11/20/2013 09:42 am ET Updated Nov 20, 2013

Mark Nepo Says There Are '7,000 Ways To Listen' -- But It's Not As Intimidating As It Sounds (VIDEO)

Spiritual author Mark Nepo believes that the key to living a vibrant, meaningful life is to listen with an open heart. In part two of Oprah's conversation with Nepo on "Super Soul Sunday," he talks about the core lesson of his latest book, 7,000 Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What Is Sacred.

While the book title sounds intimidating, Nepo explains "7,000" isn’t literal. "It's a metaphor," he says in the above video. "When I first met this amazing linguist from Nigeria, he was talking to me about all the living languages on earth, and he said there were 7,000 ways to speak. … I said, 'Well, if there are at least 7,000 ways to speak, there have to be 7,000 ways to listen,' and that gave me a way into the book."

"That's a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful metaphor." Oprah says. "How do you define listening, Mark?"

"Listening is being, when we can, as completely present to whatever is before us with all of who we are," Nepo says.

"That's what you mean by 7,000 ways," Oprah suggests.

"And we never know which way will touch us," Nepo adds.

He goes on to share another metaphor to illustrate why we each need to listen to what the universe is telling us, in our own way.

"In nature, in spring, you think of how it takes thousands of insects and birds to pollinate all the different flowers and plants," Nepo says. "Each one is born with an inclination to a particular pollen that they then bring. You don't find the bees telling all the other insects, 'We've all got to be bees.'"

Only when each insect plays its particular role do we have spring. "And likewise, I feel like we need every spiritual path to create the human spring," Nepo says. "So we need to listen for what calls to each of us."

"Super Soul Sunday" airs Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on OWN.



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