Dec 19, 2015

Super Soul Sunday

Thomas Moore on Super Soul Sunday

In June of 2015 I Oprah Winfrey’s producers invited me to have a conversation with Oprah on camera about my book A Religion of One’s Own. They said that the themes of this book fit well with their plans for Oprah’s new program Super Soul Sunday. I had been on Oprah’s old live studio program in Chicago twenty years ago, but I was new to the media then and wasn’t prepared to do a good job presenting my ideas. The program had a large audience and the frazzle of live TV.  I was also one of several authors and had to squeeze my ideas into about a three-minute interview. This time the setting was relaxed. Just Oprah and I with her crew on a veranda with two and a half hours to explore a wide range of ideas.

I arrived at the set a bit early, and I knew things were going to go well when I heard Oprah sing out my name as she walked down a hill to join me. We got comfortable and began talking. I had told myself to be aware of the setting and take care with my choice of words. I didn’t want to say anything dumb. But then within a minute I had forgotten entirely about the cameras and producers and technicians surrounding us. It was just Oprah and I in excited and deep conversation.

We explored many interesting topics, and I only wish now that somehow people could watch the entire interview, instead of the small portion that had to be edited for the program. I found Oprah to be warm, very intelligent, and passionate in her concern for the world and her audience. Time after time she clarified what I was saying, putting my words into language a large audience might follow better. She had read my book closely, and didn’t want to begin the interview until she had found one particular page that she wanted to discuss. I wondered what the passage might be, and it turned out to be one of the most difficult in the book:  “Your spiritual self was born in a dream, and when you dream you are returning home. Your natural self is at home in the land where everything is both a physical fact and a poetic metaphor. When you dream, you are returning to the home, the very womb of your spirt and a world that speaks the language of your soul.”

While it’s true that Oprah is dedicated to some writers whose work doesn’t speak to me, I enjoyed our conversation so much, truly I didn’t want it to end. And I enjoyed her company so much that I didn’t want to leave. A few weeks later Oprah invited me and my wife to a dinner for spiritual leaders, and once again I found her gracious, real and full of heart and intelligence.  I can’t find words to express my admiration for her. If only world leaders had her gifts of mind and soul.

written by Thomas Moore

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