In a November 2001 interview in the Ontarion, Keenan said the following about the song:...
I have come curiously close to the end, down
Beneath my self-indulgent pitiful hole
Defeated, I concede and
Move closer
I may find comfort here
I may find peace within the emptiness
How pitiful

It's calling me
It's calling me
It's calling me
It's calling me

And in my darkest moment, fetal and weeping
The moon tells me a secret, my confidant
As full and bright as I am
This light is not my own and
A million light reflections pass over me

Its source is bright and endless
She resuscitates the hopeless
Without her, we are lifeless satellites drifting

And as I pull my head out I am without one doubt
Don't want to be down here feeding my narcissism
I must crucify the ego before it's far too late
I pray the light lifts me out
Before I pine away
Before I pine away
Before I pine away
Before I pine away

So crucify the ego, before it's far too late
To leave behind this place so negative and blind and cynical
And you will come to find that we are all one mind
Capable of all that's imagined and all conceivable
Just let the light touch you
And let the words spill through
And let them pass right through
Bringing out our hope and reason

Before we pine away (pine away)
Before we pine away (pine away)
Before we pine away (pine away)
Before we pine away


Lyrics submitted by Everlong, edited by kurozumu

"Reflection" as written by Daniel Carey Adam Jones

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Reflection song meanings
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  • +16
    General CommentThis is a really incredible Tool song ! I was fortunate enough to see it performed live. It's a really beautiful and opitmistic song. This song has a commom message among Tool songs: pushing limits and excuse the term, "maximizing human potential". An incredible line is that we are "capable of all that's imagined and all conceivable." I find that to be true but there are obstacles in the way. And in the beginning of the song, Maynard sounds as if he's just about to give up. Instead of "pushing the envelope", he's happy with a self-indulgent, pitiful existence. This song has a lot of similarities to Lateralus. Although Maynard never gives you the exact details, "there is so much more that beckons us" and if we can't figure that out, then we can "find peace within the emptiness".
    upsetter940on December 05, 2001   Link
  • +16
    General CommentSorry. I forgot to mention that I suggest listening to this song whenever you feel like shit about whatever your into or if you are just feeling overwhelming hopeless. I hope that this song helps you out in the same way it has helped me
    upsetter940on December 05, 2001   Link
  • +13
    My InterpretationThis is my favorite Tool song. Anyone who says it has no mystical meaning or intention has not plunged into the depths of meditation. The Buddha himself would be proud of this song, as it reflects the dharma of Buddhism and Hinduism. The entire album is about transcendence and this is the climax: Enlightenment
    I have come curiously close to the end, down
    Beneath my self-indulgent pitiful hole,
    Defeated, I concede and
    Move closer
    I may find comfort here
    I may find peace within the emptiness
    How pitiful. …it’s calling me.
    This is the dark night of the soul. A deep depression every spiritual seeker goes through. Eventually we all get to this point where the suffering is so tremendous we start looking for a way to end it. It is like the divine is calling you to find it.
    And in my darkest moment, fetal and weeping
    The moon tells me a secret - my confidant
    As full and bright as I am
    This light is not my own and
    A million light reflections pass over me
    The moon is a common theme for spiritual teachers. The dharma is just a finger pointing to the moon. You grasp at the finger (the teacher or teaching), when it’s as simple as looking at the moon (absolute reality). In these lyrics, there is an understanding in the subject that the moon’s light is not its own, it is only an illusion; Maya.
    Its source is bright and endless
    She resuscitates the hopeless
    Without her, we are lifeless satellites drifting
    Obviously, the source of light is the sun. In the allegory of the cave, Socrates uses the Sun to represent pure goodness which is in all of us. It is our divine nature. We are all that. We just don’t know it. The ascent up causes a disorienting blur of the senses and eventually your union with permanent bliss. If we can remember this, we will never suffer again.

