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Despite his stardom with the Beatles, or maybe because of it, George Harrison had an ongoing search for meaning – the meaning of life and of death, and he yearned for a long time for an encounter with someone with the answers.

“I get confused when I look around at the world,” said Harrison during his last public performance before he died in 2001, “and I see everybody is running around and, as Bob Dylan said, ‘He not busy being born is busy dying’, and yet nobody is trying to figure out what’s the cause of death and what happens when you die. That to me is the only thing really that’s of any importance. The rest is all secondary.”

Harrison thought that perhaps no one wanted to talk about what happens after death because no one understood it, but he believed in a ‘knock and the door will be opened’ philosophy. If you want to know anything in this life, he said, you just have to knock on the door.

He acknowledged, however, that getting to the truth was no easy task, and that there is a lot of noise one must get past to find answers. “We’re being barraged by bullshit,” said Harrison. “The answer is how to get peace of mind and how to be happy. That’s really what we’re supposed to be here for. The difficult thing is that we all go through our lives and through our days and we don’t experience bliss. It’s a very subtle thing to experience that and to be able to know how to do that. It’s something you don’t just stumble across; you’ve got to search for it.”

Performance with the Beatles was happy at times, Harrison acknowledges, but that’s not the kind of bliss he was talking about: “where every atom of your body is just buzzing because it’s beyond the mind. [Bliss is experienced] when there’s no thought involved. It’s a really tricky thing to try to get to that stage because it means controlling the mind and being able to transcend the relative states of consciousness.”

See George Harrison’s last, and unexpected performance, here.

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