Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 013
Tues, Jan 29, 2013

“Within You, Without You”
The Beatles


“♫ When
you’ve seen
beyond yourself/
then you may
find peace of
mind is waiting

I experienced one of those panic attacks last night in bed, my acid reflux made it actually felt like I was having a heart attack. What finally calmed me down was doing some meditative breathing, turning off my mind, relaxing while floating down stream to the sounds of George Harrison’s sitar strands of Sgt Pepper’s “Within You, Without You.” After clearing my head with a few breaths, I finally went to sleep. When I woke up I had a moment of clarity realizing, I needed to start Yoga and being my day meditating every day.

I hate to admit it but for years, “Within You” was a song I would normally skip when listening to Sgt. Pepper’s; And let me tell you by not hearing one of Harrison’s more memorable songs I was only getting half the glory of The Lonely Hearts Club Band experience. George discussed the genesis of his often overlooked Sgt. Pepper song when he wrote in his book I Me Mine, ““Within You, Without You” was written after I had got into meditation. We had entered into the All You Need is Love consciousness after the LSD period. The song was written at Klaus Voormann’s house in Hampstead, London, one night, after dinner. I was playing a pedal harmonium in the house, when the song came to me. The tune came first, then the first sentence…we were talking…I finished the words later.”

I couldn’t imagine The Lonely Hearts Club Band sans “Within You, Without You.” John Lennon honored George’s mystical contribution to Sgt. Peppers when he said, “One of George’s best songs. One of my favorites of his, too. He’s clear on that song. His mind and his music are clear. There is his innate talent; he brought that sound together.”

Harrison, himself, praised inspiration and credit to Ravi Shankar for his influence on “Without You,” when he said, “[“Within You”] was during the Sgt Pepper period, and after I had been taking sitar lessons with Ravi Shankar for some time, so I was getting a bit better on the instrument. The best part of it for me is the instrumental solo in the middle which is in five/four time—the first of the strange rhythm cycles I caught on to.

Where ever he is, I like to think George Harrison is smiling up there because George’s goal for “Within You” was to open rock fans to the mind altering meditation like sounds of Indian music. When I started meditating this morning I heard that same instrumental sitar solo, George was so proud of composing, in my head; and I can honestly say if it wasn’t for rediscovering “Within You, Without You” I seriously wouldn’t have started meditating this morning. There’s a calmness stirring inside and I am starting to fall in love with my soothing breathing sounds. Thank you George for in that moment, as I closed my eyes I saw sunlight, India, your grinning silhouette and that’s when I understood your peaceful words, “♫ And the time will come when you see/ we’re all one and life flows on within you and without you ♫”

P.S. It’s just like Harrison to get the last laugh on “Without You” as George Martin explained, “The laugh at the very end of the track was George Harrison. He just thought it would be a good idea to out on it.” Great advice, like Harrison’s message so contagious just like inhaling the aura “Within You, Without You” and exhale in wonder resounding sweetness of one man, George Harrison cloudburst laughing.