Meaning of ”Parabola” by Tool

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

This song dives into the spiritual journey of human existence. It’s a celebration of life, of being “here and now” in our bodies. But it also reminds us that this physical form is temporary. The song urges us to feel the deeper, eternal connection beyond the physical world, suggesting that our pain is just an illusion. It’s not so much about a specific person but rather about the shared human experience. So, why did Tool write this song? To make us ponder the deep stuff—like our purpose and the transient nature of our struggles.

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“Parabola” Lyrics Meaning

The song kicks off with “We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment.” It sets the tone for focusing on the present, the “here and now,” which is a common theme in spiritual teachings. The lyric “choosing to be here, right now” gives a nod to free will and the power of choice in creating our reality.

Then comes the phrase “This holy reality, this holy experience,” calling attention to the sacredness of life and human experience. It urges us to view our time here as something far more significant than just earthly existence. The repetition of “this body, this body holding me” reminds us of our physical form, which is both a limitation and a gift. It’s what makes this human experience possible in the first place.

Now let’s talk about the lyric “Feeling eternal, all this pain is an illusion.” Here, the song touches upon the concept of eternal consciousness, something beyond this temporary life. It suggests that our pain, our struggles, are transient. We get so wrapped up in our issues that we forget they’re not as everlasting as they seem.

“Twirling ’round with this familiar parable” hints at the cyclic nature of life and experiences. A “parable” is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. Here, the word is cleverly used to mirror life itself, implying that our lives are full of lessons wrapped in different experiences.

Finally, the lines “A chance to be alive and breathing” and “We are eternal, all this pain is an illusion” come together to stress the point—our lives are short, but our souls are eternal. Embrace the moment, embrace the chance to live and experience.

Why Was “Parabola” Written?

Tool’s lead vocalist, Maynard James Keenan, has always been one to delve into the more profound aspects of existence. Around the time of this song’s creation, he was exploring spirituality and the nature of human experience. The song serves as a sort of spiritual guide, a musical “note to self” that covers topics like mindfulness, the eternal soul, and the fleeting nature of physical life. Maynard wanted listeners to step back, if only for a few minutes, and consider the bigger picture. That’s why “Parabola” is layered with so much philosophical and spiritual meaning. It’s not just a song; it’s an invitation to reflect on what it means to be truly alive.