Monks and yogis can spend decades searching for equanimity and zen, but James Taylor found it in about 10 minutes sitting in a patch of sunlight on Martha's Vineyard, where the song came to him in a flash.
So what is the secret of life? As Taylor sings here, it's "enjoying the passage of time." Some would call it mindfulness.
The title is a play on flavor names of Life Savers. The candies are round with a hole in the middle, so to play up the O shape, they gave them flavor names like Wint-O-Green and Spear-O-Mint. Taylor used this approach in titling this song to acknowledge the absurdity of a song about the meaning of life. "It's a jab at the presumptuousness of writing a song called 'The Secret of Life,'" he said in Rolling Stone.