Following your inner voice: Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill

Following your inner voice: Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill

This is the first of a series of posts on changing your life, as illustrated by pop songs. Today: following your inner voice, illustrated by Peter Gabriel’s wonderful Walking up on Solsbury Hill. 

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Peter Gabriel on Youtube, Solsbury Hill with the original slow tempo

Peter Gabriel Solsbury Hill live on Youtube, upbeat dance tempo

Lyrics for Solsbury Hill

Solsbury Hill is one of my very favourite tracks. As is well known, the song is biographical. It’s about the moment Gabriel decided to leave the prog rock band Genesis of which he was lead singer and a founder member.  Joyful, inspired, musically complex, it’s a perfect evocation of the inner voice pointing the way ahead through insecurity into the unknown.  I love this song, its one that I put on Repeat and play over and over again. It’s what I call a pop song of love and truth.

Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing, stretching every nerve
I had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
I just had to trust imagination

People look outside themselves for approval, guidance, wisdom. They want to follow research-based courses of action, they click on websites that have social approval and everyone else is already clicking on. And people cling to security; the job is boring, the relationship is dead, but they cling on year after year after year.

And yet inside there is an internal source of guidance that comes from our own deep inner being. If we listen, it indicates new, unknown but vivid and vital steps in life, every step new, every one a joyful adventure. Every step filled with inner rightness no matter what others think. This voice of the being is never arrived at by making columns of pros and cons or any kind of management decision-making calculation. To the rational mind, which knows only pros, cons and logical calculation it seems mysterious. It is: “I did not believe the information, I just had to trust imagination.”

And to the pros-and-cons mind, the inner voice is dangerous! The pros-and-cons mind likes to be fixed and stay with the already known. So it does not like this rival source of deeper wisdom. Some people go their whole lives and never once act on their inner voice.

Many people indeed never in their whole lives hear it. Inside our mind we have so many contradictory sources of information. There’s our parents’ hopes and fears and wishes for us. There’s social conditioning as to what a good man or a good woman does or does not do, different in every age and culture. There are the voice of fear and of self-disbelief in ourselves. Sometimes at the start of the journey, in all of that the inner voice can’t be located. It’s drowned out  among louder impulses which actually arise from the ego, not the being.

So often there is preliminary work to do to locate the voice of inner wisdom and separate it from voices in our head that come from others or from our ego. Most often, that is a process of gradually loving ourselves and believing in ourselves. It is an experimental process of taking steps to be more free, more spontaneous, more expressive in relationships and more owning of our own needs. From those small steps slowly, but clearly, emerges the inner intuition or wisdom which guides us on bigger steps.

It is very major to even contemplate stepping away from all those voices of external authority. But without doing so, you remain in effect a script-kiddie, living your live from a script that someone else has written for you. The Queen, for example, is just such a script-kid.  And that’s what this song is about: letting go from the known to the unknown, from what is felt as secure yet stale to what is vital and fresh. Gabriel says  “It’s about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get… It’s about letting go.” So this is a song which everyone who wants to really be fully alive has to experience the truth of.

Provisos, disclaimer and reassurances plus index page for all meditation posts

(Click here for all “pop songs with truth” posts   ♦   Click here for all relationship and couples posts   ♦    Click here for  all radical meditation posts)

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