While meditating at the ashram, Liz says she had an experience that she says felt like being in the palm of God. "It was very brief. It was also very eternal. It was as though the scales fell from my eyes and the openings of the universe were shown to me," she says. "What I felt was pure, divine, eternal, knowing, compassionate love, and it was obvious. It wasn't even exhilarating. It was like, when you look at an optical illusion and all of a sudden, 'Oh, I see.' It just switched like this. 'Oh, I see. I am that. I come from that. That is what I am. And that is what everything is."
The experience was the best feeling Liz says she ever had. "I thought I wanted to hold onto this forever and it went by, you know? Like the minute you want to grab it and cling to it, it's gone," she says. "The minute your wishbone comes back, it goes. And what it sort of said as it went was, you can have this back once you realize you already have it and you always have it, and you'll always have it."
Liz says that since her trip to India, she hasn't reached that level of meditation again. "But I also haven't chased it, and I also feel like there's this great Japanese ancient poem that says, 'When I stand on the mountaintop, the world unfolds before me. When I walk through the marketplace, I carry the mountaintop under my robes,'" she says. "Once you've seen that, you get to take it with you in your mundane life, and you know. It's like in your pocket. You know this truth. You don't have to know it from the place of experiencing it. You just remember and it's enough."
Liz had found pleasure in Italy and sat in the palm of God in India, but her journey wasn't complete until she went to Bali. "I wanted to do four months where I learned how to integrate [pleasure and devotion] and create a life where I had both of those in equal measure," she says. "That's what they do in Bali better than anywhere else in the world. They have all the joy and all the beauty of Italy and all the depth and spirituality of India, and they do it seamlessly. I thought these people have a lesson I want to learn."
On a previous trip to Bali, Liz met a medicine man named Ketut Liyer, who had predicted she would return one day. "I went back there following what he had said, 'You're going to come back here, and you're going to become my teacher of English, and I'm going to teach you everything about the world," Liz says. But when she finally returned, Ketut did not remember her.
Still, the medicine man took Liz under his wing. "I went to Ketut Liyer's house every day and sat at his feet. This man who had really never left his porch in this very small village and this very small island of Bali just allowed me to become his little student for a while," Liz says.
While sitting with Ketut, Liz says she learned a more simple type of meditation. "He said, 'Why do they make it so complicated in India with the meditation?' He said, 'I'll give you a meditation. Sit and smile,' he said. Even smile in your liver," Liz says. "Smile all the way through. Sit there and smile all the way through and see if that doesn't work a little bit to start to change your life and cause a little revolution in your mind."
While Liz was in Bali looking for balance, she found something she wasn't expecting—love. "I had so given up on that. I mean, I was in Rome, I was in Italy where people are, like, making love on the sidewalks," she says. "And I just remember looking at them and thinking, 'This is not for you. You're going to have a different kind of life. Like, other people get this. You don't get this. But that's okay.' And then I got it."
Liz fell in love with a Brazilian man named Felipe. In the book, Liz writes, "Felipe finally put his palm against my cheek and said, 'That's enough, darling. Come to my bed now.' And I did."
Liz's eyes water as she talks about Felipe. "I loved what he said when he said, 'That's enough,'" she says. "Because we'd been courting for weeks. And he didn't say, 'That's enough of you not giving me you.' You know? What he said was, 'That's enough of you on your own in this world. Now I'm with you. Come on. Let's go together now. That's enough. You proved it. You can do it on your own. And now you get to have that and me. So let's go.'"
Did their love last beyond Bali? "Things are so good," Liz says as she looks at a photo of herself with Felipe on the screen. "That's us. On our wedding day."
You can take your own spiritual journey every, single day. Liz has three daily rituals that anyone
can do anywhere
- Start a journal and answer this question every morning: What do I really, really, really want? "You have to say really, really, really three times or else you don't believe it. And answer it truthfully and do it again the next day and the next and the next," she says. "Because you can't set your journey if you don't know what you're for."
- Write down the happiest moment of every day in a happiness journal. "It's a way of reminding myself what really makes me happy and what doesn't," she says, "and learn and study and look back and see what is it consistently."
- Refine your mantra. "I say refine, not choose, because we all actually already have a mantra. We just might not realize that we do. Whatever you repeat constantly in your head is your mantra whether you know it or not, and that is leading you on your way," she says. "So if you're repeating, 'I'm a moron, I'm an idiot, I'm a failure, I'm a jerk, I'm a loser,' it's your mantra. So decide whether that's working for you. Maybe it's not and then maybe you might want to choose a different thing to try to say whenever you remember that you're thinking what you're always doing."
Liz says the most important thing to remember is that you can take your own spiritual journey without traveling the world. "You don't need to go and do exactly the things that I did," she says. "The only thing you need to do is ask yourself the questions I was asking myself. That's what you need to do. If you listen to that, I guarantee that you'll get your own journey and it will not look like mine. Although I do hope that it involves pizza."
After hearing Liz's romantic love story, Oprah is thrilled to announce her new book club selection Love in the Time of Cholera
by Gabriel García Márquez.
"This is one of the greatest love stories I have ever read," Oprah says. "It's a captivating story about a passionate but troubled love affair that takes place over the course of 50 years. It is so beautifully written that it really takes you to another place in time and will make you ask yourself how long could you, or would you, wait for love?"Fall in love with an excerpt of Love in the Time of Cholera!Find more pleasure in your life.
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