Monday, November 22, 2010

The Oprah: Religion In The Future


           A thousand years from now the Twenty Eighth Dalai Lama and the Fourteenth Oprah will have a  meeting at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California.  The Fourteenth Oprah will be only eight years old, but she will sit upon her dais with gravity and balance.  The Twenty Eighth Dalai Lama will attempt to bow lower than the Oprah, but she will always be able to out-bow him, being only four feet six inches tall and much more flexible. A carefully selected group of people will have been invited to this significant gathering.  Several thousand more will be trying to get through the security barriers designed to protect the august presence of the Dalai Lama and The Oprah. 
            This meeting of the great religious leaders of the East and West will be the second meeting of a Dalai Lama and an Oprah in three centuries.  The Thirteenth Oprah was a snarling cantankerous woman who loathed  pompous spiritual ceremony. She was a great trial to her attendants.
            All kidding aside, I think there should be established an office of The Oprah, at the death of the present Oprah, and that there should be a matriarchal spiritual guide for the world.  I watch Oprah because she represents the course of the mainstream spirituality movement in America.  It is no accident that
her constituency is composed primarily of middle class women. This demographic has sufficient time
and motivation to turn its angst into self improvement.  
            Having no knowledge of Oprah's personal and private behaviour, I must nonetheless pay tribute to someone who has consistently presented an accessible level of transformative thought to the American public.  It may be maudlin, sometimes embarrassing and even, in a sense, pornographic. I can't help cringing when couples in deep trouble attempt to have therapy in front of twenty million people. I can barely prevent snot from running out my nose when Oprah all but guarantees that our dreams will come true if we passionately persist in following our bliss. But anyone who honors volunteers, who rewards the silent, invisible, tireless workers who are attempting to help other people is okay by me. She helps writers and encourages the act of reading.  She trots out new teachers and gurus who then go on to their own syndicated TV shows. Her phrases can go into the lexicon of future Oprahs.  “Big, Big!”  “Lightbulb moment.” “I got a chill!” “Remember Your Spirit.” 
            You go, girl.