The journey to Oprah Winfrey’s home took place on a Thursday. In Indian culture, and in my spiritual practice of the Brahma Kumaris, Thursdays are recognised as the day for the omens of Jupiter, where all goes right. This magical event happened on the right day.
If you have been journeying with me and my friends at Values Partnerships on our Belief path, you know that we are examining both our own faiths and those of others. I have appreciated letting go of old interpretations, as well as holding on to a more refined inner awareness of my relationship with God and all of humanity.
When I first received an email from Oprah’s staff inviting me to join other faith and community leaders and celebrities to a screening of Belief followed by dinner at Oprah’s home, l did not believe it was real. Then, I received an email from Values Partnerships, stating that they did not see my RSVP and adding, “Sister Jenna, we would really like to see you at Oprah’s for dinner!” Still unclear, I asked, “Is this for real?”
“Yes, you have played such a key part of all we’re doing. Couldn’t imagine you not being there,” she replied. I shared that I was not expecting anything in return, I am here to simply help and serve.
The invitation was sincere, and it would be a wonderful opportunity to meet members of Values Partnerships and the Belief team, guests from Super Soul Sunday, spiritual and community leaders, celebrities, and many more people from across the country. As we gathered in the lobby of the Fess Parker Hotel in Santa Barbara, California, we met each other and learned about each other’s contributions to service. Each person had contributed something unique and special, and Oprah wished to meet them. It was a gathering of folks who truly wanted to offer a better part of themselves, through connections, relationships, and the acceptance that on a deep level, we are all connected.
After the screenings, a female Islamic leader had tears in her eyes, and there were echoes in the Riviera Theater of, “I get it!”
One by one, we loaded onto the buses awaiting us–my companions ranging from songwriter India Arie, to storyteller Tim Storey, to producer DeVon Franklin, to author Jack Canfield. With our elegant magnetic name tags and Belief press kits, we arrived at the movie theater for a screening of two episodes of Belief. Oprah walked into the theater gently and quietly. You could feel the room shift as she welcomed us and introduced Belief – a week-long documentary series exploring beliefs around the world and humankind’s on-going search for meaning and connection.
After the screenings, a female Islamic leader had tears in her eyes, and there were echoes in the Riviera Theater of, “I get it!” There are clear moments in one’s journey when we know we are on the verge of something powerful and historical – and this was certainly one of those moments. We boarded the buses, this time en route to Oprah’s home, referred to as “The Promised Land.” It was truly that!
Graciously, she met each one of us, looking into our eyes and acknowledging how grateful she was to have us. When I met her, soul-to-soul, I shared, “We are surrendered to service.” She responded by saying, “I receive that” and thanked me for my support, help and for being of service for this greater cause for humanity.
My personal experience with meeting Oprah did not feel like a new experience; it was a natural encounter with someone I knew from another lifetime and we were meeting again to help make the world better.
Before the meal, Oprah said that her hope is that this series can act as a catalyst to start and/or deepen intercultural communication, trust building and partnership with all people. We held a moment of prayer led by a female Episcopal priest. Guests immediately connected over a literal breaking of bread, which became the chuckle of the night as we banged and bent the bread to break it! It was clear from the love and respect of everyone present that somehow we had already broken bread by saying yes to partnering on the Belief team in support of the upcoming series.
When dinner concluded, I walked up to Oprah quietly, simply to say with eyes of silent love and appreciation, “Thank you!”
During dinner some of us were invited to stand and share in three words, “What is Belief to you?” Even though I did not feel I needed to stand, deep inside I kept hearing in my own mind, Belief is a pure soul. When dinner concluded, I walked up to Oprah quietly, simply to say with eyes of silent love and appreciation, “Thank you!” As I stood there, I knew this soul was sincere, and she was being called to serve humanity through two efforts: by elevating humanity into a pure experience of God and by showcasing the importance of beautiful connections through the power of relationships. I believe very deeply that each of us is a soul with an individual part to play; in this, Oprah has graciously accepted the mantel for her designated part.
What if many celebrities or leaders rose to the call to use their influence to stimulate a global conversation that drew us together to a place of deepened intercultural understanding, respect, trust, and greater healing? How would it sustain their own lives? How would it heal our world? I think this Belief series is the call of our time and Oprah has answered. Are you ready to do the same?
At the end of the evening, we walked back towards the buses, where we received a Belief bag and a picture to remember the night, and then journeyed back to the hotel. As I exited the bus and walked into the lobby, I sat down for a moment of silence and deep introspection. I wondered what everyone was thinking and feeling. Were they feeling what I was – how powerful the Belief series will be for humanity? Were they aware that they were part of history? And, most importantly, were they ready to uphold the shift that is approaching?
My dear Belief travelers, I invite you to join us all on the bus ride to Belief. Love for all.
The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU) is an international non-governmental organisation, which intends to help individuals re-discover and strengthen their inherent worth by encouraging and facilitating a process of spiritual awakening.