It struck me the other day that the lyrics of Help! can be interpreted in a Christian way. Let me be plain that I do not consider myself a Christian, at least not the way that most Christian denominations define themselves. When I say “Christ” in the following paragraphs, one can substitute “awareness of divine consciousness” and be closer to what I understand.
So John sings “When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody's help in any way.” Okay. Not strictly true. We humans are social animals, and even those who live alone by choice rely on help from the environment if nothing else to provide food and such. I see each of us as an incarnation of God, and the environment as an incarnation of God, and each of us not truly separate from the environment. This is obviously quite different from mainstream Christian theology where only Jesus is begotten, not made, and where the Creation is separate from the Creator.
“But now these days are gone…” Notice John says these days, not those days. Some philosophers say that only now is real, that all time (past, present and future) is a field of now-moments. When John says these days, it implies the present or recent past. While the recent past can be considered “gone” in a sense, how can one consider the present to be gone? The present isn't gone of course, but the idea of time does not apply to the eternal now.
“…I'm not so self-assured.” Self-assured: assured of the self as being a separate ego? If I'm not so self-assured, that might be considered good even though the statement is phrased as a negative. Most if not all spiritual teachings say to let go and let God, to surrender one's will or ego to direction by a higher power.
“Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.” I had a eureka moment (find), and I've changed my mind from the little mind of the ego-self to what the Buddhists call the Big Mind. I opened up the doors, opening the boundaries so there is no separation. I am reminded of the way Christians describe Jesus knocking at the “door” of your heart, and so on.
“Help me if you can I'm feeling down…” Down can be good. Sometimes you have to hit bottom to realize you are in a bad lifestyle, i.e., thinking you are a separate ego self “poor me” with the universe against you.
“…, and I do appreciate your being 'round.” I appreciate that the divine consciousness that is our ground of being is always present. To put it in Christian terms, Christ is always there.
“Help me get my feet back on the ground.” I am most struck here that one is NOT asking God to carry you as in the popular story of “Footprints in the Sand” where sometimes you only see one set of footprints. Instead, one is asking God (or your awareness of divine consciousness within yourself) to help you get your feet back on the ground, perhaps so YOU can carry others: infinite compassion.
“Won't you please, please help me?” Who is asking? Who is being asked? Is there really a difference if you're talking to yourself? Who are you, really, if not an expression of what the entire cosmos is doing at a point called here and now?
“And now my life has changed in oh so many ways.” Change is the only constant in the universe. “My independence seems to vanish in the haze.” Independence again as a sense of being separate? So this sense seems to vanish? Good!
“But every now and then I feel so insecure. I know that I just need you like I never done before.” Now is mentioned in every verse of this song. As for “like I never done before,” awareness of the higher power within is not something you get or achieve: it is always there. It is here and now. You don't need to do anything.
The third verse has the same lyrics as the first verse. Then the song ends: “Help me if you can I'm feeling down, and I do appreciate your being 'round. Help me get my feet back on the ground. Won't you please, please help me, help me, help me…ooh.” Well I don't know if I can help you, John, but you have helped me and others with your gift of song. Thank you, wherever you are.