidedly L.A. twist. As Jeff Weiss, a writer for LA Weekly, put it: “It was the closest any of us will ever know what it was like to watch the Roman Legions returning home after a tour of Gaul.”
Truth be told, I’ve never really felt that comfortable at victory celebrations, which is strange given my chosen profession. First of all, I’m phobic about large crowds. It doesn’t bother me during games, but it can make me queasy in less controlled situations. I’ve also never really loved being the center of attention. Perhaps it’s my inherent shyness or the conflicting messages I got as a kid from my parents, who were both ministers. In their view, winning was fine—in fact,my mother was one of the most fiercely competitive people I’ve ever met—but reveling in your own success was considered an insult to God. Or as they would say, “The glory belongs to Him.”
This celebration wasn’t about me, though. It was about the remarkable transformation the players had undergone en route to the 2009 NBA championship. You could see it in their faces as they descended the long purple and gold staircase into the coliseum dressed in rally caps and championship T-shirts, laughing, jostling, beaming with joy, while the crowd roared with delight. Four years earlier the Lakers hadn’t even made the playoffs. Now they were masters of the basketball universe. Some coaches are obsessed with winning trophies; others like to see their faces on TV. What moves me is watching young men bond together and tap into the magic that arises when you focus—with your whole heart and soul—on something greater than yourself. Once you’ve experienced that, it’s something you never forget.
Posted: Fri 06/07/2013 12:00 AM
I never intended to be a historian of religion or a freelance writer. I dreamed of being a university professor and spending my life teaching English literature. And for about 13 years, the very thought of religion filled me with weariness and a sense of failure. I had entered a convent when I was 17 years old and struggled in vain for seven years to become a good nun. For one thing, I was completely unable to pray. Every morning I would go into the chapel to make my meditate, and struggled with boredom, sleepiness and endless distractions. The heavens remained closed and God seemed distant and unreal. I also began to have grave doubts about some of the doctrines of the Church. How could anybody possibly know for certain that the man Jesus had been God incarnate and what did such a belief mean? Had God really created the world? Or had human beings created God? Eventually, with regret, I left my convent and, once freed of this burden of depression, doubt and inadequacy, I felt my belief in God slip quietly away.
I do not think my experience is unusual. Most of us first hear about God at about the same time as we are told about Santa Claus. Over the years, our ideas of Santa change, mature and develop, yet our idea of God can get stuck at an infantile level. We are not encouraged to develop it in the same way. But everything changed for me when I sat down to write a book called A History of God. I had expected it to follow the same line as my previous, somewhat skeptical books: I thought I would show how the concept of God had been constantly rejigged by theologians to answer current perplexities and needs. But this time, my circumstances were different. I had just suffered a major career disaster: my television career had folded in ignominy, I was very hard up; my friends had all disappeared, and I was living in a remote (cheap) part of London. All day and every day, I was alone—and in silence. Theology is poetry, and you cannot read a complex poem in a noisy nightclub; you need to have a quiet, receptive mind. Further, there was now no television crew to urge me on to be clever and provocative. There was just me and the text, and gradually, the words began to take on a new significance.
I suddenly found that I was learning a great deal from other religious traditions. From Judaism, I learned to never stop asking questions—about anything!—and never to imagine that I had come to the end of what I could know and say about God. Jews even refuse to speak God’s name, as a reminder that any human expression of the divine is so limited that it is potentially blasphemous. From the Eastern and the Russian Orthodox Christians, I learned that Jesus was the first human being to be totally possessed by God—just as Buddha was the first enlightened human being in our historical era—and that we can all be like him, even in this life. From the Quran, I learned that all religious traditions that teach justice, compassion and respect for all others have come from God. And I was enthralled to find this quotation from the great 13th-century Sufi philosopher Ibn Arabi:
Do not praise your own faith so exclusively that you disbelieve all the rest; if you do this you will miss much good. Nay, you will fail to realise the real truth of the matter. God the omnipresent and omniscient cannot be confined to any one creed, for he says in the Quran: "Wheresover ye turn, there is the face of Allah."
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Posted: Thu 06/06/2013 04:46 PM
When she was 17 years old, British religion author Karen Armstrong went into a convent to find God. Seven years later, she left still searching. Watch as she opens up about her experience and find out why she believes the Biblical God is merely a "starter kit".
Tune in Sunday, June 9, at 11 a.m. ET/PT for Oprah's complete conversation with Karen Armstrong. Watch on OWN or join our worldwide simulcast at Oprah.com, Facebook.com/owntv or Facebook.com/supersoulsunday.