    And as I pull my head out I am without one doubt
    Don't wanna be down here feeding my narcissism.
    I must crucify the ego before it's far too late
    I pray the light lifts me out
    Before I pine away.
    To attain the selfless state, one must kill the ego. The Buddha taught this constantly, using the word atman which can be used to mean transcendent Self or ego self. The ego is the illusion of who you think you are. Enlightenment is the complete destruction of this view. The light of the transcendent self will lift you out. Only you can help you.
    So crucify the ego, before it's far too late
    To leave behind this place so negative and blind and cynical,
    And you will come to find that we are all one mind
    Capable of all that's imagined and all conceivable.
    Just let the light touch you
    And let the words spill through
    And let them pass right through
    Bringing out our hope and reason ...
    before we pine away.
    The best lines of the song, the subject realizes truth and the endless possibilities of life. We are all literally one mind capable of all that’s imagined and conceivable. Now he is free and genuinely qualifies as a human being pouring out love and compassion into the world. He is telling you to let this love (light from the sun) pour and spill through you before you pine away, endlessly longing for something better.
    KeyTotheGateon October 30, 2011   Link
  • +7
    General CommentI think that the ego is often outdated for the common person in day to day life in this modern society.
    We are born with the ego for survival, but in todays society, physical survival is quite simple, and the ego often gets in the way. I believe this song implies that to advance, to further develop and evolve, we must crucify the ego.
    Imagine someone who lets their ego get he best of them, then imagine an incident involving that person if they simply put away with their ego, and it is easy to see how the song is significant.
    Makoeon January 22, 2002   Link
  • +7
    Song MeaningThis song is about slowly drifting into depression because it feels more comfortable than facing your fears and risking failure when you don't have much to offer. As he starts slipping, the guy rationalizes that the reason he can't be happy is that he is better than everyone else--that he's above them, so he's much better off alone in his own pitiful hole.

    As he's tripping on his self-pity, he's made aware that the moon(his confidant), the brightest, fullest body in the night sky, is simply reflecting the light of other bodies. Even though the moon provides light to everyone, she has no light of her own. At that moment, the guy realizes that he doesn't need anything great built-in to himself in order to be full and bright, he just needs to reflect the light of others. As he lifts himself out of his hole, he immediately realizes that the comfort he felt from his seclusion and loneliness was far worse than the relief he feels out in the open. Even though it feels comforting to be depressed and accepting of your own sad fate, the relief that you get from rejecting it and rising above it feels much better.

    The key here is that the moon was reflecting light, not absorbing it. Even though she was better off than the guy in the song, she took notice and projected her (borrowed)light to get him out of his hole. The rest of the song is about living by others for others. You can't produce anything within yourself to make yourself happy, so you have to share the happiness of others. You have to crucify your ego and make an effort to reflect light onto others. The message is basically to follow the Golden Rule.
    jonruleson June 14, 2009   Link
  • +6
    General CommentThe first time I ever really listened to this song was when I was in Washington state, on the beach at night and the moon was absolutely full and perfect. The light from the moon was reflection off of the ocean and this song was playing and it just gave me goosebumps. I was coming out of a very shitty relationship and felt very lost. This song on that night really pulled me through, and it's something I will never forget. So no, I don't have an analysis of what the song may truly mean, but I know exactly what it means to me, and I think in some way that is the point of any song, to find out what I means personally to you.
    bugg13on August 04, 2011   Link
  • +5
    My InterpretationSimply on a personal note, I first listenedn any drugs. And I don't claim they are the "key" to understanding the song, or even that it has any relation to this before I'd ever take to drugs whatsoever. However, I thought I understood it, more or less, but really didn't exactly connect with it. After my first encounter with psychedelic mushrooms, I listened to it again and it was like I'd literally transformed my interpretation of this song. Again, I know it probably isn't the same for everybody, but on a personal level I do feel I understand the song a lot better than ever before.

    My Interpretation:
    I see a man who has come to realize he's disgusted with the person he's become. He fears it's too late to turn away, he's gone too far, and perhaps he should simply embrace it (the ego, or "self-indulgent pitiful hole"). Then, in the pit of his disgrace, he has an epiphany. The moon, as "full and bright" as it is, cannot and does not rely on its own self to be at its "maximum," as it were. It seeks the light from the "sun," an endless source of energy and life (for this planet, at least). Just like it, the man should seek guidance, recognize his own imperfections, and accept help from a "higher order" (be it reason, religion, spirituality, anything), in order to be truly whole or happy, or reach a sort of enlightenment. But when you just accept yourself as you are, you're no better than the moon without the sun, just a "lifeless satellite"

    The man understands, he wants to change what he's become, he doesn't need to sit and simply suffer his 'narcissistic' existence anymore - he wants to be alive. Now that he truly believes he can be saved from himself, he turns to the audience and gives his sort of testimony and call to action. He cries out that we join him in a search for truth, to cast our our pitiful judgements of one another, to want something more than simply what we've come to understand in this world. It's not some contract, X number of years on earth for some heaven after death; rather, it's a promise for a happy life in the now. This world offers so much more than many have witnessed, and he begs we not spare ourselves its beauty and a chance to see beyond our ego. Our lives are a journey and there's only so many steps we can take before "we pine away," so don't take it for granted.

