Tomorrow Never Knows (p. 209-210)
JOHN LENNON: The expression “Tomorrow Never Knows” was another of Ringo’s. I gave it a throwaway title because I was a bit self-conscious about the lyrics. So I took one of Ringo’s malapropisms, which was like “a hard day’s night”, to take the edge off the heavy philosophical lyrics.
GEORGE HARRISON: I've been wondering lately why it was supposed to be from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. It was, I think, based more upon the book by Timothy Leary called The Psychedelic Experience. The lyrics are the essence of Transcendentalism.
You can hear (and I am sure most Beatles fans have) “Tomorrow Never Knows” a lot and not know really what it is about. Basically it is saying what meditation is all about. The goal of meditation is to go beyond (that is, transcend) waking, sleeping and dreaming. So the song starts out by saying, “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream, it is not dying.”
So the song is really about transcending and about the quality of the transcendent
GEORGE HARRISON: Then it says, “Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void – it is shining. That you may see the meaning of within – it is being.” From birth to death all we ever do is think: “we have one thought, we have another thought, another thought. Even when you are asleep you are having dreams, so there is never a time from birth to death when your mind isn’t always active with thoughts. But you can turn off your mind, and go to the part which Maharishi describes as: “Where was your last thought before you thought it?”
The whole point is that we are the song. The self is coming from a state of pure awareness, from the state of being
The whole point is that we are the song. The self is coming from a state of pure awareness, from the state of being. All the rest that comes about in the outward manifestation of the physical world (including all the fluctuations which end up as thoughts and action) is just clutter. The true nature of each soul is pure consciousness. So the song is really about transcending and about the quality of the transcendent.
I am not too sure if John actually fully understood what he was saying. He knew he was onto something when he saw those words and turned them into a song. But to have experienced what the lyrics in that song are actually about? I don't know if he fully understood it.
MAHARISHI: "One should sit in meditation prepared to lose everything. When consciousness of outside objects begins to be lost one should not begin to mourn its loss. The yogi, when he starts meditation, should not try to hang on to anything. With a free mind he should go to Being and be -- awake in himself and lost to the world."
Publisher: Chronicle Books; illustrated edition edition (5 Oct 2000)