Oprah has said that her mission is to show her listeners and readers that “Your Life Has Meaning.” This message, that each of us has a unique purpose on earth, has echoed throughout all of history. The concept that the “seed of the divine” is in each of us is a thread that has been woven through all of the world’s great religions.To Buddhists it is our “Original Nature”. To Muslims it is “Hagia Sophia – The Voice that Awakens”. The Hindu’s call it “The True Self”. The Hasidic Jews believe it is “The Spark of the Divine”. The Quakers call it “The Inner Light”. Others say it is the “Life Force Within”.
Best selling author Wayne Dyer affirms this fact;
“Virtually every spiritual tradition teaches that your higher self is the presence of God within you.…In Christianity this inner knowing is referred to in the scripture that says ‘…the kingdom of God is within you.’ In Confucianism we are told ‘What the undeveloped man seeks is outside. What the advanced man seeks is within himself.’ In Buddhism we are reminded, ‘If you think the Law is outside yourself you are embracing not the absolute Law but some inferior teaching.’ In Shintoism we are implored, ‘Do not search in distant skies for God. In man’s own heart is He found.’ And finally, in Hinduism we are told, ‘God bides hidden in the hearts of all.”“The five colors can blind, The five tones deafen, The five tastes cloy, The race, the hunt, can drive men mad And their booty leaves them no peace. Therefore the sensible man Prefers the inner to the outer eye. Tao-te Ching
Leo Tolstoy, considered one of the greatest authors of all time for his novel War and Peace, had arguably greater impact with his lesser known essay entitled The Kingdom of God is Within You, which had profound influence on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. In this essay he argued against conformity, submission and selfishness, and advocated a life of purpose;
“Let a man only understand his life as Christianity teaches him to understand it, let him understand, that is, that his life belongs not to him–not to his own individuality, nor to his family, nor to the state–but to him who has sent him into the world, and let him once understand that he must therefore fulfill not the law of his own individuality, nor his family, nor of the state, but the infinite law of him from whom he has come….”
Martin Luther changed the course of Western civilization by proclaiming that faith was given by God and unmediated by the church. According to Joan Borysenko in her book The Soul’s Compass;
“The Protestant Reformation …set the stage for the emerging of modern democracy by transferring power from corrupt external authorities to the individual conscience…St. Ignatius of Loyola, which remained in the Catholic fold, offered his spiritual exercises as a way to attune the individual soul – the seat of inner authority – to universal or divine will.”