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12/21/2013 07:57 am ET

Dani Shapiro On How To Start Your Spiritual Journey (VIDEO)

Growing up in a strict and traditional household, bestselling author Dani Shapiro says her religious beliefs stemmed from her parents. Later in life, a simple question from her young son -- "What do you believe?" -- sent Shapiro on a spiritual journey to discover her personal thoughts and feelings on faith.

In the above clip from "Super Soul Sunday," Shapiro explains that there were two major steps she had to take before starting her inner journey, which she documents in her book, Devotion. The first: giving herself permission.

"The first thing that stopped me was, what right do I have?" she says. "I'm not a religious scholar. I'm going against the way that I was raised. I'm a woman. I don't have time. What right do I have to do this?"

"So step one was just the idea of 'this is important,'" Shapiro says. "This is important for me. This is important for my loved ones, that I do this so that I can be there more for them, because I can be there more for myself."

The second step was giving up her "all or nothing" mentality. "I came from, 'It's our way, or not at all.'" she says. "The feeling that I had about my Orthodox family was, they got God, so that meant there was no God left over for me. They were doing it right. They were doing it by the book. So that de facto meant that I was doing it wrong."

Shapiro says her family's beliefs didn't quite resonate with her. "I didn't know what I believed," she says. "I didn't know what it was – no. I just shelved the question. I retired the question." It wasn't until her son, Jacob, started asking questions about her beliefs that Shapiro began to look deeper.

"Fundamentally, what do you believe?" Oprah says to Shapiro. "That's the question that you grapple with in Devotion."

Shapiro and more of today's top thinkers, teachers and spiritual leaders discuss life's big questions on "Super Soul Sunday" airing Sunday, Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. ET on OWN.

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