Thursday, February 25, 2010

Remembering George Harrison

Today is the birthday of George Harrison, born February 25, 1943 in Wavertree, Liverpool (England), died November 29, 2001 in Los Angeles, California. Besides being an innovative guitarist and songwriter with the Beatles, he was a huge influence on my life as a young teenager. 

In the mid-1960's, he grew disillusioned with fame and wealth, and began looking for deeper meaning in life. This search led him, first to Indian music through his teacher and mentor, Ravi Shankar, then to yoga through the writings of Swami Vishnu-Devananda, and eventually to Transcendental Meditation through Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

It was at about this time that I became a very intense Beatles fan. When I read about TM and their experiences with Maharishi, I was not just interested, but felt compelled to learn meditation. I tried on my own for a while, then I bought Maharishi's book, The Science of Being and the Art of Living hoping he would explain how to do it. He didn't. You had to find a teacher for that. 

A few years later, I was a Freshman at the University of Kansas, and in February of 1973, almost 37 years ago to the day, I was given my mantra and initiated into the practice of TM. That opened the way to yoga, other meditation practices, and eventually led me on an introspective path to where I am today.

So thank you, George (and John, Paul, and Ringo) for being there to lead the way.
We were talking -
about the space between us all.
And the people -
who hide themselves behind a wall
of illusion.
Never glimpse the truth.
Then it's far too late,
when they pass away.
We were talking -
about the love we all could share.
When we find it - 
to try our best to hold it there.
With our love
we could save the world.
If they only knew. 
Try to realize it's all within yourself
no one else can make you change.
And to see you're really only very small,
and life flows on within you and without you.
We were talking - 
about the love that's gone so cold.
And the people -
who gain the world and lose their soul.
They don't know, 
they can't see.
Are you one of them?
When you've seen beyond yourself
then you may find peace of mind
is waiting there.
And the time will come
when you see we're all one
and life flows on within you and without you. ~ George Harrison, Within You Without You, 1967.

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