“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.” 10 Great Quotes on Life from John Lennon
Lessons from a Rock and Roll Spiritual Seeker
John Lennon may have had more in common with the great thinkers of any age than with other songwriters who were his contemporaries. Certainty he was first in a cadre of rock stars who used their celebrity as a force for good, paving the way for Bono and Bob Geldof by decades.
He found his way out of a turbulent life and troubled, working-class childhood and grew into different roles – from Rock Star, peace advocate, social activist, women’s rights advocate, and managed to fashion a philosophy that elevated the human spirit and encouraged people to work, individually and collectively, toward a better world. Like Socrates, Lennon wanted to stimulate people to think for themselves. “There ain’t no guru who can see through your eyes,” he sings in “I Found Out.”
Lennon said he knew he was ‘different,’ even as a child, sometimes feeling lost and bewildered by it. “I was different from the others. I was different all my life. Therefore, I must be crazy or a genius. There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things other people didn’t see. I was always so psychic or intuitive or poetic or whatever you want to call it, that I was always seeing things in a hallucinatory way.”
Throughout his short life, Lennon fought many existential battles with himself and whatever he thought of as God. To interpret Lennon’s spiritual hunger, Lennon searched for and sang about the truth, discarding religious indoctrination and accepted norms when they proved unhelpful.
In 1966 Lennon was famously quoted as saying that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. The quote sparked outrage in both the US and the UK, but the real problem with what Lennon said was that there was an element of truth in what he said. The Beatles WERE more popular (meant more) than Jesus himself for youth in England and America at that time- as do television, video games and many other things of this world to many people today.
Lennon’s personal spiritual journey was a public one; from his experimentation with drugs; his encounters with the Maharishi; to his undertaking of primal scream therapy, which helped to grow a number of self help/spiritual fads that mirrored the shifting moods of more than one generation. In fact, The Beatles 1968 visit to India to learn Transcendental Meditation at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is credited by some as the first change in attitudes in the West about Indian spirituality. Amidst widespread media attention, their stay at the ashram was one of the band’s most productive periods.
John Lennon was a man who both reflected his times and influenced them. He did his searching right out in the open. And if anything, he was probably too honest about both his doubts and his beliefs for his time. ”Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people, living for today,” said Lennon, in the anthem that for many defined his life. “Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.”
Ironically, Mark David Chapman, who shot Lennon in 1980, said that he had become obsessed with the political messages in Lennon’s music. He was incensed by Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” remark and stated he was further enraged by “God”, and “Imagine.”
Toward the end of his short life, Lennon referred to himself a “Zen Christian.” He left us with a great legacy of self-examination and spiritual philosophy.
(photo credit: Infamous last photo of Lennon taken by Annie Leibovitz hours before his death.)
10 Great Quotes from John Lennon:
1) You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are.
2) If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.
3) A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
4) Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.
5) I can’t wake you up. You can wake you up. I can’t cure you. You can cure you.
6) Life is what happens while you are making other plans.
7) God is a concept by which we measure our pain.
8) Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.
9) If someone thinks that love and peace are a cliché that were left behind in the 60’s, that’s his problem. Love and Peace are eternal.
10) We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant….you’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.
Which one is your favorite? Tell us below!