Thursday, 12 November 2015

Meditation and the Beatles

If meditation seems to be the cause of difficulty, it is also the solution

A historical example

I grew up with the Beatles, literally. I was 11 when it started, and 19 when it was all over. They were the sound track of the times, the Sixties. It’s impossible to summarise here the changes that took place, but it has all been well documented. What we are interested in is the shift in consciousness that took place then. Because that was what lead to all the accompanying psychological, social, political and spiritual changes. 

In the West, there was a spiritual vacuum. Christianity was in decline as the all-embracing spiritual guideline it had been until then. And until that time there was no 'Eastern' philosophy, no yoga or meditation, no ashrams. And no understanding of energy, ecology, conservation or karma, etc. All that rushed in to fill the vacuum. Of course that didn’t make everything all right, but it was an optimistic time and change was in the air, so it seemed that way at first. No-one realised yet that it was going to take earnestness, application and consistency to get meaningful results.

The Beatles did not create this change of course. They understood that, even as they knew they were a measure of it. They rode the crest of the wave of the time, reflected it and gave it a voice and a soundtrack. 

The Beatles as spiritual seekers

And, they were spiritual seekers. If it had a basis in a shift of consciousness, they were also in some measure a catalyst for it too. Their music reflected this - and because at first they were beginners, the same as everyone else - they were edging their way toward it and what they were saying was almost universally acceptable… at first…

Then they got serious about it. And they followed their spiritual path in the public eye, and took it seriously enough eventually to find and follow a spiritual master and then go to an ashram in India for a time of sadhana, meditation practice, and retreat. And by all accounts they did a lot of meditation practice for an extended period of time. Anyone who has ever done anything like that - a week, a month or more - will tell you this is not trivial stuff. 

And it divided opinion; it still does. At the time many commentators were in shock over this strange behaviour - the meditation shit and gurus and ashrams. Beatles had lost their marbles. And many later historical commentators still take a similar view in that it was the main blot on their unblemished record as 'artists', their later falling out notwithstanding.