John Lennon reaches Across the Universe…

Lennon once said that he likes the lyrics of “Across the Universe” perhaps the best of all the songs he wrote with The Beatles.

“When you’ve seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there.” – George Harrison

John and Yoko (image courtesy Vanity Fair)

John and Yoko (image courtesy Vanity Fair)

Recent news reports have noted that the best selling book at Amazon is currently George Orwell’s classic novel of dystopian horror, 1984. Given our national circumstances, I suppose this could be seen as a positive, an effort on the part of at least some of the populace to educate themselves, even if a significant number of others in the populace (including me) wish that this sudden urge toward historical and cultural literacy had occurred before a certain November event.

Such, such is life, as the poet says. We seem only to want to listen to our poets and sages in times of distress.

There are some who, in the face of what certainly feels like imminent disaster, keep telling us that, to quote the mystic, “All shall be well.” It is difficult to the level of impossibility, however, to emulate the purity and power of a Julian of Norwich’s faith which is roughly the level of faith needed these days.  What are we of little faith to do?

Well, we can listen to “Across the Universe.”

Lennon once said that he likes the lyrics of “Across the Universe” perhaps the best of all the songs he wrote with The Beatles. As I have noted in a recent piece about “the smart Beatle,” Lennon’s work is always searching:

“In My Life,” “Nowhere Man,” Strawberry Fields,” “All You Need is Love,” “Revolution,” “Come Together,” “Instant Karma” – these are the works of a man looking backward, looking forward, looking inward, looking outward, looking for answers, looking for the truth.

“Across the Universe” might be the song in which John looks outward the furthest. While its genesis might have been a marital quarrel, Lennon found himself the conduit of something greater, and the song became the act of an artist channeling the cosmos:

I was lying next to my first wife in bed, you know, and I was irritated, and I was thinking. She must have been going on and on about something and she’d gone to sleep and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream. I went downstairs and it turned into a sort of cosmic song rather than an irritated song, rather than a “Why are you always mouthing off at me?” [The words] were purely inspirational and were given to me as boom! I don’t own it you know; it came through like that.

As we struggle to come to terms with the myriad, confusing changes occurring in our country and the world, there’s much comfort in Lennon’s words:

“Across The Universe”

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me

Jai guru deva om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a restless wind
Inside a letter box they
Tumble blindly as they make their way
Across the universe

Jai guru deva om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Sounds of laughter shades of life are ringing
Through my open ears inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
And calls me on and on across the universe

Jai guru deva om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva…

Perhaps we shouldn’t wonder that some our brightest and wealthiest are planning and hoping to leave our troubled world behind for another, hopefully better, world. But how many among us will qualify physically, psychologically, financially to participate in such an undertaking?

Thankfully, we have John to reassure us that physically traveling is not necessary.

3 comments on “John Lennon reaches Across the Universe…

  1. Everyone gets the second line wrong! It’s not: “they slither while they pass they slip away”. It’s actually: “they SLITHER WILDLY as they slip away”.

    It’s a much better lyric and displays John’s talent for imagery.

  2. Pingback: John Lennon reaches Across the Universe… | Progressive Culture | Scholars & Rogues | McCartney Times

  3. Hi there –

    Ran across your site and am just really reading some posts…

    Loved this one. Remember how they beamed this song toward Polaris?
    The lyrics really are cosmic and timeless.
    Oh, and “In My Life” is my very favorite Beatles song…

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