"Parabola" as written by Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones, Daniel Carey and Justin Chancellor....
We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment,
We are choosing to be here right now. Hold on, stay inside
This holy reality, this holy experience.
Choosing to be here in

This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone in
This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal
All this pain is an illusion.

Alive, I

In this holy reality, in this holy experience. Choosing to be here in

This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone in
This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal
All this pain is an illusion.

Twirling round with this familiar parable.
Spinning, weaving round each new experience.
Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing.

This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality.
Embrace this moment. Remember. We are eternal.
All this pain is an illusion.


Lyrics submitted by Jack

"Parabola" as written by Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones, Daniel Carey, Justin Chancellor

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

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Parabola song meanings
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  • +15
    General CommentThis whole album deals with spiritual enlightenment(with the climax at the end of Reflection). Parabola specifically deals with the illusory nature of the self.

    "We barely remember who or what came before" -> Our memories are very limited, but they create a story of our "selves" despite that. It's just an illusion, the song tells us to focus on the now(a common theme in spirituality) and that our bodies are just a temporary form of being.

    The other songs on Lateralus all focus on different aspects of the main spiritual truth that Reflection tries to convey.

    The Grudge/Schism are about our relationships with other beings and how futile it is to separate ourselves from them. We are, after all, all one mind.

    The Patient/Ticks and Leeches are about dealing with the struggles that come along the path to spritual enlightenment. The incredible amount of patience it requires, the negative influences from the outside world, etc.

    Lateralus is about the exploration of ourselves and just the general size and scope of what there is to discover.

    Many people call Tool hard to understand, but they actually convey very simple messages in their music. That's part of what makes them so great, their universal applicability to almost all situations.

    Even looking at their discogtaphy as a whole sort of shows a cool trend. Opiate was very "me and them", the ideas are very typical of an individual angry at society and at himself.

    Undertow and Aenima show a more inward approach, especially on Aenima. Third Eye is sort of like the precursor to Lateralus, the final understanding of truth.

    Lateralus is sort of climax of their work.

    10,000 Days is sort of like Opiate, in that it includes lots of societal criticism, but from a new perspective. It criticizes it in terms of "we", rather than "they."

