Why I love Bob
Life Lessons From the Rastaman
I’m going to see The Wailers next Tuesday in Vicar Street. They are Bob Marley’s band that created the sweet reggae music I listen to daily. I have adored Bob Marley for years. His music. His voice. And maybe the dreadlocks.
I love the places where reggae music is played. When I travelled alone around Asia, I used reggae music as my dependable guide. Anywhere I landed I sought out the reggae bar and headed there for a beer at sunset. I always found great people there, loved the setting and always felt happy and relaxed in these places. I think that’s why I play it in my apartment every day; it reminds me of that time.
I love the melodic beat of the reggae style of music. I love the insight it gives to Rastafarianism (inexplicably fascinated by it) and life in Trenchtown Jamaica in the 60s and 70s. I love Bob’s style, his swagger but most of all I love what he has to say.
Bob got it. He understood life. And while his polyamorous ways with women is not hugely admirable; the way he viewed life, in my mind, is.
His lyrics capture his message about life. I have scribbled quotes and lyrics of his in my journals for years. These are just a tiny sample; and for me, are life guiding principles that Bob so cleverly passed on to us through his music.
The most powerful lyric I have ever heard is from his Redemption Song when he sings:
“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds”.
This to me was a light switch moment when I heard that line properly for the first time sung by a reggae band in Lombok, Indonesia. It encapsulated everything I was learning on my travels around Asia. The meditation I was doing. The yoga. It was all an attempt to free myself from mental slavery.
That phrase “mental slavery” is so powerful. It is our modern age form of slavery. We are free people but we imprison ourselves with our thoughts. The mental bars that we have are made up of our attachment to ego. The perfectionism, the desire to be liked by everyone. The image of the mind trapped; mindlessly having the same thoughts and worries over and over again struck me.
I realised, thanks to Bob’s strumming melody, it was up to each one of us to free our mind; to learn to control our thoughts and to bring our mind to peace.
It is an illusion that we are not free to live life exactly as we want. And once we learn that our thoughts are just thoughts we can learn to detach from them, walk away, escape from them if they are not serving us. Rumi, another mystic, has a beautiful quote that captures this sentiment perfectly:
“Why do you stay in prison, when the door is wide open?”.
We don’t need to stay in the confines of what our mind tells us we should or shouldn’t do. Easier said than done, I know. The bars are made up of our ego but also our ingrained beliefs, value systems, societal and cultural expectations. Some serve a purpose, but only if the belief or societal standard aligns with our soul and our inner wisdom that tells us what is right for us. Doing things just because we feel we have to or because everyone else is doing it is mental slavery.
Bob said: “Look within, are you happy with the life that you are living?”. This is a question that we can ask ourselves all the time. If the answer is no to this question, we can start making incremental changes to modify this part of our life that we are not satisfied with. We won’t love every single part of our life (there has to be some rain to appreciate the sunshine); but if a part is causing us distress, we can always start making tiny steps to change that part. Our life is precious, we have to love it. Which Bob encapsulated in this beautifully succinct and clever quote..
“Love the life you live,
Live the life you love”.
This was written in my journal in big capital block letters years ago. I didn’t know what my life would look like in the future, and I wasn’t unhappy with my life at the time. But I knew I wanted to be able to say this sentence of Bob’s with pure love, conviction and truth. I wanted to be able to shout it from the roof. I promised myself that I would make sure that I can say this line with pride and conviction every year of my life. He makes it so simple. Live a life you love. Why not.
Bob. You’re a legend. I can’t wait to see the Wailers next week. Before he died at age 36, he asked one of the Wailers to “keep me alive with my music” and that is what they are doing. Jah Bless. I will be there front and centre.
Satisfy My Soul is a yoga offering I have created. I brought it to this year’s WellFest. It’s aim is to give an opportunity for us to connect to ourselves through movement (yoga) and music (sweet reggae beats). Join me this Monday 22 July at TwoFifty Square for Satisfy My Soul Yoga 19:30. You can reserve your spot through the booking page.
More reggae yoga events to come. Subscribe below to stay in the loop.