Photo: Vincent Nichols
I no longer make a list of New Year's resolutions. I do, however, give considerable thought to how I can continue to move forward. Last New Year's Day, I was sitting on my front porch in Hawaii, overlooking the ocean, meditating. I prayed to be more resolved about being fully conscious, allowing every experience to bring me closer to the deepest spiritual essence of life. This was my prayer at around 11 in the morning. By nightfall the prayer had been answered in the most profound encounter I have ever had.
My friend Bob Greene and I were taking a hike. The sun had set, leaving wisps of lavender ribbons across the sky. Clouds moving down from the mountain spread out over the ocean, with only a small opening through which we could see the moon. All around us was the cloud mist and just one clear space of sky glowing with the light of a crescent moon. Bob said, "Look at that; it looks like the DreamWorks logo. I feel like climbing up and sitting there with a fishing pole." It was surreal.
As we continued our walk, Bob turned to me and said, "Stop a minute."
"Can you hear that?" he whispered.
I could—and it took my breath away. "It" was the sound of silence. Utter and complete stillness. So still I could hear my own heart beating. I wanted to hold my breath, because even inhaling and exhaling was like a cacophony. There was absolutely no movement, no breeze, no recognition of air, even; it was the sound of nothing and everything. It felt like all life...and death...and beyond contained in one space, and I was not just standing in it, I was also a part of "it." This was the most peaceful, coherent, knowledgeable moment I've ever witnessed. Heaven on earth.
We stood there for the longest time. Trying not to breathe, in awe, I realized this was exactly what I had asked for earlier in the day. This is the meaning of "Ask, and it shall be given...seek, and ye shall find." That moment was indeed "the deepest spiritual essence of life." What I know for sure: That moment is always available to us. If you peel back the layers of your life—the frenzy, the noise—stillness is waiting. That stillness is you.
This is what I call a glory, glory, hallelujah moment. I wanted to hold on to it forever, and I have. Sometimes I'll be in the middle of a meeting, with people lined up outside my door, and I'll just inhale and take myself back to the road, the clouds, the moon.... Stillness. Peace.
What Oprah Knows for Sure
From the May 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!