Eric Clapton: Sound of the Soul

1987, at a treatment centre for addiction:

“It shocked me to realise that here I was in a treatment centre, a supposedly safe environment, and I was in serious danger.  I was absolutely terrified, in complete despair.  At that moment, almost of their own accord, my legs gave way and I fell to my knees.  In the privacy of my room I begged for help.

“I had no notion who I thought I was talking to, I just knew that I had come to the end of my tether.  I had nothing left to fight with.  Then I remembered what I had heard about surrender, something I thought I could never do – my pride just wouldn’t allow it – but I knew that on my own, I wasn’t going to make it, so I asked for help, and getting down on my knees, I surrendered.

“Within a few days I realised that something had happened for me.  An atheist would probably say that it was just a change of attitude, and to a certain extent, that’s true, but there was much more to it than that.  I had found a place to turn to, a place I’d always known was there but never really wanted, or needed, to believe in.

“From that day until this, I have never failed to pray in the morning, on my knees, asking for help, and at night, to express gratitude for my life and, most of all, for my sobriety. I choose to kneel because I feel I need to humble myself when I pray, and with my ego, this is the most I can do. If you are asking why I do all this, I will tell you . . . because it works, as simple as that.

“Before my recovery began, I found my God in music and the arts, with writers like Herman Hesse and Khalil Gibran, and musicians like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter.  In some way, in some form, my God was always there, but now I have learned to talk to him.

“Music survives everything, and like God, it is always present.  It needs no help, and suffers no hindrance.  It has always found me, and with God’s blessing and permission, it always will.”

(Eric Clapton, The Autobiography)

Eric Clapton & Luciano Pavarotti: Holy Mother

1960's London grafitti in response to Clapton's virtuoso playing. "I thought it could only lead to trouble," he admitted

About iain carstairs

I have a great interest in both scientific advances and the beauty of religion, and created www.scienceandreligion.com about 15 years ago with the aim of finding common ground between the scientist and the believer, and to encourage debate between the two sides.
This entry was posted in Eric Clapton, Luiciano Pavarotti, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Eric Clapton: Sound of the Soul

  1. susan grace says:

    I remember reading these words by Eric Clapton about his experience of surrender and how it changed his life. His words inspired me deeply then, and they continue to do so. He describes his experience with humility and honesty, and with a totally open mind. Wouldn’t it be nice if Richard Dawkins had such an open mind and humble heart.

    • Yes, can you imagine if he had a religious experience! But he put on Dr Persinger’s brain stimulation helmet and instead of feeling a divine presence as others reported, I think he felt sleepy or something?

  2. Chris Nisbet says:

    He gets so close to saying he became religious here, but I don’t think he “found” god or anything (after all he IS god isn’t he?). Just he accepted a deflation of his ego to bring himself back into balance – I agree totally inspirational.

    • It reminds me of Hendrix’s saying, “music is my religion”. All the geniuses I’ve found and written about seem to have discovered a kind of mysticism through their dedication to creating something, which makes me think that mysticism itself is a creative force! Getting near to mystical feelings seems to lead to the urge to make something, and the desire to make something seems to help the ability. I wrote to ask Clapton for an interview for this blog, but haven’t had a reply, maybe because he was touring Japan, or perhaps busy doing stuff he is supposed to do – anyway, this post is the best I could do!

  3. Laura Entner says:

    Every individual in our world has their own definition of GOD. But experiencing a spirituality that is surreal can have such a profound effect on one’s soul. No one can judge another mans life. I have had a few and I will tell you it was as if I was floating above ground! No man can take that from me. I will carry it with me forever. I say God is LOVE and that’s in the end what we all really want deep in our hearts. To love and be loved. Our world needs more. Try it see what happens. You might be surprised!

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