# 407: BOOK OF THE WEEK — “What I Know for Sure”

Winfrey, Oprah (2014). What I Know for Sure.

Story behind the Book Choice

It must have been the year 2000 when I discovered Oprah. It was my high school year in the U.S. No idea if I watched her show or saw one of her magazines in the grocery store first. It does not matter. The woman stuck. She is living the American Dream, as stereotypical as it may sound. She went through extreme trauma. She kept up her belief in the essential goodness of human beings. And she is — that is the most courageous and valuable thing from my perspective — sharing all her experiences in an authentic way. In sum: This woman is one of these people in the public sphere who is spreading healing, joy, and learning; not by putting out all kinds of sophisticated theories but by being who she is.

“Knowing something for sure” does not work with scientific theories or scholarship in general. I know, scientists usually spread that belief because they have to believe in it themselves. Otherwise, they would feel their work is good for nothing. That is not true, actually. But what I know for sure is that knowing something for sure takes this inner alignment which Oprah is talking about in her book and which she is living. And the most amazing thing is that she never acts in a way like she knows it all. This kind of KNOWING is something which happens in the moment; in a particular place and time of your lively presence. There are no general rights and wrongs in life. There are only moments of realization which make you go on with life in a different way.

These moments stick.

They change your life.

Because they change how you look at life.

This moment, I am on a train to the airport where I volunteer almost every week for half a day. I have no idea why I am doing this. I have no idea where it is leading me. I have no idea why I am even writing about it now because, technically, nobody cares about this blog and even less about the fact where I am writing. Still, I somehow know for sure that all of this will be making sense somehow. I just do not know when and how. I just have to trust. And this trust comes from the experience that life is providing in this very moment. I feel pleasure in going to the airport, in being there, in helping there. I feel pleasure in writing.

That is all that matters.

I know that for sure.

Even though I am very confused about many other things.

1. Connecting with People

Winfrey 41

The book is full of wisdom and I had a hard time picking passages today. As always, what resonates with me today might not resonate with my reader or even with myself on a different day. This passage about connecting with people in conversation, however, is something that I know for sure as a thing that has come up in my life quite unexpectedly. Actually, I know I have written about this before — I do not like people that much. I like animals. I like nature. But I am a human being and somehow I have to love people. That is the most paradox thing in life. We know that we are social animals and we die without connections to others (hermits exluded; they have a spiritual connection to the whole of humanity).

I still share what Oprah is writing here. When I watch her talk to people, I can see her thrive and I see her conversation partners open up. The strange thing is, I enjoy that too. I am not Oprah, of course, but if you ask me what one of the greatest pleasures in my life has become, it is this moment of forming bonds with people. You can only do that if you are honestly interested in their story; in them. You cannot fake it. So, when this happens, I feel how the other person is happy. And that makes me happy too. It is give and take. It is a miracle. Many years ago, I would not have thought that this is possible, not in my life. I am anti-social, I am harsh, I am too complicated for people. All of these and many more beliefs were part of my self-image. It is good to read that others are sharing this gift. And it is a gift. Maybe that is also part of the reason why I am going to the aiport — who knows for sure?

2. Decisions

I know for sure that in my life, this lesson is the toughest one. It is so crucial. It is so hard to implement. And that applies to both — the decision itself and the commitment. You have to stick to your decision. Only then will providence unfold. I have experienced it before. But it is a challenge time and again. I can only pray that even in these days right now when I do NOT know fore sure, things will still work out because I sent my decision out in the universe before I had time to doubt.

3. Life as School

Winfrey 136

This one is the most beautiful thing I am definitely sure of. There is not a single day when I am in doubt about it. But the problem is that when you work in a sphere where people think that theories and bullshit bingo teach people everything they need to know, you end up in trouble. Well, trouble is not the right word, actually. You end up fighting — against others, against yourself. It is not worth the life energy you are wasting, actually. Still, I decided to take up the fight again. That is the thing I am not sure about at all. Yes, I made that decision but it costs me so much energy to stick to it without selling my firm beliefes, my life lessons, my authenticity. This does not mean that I am not open to learning more. This does not mean that I am not convinced that theory matters.

But there is so much more to life which you have to learn in order to be able to open your mouth and say something that matters.

Above all, what I am sure of when it comes to my life — I see the world like a kid, exploring the miracles of life — life itself as a miracle. I am a seeker. And the thing I am most afraid of is that I will lose this. That I will end up like one of these other professors who think they know it all and get tired and just enjoy their money and status. There are plenty of those. I will just have to shift my attention to some that are different. There are some like this. I was given the gift of getting to know them, learning from them, being around them. And then there are public people like Oprah who are willing to take the burden of being such a motivator for the public. And even though these people have seen and learned so much in the course of an entire life time, they embrace every day with the curiosity of a child — ready to be amazed and sucked up by the fact that life offers miracles every minute if you are open to seeing them. That is why I want to close with the following lines.

I’ve always thought of myself as a seeker. And by that I mean my heart is open to seeing — in all forms — the divine order and exquisite perfection with which the universe operates.” (Winfrey 155)

Reflection Questions

1) What do you know for sure?

2) How do you deal with tough decisions? Do you have the patience to wait for more clarity?

3) Are you a seeker?