by Tracy Mooney
I know the process of spiritual transformation moves slowly and I have a long way to go. But since coming to Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj and trying to live these wonderful Sant Mat teachings, I see gradual, positive changes in all aspects of my life.
Last week, I was lucky enough to take part in Oprah’s Lifeclass in Chicago. The class I attended was called “Joy Rising” which will be a regular Friday feature in the class that is televised on the OWN network as well as online at Oprah.com.
The reason that I was asked to participate was because I had an “a-ha moment” a few years back while watching a segment on the Oprah Show that was featured in this particular Lifeclass. It was during Oprah’s “Wildest Dreams” tour where she traveled the country granting people’s wishes.
Normally when I would watch Oprah give viewers extravagant gifts, I would feel a twinge of jealousy. Or worse yet, I would feel sorry for myself and the financial situation I was in at the time. I would reflect on what I did not have in my life. This time was different and it impacted my life.
The viewers name was Bernadette and she lived in a three-bedroom apartment with nine children. She had taken in her brothers kids when he could no longer take care of them, rather than let them go into foster care. She worked two jobs to try to make ends meet, always looking for extra hours.
Oprah simply planned to give Bernadette the day off. However, the amazing story quickly changed when the kids got a shopping spree at Toys “R” Us ($15,000 in 20 minutes!) and suddenly Oprah realized that they didn’t have anywhere to put all of these toys. So she surprised Bernadette with a house and everything she needed to go into the house.
Instead of feeling jealousy for all of the things that Bernadette received, I found myself crying with joy for the relief that she must have felt. I was so happy my heart swelled with the thought that perhaps some of the hard times this hard working mom had gone through were behind her.
This started a snowball effect in my life. That moment made me realize that I can choose to be happy in any given moment. When I would watch Oprah give away tons of gifts on her “Favorite Things” episodes, I would turn it off if I felt negative feelings swell up that I could not control. In her final season, with two “Favorite Things” episodes, I shut off the first episode, but for the second episode I watched with my kids telling my boys to think nothing but happy thoughts for the lucky folks in the audience that day.
On those days when I wake up and everything seems to go wrong, I no longer wallow in sadness or frustration. I turn on some happy music and dance until I break that bad mood. If negative thoughts are filling my brain, I might take some deep breaths outside or smell some flowers or scented oil to help me rewire those thoughts to something positive. Better still, I know I can lose myself in the peace of meditation, turn my mind to my mantra, or enjoy the spiritual community at the Center. Things always seem to get better.
Indian mythology speaks of a heavenly wish-yielding tree that grants the prayers of devotees. Oprah has done that for so many people. But in these teachings and this great spiritual Master, I believe I’ve been given a gift that transcends things or circumstances. I believe I have found real “joy rising.”