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Food at the ashram was vegetarian. Cigarettes were banned as were drugs and alcohol. Mia and Donovan were the only ones I saw smoking, only occassionaly and usually in the evening.
John laughed heartily. “Good one, mate! How to do good for others and for yourself at the same time. And where’s the line between? I still have that in me head, too.” The key, he said, was whether our ego results in good or in hurt for others. “That’s where you draw the line, mate!”
Revisiting the ashram in January 2000, I did a short mediation sitting by the edge of the cliff where I first met the Beatles. As I got up to leave I noticed a single, old rubber sandal in the underbrush. I stepped over it, walking away, until a gentle voice in my head insisted I take this picture. I understood why when I wrote the accompanying text.
Paul was looking down at words he had scribbled on a scrap of paper, sitting one step below, as he and John started to sing. It was the refrain to Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. They repeated it again and again, and then Paul looked up at me with a twinkle in his eyes and said, “That’s all there is so far. We don’t have any of the words yet.”
Paul’s creativity, witnessed while I was with him at the ashram, seems to flow so easily, naturally and abundantly from a magical and deep place within him. So, it feels very right to have this photo named with the title of one of his sweetest songs.
Donovan was soft-spoken and friendly, with a shy, almost internal smile. He and the Beatles were longtime friends and he wrote Sunshine Superman in admiration of them. While he was at the ashram he wrote Hurdy Gurdy Man and Jennifer Juniper, written for Jenny Boyd, Pattie’s sister.