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Oprah: You and I spoke on my show in 1998. Back then, we were talking about your book Anatomy of the Spirit. During the taping, I looked out at the audience and I could tell they were not with us. Do you remember?

Caroline: Yes, I do.

Oprah: I stopped everything and asked, "Do you all understand what we're talking about?" And a woman stood up and said no, she really didn't. Then you explained what we meant by spirit. Can you do that again?

Caroline: I sure can. Your spirit is the part of you that seeks meaning and purpose. It's the part drawn to hope, that will not give in to despair.

Oprah: Uh-huh.

Caroline: It's the part of you that has to believe in something more.

Oprah: It's the light of you.

Caroline: It's the light of you.

Oprah: Well, there it is. You've said that from a spiritual perspective, the entire physical world is nothing more than our classroom, and the challenge is for us to decide whether to make choices that enhance our spirit or drain our power.

Caroline: That's right. [You should] see everything about your life as a lesson. Ask, "Am I empowering myself?" Even for a tiny thing, like if you're in the grocery store and you're thinking, "Should I buy that?" And your gut says, "You know you can't eat that." If you decide not to listen, you've harmed yourself by blocking your intuitive voice.

Oprah: So every single choice we make is either going to enhance the spirit or drain it? Every day, we're either giving ourselves power or taking it away.

Caroline: That's right.

Oprah: I get that. When you appeared on my show again in 1999, you said, "I'm not born here to have a personality. I'm here to have a spirit. Each of us is born with a purpose for being alive." You actually wrote a book about that idea called Sacred Contracts. Why are so many people confused about what the contract says?

Caroline: [Laughs.] It's not a literal document. That's the first thing to understand. We could think of our sacred contract as a spiritual document that our soul recognizes.

Oprah: I love that—a spiritual document that our soul recognizes. Sometimes I have to repeat it to get it.

Caroline: Absolutely. You know how we say things like "I just have to be true to myself"? What does that mean? Great people always say, "There's something I was meant to do." That knowingness is what the soul understands. You have fundamental agreements that you simply feel. You can't put your finger on them because they reveal themselves to you within the context of your life through coincidence, synchronicity, and obligations you can't get out of. Together, these things form the whole of your sacred contract.

Oprah: But you think many people are completely in the dark about their reason for living. How can someone be so confused about their reason for being here?

Caroline: I'll tell you how: Because they define their life by what they want versus what they have. People get fixated on something and they have to have it, even though that voice inside tells them it's not meant for them. They want their reason for living to be a singular thing, like a career or a relationship, because this makes an individual feel secure in the physical world. We don't fare well in the realm of the invisible—so telling someone that their purpose is multilayered and includes the arduous journey of discovering who they really are is not always the answer they want to hear. But consider the complexity of the question: "What is my reason for living?" How can that question not include a journey into the depths of your own life?

Next: What happens when you're really in despair

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