    Do I really think Tool's discography is like one big concept album? No, but the trend is definitely there.
    hero764on October 27, 2012   Link
  • +10
    General CommentThis song is about the Spiritualist belief in the birth process; it has nothing to do with sex really. We are spirit forms until we will ourselves into a physical form. During the infant stage, our spirit (or second self as I call it) moves in and out of our body with ease, as it's not yet grounded in the physical world. The lyrics demand that we are alive because we chose to be, and we should cherish this opportunity. Pain is truly not an illusion, but can be manipulated into suck when one looks at the big picture. Our bodies are vehicles that carry our astral minds. We are eternal.
    GuythDanon February 03, 2002   Link
  • +9
    General CommentWe don't remember what we were before we were alive in this physical form. We choose to stay alive in this physical form. It is a great gift to be alive. We can look at all the other bodies around us and see that we are obviously not alone in this world. Other's share our pain and our joy. Just by being born we have an effect on the lives of other people. But this body, this physical form, is only a vessel for our "soul". Our soul is what makes us different from every other person. It is my personal belief that our soul is the same thing as our mind. Our body gives our soul a chance to experience life and what it means to be alive. To have memories. To love and to hate. To feel pain and joy. We have to remember that we are not a collection of memories. We are not our professions. We are not what others see when they look at us or even the way we try to project ourselves to the world. Inside we are a mind truly capable of anything, but limited by the body we are given. Even so, we should embrace this chance to be alive. Our body will die. Our soul will live on. Of course this is all just hope. But we need hope. I need hope. This body holding me can't be all that I am. My mind can't be just a series of synaptic connections and chemical reactions. There is more to us than science will ever even begin to explain. I highly recommend the Ender's Game book series by Orson Scott Card for anybody who like's this song and want to read an excellent book that gets deeper into what we are and what makes us human. Ending thought: Try and empathize with people. People act a certain way because their body is imperfect. There is a reason for everything, nomatter how irrational. Learn to love others nomatter how much they hate you. It is hard. I know. Damn do I ever know. I am imperfect, too. I hope you all find happiness without sacrificing the happiness of anybody else. Good tidings and Farewell.
    FlyingAntson March 22, 2002   Link
  • +8
    General CommentThat or it could possibly be relating to death by suicide. The deep depression that some of us feel. That when the walls come down and we are left alone, there are only 2 options: end it now, or find hope and place faith in overcoming our insecurities. "Pain is an illusion", I know that statement has kept me here in this world. The thought of that statement gives me the strength to go through one more day. I remember that all that is physical, is ill-logical. It is only a destraction. I must stay focused on what my life is about. In the song right before this one on Tool's album Maynard asks, "Is this a Test? It has to be. Otherwise I can't go on." To me that is what I feel when I hear it. It is the feeling of hope and inspiration, a chance to go on. But that's me. Things have different meaning for different people.
    deminoison February 01, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThis song, to me, is a short writing of the ultimate truth one can attain while being alive on this earth, in this vibration, and on this plane of awareness. The "parable" here is that "we", humans are an extension of our cosmic counterpart i.e. God. We are ALL one being and Life, is the experience of a divided single consciousness within human avatars. Meaning, we, all, us, god, CHOSE to "divide" and live! "This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone" Not alone meaning, life is many. Consciousness of ONE is alone.
    The "illusion" is that there is NO DEATH! But only a constant cycle of infinite existence/consciousness.
    Destroy the ego side and experience "death" of the "self" only to come back "here" and realize we are humans and ONLY this "reality" will end... Our fleshy vessels will retire... mortality. "This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality. Embrace this moment. Remember; we are eternal, all this pain is an illusion." The "moment" being when you return to the consciousness of ONE, when the ego dies.
    These men have experienced "death" of the ego as have I. I KNOW this is exactly what they are trying to convey... I hope you will consider what I have said and pay more attention to other lyrics from other songs. Their core message, their entire mission, is to be the 'Tool' for humans to find this truth... The Philosopher's Stone, the Holy Grail...
    D1v1n3ag3nton January 27, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentActually the song has nothing to do with suicide at all. It's a very positive song (just like most of their stuff). The song is about this miniscule moment in time that we as spirits have been actually placed into this world..onto this earth. The one thing that none of the "gods" have ever had the chance to do. To be mortal and eternal at the same time. In short, enjoy the ability to see, hear, smell, smile, love, etc...because it is only for a flicker in time that we get to do this. Do not be sad when something earthly seems to be troubling, it is only of this world and it isnt real, not in the grand scheme of things. It is a "Holy" moment, a gift, given to us by the Creator of all. Once this is realized it becomes more easily understood and appreciated. Yes,...all this pain IS an illusion.
    IamIamNoton January 24, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think this song talk about life .
    Human have to be happy to live .
    They have soul , they have body , they can do a lot of experience during them life .
    And when he says : All this pain is an illusion " , he talks to all psycho people that feel pain and want to say : " YOU HAVE A BODY , YOU HAVE SOUL , YOU ARE ALIVE DON'T DISTURB YOURSELF WITH PAIN, ENJOY !! "

    That's what i see in this song .
    flamedevilon May 23, 2002   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationThe unconscious lives on, or possibly some sort of consciousness is moved on. The flesh is temporary. while the mind is eternal.

    It is what I have gathered from the song, many of Maynard's lyrics coincide with this. Very spiritual, however not religious, if this makes sense to you.
    stfaulk89on September 05, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentOkay, Bill Hicks used to talk about how we are one with God, that life is a ride. He said we are one in the mind of God and there is no death, that we are eternal. This song is expressing just that...
    elite11on December 23, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI heard it's about a really good sandwich maynard once made
    ThePoton November 25, 2008   Link

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