“Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world, the heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own. Wake now, discover that you are the song that the mornin’ brings, But the heart has its seasons, its evenin’s and songs of its own.” 

When I was, a young boy growing up in the suburbs of the Jersey shore, the background music in our neighborhood was often the classic albums of American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead by the Grateful Dead. I remember hanging around the older kids who were indeed at the crest of the hippie movement and enjoying the great sound and deep lyrics of the iconic San Francisco band. Young men were coming home from the Vietnam war at this time and some were in our circle of friends. The Dead appealed to me immediately with their classics such as “Uncle John’s Band” Sugar Magnolia, New speedway boogie and Box of Rain.

Music reaches into our souls when we hear it at a very young age and it stays with us as we get older.  Jerry Garcia and the band had allowed for tapping of their live shows in what would later turn out to be a stroke of marketing genius. By allowing fans to tape concerts the tapes now serve as a way to preserve the classic shows and keep the depth of their creativity alive and thriving for adoring fans like myself. Jerry’s selfless attitude was voiced as, “well once we are done with it, they (the fans) can do what they like with it”.  No band has the kind of following to this day 50 years later then the Grateful Dead.

When I dug into the concert archives, I realized the depth of the spiritualty of the Grateful Dead in a way that I would have never imagined. And with new technology such as iPod, it was easy to listen.

 For me, no song by the Dead resonates more with my soul and my spiritual journey than “EYES OF THE WORLD”. Here are a few more lyrics with another round of the chorus:

“There comes a redeemer, and he slowly too fades away, 

And there follows his wagon behind him that’s loaded with clay.
And the seeds that were silent all burst into bloom, and decay, 

and night comes so quiet, it’s close on the heels of the day. 

Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world,
the heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own. 

Wake now, discover that you are the song that the mornin’ brings,
But the heart has its seasons, its evenin’s and songs of its own.”

The song is a form of ZEN.

Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia’s lyrics are absolutely a meditation in themselves.

Here are a few comments from the book , “The complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics”: 

 “You are the eyes of the world”

This is a beautiful translation of the noted Buddhist practitioner Longchenpa’s practical guide to the tantra (The Jewel Ship: A Guide to the Meaning of Pure and Total Presence, the Creative Energy of the Universe, byang chub kyi sems kun byed rgyal po’i don khrid din chen sgru bo) It was translated by Kennard Lipman and Merrill Peterson and published by Lotsawa of Novato, CA. The song itself obviously held importance for the folks involved in its production for part of Hunter’s lyrics are printed opposite the title page.

I actually tripped across the “book “in a mall bookstore by  one day 18 years ago and was amazed with what Hunter and Garcia’s lyrics were pointing to. What synchronicity!! If you love spiritual truth and Zen,  I think you will just love this transitionary Lipman and Peterson of Longchenpa’s “Jewel Ship” called “You are the Eyes of the World”. It’s an eye opener for living in the now.

Longchenpa instructs the reader how to experience pure presence. I always sense this reality when I listen to this amazing song.

According to Shambahla publications, “Renowned as a peerless teacher, practitioner, and scholar, Longchenpa thoroughly studied and mastered every one of the many Buddhist vehicles and lineages of teachings existing in Tibet at his time. Through his radiant intellect and meditative accomplishment, in both his teachings and written works, he was able to reconcile the seeming discrepancies and contradictions between the various presentations of the view and the path within the many lineages of transmission. His written works are also famous for being able to transfer true blessings just by reading or hearing his enlightened words”.

Longchen Rabjampa, Drimé Özer commonly abbreviated to Longchenpa (1308– 1364), was a major teacher in the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism.

We all are in essence the eyes of the world. When you become aware of your own awareness, you are going inward and observing your mind rather than just reacting to your senses which are outside of you.

This is how we begin to awaken. It’s a very advanced spiritual practice of presence. That is what this song points to. The song also reminds us that the human heart is the  center of our existence.


I love the song so much that I got permission from the bands copyright attorneys to use the lyrics in the beginning and the end of my book “The Yoga of True Wealth”.

