Why George Harrison Thought ‘Everybody Should Just Stay at Home and Meditate’

In the mid-to-late 1960s, George Harrison had a spiritual awakening (as did the rest of The Beatles). How he moved through and experienced the world drastically changed. All of a sudden, Yoga and meditation became huge pillars in his life. In a 1967 interview with the International Times, Harrison shared his thoughts on what makes people happiest and how The Beatles’ fanbase was changing.

George Harrison and Ringo Starr Sitting In A Garden At Plymouth In England On September 13th 1967
George Harrison and Ringo Starr of The Beatles | Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

‘Everybody should just stay at home and meditate’

Around this time, Harrison was a big proponent of meditation. He felt everyone would be better off keeping to themselves and meditating. But he also acknowledged that people needed each other.

“I couldn’t cut off from everyone because I’m still leaning on them, so if I’m leaning on them then there’s someone leaning on me, only very subtly,” he said, as recorded in the book George Harrison on George Harrison. “I’m part of a structure that’s going on and rather than cop out now, just at the moment, because I’m not ready, I’ll wait. Maybe later on I’ll get into where it’s peaceful. We’re already getting going, so that we’ll have somewhere nice to be, because that’s what it is you know, everybody should just stay at home and meditate and they’d be so much happier… But still we’ve got to communicate. We’ve got to be doing things because we’re part of it and because it’s nice.”

George Harrison on The Beatles’ fans adapting to their new sound

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The Beatles’ music changed, just as they did, through the years. With songs like “Strawberry Fields Forever,” Harrison knew, like their music, that their fanbase was also reshaping.

“There’s times, I’m sure, where we hold back a lot with things like ‘Strawberry Fields,'” he said. “I know there’s a lot of people who like that who probably wouldn’t have liked us a year ago. And then there’s a lot of people who didn’t like it who did like us a year ago. It’s all the same really.”

George Harrison said The Beatles were losing a lot of fans, but they were gaining a lot, too

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Some fans welcomed the changes The Beatles were making. Others missed the old Beatles music. Harrison argued that the fans they were supposed to have were along for the ride.

“We’re losing a lot but we’re gaining a lot too, I think,” he said of the band’s fans at the time. “I dunno. But what I think, whatever it is, it’s good. When somebody does something which everybody really wants to do, then it makes everyone else try a bit harder and strive for something better, and it’s good. If ever we’ve done something like that then everybody’s been there. We’re as much influenced by everybody else as they are us, if they are. It’s just all a part of the big thing. I give to you and you give to me and it goes like that into the music you know.”