21 August 2017

Taking Spiritual Cues from George Harrison

During a trip to North India in 1968, The Beatles stayed at an ashram beside the river Ganges where they learnt transcendental meditation and wrote most of the White Album. It was one of their most concentrated spells of songwriting but the impact on each of the Fab Four had varying levels of longevity. Ringo Starr left after about 10 days, complaining about the food; Paul McCartney left a month later (but still continues to meditate daily) and John Lennon and George Harrison eventually quit as they needed to return home. George's spiritual journey continued until his untimely death, with his reference points and the sitar-heavy sound of a lot of his solo work evidencing that with crystal clarity. Here are ten tips from the man himself, as taken from this interview, on what spirituality meant to him and how to be Zen.

“With drugs, you are still on the relative level. Just waiting and dreaming – all this is relative, only on this grosser level. Whereas when you meditate, it is all on a subtler level.”

“Your actions – whatever they are – are your actions. It’s all about your attitude towards other people. If you treat them good, they’ll do the same; if you hit them in the face, they’ll probably do the same thing.”

“What you focus on is what you hold in your consciousness. And so that is what you feel, and that is what you are.”

“You don’t feel like you have more knowledge or anything. You might, but it doesn’t feel that way exactly. You just feel more energetic. You just come out of it and it’s been refreshing.”

 “Each individual life state has its own rhythm. So they give you a word or sound – mantra – and by using this, the whole idea is to transcend to the subtlest level of thought."

“It [the word “God”] means all kinds of things to me – the first context was 'a man in the stars'. And I’ve gone back to it now.”

"Just as cinematic images appear to be real but are only combinations of light and shade, so is the universal variety a delusion.”

“… the mantra becomes more subtle and more subtle until finally you transcend even the mantra. Then you find yourself at this level of pure consciousness.”

“The energy is latently there every day, so meditation is just a natural process of contacting it. So by doing it each day you give yourself a chance of contacting this energy and giving it to yourself a little more.”

“It’s difficult to tell anyone what is happening because the teaching is based on the individual experience.”