Michael from Newport:I knew it would come but just, you know, the timing was just unbelievable. I was like, "Already?" I just couldn't believe it. I was just—just filled with absolute joy and gratitude. Gratitude that, you know, he was sent there to speak to all those people and to have that be said.
Oprah: Well, thank you, Michael. Thanks so much.
The Rev. Bacon: May I say one word about that?
The Rev. Bacon: I have gotten a lot of e-mail.
Oprah: Yeah, you have.
Michael: Me, too, Brother Ed.
The Rev. Bacon: And it has been 4 to 1 affirming what went on here.
Michael: Oh, yes.
The Rev. Bacon: It has been amazing. And what I want to bring up is the issue of tears. Most of the people who wrote me said that they were weeping while they were typing the e-mail. My experience is that that kind of tears, those are tears of healing.
The Rev. Bacon: And to cry along the journey—
The Rev. Bacon: —of spirituality.
Oprah: Yeah. And tears because I think they were validated by that.
The Rev. Bacon: Yeah.
Oprah: So many people were validated by that.
The Rev. Bacon: That's deep healing going on, which is another metaphor for the lantern's being cleansed.
Elizabeth: Right. Right.
The Rev. Bacon: I'm deeply grateful for everybody who wrote me and told me how liberating that was.
Michael: Same here. I was leaving the gym, and these rather muscular guys came up. They were gay. And one of them was explaining to me that his mother called him and said, "I finally understand you." She had kind of cut him off and just that comment opened her up to see her son and embrace her son in a different way.
Michael: And that story is repeated many, many times.
Oprah: Well, let the healing begin and continue.
The Rev. Bacon: Yes, yes, yes.
Oprah: Victoria is a mother of five Skyping in from Las Vegas. Victoria, and your question is for our panel?
Victoria: Hi. I have children that range from 17 to 1, and I was raised in an organized religion. I've experienced—you know, gone through a few on my own trying to find a place to fit in, and organized religion isn't where I want to go, but I feel like I'm failing my children because I haven't given them a sense of religion but I don't know how—sorry. I don't know how to present them with the spirituality that I think will empower them. So my question to the panel is, besides a book and trying to figure out how to explain the book to them, how do I present this to my children so that they can start their own path earlier than when I started mine? I'm sorry.
The Rev. Bacon: Moving.
Michael: Bless your heart.
Elizabeth: That's so beautiful. I'm so glad you asked it, because there are so many parents out there asking the exact same question. People ask me this all the time. Children ask the big questions.
Victoria: They do.
Elizabeth: "Who am I? Where do I go when I die? Why did the dog die? Where did he go? And what should I do? And what's the meaning?" And it's so hard when you can't just say, "Okay, we're getting in the car on Sunday and going to church, and that guy will tell you." So it's—you are asking a question for millions and millions of people so thank you for asking it. The first thing I would say, and I really want to hear what everyone else says, is let your children know that you're a seeker. If they know you're seeking, then they'll seek. And that's really the best gift you can give them. Answers aren't—you can't give them answers because you're saying you don't have them. But you can give them the adventurer spirit.
Elizabeth: You can say to them, "I think about this all the time too. Let's go on this adventure together. Let's read from this book together." You know, there are wonderful books for children, different teaching tales from the Bible, from Buddha, from the Greek myths, and you could have a time every night where you read different stories together and talk about the big issues and let them know that you are someone they can come to with their questions, even if you don't have the answer, and say, "We're going to seek for this together."
Oprah: I think that's a really interesting thing because, you know, I think parents usually, and I think what you're feeling, too, Victoria, parents usually want to have the answer for their kids. They want to be able to say this is it and this is what we believe as a family. But you're right. It is a spiritual adventure for everybody.
The Rev. Bacon: Victoria, I want to say—excuse me.
Oprah: Especially when you're a child. Especially when you're a child.
Michael: Absolutely. I want to say it's an adventure in self-discovery. As Elizabeth was saying, you don't want to give readily packaged answers, but they will look at your life and how you live your life and the kindness, the love, the justice, all of these qualities as they emerge from you, they will see what spirituality is all about. And the fact that this is emerging from you, that is the presence of God within you seeking to express itself. Just your asking that question is a dimension of the presence of God wanting to come forward.
Michael: And if you continue to walk down that path and ask the questions, the universe, the presence of God, whatever you want to call it, it will answer.
Michael: Because of your sincerity and because of your earnestness.
Oprah: It will show itself to you and not, you know, not Moses in a burning bush necessarily.
Michael: It will come in a language that she understands.
Michael: It will come in her way.
The Rev. Bacon: I want to add very quickly, first, I am so grateful for your call. I am so impressed with your mothering and your parenting. Seriously. For you to—for you to respect the—the spirituality of your children.
Oprah: It is.
The Rev. Bacon: And for you to use the words "I want them to have a spirituality that empowers them." That's the issue.
Oprah: That's big. That's big.
The Rev. Bacon: Spirituality is about empowering us. Second, a study was made about 60 years ago now about how children have mystical experiences.
The Rev. Bacon: And they have—
Oprah: You're talking about The Spiritual Life of Children? Robert Coles?