Gotham Chopra to Host New OWN Series “Help Desk”

A new series is coming to Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network. “Help Desk” will be hosted by award-winning journalist and filmmaker Gotham Chopra, son of mind-body medicine pioneer and bestselling author Deepak Chopra.

Gotham will introduce today’s top spiritual thought leaders who will bring their wisdom to the streets in different cities across the country, offering life-changing answers to hard-hitting questions about relationships, health, spirituality and personal transformation.

The show will be setting up a desk in a busy public place to sit down with today’s most celebrated spiritual teachers, and let the public ask them whatever is on their mind.

This season’s featured advisors include:

Deepak Chopra – mind-body medicine pioneer & bestselling author
Gabrielle Bernstein – bestselling author
Iyanla Vanzant – inspirational speaker, author & host of “Iyanla: Fix My Life”
Michael Bernard Beckwith – Agape International Spiritual Center founder
Devon Franklin – movie producer & preacher
Caroline Myss – bestselling author
Panache Desai – thought leader & author
Cheryl Strayed – bestselling author
Gary Zukav – bestselling author
Rob Bell – progressive pastor and bestselling author

Super Soul Sunday: Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

“Sufism is about love. It’s about the heart. It’s about this extraordinary secret of human beings that within our heart – not our physical heart but our spiritual heart – we have a direct connection to God. And we can experience that directly within the heart through love,” Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee told Oprah in a recent episode of Super Soul Sunday on the OWN Network.

Author of the book “Sufism: The Transformation of the Heart,” Vaughan-Lee sat down with Oprah in the garden of her home and explained Sufism is a belief in oneness and love. Not matter what religion a person may practice, Sufism can be a part of that, the author said.

“You can be a Christian, you can be a Buddhist, it doesn’t matter … what matters is how you live your relationship to God,” Vaughan-Lee told Oprah. “God is everything. This is one of the basic experiences not just of Sufism but the core of every mystical path is oneness. Everything is God. There is nothing other than God. We are all part of this great mysterious outpouring of love that we call creation. Everything in creation is an expression of this incredible love. If you go to the core of your being, into the very center of yourself, what do you find there? Either love or longing for love.”

In the book, Vaughan-Lee explains in Sufism there are three journeys – the journey from God, the journey to God and the journey in God. The first – the journey from God – is about forgetfulness because when we come into this physical world, we forget our Divine nature. But for many, there comes a time when something wakes them up, and they begin their journey to God, he said.

Reaching the journey in God is realizing there is nothing other than God. This can be an experience of oneness or even an experience of love, the author explained. “You live what God wants you to live without an eye that says what about me.”

Oprah pointed out that for many, the journey to spirituality can be painful, and often it is a tragedy or trauma that opens the door to the spiritual path. Vaughan-Lee believes this is because the heart needs to break open.

“Most people are so closed. They are so contracted, it’s all about me, me, me … one has to learn humility. You have to learn patience. You have to learn that it isn’t about you, and those are all painful lessons, and we don’t learn them so easily [as] human beings,” he told Oprah.

Both Oprah and Vaughan-Lee pointed out the world is in a state of longing, as are most people. Many look to material things or situations around them in order to fill this void, but what they are truly seeking is love.

“It’s a hunger for something that is real. All these things, all these material things, they don’t satisfy our soul. They may give us a moment of pleasure … they don’t nourish our soul,” Vaughan-Lee explained. “There is this longing and people sometimes mistake it for depression … we have lost the understanding of longing and so [people] project it. They want a new pair of shoes. They want a new boyfriend. They want something, and they do not realize it will not satisfy this hunger in the heart.”

The author also spoke about the ego, and what he called “crucifying the ego,” in order to know God. In Sufism, they talk about dying before death, and this is about the ego.

“For most people the ego is the king … [But] there is something else. There is this Divine part of you that you can be guided by, you can connect with, that can give you the help, the grace, the nourishment, the meaning that you need. It’s the soul that gives us meaning in life,” he explained.

Right now the world and our planet are in a moment of crisis, said Vaughan-Lee. We have forgotten that everything is sacred – every leaf, every tree and everything around us, he noted, explaining he would like people to remember the world belongs to God, not to us.

“Part of my practice, and the practice I try to teach people is in your prayers remember the world to God, feel it in your heart, the suffering world and offer it to God because God is the greatest power. God is the greatest healer. God is the only real truth. And then maybe out of this world of forgetfulness there can become remembrance, and then the world can respond and something can be born again.”

If you missed the episode with Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee you can watch it at the Super Soul Sunday Web site.

Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday: Sarah Ban Breathnach

Every Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, Oprah Winfrey brings audiences a new inspirational interview on her OWN Network with the show Super Soul Sunday, and this Sunday she interviewed the  New York Times best-selling author of “Simple Abundance” Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Although she sold 7 million copies of the book worldwide, the author shares with Oprah how she found herself completely broke and on her sister’s doorstep with only one suitcase and her cat.

