This post is part 7 of 9 in the series Oprah’s 25 years of lessons learned.

On her final show, Oprah shared her greatest lessons and hopes for her viewers. In this series of posts, Paul high­lights ten lessons Oprah learned, along with his related and unre­lated thoughts and stories.

People often ask me, What is the secret of success of the show? How have we lasted 25 years? I non-jokingly say, ‘My team and Jesus.’ Because nothing but the hand of God has made this possible for me.… I know I’ve never been alone, and you haven’t either. And I know that that pres­ence, that flow — some people call it grace — is working in my life at every single turn. And yours too, if you let it in. It’s closer than your breath, and it is yours for the asking.

I have felt the pres­ence of God my whole life. Even when I didn’t have a name for it, I could feel the voice bigger than myself speaking to me, and all of us have that same voice. Be still and know it. You can acknowl­edge it or not. You can worship it or not. You can praise it, you can ignore it or you can know it. Know it. It’s always there speaking to you and waiting for you to hear it in every move, in every deci­sion. I wait and I listen. I’m still — I wait and listen for the guid­ance that’s greater than my meager mind.” — Oprah Winfrey, May 25, 2011

Read the complete Oprah Show finale tran­script →

Revelations in the stillness

Silence has not been a pleasant expe­ri­ence for me. Silence takes me back to child­hood trauma that happened in the quiet darkest of night. Expe­ri­ences I could not speak about.

Sitting still never existed for me. If you want to find me in our home movies, just look for the blur dancing across the screen. A churn of motion. Hyper­ac­tivity in hyper-drive. On our vaca­tions across the country, I’m in the back seat bouncing up and down. When the gas pedal was pressed, I was in bounce mode. Day or night. As if I’m one of the pistons in the car’s engine.

So sitting still, in silence, in my home, on my porch, waiting and listening is an event I couldn’t imagine. Can’t imagine to this day. And here is how I expe­ri­ence silence.

Getting out in nature. A hike up to a view. Sequoia comes to mind. There’s a trail that over­looks a breath­taking sight — the high Sierras and a glacier carved valley below. River rushing. Snow melting. Here I can sit, be still and listen, and rest up for the hike back down.

In the shower. Warm water. Glass cocoon of rain. My body speaks to me differ­ently. From a different place.

After playing the piano. The shift from active hands, ener­gized brain, expressing emotions, waves of sound. To quiet still­ness. That still small voice calls out.

Walking in a crowded side­walk along­side a busy street. San Fran­cisco, Manhattan. Diverse people so I see fewer people “like me.” The crowd takes care of my stim­u­la­tion needs so my body is calm.

On my porch. Wait just 5 para­graphs above… Sitting still on my porch. Sitting. Still. In a wicker chair. Yep, it happens. Several times a week.

If you asked me this morning about going on a silent retreat, I would reply, “I should do that. It’s recom­mended for people who are ADD. And I can’t imagine ever doing that.”

After the still­ness of writing this reflec­tion, I can reply, “I love silent retreats. I often hear, see, feel, taste, touch my world differ­ently. How can I have more of that?”