Life Takes Its “Tolle” – part 2 of 3

Walls by Peter Bloom Band

Today I will compare my song, Walls, to some key concepts in Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth. Walls seems to summarize much of the current human condition as Tolle sees it. It is the story of a soldier who is at first overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of nature – the magnificent land, sea, and sky that abound around him (“…the world awaits – a work of art no hand can trace… she’ll steal your every thought”). But as a physical being in a world of form and ego, his all-too-brief moment of wonderment, awareness, or “presence” is halted (“the moment skips, and slowly slips away”). He wonders why he can never fully feel a part of this greater “being” (“too far is as close as I can be… king of all imperfect harmony”).

The chorus’ first half which repeats throughout the song touches upon what I would argue is one of the essential dilemmas we grapple with as human beings – the desire to show the world who we truly are, and yet somehow never being able to do so satisfactorily (“These walls keep something inside of me… I want all the world to know… but I can’t seem to let it show”). The “walls” are in a sense the “form” – the physical and temporal, with which our mind (ego) identifies. The soldier feels that there is more to this life than what he sees and hears. But managing to verbalize that truth, and to “shine that inner light” is far easier said than done (“… another bird without a song… every word I write is wrong… all alone and tongue-tied to a tree… while its shadow hides the light you’ll never see”). The shadow of the tree (form / ego) is preventing the inner light from shining through.

Tolle uses various quotations from diverse spiritual leaders, such as Buddha and Jesus, to illustrate the common truth that is core to all of these belief systems – that we are all a part of a greater Being. He goes on to say that the trouble with subscribing rigidly to a particular belief system (religion) is that it is still at its essence a construct of the mind (ego/form). It’s what one believes or thinks – and therefore limits access to the greater truth of the universal intelligence or consciousness that is not bound by mind-imposed identifiers. As history has so often shown, aligning ourselves to rigid belief systems has been (and continues to be) the root cause of, or at least a contributing factor to, innumerable cases of violence and atrocities among people.

The second verse of Walls speaks to that issue. The soldier realizes that beyond religious belief systems, which have so often been corrupted and manipulated for earthly (ego) gain (“Choose your cross, the life you want… the truth lost… the liars won… ), there lies the simple truth about the essence of our origins and our nature. Each of us is an energy that manifests for an indeterminate amount of time, then dissolves back into energy, to once again manifest and dissolve, and so on and so forth ad infinitum (“… no one knows the limit… we’re in it till we’re gone… and then we go back to whence we came… soul path leads once again to on and on… ”). And sadly, until we are fully aware and acceptant of this truth, we as physical entities will never quite feel as though we are where we should be (“… we need to belong… forevermore a beggar for a home”).

The second half of the second verse seems to mirror the core lesson of Tolle’s A New Earth. He argues that until we learn how to truly live fully in the present moment, without being weighted down either by nostalgia or regrets of an unalterable past, or by the worries and anxieties of an uncertain future, we will never be fulfilled at our core. In fact, our very existence will seem to have little or no true meaning or purpose. Until the global “awakening” to the NOW, this will continue to be the fate of the vast majority of people. (“… A lonely wave bound for shore… all around a million more come and go… and no one knows we’ve been… life’s a riddle… how little now can mean”).

There is both a musical and lyrical intensity change in the bridge section of Walls. We get glimpses of a tumultuous physical situation unfolding. First, “… sand falls from the metal of a shovel”. This could be interpreted as either a trench or grave being dug. Next, a “… man calls for a battle with the Devil… all right boys, don’t miss your calling.” Is this the ultimate battle of “Good vs. Evil”? Is that our true purpose? What is “Good”? What is “Evil”? Apart from the literal meaning of the battle scene that is unfolding, the “loud noise of missiles falling” represents the chaotic sense of confusion, as the world seems to be crumbling around us. The soldier is panicked and desperate for help or “salvation” (“… I can’t breathe and I’m reaching for someone… Jesus, please – it’s me and I’m coming up for air… there’s no one there”).

The second half of the third chorus not only makes reference to the fact that the soldier has died, but also illustrates the cycle of life, as “a flower laid on lime above” his grave is “a final fading sign of love,” that “will find a way to play a part again.” He will, as will the flower, be physically absorbed into the earth. His energy or spirit will then manifest itself in a new form of physical life, and so on. The lines “too much time – it never came to me… too much time forever is plain to see” indicate both that the soldier feels he did not get enough time in this life, and also that the Truth never came to him… until now. Therefore “forever’ is indeed plain to see. At the moment of his death, he finally understands, or at least fully experiences, the infinite nature of Being. And so he comforts himself (and the listener) by stating, “you’ll never die if you never close your eyes… no goodbyes.” This could be interpreted as simple denial, but is better understood in the metaphoric sense that, as long as we remain “awake”, or “aware”, or “present” in the moment – connected with the infinite nature of Being – we will never truly die. Our body will, but our energy (spirit, soul) will not.

The soldier then refers one last time to the “walls” that keep something inside of him. This can be understood as the literal walls of his grave, and also as the physical (ego) barrier that had hereto prevented him from finding fulfillment. But in the end, he has indeed managed to do so, and he says to himself and to us all, “So now you know.” The Truth is known. And the Truth, as Tolle might say, is NOW.

Please check out part 3 of This Life Takes Its “Tolle”, which will illustrate how my song, A Little More Love, touches upon what Tolle believes one can do… NOW… to nurture one’s spiritual awakening. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Please share it with others. Peace.


Tags: , , , , , ,

17 / April / 2008  English, Thoughts   

Leave a comment


Required, hidden

Trackback  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed