Dream Weaver: A Memoir; Music, Meditation, and My Friendship with George Harrison

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9780399165238: Dream Weaver: A Memoir; Music, Meditation, and My Friendship with George Harrison

Music legend Gary Wright reflects on his professional collaboration, friendship, and spiritual journey with "quiet Beatle" George Harrison, and releases for the first time a recording of a song they wrote together.

Best known for his multiplatinum hits “Dream Weaver” and “Love is Alive,” Gary Wright came to prominence as a singer and songwriter during the golden age of rock in the 1970s. What is not as well known to the public, however, is Wright’s spiritual side. At the heart of this memoir is the spiritual conversion and journey that Wright experienced alongside his close friend George Harrison. Until Harrison’s death in 2001, the two spent decades together writing songs, eating Indian fare, talking philosophy, and gardening.

In addition to featuring lyrics to a song cowritten by Wright and George Harrison in 1971, titled “To Discover Yourself,” this memoir includes a cache of never-before-seen photos.

Also available is a deluxe e-book featuring an audio recording of “To Discover Yourself.”

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About the Author:

Gary Wright is known as “the Dream Weaver” because his brilliant talent, highlighted by the enduring song he wrote of the same name, is mixed with his deep belief and practice in Eastern spirituality. Wright tours with his band as well as doing unplugged shows and has also performed with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Dream Weaver

I’ve just closed my eyes again

Climbed aboard the dream weaver train

Driver take away my worries of today

And leave tomorrow behind

Ooooh, dream weaver

I believe you can get me through the night

Ooooh, dream weaver

I believe we can reach the morning light

Fly me high through the starry skies

Or maybe to an astral plane

Cross the highways of fantasy

Help me to forget today’s pain

Ooooh, dream weaver

I believe you can get me through the night

Ooooh, dream weaver

I believe we can reach the morning light

Though the dawn may be coming soon

There still may be some time

Fly me away to the bright side of the moon

And meet me on the other side

Ooooh, dream weaver

I believe you can get me through the night

Ooooh, dream weaver

I believe we can reach the morning light

PROLOGUE

God can be said to be the Weaver of Dreams in His vast creation, entertaining both Himself and mankind as He weaves epic stories and colossal events that span across lifetimes and millennia. In India, they say that running creation is God’s eternal work and that He takes it very seriously—being a God of love and compassion rather than a punishing dictator. He gave man free will to create his own destiny, never interfering in an individual’s life unless petitioned by pure love from His devotee.

On a human level, it can be said that each one of us is also a dream weaver, creating our own dreams and weaving our own lives over many incarnations, like actors in a movie playing roles as superstars or failures, heroes or villains—all of which are an integral part of His megadrama of creation. Only on that day, when we have no more desires or karma to work out and only wish to be one with God in a state of ecstasy, will we wake from this dream of delusion and enter the highest state of bliss consciousness.

June 1976. I was in Philadelphia about to walk onstage before 120,000 people at John F. Kennedy Stadium. On the bill with me were Peter Frampton and Yes. My album The Dream Weaver had been on the Billboard charts since late 1975 and was currently at number 7; in addition, I had two number 2 singles—“Dream Weaver” and, at the time of the concert, “Love Is Alive.” It was the largest concert I’d ever played, and the power I felt standing before so many people who were radiating this astounding degree of positive energy was overwhelming. There’s no way to accurately describe the emotion I felt as a performer when I began singing “Dream Weaver”—a song I’d written about God’s love and compassion—to an audience of that size. In fact, the entire summer was like that—playing at sports stadiums and other huge festivals around the United States and Europe to well over three million people. That summer of 1976 was a life-altering time for me careerwise, the highest point in my life up until then. I was thirty-three and had a lot of questions about who I was and how I would deal with success and my future.

I soon realized that even though I was experiencing a period of great elation, inevitably the highs would wane. I had been moderately successful as a child actor, even playing in a Broadway musical, Fanny. From my past experience, having released eleven albums, between my solo records and Spooky Tooth—none of which were commercially successful—I knew the feeling of being pumped up with enthusiasm and then being dropped into despair, despite the star power of the musicians I worked with. I could feel intuitively that this experience of success might give me a great opportunity to test my newly found spiritual path and guru. After all, “Dream Weaver” was a song about God’s infinite mercy, carrying us through our trials: “Dream Weaver, I believe you can get me through the night.” And trials there were throughout my life. But I never avoided them, I faced them head on, which gave me spiritual muscle. My guru used to say, “A wrestler will never increase his strength unless he works out with a stronger [opponent].”1 I made God and my guru my best friends early on in my career and carried them with me through all my experiences in life. That changed the entire scope of how I would deal with both success and failure, all the while trying to maintain even-mindedness.

Success does not land in your lap without hard work, something I realized early on in life. Eastern philosophy teaches that qualities and talents are developed and brought over from past lives. You don’t just learn to be a genius or acquire any great talent in one lifetime—it takes sustained effort and deep focus to attract success to anything we do.

One

THE BEGINNING

I was sixteen years old. It was a late overcast November morning in New Jersey, the streets still wet from rain the night before. I was a junior at Tenafly High School, and two of my closest friends, John McGauley and Eddie Sutton, pulled into my driveway and asked me if I wanted to go for a drive. We had all known each other since the fifth grade and were very close. None of us had driver’s licenses. John had borrowed the car—an off-white 1955 Ford—from one of our high school friends who was a senior. This was well before cars were equipped with seat belts, and we were all sitting in the front seat, me at the far right. As we drove up Grant Avenue, where I lived, John was showing off, downshifting while accelerating around a corner and rapidly approaching a concrete bridge over a stream. The road was still wet; the car fishtailed as we made the turn, hit the bridge nearly head on, and then plummeted down the embankment for about ten feet or so. The car ended on its side, almost in the water.

At the moment of impact, I experienced superhuman strength—bracing my knees against the dashboard. Then—complete silence. I looked over in panic at John and Eddie, but they both looked unconscious. With the car tilted at a precarious angle, I couldn’t reach them. The rear and front windshields had literally blown out of the car on impact. I lifted my body up over the space where the front windshield had been and slid down the hood to the ground. The horn was blowing and the tires were still spinning when the tow truck arrived, followed by a doctor who rushed down the embankment. I had climbed up to the street, where cars were beginning to gather. After a few minutes, the doctor, looking very serious, told me John and Eddie were dead.

That I survived the crash with no major wounds or broken bones was nothing less than a miracle. But the mental anguish was a different story. I believe this event was the genesis of my spiritual search, a journey that would take me around the world to experience things I never dreamed could happen to me and to meet amazing people who would have a profound cultural impact on the world. Early on I realized how fleeting life was and how you could be plucked away at any moment into the mysterious beyond. In India, it is said that life is like a drop of water trembling on a lotus leaf and may slip away at any moment. My Catholic upbringing couldn’t offer answers to the spiritual questions I was pondering, and neither could anyone else. It wasn’t until years later, after I had found my spiritual path and my guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, that I learned that an enlightened master is omniscient, knowing all his true devotees who would come to him either in this present lifetime or in the future. Moreover, such a master has the power to intervene in a devotee’s karma and prevent him from harm or even death. I later realized that it was Yogananda who had intervened in my life at that moment, sparing me from death so that I could remain here to carry out my destined role in this incarnation. But there was yet another part for me to play later on in God’s drama.

I was born on April 26, 1943, in Cresskill, New Jersey, a small scenic town and a suburb of New York City about twenty minutes north of the George Washington Bridge. I was the middle child between my older sister, Beverly, and my younger sister, Lorna. My father, Louis Wright, worked for my uncle, who owned a large construction company that built bridges, roads, and various other infrastructure in towns and cities throughout northern New Jersey. My mom, Ann Belvedere, was a housewife and the motivational force behind the family. We lived in a three-story home at 369 Grant Avenue, directly adjacent to a wooded area on the back of our property and my uncle Jim’s construction company complex on the west side. Growing up in this rural setting was truly a young boy’s dream. Tracking and silently watching the local wildlife in the nearby woods, I knew where many of their burrows and nests were. Much of my time before starting kindergarten was spent playing cowboys and Indians or “army” with my friends who lived down the street. Using some of my uncle’s retired heavy equipment—bulldozers, cranes, and the like—we’d create imaginary battles between the good and bad guys. There were private paved roads throughout the construction complex, which as I grew older afforded me the opportunity to drive my go-cart or one of the family cars without breaking the law.

I was entranced by nature as a young boy and especially looked forward to the subtle magic of seasonal change. Autumn particularly inspired me, when the air grew crisp and the green leaves on the oak, beech, and maple trees transformed into a magnificent array of colors as if they’d been painted by some unseen hand. Around Thanksgiving, when the leaves turned brown and fell to the ground, we would rake them into large piles and dive into them, rolling around in sheer delight. Sometimes we would even set fire to a pile of dry leaves and run through the pungent clouds of smoke as if performing an ancient ritual. (This was, of course, well before such kinds of activities were strictly regulated by the local police and fire departments!) Fall for me was a time of dreaming, reflection, new friends and new beginnings, and the start of a new school year.

Winter soon arrived after Thanksgiving and I anxiously awaited the first snowfall, when everything would become clothed in white and silver. Ice formed on the edges of brooks and streams, and the lakes and ponds would freeze over. Sometimes I’d be up at dawn peering out my second-story bedroom window to see if it had snowed during the night. If it had, I was outside in a matter of minutes dressed for the occasion with snowsuit, galoshes, and woolen gloves. The science of high-tech, cold-resistant clothing materials had not yet arrived; my hands and toes would get numb in the early morning cold and I would have to retreat home to get warm again. One of my favorite activities was looking for animal tracks in the newly fallen snow, usually from rabbits, woodchucks, or raccoons. My goal of course was to follow the tracks until I found their homes, which I did sometimes. I loved nature and its creatures from a very early age, and still do to this day.

Sometimes large winter storms passed through, and if it snowed really hard during the night, my sisters and I would anxiously await the whistle from the police station to blow at eight a.m. sharp, announcing school would be closed that day. That of course meant one thing—riding sleds with our friends all day long. We had so much fun riding down hills in train or airplane formations, or just by ourselves on our American Flyers. If it got too cold, we could always go to a nearby friend’s home for hot chocolate and cookies. Some evenings we would go ice skating at our local pond in neighboring Tenafly, and if it was still snowing and the outside lights were on, the experience was breathtaking.

In late February or early March, when it seemed as though winter would never end, slowly the first signs of spring began to emerge. The first buds on trees became visible, or if you looked carefully, you could see the tiny blades of daffodils or tulips peeping through the wintry-hard sleepy ground. Occasionally, an ice storm would pass through during the night and we would wake up to a fantasy spectacle: trees and meadows clothed in a silvery white ice layer, especially dramatic in the shining sun. From a very young age, I wondered at the mystical power that created this subtle magical beauty. I later realized when I became more firmly rooted on my spiritual path that it was “the silent voice of God, ever calling us through the flowers . . . [and] all things that are beautiful.”2

Summer would finally arrive just after Memorial Day, and our school vacation soon followed. Summer in New Jersey was hot and humid, with the occasional thunder and lightning storm. It also was a time when my friends and I would camp out just with sleeping bags under the stars, staying up late into the night telling ghost stories—one more terrifying than the next. One of our favorite places to camp out was Hank’s cabin, a local landmark about halfway up the trail from Cresskill to Alpine. Close to Hank’s was a spring where we would pitch camp and cook our food on a campfire. Filling our canteens with the nearby cool spring water or just drinking it with cupped hands was always a high point in our escapades. And of course nothing could taste better to me at that time than bacon and eggs fried over a campfire in the early morning. Years later, in the late sixties, I began meditating and became a vegetarian, but I still remember the delight of those bacon and eggs.

Our family also spent a day sometimes at Pine Lake, where you could have a picnic, swim all day, meet new friends, and keep cool. I was about seven years old when I first learned to swim at Palisades Amusement Park—one of our local attractions—which boasted a huge saltwater swimming pool. They advertised one weekend that Buster Crabbe would be giving swimming lessons the following Saturday. He had won the Olympic gold medal in 1932 for the 400-meter freestyle swimming event before subsequently breaking into acting, where he played Tarzan, among other roles. There were quite a few kids in the park that day waiting in the pool to meet him. When it was my turn, he looked at me and said, “Can you swim?” “No,” I answered, “I came here hoping you’d teach me how.” He held out his arms and told me to kick and paddle. He suddenly dropped his arms, releasing his support, and there I was—swimming for the first time in this incarnation. I started yelling, “I can swim, I can swim!” half expecting Buster to start beating his chest with his fists while yelling out the Tarzan war cry: “Ah eeh ah eeh ah.” Back at school I could now boast that Tarzan had taught me how to swim, a huge feather in my cap.

During my early years at Edward H. Bryan Elementary School—walking distance from our home—I became quite interested in Native American culture. Cowboys and Indians were very popular among young boys growing up in the late forties and early fifties, and I loved reading about the different tribes spread throughout the country: how they dressed, the kinds of homes they lived in, and their spiritual beliefs. I even had several outfits I would wear while playing “cowboys and Indians” with my friends. We built three tepees in the wooded area behind our house, where my friends and I would camp out during the summer. I ma...

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Descrizione libro Tarcher/Putnam,US, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Music legend Gary Wright reflects on his professional collaboration, friendship, and spiritual journey with quiet Beatle George Harrison, and releases for the first time a recording of a song they wrote together. Best known for his multiplatinum hits Dream Weaver and Love is Alive, Gary Wright came to prominence as a singer and songwriter during the golden age of rock in the 1970s. What is not as well known to the public, however, is Wright s spiritual side. At the heart of this memoir is the spiritual conversion and journey that Wright experienced alongside his close friend George Harrison. Until Harrison s death in 2001, the two spent decades together writing songs, eating Indian fare, talking philosophy, and gardening. In addition to featuring lyrics to a song cowritten by Wright and George Harrison in 1971, titled To Discover Yourself, this memoir includes a cache of never-before-seen photos. Also available is a deluxe e-book featuringan audio recording of To Discover Yourself. Codice libro della libreria ADB9780399165238

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Descrizione libro Tarcher/Putnam,US, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Music legend Gary Wright reflects on his professional collaboration, friendship, and spiritual journey with quiet Beatle George Harrison, and releases for the first time a recording of a song they wrote together. Best known for his multiplatinum hits Dream Weaver and Love is Alive, Gary Wright came to prominence as a singer and songwriter during the golden age of rock in the 1970s. What is not as well known to the public, however, is Wright s spiritual side. At the heart of this memoir is the spiritual conversion and journey that Wright experienced alongside his close friend George Harrison. Until Harrison s death in 2001, the two spent decades together writing songs, eating Indian fare, talking philosophy, and gardening. In addition to featuring lyrics to a song cowritten by Wright and George Harrison in 1971, titled To Discover Yourself, this memoir includes a cache of never-before-seen photos. Also available is a deluxe e-book featuringan audio recording of To Discover Yourself. Codice libro della libreria BZV9780399165238

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