Soulful Imaginings

Beatles-Liverpool-Getintothis-GIT-Award4In looking forward to next Wednesday’s Beatles-themed Soulful Sundown, I became curious about the spiritual/religious viewpoints of the Fab Four.

It was interesting to learn that John Lennon was a choirboy, and first met Paul McCartney at a church function.  But by the height of their fame in 1965, all four Beatles professed to be atheists.

Yet while filming “Help!” in that same year, their discovery of Indian classical music set George Harrison on a life-long Hindu devotional quest.  And all four Beatles enthusiastically (though temporarily) adopted Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation, which (certainly coupled with hallucinogens) re-opened them to spiritual questions—and unquestionably influenced their music and lyrics.  For instance, 1966’s Tomorrow Never Knows includes these lines:

Turn off your mind, relax
and float down stream
It is not dying
It is not dying

Lay down all thought
Surrender to the void
It is shining
It is shining

That you may see
The meaning of within
It is being
It is being

That love is all
And love is everyone
It is knowing
It is knowing 

Mighty spiritual stuff… as are these lyrics from 1968’s, Within You, Without You:

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

Eventually their experiences brought each Beatle to publicly claim the spiritual aspect of their lives.  George wrote, “I want to find God.  I’m not interested in material things, this world, fame – I’m going for the real goal.”  John stated in 1980 that, “I’m a most religious fellow …I was brought up a Christian, and I only now understand some of the things that Christ was saying in those parables.”  Ringo said, “For me, God is in my life.  I don’t hide from that.”  In the 1990s, Paul declared that, “I’m not religious, but I’m very spiritual,” and his 2001 song “Freedom” speaks of freedom as “a right given by God.”

And of course in 1971 as a solo artist, John Lennon released his iconic “spiritual but not religious” anthem, “Imagine.”

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people

Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

And I hope you’ll join us next Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in Ross Chapel as we open our minds, refresh our spirits, and imagine a more loving world… via the Beatles.


-Peter Farriday, Intern Minister

This entry was posted in God, Interns, Mindfulness, Music, Prayer, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Soulful Imaginings

  1. Yes, absolutely; and bless those guys. Last week, in Manhattan, I stood across the street from The Dakota, for a long time, and just in the presence of 1/4th of the Beatles, felt a strong surge of and inclination toward love and spirit. I also felt a strong inclination to duck, inasmuch as everybody and their Grandmaw is armed to the teeth in this country, but that’s another story.

    The story here is Love. Start from that … there’s always a really GOOD Day’s Night coming.

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