The Rev. Bacon: Exactly.

Oprah: You've got to have somebody else who's in community with you about it.

Michael: It's called being around holy people. Keeping your company holy and walking the same direction.

Oprah: Yes.

Michael: The other thing that I would say to her is this is why we call it a spiritual practice.

The Rev. Bacon: Mm-hmm.

Michael: So that every day you're practicing something.

The Rev. Bacon: Yes.

Michael: Some days you're going to feel good, you're going to feel high. Some days you're not going to feel good, but you still practice. Just— you wake up every day, you brush your teeth every day. Some days you may not feel like it, but you still do it.

Oprah: Yeah.

Michael: So when you have a spiritual practice, you wake up, you pray, you meditate, whatever your particular inclination is.

Oprah: Give yourself a moment of silence.

Michael: Give yourself a moment of silence. Watch your breath. And then what happens is you start to develop a kind of an inner subjective way of being, and you don't beat yourself up when you're feeling bad. You don't go to the other extreme when you're feeling good. It's a practice that, over a period of time, it would hold a space of inner joy, a sense of well-being, a sense of connectedness, and then you'll become shocked when you're able to hold that joy even when things are going bad. That's when you know that something has changed in you.

Oprah: Yeah.

Michael: "Things are going wrong? I still feel pretty good about myself. I feel pretty good."

Oprah: Isn't that what faith is?

The Rev. Bacon: Yes.

Michael: It's the substance of things hoped for. It's the real living substance.

Oprah: Okay.

Michael: Yes.

Oprah: Got it. Lizzy.

Elizabeth: Well, I love this idea of practice because—and we practice—you practice—even the best pianists who are playing in Carnegie Hall still practice every day.

Oprah: Yeah.

Elizabeth: And the most at peace, loving, fully alive people still have bad days and do mean and stupid things. And we all do. And practice—spiritual practice for me, my spiritual practices of choice are meditation, which is a very simple practice. It's sitting in stillness because God's spirit speaks to me the best in stillness. Sounds easy, but it's not. Meditation—

Oprah: Quiet the mind. Very hard.

Elizabeth: Quiet the mind, the minute you try to be quiet, all of your anxieties and voices are there. So learning meditation from a book or a teacher is a great idea. Prayer. For me, prayer is very simple. It's like blowing on that flame inside of me. (Indicating.) I actually sometimes if I'm getting uptight or in a bad mood, I'll actually make that—that movement with my lips, just quietly to myself. I'll go—(indicating)—and I'm flaming—I'm fanning the flame in my heart.

Michael: Mm-hmm.

Elizabeth: And it's a little reminder. It can change my mood in a second where things are bad, and I'll just stop and I'll go—(indicating)—and I'll feel the flame burning a little brighter. And it's a prayer. It's a prayer for me.

The Rev. Bacon: I want to add a spiritual practice and that's journaling. I think prayer is the core spiritual practice for so many of us. And having a spiritual companion is a very important spiritual discipline as well. But the act of sitting down with a journal and writing about my spiritual life allows me to be in the practice of observing myself.

Michael: Absolutely.

Oprah: Yeah.

The Rev. Bacon: And life in the spirit is about being able to step behind your thoughts and actions and your ideologies and observe yourself.

Oprah: Yeah.

The Rev. Bacon: So to step back and observe your spiritual path as it's unfolding on your journal is a very important discipline.

Oprah: A good way to journal is to do a gratitude journal. I found that to be the most beautiful.

The Rev. Bacon: Oh, yes, yes, yes, very good.

Oprah: If you just write down every day five things in that day you were grateful for, it changes the way you look at your whole day, because you're looking for—your whole outlook for the day is to look for what you can be grateful for, you know? And sometimes it's just somebody holding a door. I think, "Better take note of that because I might need that later on tonight. Yeah.

Michael: Absolutely.

Oprah: As my fifth thing. Yes.

Tracy: I actually did do a gratitude journal, and I made so many amazing things come true and happen in my life. But then I found myself, you know, something happened and then I go right back into the same way of thinking again. So I think you're right about the practice part.

Oprah: It's like developing a muscle and when you stop lifting the weights, you lose the muscle.

Elizabeth: And also be forgiving of yourself. What you're talking about, none of us here on this panel, it doesn't sound strange to us. I'm always falling off the wagon and getting myself back up.

Tracy: Okay.

Elizabeth: The thing is, I get up a lot quicker now.

Oprah: I don't know what you're talking about.

The Rev. Bacon: Can't relate.

Oprah: I don't know what that is.

Elizabeth: A sense of humor is a great spiritual practice as well. Laugh at yourself.

Michael: Right. Right. Laughing at ourselves. That's good.

Oprah: It is about practicing. You know my goal for the year, I always ask, you know, for the universe, God, for something and you have to be careful what you ask for because I remember the years I asked for courage. I'm not asking for courage anymore because you get all this stuff you have to come up against. God, I don't need courage anymore. Or strength. But what I'm really seeking for myself this year is a closer walk with thee.

The Rev. Bacon: Right.


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