While she had appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show nine times, and Oprah credits her for being “the reason I write in my gratitude journal to this day,” 15 years after her success she lost it all. “It took moving everything to help her find herself,” Oprah said.

She shares her experience and the lessons she learned in her book “Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity.”

“I think that I speak truth, and I speak it lovingly, and that I acknowledge my own mistakes,” Breathnach told Oprah about writing the book. “I’ve made every money mistake a woman could make personally and in business.”

Once a freelance writer living paycheck to paycheck, she wrote “Simple Abundance” about finding gratitude in every moment, and it spent more than two years on the NY Times best-seller list.

“What simple abundance did for me is to ritualize, to bring into my life on a daily basis the experience of practicing gratitude,” Oprah shared.

But one day, after 119 weeks on the NY Times list, the call that came every Wednesday to report she had made the list again … did not come.

Looking back, as wealth hit Breathnach, she realizes she was not prepared for it, and also admits she never thought it would all go away.  “I really thought it would continue because I was putting out the best that I could do. I did not slack,” she told Oprah.

She now says “wild spending,” including the purchase of Isaac Newton’s Chapel as a home for her to write, bad investments and a costly divorce contributed to her downfall.

When she wrote “Simple Abundance,” she explained she was only looking to change her own life, and had no idea she would touch the lives of so many women. She took the same approach with her book “Peace & Plenty.” Her goal was to save her own life. “It was written to be a healing to myself,” she said.

Breathnach also shared how her tumultuous and emotionally abusive marriage contributed to her downfall. “He told me I was no good with money… he was very forceful and he said his background was in money, but he wasn’t earning any money… I didn’t realize it. He said he was an independent businessman.”

She admits she started to believe the “angry, vicious” things he would say to her, and she “didn’t want to admit that I had made a disastrous mistake.” Once she finally asked him why he was being so cruel, he admitted the money was gone, and she realized that was the reason he was with her.

Finally, her daughter came over and surprised her for Christmas and told her she was worried about her. She said: “Mom he is sucking the life out of you. He is not making you happy” Breathnach explained. When she responded “I don’t know how to help myself,” her daughter said, “Mom, you’ve helped millions of women. I’ll help you help yourself.”

That is how she ended up on her sister’s doorstep. “I have really learned about surrender. I have really learned that lesson now,” she said to Oprah.

So what is her greatest spiritual lesson? “Guard your heart. Watch your treasures. For what is your treasure will be your heaven on earth,” she said.

Oprah ended the interview with a the Q & A segment transcribed below:

Oprah: What is the soul?
Breathnach: The soul is the spiritual essence of who we really are.

Oprah: What is your definition of God?
Breathnach: Everything.

Oprah: What is the difference between spirituality and religion?
Breathnach: Religion says there is only one way to heaven, spirituality says choose the one that brings you joy.

Oprah: What does prayer mean to you?
Breathnach: Prayer is simply a conversation with God. Prayer is the constant conversation with God. And it is the most passionate conversation I have with anybody?

Oprah: Where do you feel most at home or at peace with yourself?
Breathnach: With my animals.

Oprah: What do you think we happens when we die?
Breathnach: I hope I get to say “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow,” – for me that is the greatest gift (Steve Jobs) has given to me personally because I thought if Steve Jobs could say “oh wow” as he is going towards heaven, then wow.

To watch clips from the interview, visit the Super Soul Sunday Web site, and tune into OWN next Sunday for Oprah’s interview with DeVon Franklin.

VIDEO: Inside Oprah’s New Show Starting Jan. 1

Oprah Winfrey is coming back! But this time she is leaving the studio behind and hitting the road!

Starting New Year’s Day, her primetime series “Oprah’s Next Chapter” will premiere on the OWN Network at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and feature a visit with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler at his New Hampshire home for an interview on a number of topics, from his years of drug addiction, his complicated relationships with ex-wives, and “American Idol,” according to a report by

“After 25 years I got myself out of the studio chairs. I moved into the next chapter, and I am having more fun than ever – moving around the country and the world talking to people I’m really interested in getting to know, and I think viewers will be, too,” Winfrey said. “It is so energizing to be out and about in the world exploring new people, new places and new ideas.”

Future episodes will see Oprah traveling to Haiti with actor, Sean Penn; touring Skywalker Ranch with George Lucas; walking on fire with Tony Robbins; having a slumber party with chef Paula Deen at her Georgia estate, and learning more about Transcendental Meditation in a small Iowa town, AOL TV reported.

“I sat at the dinner table with a Hasidic Jewish family and tried to explain to the children who have never seen a television what TV is … can you imagine?” Winfrey said in the AOL report. “I fire-walked with Tony Robbins — never pictured myself doing that! I celebrated the power of God and community with Joel Osteen, and I’m planning a trip with Deepak Chopra to India where I’ve never been.”

See a sneak peek video of the new show below!