    I don't claim any superior knowledge over anyone who has or hasn't taken any drugs, meditated, gone through life changing experiences, nor is it my intention to give off that tone. That's what I hear when I listen to this song, and I'm sure I'm not alone. :)
    NonConnotativeon January 07, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is sort of a long analysis, and without an understanding of the concept of the entire Lateralus album, it doesn't make as much sense, but I'll try my best:

    First of all, there's a reason it fits so well with Disposition and Triad. They all tell the same story. Disposition is sort of the beginning of the mind or the soul (I guess you could say the childhood), where you don't have as much experience or knowledge about the world, and you go entirely off of what you're taught. Your knowledge of the world depends on your *disposition* to it, and as such what people "mention [...] to [you]" causes the "weather [to] change". Reflection, then, is sort of the maturing of the soul, the adulthood if you will, where you begin to *reflect* on your experience. Triad, although being purely instrumental, closes off the trilogy well. I'll likely explain that on Triad's respective page.

    Now for a bit of a part-by-part analysis of Reflection:

    "I have come curiously close to the end, down
    Beneath my self-indulgent pitiful hole, defeated I
    Concede and (Concede and) move closer (Move closer), I may find comfort here
    I may find peace within the emptiness, how pitiful

    It's calling me (Calling me)
    etc..."

    The narrator lives in a self-indulgent, selfish lifestyle. He focuses his life on his own benefit, not on his moral or spiritual gain. He considers it a pitiful lifestyle, but he refuses to do anything about it, instead feeling defeated by it, and tries to find his happiness in what he has, rather than doing something to create his happiness by improving his life.

    "And in my darkest moment, fetal and weepin'
    The moon tells me a secret, my confidant
    As full and bright as I am, this light is not my own and
    A million light reflections pass over me"

    As the narrator is slipping down this path and losing himself, the moon (a common symbol of the spirit or spirituality) shares with him the secret of a proper life. It being "full and bright" means that it is pure and whole. And the reflections symbolise the knowledge and the awakening which he is receiving.

    "It's source is bright and endless, she resuscitates the hopeless
    Without her we are lifeless satellites dreamin' dreams
    And as I pull my head out, I am without one doubt, don't want to be down here soothing my narcissism, I
    Must crucify the ego before it's far too late, I pray the light lifts me out

    Before I pine away
    etc."

    The moon is full of wisdom because it is truly complete and never-ending. It gives him hope and allows him to change, something he thought himself incapable of her, and now he believes himself indebted to her. And when he starts to truly see things, or "pull his head out" of his pitiful state, he realises that he no longer wants to be a part of such a selfish world, and wants to be a part of something bigger, which requires him to rid himself of his ego (often also referred to as the self) to become a part of something bigger, before it's far too late to change.

    "So crucify the ego before it's far too late to leave behind this place, so negative and blind and cynical
    And you will come to find that we are all one mind, capable of all that's imagined and all conceivable
    Just let the light touch you and let the words spill through, just let them pass right through, bringin' out our hope and reason

    Before we pine away
    etc."

    And now he shares his realisation with the listener. He realises that we all must rid ourselves of our no-longer-necessary egos to become a part of something truly great, where all people are one. We are all the same person in different bodies. And if we see ourselves as that and unite, we're capable of everything, but rather because we remain selfish and refuse to listen to reason, we remain negative and blind and achieve very little. So he says that we must all accept this ("let the light touch you") and then share it with others to get them to see ("let the words spill though, just let them pass right through") until we can awaken the whole world to the true hope in the world, before we all destroy ourselves.


    This song very much draws on the concepts explained in Lateralus, Parabol/Parabola, and to some extent, Schism, The Patient, and The Grudge. I'd suggest looking into the whole album.

    Also, has anyone noticed that the intro to this song (when split into sections based on the introduction of instruments) is nearly the same when you play it backwards? I haven't yet found any meaning to this, other than the connection to the title.
    drummerpon May 18, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI duuno what HE meant by it but it kinda seems to me that he's saying if you're all wrapped up in self-pity and sadness, mabe it's time to just contemplate your position in the entirety of the human condition and just be glad to just BE.
    Dajeebon September 30, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about becoming part of a higher consciousness in any form.
    schism86on December 06, 2001   Link

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