Lyrics for Higher Consciousness

By Rudra Shivananda


Rudra Shivananda

A few days ago, I was listening to an old recording of one of my favorite singers, Edith Piaf. It was the French chanteuse’s defining song, recorded in 1960 – “Non, Je ne regrette rien.”

The sentiments invoked by the lyrics brought me into thinking how some of the popular songs that I used to listen to seemed to tap into a higher state of consciousness. Some of the lyrics are as follows:


No! It all amounts to nothing
No! I don’t feel sorry for anything
Not the good things people have done to me
Not the bad things, it’s all the same to me.

To be able to say, “No, I regret nothing” is very inspirational. Most people harbor lots of regrets and it causes mental suffering. We often make decisions that in hindsight we wish we had not made. This is because we are driven by our desires and fears and not in touch with our inner guide that can provide a basis for making the best decision at any moment.

The sages taught that we should use our willpower to restraint ourselves from negative activities and constrain ourselves to the positive path. Most people know what the right action should be but emotional and mental confusion arise due to the desires and fears – this is why we need the ethical and behavioral guidelines which have been taught by the sages and upheld by rulers and leaders of civilization.

However, humanity is now led by leaders and role-models who ignore ethical guidelines and strive to pursue a path of selfishness. In our hearts, we know that such behavior is not in our best interests but it is easier to go with the flow and therefore we are bound with regrets whenever we reflect on our past.

It is not my contention that the lyric writer was necessarily a person of higher consciousness but sometimes creative talents temporarily tap into a higher state and in spite of their original intent, can inspire the mass consciousness. The lyrics serve to remind us, without being irresponsibly defiant, to realize that the past cannot be changed and not to waste energy in trying to re-imagine the past or to harbor guilt feelings that over time will hamper our ability to act in the present. Having no regrets is a state of higher consciousness for one who has strived her best in spite of difficult conditions to live an ethical and productive life. However, It is not a state of higher consciousness when it is the defiant cry of a criminal or sociopath.

This train of thought brought me to another song that I liked a lot when I was growing up. It was sung in a defining manner by Frank Sinatra, even though the lyrics were penned by Paul Anka:

I’ve lived life that’s full
I travelled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Living in higher consciousness does not lead to an empty life – on the contrary, one should strive to experience all facets of life to the fullest and take all appropriate actions in the course of one’s journey. It is not a life of abstention but a life of detached involvement. It is a life of standing up for one’s highest ideals and acting in accordance with them.

Of course, if one lives a selfish life, then to say, “I did it my way,” is not meaningful, but an assertion of immaturity. In order to give rise to higher consciousness, one should imagine higher ideals that at the moment might seem unrealistic, such as telling the truth or treating one’s neighbor as oneself. Let’s remember some of the words of John Lennon:

Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine all the people living life in peace
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
And the world will live as one.

It is the goal of Yoga to live a full life consistent with the ideals of higher consciousness and act guided by our higher Self, imagining “all the people living in peace,” rather than succumbing to our fears and desires. Only such a person can truly sing that “I have no regrets!”, that “I’ve lived life that is full,” and “the world will live as one.”


Related Articles:

Applying Wisdom in Daily Life


Letting go of ill-will

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