I had the good fortune to listen to the wonderful jazz song, “Nature Boy” just yesterday. The melody and the lyrics are fantastic and the chord structure is no joke either. The song was written by Eden Ahbez as an homage to his mentor Bill Pester who introduced him to naturalism. The last line is very profound. The Nature Boy taught the person he met that “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
The story behind the song is actually very interesting. Ahbez went to a Nat King Cole concert and attempted to present Cole with his song. Cole ignored him but Ahbez was able to give the song to Cole’s valet. Cole later played the song and loved it. He recorded it with orchestration and it was the song that made him a household name. Nat King Cole went from being a Jazz musician to a pop star from this song.
Oftentimes we interpret that mandate to love and to be loved in return in terms of romantic love. We are taught that our life is meaningless if we have not experienced that great love. I am here today calling balderdash on that concept!
The greatest love is the love of God or the universe or that force underlying all that exists. It goes by any name or no name. It simply is. We know that phrase from the Christian Bible: I am that I am. In the east it is often called, “The One about whom naught can be said.” Shakespeare, as he always does, so aptly puts it, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” It does not matter what you call this force, just know that it exists!!
Love this force with all your heart. Have gratitude for this life giving force. Here is the marvelous thing about that focus. Try focusing upon this force, that most of us call God, and not with the expectation of a quid pro quo. Just focus upon your love for the cause of all existence. You will feel love in return that is beyond measure. That is the promise of the song. Love yourself, love that which caused you to be in existence and you will feel a love in return that is so resonant, so immanent and so boundless that it is beyond expression. You will then understand the term, Let It Be.
Happy Good Friday