Elvis Presley’s Spiritual Quest

Millions of words have been written about the tumultuous and legendary life and career of Elvis Presley: from his humble birth and extremely poor years as a child in a little wooden shotgun two-room dwelling in Tupelo, Mississippi; to his musical beginnings as a teenager discovered at Sun Records by Sam Phillips; to his explosive surge to worldwide celebrity set in motion and handled by the colorful Colonel Tom Parker. Despite this array of facts, the truth is that the most dedicated and hardcore enthusiast who can discuss the tiniest bit of facts and trivia about his personal life and his career has no idea of what is most important and revealing : the essential core of the man born Elvis Aaron Presley, his lifelong quest for meaning and purpose.

I knew Elvis privately as a smart, sensitive man who set out on a lifelong search for wisdom and spiritual growth. Our mutual quest was our deepest bond. Elvis and I steeped ourselves in the wisdom of the world’s great spiritual teachings. Elvis and I poured over every book I could get my hands on. We researched and considered, explored and dug into, always looking for answers to the unanswerable, helping each other on the journey as we each searched for our own fulfillment. Together we analyzed the wisdom and philosophy of the ages, spiritual teachings of both East and West, exoteric and esoteric. There were no limits to the subjects we explored. We experienced meditation and spiritual healing. We enjoyed playing with numbers and words, developing brand new ways of discovering mystical meaning in the ordinary. Metaphysics communicated directly to Elvis’ basic desire to understand the mystery of life, and thus it came forth naturally from the core of his heart and soul.

Most of Elvis’ conservative thinking entourage and management couldn’t accept or deal with Elvis’ inner voyage. The very word spiritual invoked bizarre, foreign and weird thoughts and pictures to many of them. As a result, there were many years of misunderstanding and dissension.

The word “spiritual,” just like “God,” has many emotional and philosophical interpretations,  isolating individuals from each other and leading to a great deal of misunderstanding and conflict. People who have never raised their eyes above the material world, who have never even caught sight of the realms of the divine, talk about the concept as if they know what they are talking about or they dismiss the whole idea as if they know what they are denying. Just as with the word “love,” the full concept of spirituality has been thrown about so casually that its meaning has become buried. We love our family, we love God; but we also love tv shows or pizza. Love is more than an emotional feeling; it’s a rich, powerful spiritual frequency, a unifying power that links us all.

Understanding our true selves is the heart of spirituality, to learn the nature of our connection to God. This search has been the basis of all the world’s great religious and spiritual teachings, and the aim of all the great spiritual masters. True spirituality is an attitude, a way of being, an expansion of our awareness and our experience with life; it is the art of meaningful living.

The fundamental theme of Elvis’ quest for meaning and purpose in his life was to comprehend what was asked of him, what he was called upon to give to the world. He understood his God-given talent and the music he created were a great gift he presented to his fans, and most people would have been satisfied with that as the purpose of their life. But it didn’t satisfy Elvis; he sincerely felt he was chosen at birth and he suffered in his passion to do more, to give more.

His fans sense that Elvis is more than the performer on stage or on records, that there was a vulnerability and innocence that shone through the flash and glamour.

About Larry Geller

Before becoming Elvis Presley's personal hairstylist, spiritual mentor and confidant in 1964, I worked with the famed Jay Sebring in the very first men's hair styling salon. Our clientele read like a Hollywood Who's Who: Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Peter Sellers, Rock Hudson and many more. The last time I did Elvis' hair was for his funeral in August of 1977.
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5 Responses to Elvis Presley’s Spiritual Quest

  1. Dave Rogers says:

    Hello Larry,

    I have a question for you . . .

    I have watched the interview of your comments concerning Col. Tom Parker and the fact that he said that the only thing that mattered was Elvis being on stage that particular night, in spite of his poor health.

    In your opinion, did Tom Parker care about Elvis at all beyond his ability to make money off of him? It’s inconceivable that someone could work with somebody for over 20 years and not have an ounce of human compassion towards him.

    Lastly, do you think if Parker would have gotten more involved in Elvis’ growing drug dependency problem that he could have made a meaningful difference? I remember the effect he had on Elvis during your relationship back in the 1960’s. He effectively forced you out of Elvis’ life.

    Couldn’t he have used that same influence, which was unfair to you but effective, to help deal with the pill problem?

    What are you thoughts on this?

    All the best,

    Dave Rogers

    • Larry Geller says:

      What I’ve said about Colonel Parker in talks and in my book is the way he was. I believe he cared for Elvis, but not as much as he cared for money. As for your question about using his influence to help Elvis with his prescription drug dependency – perhaps, but we’ll never know because he didn’t try.

  2. Suzanne DiBuono says:

    Hello My name is Suzanne DiBuono and I have loved Elvis since early childhood. On 7-17-14 after my husband killed himself, I suffered a nervous breakdown as well as drug withdrawal and a psychotic break I asked god to give me back my dad who passed in 2008, my husband and of course Elvis. Ever since this day, I feel god is giving me Elvis. I listen to Walk a Mile In my Shoes and for some strange reason I keep talking about Elvis. At one point I was telling everyone God is Elvis. I too have a deep spiritual connection and feel my loved ones. I can understand how Elvis felt. By the way Elvis did not kill himself he was a victim of the hands of evil doctors who kept feeding him dangerous pills just like they are doing to me, just as they did to my precious husband. ELVIS did not do drugs, nor did he kill himself, he loved god too much to massacre his body and leave his child.

  3. Michael-Steven Deleon says:

    Lawrence,

    As I stated earlier in the first post, I read your book “If I Can Dream” and believe me,
    when I say the work stands right up there with the best tributes to the man, the artist,
    the humanitarian and individual that E was…you paid him the tribute that so many perhaps tried and intended to in the beginning but failed in their efforts to achieve.
    It is a lasting tribute to a man who so many have utterly missed the mark in saying they
    understood. Thank you again, my friend.

    Michael

  4. Pingback: Elvis Presley?s Spiritual Quest | Elvis Alive Forever

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