Within You Without You

Have you ever had one of those moments? You know, the kind of moment where everything comes into focus.

With that clarity, it is possible to see your scenario through different eyes, as if a divine shroud, or “wall of illusion,” temporarily thins. I have had several such instances in my life, and I always take notice as I perceive these glimpses as a gift. The whole performance makes sense — just for that moment.

While I was recently sitting in the construction traffic, southbound on the 40 from Park City, I had one of these moments. A cover of George Harrison’s masterwork, Within You Without You [from the Beatles’ 1967 release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] by Big Head Todd and The Monsters came on the radio via the satellite airwaves. Within You Without You is a tune I have known since adolescence as the original recording. George has always been my favorite Beatle. I have come to appreciate his secular observations and criticisms as I have grown in age, experience, and (dare I say it) maturity. Hearing the song as a cover was a different experience. As I listened to a composition that I could lyrically recite from memory for the first time, in a glimpse of a moment, the words meant something different from what I had previously known them to be.

George spent the fall of 1966 hanging out in India with master sitarist Ravi Shankar. His original intent was to become more familiar with the instrument and reassess the international fame the Beatles had encountered after their third US tour. However, during his stay, George became entranced by ancient Hindu philosophy and the teachings of the Vidas. Leading up to this visit, George openly struggled with Western secularism and the relentless pursuit of status and material acquisitions. While he became more skilled with the sitar over the endurance of his stay, his more meaningful takeaway was a spiritual awakening.

Upon George’s return to England, he embraced this change of heart and actively adopted a lifestyle aligned with many Hindu teachings. Within You Without You became a personal declaration of his change in philosophy and his music began to reflect this ideology from that point forward.

Within You Without You introduces a Western audience to the concept that enlightenment innately exists within the individual. George encourages humankind to look within ‘the self’ [within you] while simultaneously removing the self-perception of ego identity [without you]. The obstacle is that we are conditioned from birth to accept secular programming, which, by in large, blinds us from the fact that we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience.

“Try to realize it’s all within yourself; no one else can make you change

And to see you’re really only very small

And life flows on within you and without you.”

One builds ego by stacking earthly gains and labels, then wrapping those assets with a coat of self-interest. The soul, or true self, is generally at peace and stable, while the ego is subject to constant fluctuation as the winds of the world shift. Constructing an ego as an identity is the way of the world. Others will judge you based on your productivity as measured by material wealth and success. However, constructing an identity on a fluctuating ego is like building a home on a foundation of sand. The true self will never be at peace with this strategy. Once construction becomes complete, it is horrifying for most to tear a home down to its foundation, relocate, and rebuild.

“We were talking

About the love that’s gone so cold

And the people

Who gain the world and lose their soul.

They don’t know, they can’t see.”

It is evident how small we are when an individual can suppress their ego. In the grand scheme, most of us retain little to no influence. Secularism is a hollow pursuit as there is ‘always a bigger fish.’ Hence, one can “gain the world and lose their soul,” chasing all desirable things as prescribed by the world.

A constant in our Earthly existence is that one can only be accountable for the actions of their self. One individual imposing their belief system on another is an act of aggression. One cannot be aggressive and at peace simultaneously as one action contradicts the other. The contemporary Indian Sage Papaji stated:

“If there is peace in your mind you will find peace with everybody. If your mind is agitated you will find agitation everywhere. So first find peace within and you will see this inner peace reflected everywhere else. You are this peace. You are happiness, find out. Where else will you find peace if not within you?”

Every one of us is born with a unique ‘true self.’ Within each individual is the capacity to live a joyous life and find enlightenment within our unique ability to comprehend such a status. Young children are delightful because they live authentically before being imbued with secular philosophy. The soul recognizes authenticity — but is often unable to consciously place the ‘why’ because of the “space between us all” and the “love that’s gone so cold.” When struggling with a person’s behavior, I often try to imagine them as their ‘kindergarten self.’ This tactic allows me to observe them and their actions more patiently by removing their self-constructed identity and trying to see them as their true selves. Try it — it works!

“When you’ve seen beyond yourself then you may find

Peace of mind is waiting there

And the time will come when you see we’re all one

And life flows on within you and without you.”

Worldly mindsets seek endless busyness, distraction, and futility that rift the gateway to the true spiritual self. If left unchecked, the material world will consume all of your energy and provide sufficient distractions to eliminate one’s ability to commune with your inner self. One must forsake, or at the very least, compartmentalize the requirement to be in the world if the goal is to unlock what is “within you.”

Western mindfulness practices introduce meditation as a non-spiritual approach to emotional management, stress reduction, and mental focus. The goal of Hindu mindfulness is to use focus and meditation to attain a mystical state — the mind’s total absorption on the inner self. Asceticism, or restraint in consumption and simplicity in living, mediates the ego, while spiritually targeted mindfulness creates a path to understanding and accepting your true identity. A Hindu follower seeks Moksha (spiritual liberation) and self-realization through Karma Yoga (the path of action and good deeds), Bhakti Yoga (the path of devotion to God), and Jnana Yoga (the path of knowledge and wisdom) and, in some teachings Raja Yoga (mental discipline and meditation). The Katha Upanishad states:

When the five senses and the mind are still, and the reasoning intellect rests in silence, then begins the highest path.

Acknowledging a higher power is critical when exploring a life “without you.” What could be more ego-driven than the thought that there is nothing more extraordinary in the world than my self-construct? In nearly every global denomination, love is Godliness. Love cannot exist without humility.

“We were talking

About the love we all could share

When we find it

To try our best to hold it there.”

I recognize that for a community magazine in a small Utah town — this may be a ‘far out’ stream of thought as one sits listening to the radio in road construction traffic. Our editorial voice aims to promote positivity and preserve the historical identity of the Heber Valley. The founders of this community were religious people. Studying world religions will find many common threads in thought, principle, and action. Many of these concepts made me who I am today. If I am perfectly candid: I was once a wounded soul and occasionally I feel obligated to share the secret to my recovery.

I can break this all down to contemporary language and standards. Simply put, make the Heber Valley a better place in 2023 by embracing these five principles: 1) You are responsible for your happiness, 2) You are not that cool, 3) Unplug, 4) Chill out, and last — but not least, 5) Avoid selfishness.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and start to 2023!

I humbly bow
to the divine
in you.

Thank you for
supporting Heber Vally Life magazine and our Positive Community Voice.