Speaking Words of WisdomFebruary 20th, 2009 at 12:56
Popular music has been the soundtrack of my life. My brother and I played our favorite records of the moment over and over again. The radio was always playing in the car. In the words of Paul Simon or Motown there was much wisdom of life lessons that we heard over and over again, in the background, hypnotically at times slipping into the depths of our subconscious mind.
Nowhere do I recall this wisdom more than in the words of the Beatles. For many of my generation they were our musical “gurus”, constantly giving us a new bit of profound insight about the world and our human condition. Some examples I recall…
* Life goes on within and without you – A reminder that we are always growing and changing with a caution to not be too self-focused.
* There will be an answer… let it be – There is wisdom in the world if you can let go of fear and grief and be witness to grace.
* Oh that magic feeling… nowhere to go – This one has always haunted me. How can having nowhere to go be a magic feeling? Is it somehow that strength you find within when hope seems to be gone. I recall the Police’s song “Material Sun” and the lyric, There has to be an invisible sun… It gives its heat to everyone… There has to be an invisible sun… That gives us hope when the whole day’s done
* One sweet dream… came true today – Wake up every morning with the expectation of miracles, subtle or otherwise.
* Baby you can drive my car… yes I’m going to be star… and maybe I love you – Watch out for people who will dazzle and exploit you.
* And though she tried her best to help me, she could steal but she could not rob – This apparent contradiction always seemed so metaphorically complicated. Wrestling with the idea of how we can diminish each other (steal) without either party even realizing it (which would be more of a robbery.)
* Will I wait a lonely lifetime? If you want me to I will – A powerful statement of undying love and devotion. I used to sing this song (“I Will”) every night to my son when he was little, referring to it as “His song”.
* I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in to stop my mind from wandering where it will go – Challenging cause and effect and the linearity of things. Reminding us to focus on the moment and the profundity of even mundane tasks.
* You tell me it’s the institution… well you know… you better free your mind instead – Reminding us the revolution begins within and reinforcing Ghandi’s “Be the change you want to see”.
* I am the egg man… we are the egg men… I am the Walrus… koo koo ka choo – Keeping a healthy sense of the absurd.
* Expert textpert choking smokers, don’t you think the joker laughs at you? – Don’t be intimidated by smug know it alls.
* Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away… now it looks as though they’re here to stay… oh I believe in yesterday – Endlessly covered by other performers and maybe sung to the point of cliché, still that longing for lost innocence as we face the complications of the world.
* Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see – Challenging the path of least resistance, we need to keep our mind’s eye (and our mind’s “I”) open.
* I used to get mad at my school (no I can’t complain)… the teachers that taught me weren’t cool (no I can’t complain)… you’re holding me down… turning me round… filling me up with your rules… I got to admit its getting better – Wrestling with charting your own course within a milieu of convention and institutional thinking.
* I get by with a little help from my friends… I get high with a little help from my friends… I’m going to try with a little help from my friends – We are here to help each other with our growth and evolution.
* The Ukraine girls really knock me out… they leave the west behind – Challenging us not to lose our sense of perspective and humor even in the dread of the cold war, for bottom line, its all about love no matter who you are.
* All you need is love… love is all you need – A powerful mantra for any situation. When is this simple bit of advice not appropriate or actually comprehensive?
* I want to tell her I love her a lot, but I got to get a belly full of wine – A loving reminder of our human strivings and weaknesses.
* No one will be watching us… why don’t we do it in the road – Whether I took this as an in your face sexual request or a more metaphorical one, I found a strong call for liberation in this lyric.
* Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream – Providing a gateway for a kid raised in the secular, scientific university town world view to another paradigm of meditation, metaphysics and inward exploration.
* When your prize possession starts to weigh you down… look in my direction… I’ll be round – Critiquing materialism and making the case for relationship instead.
* It’s been a long, long, long time… how could I ever have lost you when I loved you? – Capturing that profound sense of loss that we all feel at times.
* Somewhere in her smile she knows that I don’t need no other lover – For a shy kid who had not even really kissed a girl on the lips, it held out the promise of the best of an intimate relationship, that I could at least fantasize about and make manifest years later.