Lately I've been out promoting my new book, Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple. From Dr. Oz to Arsenio Hall to Steve Harvey to Dr. Sanjay Gupta to Queen Latifah, tons of other wonderful people have let me sit down with them and talk about the benefits of meditation. And people seem to be listening. It's been a New York Times best-seller for six weeks already and I'm humbled by how many people have told me that they've started the practice after reading the book.
There have also been those who haven't been as receptive to my pitch. Who think that meditation isn't sexy. Who think that listeners or viewers might change the station when I start talking about sitting in silence. And I get it. After all, I've spent a lot of my life pounding the pavement to promote rap music, comedy, poetry or fashion. Subjects that are obviously full of life and energy. I can see why some people might shy away from a subject that seems to go in the opposite direction (even though the irony is, of course, that nothing promotes life and energy like meditation).
That's why I'm so grateful and humbled that a few days ago I had the opportunity to sit down with my greatest inspiration, Oprah Winfrey, and talk to her about the benefits of meditation. Something that she not only understands personally, but also understands the value of sharing with her audience.
And sitting with Oprah in her backyard and sharing about meditation, it struck me again what a national treasure she is. That as much as we celebrate her, we still don't celebrate her quite enough.
That's because it's so extremely rare that someone with the leverage and platform, who could be promoting whatever she wants, consistently chooses to shine a light on that which promotes consciousness compassion and happiness.
Think about it. All these years, Oprah has never stopped beating the drum for consciousness and compassion. Never stopped encouraging her audience to see that they are all connected. And through that connection they can draw tremendous power.
She's the only reason I'm an author. I wrote my first book as a cleansing process, as way to share what I learned after years of studying yogic scriptures, but never thinking that it would go any further than that. Instead, Oprah read a draft, re-named the book Do You! and then humbled me by inviting me on her show and helping me share my message with the world. All the money I make from my books goes straight to charity, and I know that's only possible because of Oprah.
And while I keep talking about "me" and "I," there's such a long list of incredible authors she's helped introduce to the national conversation. Look what she's done with books like Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now and The New Earth, Deepak Chopra's The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success or even Rhonda Byrne's The Secret. These books and authors have done so much to make people aware of the concept of consciousness that you have to say they've changed the trajectory of this country.
Sometimes I get knocked for promoting celebrities, but let's be real: When a celebrity like Oprah chooses to use her platform to promote the positive and inclusive, it creates so much change. More change than a politician or religious leader ever could. A power we saw this firsthand when she did so much to get our president elected.
I certainly haven't seen a politician, or any religious leader (even the current pope, though he's off to a good start) help more people realize that happiness and well being are within their reach than Oprah. Some might question that, but I know it to be true. If we are a country that's moving towards a higher collective consciousness -- and I like to believe that we are -- then we have to thank Oprah first and foremost for that.
That's why today I want to encourage everyone to tip their hats to the women I call "The Queen of Consciousness." Too often we wait till someone retires or fades from view to celebrate them. Let's not do that with Oprah. Despite her incredibly success, she's a sweet, humble and giving person whose example can remind us every day of what we're each capable of.
Like it or not, celebrities have some of the loudest voices in this country. And if only a fraction of them could use their voices to articulate the power of consciousness, tolerance and compassion the way Oprah has, then we could truly begin to realize our collective potential.