The One Song That Defines My Spiritual Philosophy and Offers Me A Way Forward “In Times of Trouble…”

As I travel along my own spiritual highway, there are so many places I find inspiration and meaning…books, podcasts, videos, docs, movies, blogs, Ted Talks, people I meet, etc.

I spend time everyday discovering. Everyday.

Music is in my blood though. Always has been. Can never get enough. Really any kind. It makes me laugh when I need to, makes me cry when I am feeling like I need a good one and makes my heart pump when I hear something that moves me.

There is a song, an old song, that has always hit a nerve with me. Well before I set out on this intensive journey of self discovery, it always spoke to me.

So I studied the song more intensely. And then I realized why it always hit me so hard.. And it all made sense.

Here’s the song.

I literally get choked up every time I hear it. It’s beautiful. Simple yet so powerful. Stops me in my tracks every time.

But what does it really mean? And why does it resonate so much with me? Here is Sir Paul in his own words describing the song:

“I was going through a really difficult time around the autumn of 1968. It was late in the Beatles’ career and we had begun making a new album, a follow-up to the “White Album.” As a group we were starting to have problems. I think I was sensing the Beatles were breaking up, so I was staying up late at night, drinking, doing drugs, clubbing, the way a lot of people were at the time. I was really living and playing hard.

So, I was exhausted! Some nights I’d go to bed and my head would just flop on the pillow; and when I’d wake up I’d have difficulty pulling it off, thinking, “Good job I woke up just then or I might have suffocated.”

Then one night, somewhere between deep sleep and insomnia, I had the most comforting dream about my mother, who died when I was only 14. She had been a nurse, my mum, and very hardworking, because she wanted the best for us. We weren’t a well-off family- we didn’t have a car, we just about had a television – so both of my parents went out to work, and Mum contributed a good half to the family income. At night when she came home, she would cook, so we didn’t have a lot of time with each other. But she was just a very comforting presence in my life. And when she died, one of the difficulties I had, as the years went by, was that I couldn’t recall her face so easily. That’s how it is for everyone, I think. As each day goes by, you just can’t bring their face into your mind, you have to use photographs and reminders like that.

So in this dream twelve years later, my mother appeared, and there was her face, completely clear, particularly her eyes, and she said to me very gently, very reassuringly: “Let it be.”

It was lovely. I woke up with a great feeling. It was really like she had visited me at this very difficult point in my life and gave me this message: Be gentle, don’t fight things, just try and go with the flow and it will all work out.

So, being a musician, I went right over to the piano and started writing a song: “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me”… Mary was my mother’s name… “Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. There will be an answer, let it be.” It didn’t take long. I wrote the main body of it in one go, and then the subsequent verses developed from there: “When all the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be.”

I thought it was special, so I played it to the guys and ’round a lot of people, and later it also became the title of the album, because it had so much value to me, and because it just seemed definitive, those three little syllables. Plus, when something happens like that, as if by magic, I think it has a resonance that other people notice too.

Not very long after the dream, I got together with Linda, which was the saving of me. And it was as if my mum had sent her, you could say.

These days, the song has become almost like a hymn. We sang it at Linda’s memorial service. And after September 11 the radio played it a lot, which made it the obvious choice for me to sing when I did the benefit concert in New York City. Even before September 11th, people used to lean out of cars and trucks and say, “Yo, Paul, let it be.”

So those words are really very special to me, because not only did my mum come to me in a dream and reassure me with them at a very difficult time in my life – and sure enough, things did get better after that – but also, in putting them into a song, and recording it with the Beatles, it became a comforting, healing statement for other people too.”

– Paul McCartney

It’s really how I live my life these days. I don’t force things anymore. I trust the Universe (or whatever your particular faith is) and simply surrender and accept that there is a grander plan and everything will work out ok. Don’t stress. Don’t fear. Let the little stuff go. Enjoy this gift of life we have all been given. See the beauty around us all day, everyday. Simply, “Let It Be.”

“Be gentle, don’t fight things, just try and go with the flow and it will all work out.”  – PM

A great way to live everyday. Especially these days when there is so much pain, suffering and strife all around us. Maybe it’s a simple message of faith, spirituality and trust in our beliefs that ultimately sets us free from our struggles. Simply, “Let it be.”

And so on this Thanksgiving, my hope for you, your family and your community is that whatever you are struggling with, whatever pains you, whatever challenges you are confronting in your own world, that you can let go of those things, those attachments, the things that stand in the way of you realizing true happiness in your life. And that you find comfort and peace by doing so. Even if it’s just while listening to this song. Perhaps that can be the start of a new practice of acceptance, kindness and forgiveness of yourself.

It starts there.

Thanks Sir Paul, Ringo, and the late great George and John for this gift.

On this Thanksgiving, namaste,


Note: Credit to MattAndJojang’s Blog for providing the Paul quotes.

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