I believe that there are as many interpretations to the lyrics of that Tom Petty song as there are human beings who enjoyed it. Tom Petty has long been one of my favorites, and I will miss his spirit. The lyrics of Learning to Fly, have multiple speculations of inference. Many believed that he was referring to personal drug related experiences, specifically, heroin. When asked, Tom Petty maintained that the lyrics were inspired by circumstances surrounding the Gulf War. Since the song was first released by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1991, my personal identification to the song lyrics have always related to where I was on my journey. That is the genius of every special artist, the relatability to all.
For me the lyrics, “learning to fly” speak to my evolving self, and the ability to let go and rise above all my self-imposed limitations and expectations of my earth journey. A continual raising of my consciousness and the changing concept of myself, a higher level of thinking, from a position of deficiency and lack to a more authentic self that no longer thinks in limitations. A self that honors the uniqueness of myself and all living beings, with the belief that each of us is enough, that we come into this world with everything we need to experience inner peace and happiness, regardless of our circumstances. Regardless of where we live, how we look, who we know, what we own… you get the idea. It is about how we think about our circumstances, how we think about our life experiences. How many times have you heard this? I myself heard those words many times on my journey, but, in my mind, my “deficiency” thinking, the words did not apply to me. I was unique, different, long suffering, and ultimately hopeless.
I have heard and read many modern day spiritual teachers refer to this phenomenon metaphorically, likening the journey to the authentic self to the face on a clock. Twelve midnight representing our birth, when we enter this earth as our true, limitless, authentic self. Then the hands on the clock begin to move away from the twelve, away from our real self. As we learn and grow on this earth journey we assimilate limitations and expectations, some imposed upon us and some we impose on ourselves. As the hands of the clock move away from the twelve towards the six, we develop amnesia about where we came from, we develop the thinking of not enough, adopting a position of lack. Thinking that we are not enough, if only we had a different face, a thinner body, more money, more friends, better spouses, better families, better relationships, etc.
The thinking of never enough, never good enough, becomes who we are. It becomes an all-encompassing life experience, some of us seeing only the lack in every situation. This way of thinking impacts how we feel towards our self and others. When we judge our self with lack, we only see others with the same lens.
Every human being travels their own unique journey, at their own pace. We all arrive at the six on the face of the clock through our own experiences, in our own time. Most of us, at some point on our earth journey, will surrender to the idea that just maybe there is a different way, and we begin to accept what is. It is at this juncture that we can surrender, to die to our illusions of self, the self of lack. Sometimes this happens quickly, sometimes slowly, we are free to choose, the amount of suffering is optional. The hands on the face of the clock will then begin to move upward towards the twelve, returning to the real self. The self with no limitations, the self that begins to see every earth-bound situation as an opportunity to learn and to grow. Life begins to transform to a new way of being as we move toward the light.
The photo posted with this blog was taken here in Provo Canyon, Utah where I am temporarily staying. The landscape is a tribute to the Universal Divine of perfection. The same perfection that is shared by all human beings at twelve o’clock.