When you realize, you are the Eyes of the world, you are realizing the divinity within you living through you and actually living you in your entirety.

Here is a short example of the description of Zen by the magnificent Buddhist scholar, Longchempa:

“Here I have elucidated for the sake of future generations the meaning of the supreme way of life.This approach to life, which derives from spontaneously perfect universal creativity,is the way to directly experience the pure fact of awareness that is at the very heart of all experience. This approach is not a gradual process of self-development; with it you actually wake up to what is, right now. The goal of dzogchen is “the pure fact of awareness”- an inner awareness and self-knowledge that lead to a state of total completeness, which is intrinsic freedom. Dzogchen creates nothing anew but awakens us to what it calls our natural, i.e. uncontrived, state and allows the complete unfolding of self-knowledge and awareness. The path of dzogchen calls for us to recognize what we are right now, without fantasy or deception”

Longchempa – The jewel ship: A guide to the meaning of pure and total presence- Translation by Kennard Lipman and Merrill Peterson

“Sometimes we live no particular way but our own
And sometimes we visit your country and live in your home
Sometimes we ride on your horses, sometimes we walk alone
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own

Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world,
the heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own. 

Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning’ brings,
But the heart has its seasons, its evening’s and songs of its own. 

May the peace of the precious present moment be with you.

Footnote on Joseph Campbell:

In February of 1985, Campbell had attended a Grateful Dead concert and below are his comments from that experience.

Joseph Campbell :

“The Deadheads are doing the dance of life and this I would say , is the answer to the atom bomb.”

” I had a marvelous experience two nights ago. I was invited to a rock concert. ( laughter in the audience) I’d never seen one. This was a big hall in Berkeley and the rock group were the Grateful Dead, whose name, by the way, is from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. And these are very sophisticated boys. This was news to me.

Rock Music has never seemed that interesting to me. It’s very simple and the beat is the same old thing. But when you see a room with 8000 young people for five hours going through it to the beat of these boys … The genius of these musicians- these three guitars and two wild drummers in the back… The central guitar, Bob Weir, just controls this crowd and when you see 8000 kids all going up in the air together… Listen, this is powerful stuff ! And what is it ? The first thing I thought of was the Dionysian festivals, of course. This energy and these terrific instruments with electric things that zoom in… This is more than music. It turns something on in here (the heart?). And what it turns on is life energy. This is Dionysus talking through these kids. Now I’ ve seen similar manifestations, but nothing as innocent as what I saw with this bunch. This was sheer innocence. And when the great beam of light would go over the crowd you’ d see these marvelous young faces in sheer rapture- for five hours ! Packed together like sardines! Eight thousand of them ! Then there was an opening in the back with a series of panel windows and you look out and there’s a whole bunch in another hall, dancing crazy. This is a wonderful fervent loss of self in the larger self of a homogeneous community. This is what it is all about !

It reminded me of Russian Easter. Down in New York we have a big Russian Cathedral. You go there on Russian Easter at midnight and you hear Kristos anesti ! Christ is Risen ! Christ is Risen ! It’s almost as good as a rock concert. (laughter) It has the same kind of life feel. When I was in Mexico City at the Cathedral of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, there it was again. In India, in Puri, at the temple of the Jagannath- that means the lord of the Moving World- the same damn thing again. It doesn’t matter what the name of the God is, or whether its a rock group or a clergy. It’s somehow hitting that chord of realization of the unity of God in you all, that’s a terrific thing and it just blows the rest away.”



From issue ten of the Golden Road it says of interest:

” The Dead originally connected with Campbell in a curious way. While jogging near his home one day, Bob Weir ran into a woman who is one of Campbell’s associates. Both Weir and Hart are devotees of Campbell’s work and so Weir asked if they could meet the author. He also learned that a film based on Campbell’s writings is in the planning stages. The week before the Oakland shows, Mickey Hart hosted a gathering in Campbell’s honor at his home. Weir and Hart have now offered to contribute soundtrack music for the proposed film. Campbell’s reaction too his celebrity among rock and rollers and film Greats (George Lucas)? “To think that my work has been influential to people like Lucas and the Grateful Dead- I’m absolutely delighted !