“[Love] is the most challenging activity that humans get into…” Leonard Cohen


Have the women in your life been a source of your strength or weakness?

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Good question. It’s not a level playing ground for either of us, for either the man or the woman. This is the most challenging activity that humans get into, which is love. You know, where we have the sense that we can’t live without love. That life has very little meaning without love. So we’re invited into this arena which is a very dangerous arena, where the possibilities of humiliation and failure are ample. So there’s no fixed lesson that one can learn, because the heart is always opening and closing, it’s always softening and hardening. We’re always experiencing joy or sadness. But there are lots of people who’ve closed down. And there are times in one’s life when one has to close down just to regroup.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From ‘I’m blessed with a certain amnesia’ by Jian Ghomeshi (The Guardian: 9 July 2009). Photo by Paul Zollo. Originally posted October 7, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“It is only when you have children that you’re truly forced to give up looking only at yourself and start worrying about some other lives” Leonard Cohen


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It is only when you have children that you’re truly forced to give up looking only at yourself and start worrying about some other lives. If you attempt to respond to a child, you can never think of yourself in the same way again. You stop being the center of your drama, which becomes very secondary in light of your children’s needs, of their urgency. I understood right away that the trap had slammed shut (laughs)… There are many marvelous aspects of course; the beauty is indisputable. But the destruction of your self image is inevitable. There were many things that I didn’t like about myself. I was very selfish, I was only concerned with myself. I wouldn’t admit that other beings were legitimately worth my attention.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Throat Culture magazine, 1992). Photo contributed by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“In the sweaty, passionate, filthy embrace [of sexual ecstasy], in all of its delicious and time-dissolving power, in the midst of that embrace there is no difference, no separation between the spiritual and the profane.” Leonard Cohen


Pico Iyer: ‘Dance Me To The End of Love’ implies the dissolving of time in the moment of sexual ecstasy. To what extent do you make a distinction between the sexual and the spiritual when it comes to absolute?

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In the sweaty, passionate, filthy embrace, in all of its delicious and time-dissolving power, in the midst of that embrace there is no difference, no separation between the spiritual and the profane. But it’s reached through the profane rather than through the spiritual, at least in my canon. That is the portal, that is the door into the whole affair. In that moment there is no separation, there is no spirit and flesh, there’s no conflict, there never was. It’s dissolved.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen:  Several Lifetimes Already by Pico Iyer (Shambhala Sun, September, 1998). Update: No longer online. Originally posted Nov 26, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Everything that a man does is laid at a lady’s feet whether it is a battle or a song, or an amalgamation between two great companies” Leonard Cohen

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Women are indeed in control. It isn’t necessary to declare a matriarchy but it exists just the same. Everything that a man does is laid at a lady’s feet whether it is a battle or a song, or an amalgamation between two great companies. At some time in the day the man comes home to his woman and says ‘look what I’ve done.’ I remember one day I was in a very exalted state and I saw a bunch of cows in a field. And I noticed how beautiful they were that I got down on my knees to worship them. And, do you know, those cows were so happy. The more I worshipped them the happier they became. And to make a metaphor out of it, it’s exactly the same with ladies.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Quotation from Leonard Cohen by Ray Connolly. Evening Standard, July 1968, The image is from the back cover of the 1971 Songs of Love and Hate guitar book, contributed by Dominique BOILE.

“No State or Authority will ever define my shadow on a woman or hers on me.” Leonard Cohen


From Leonard Cohen’s Apr 22, 1964 letter to Redmond Wallis, a writer from New Zealand, who was Cohen’s friend as well as his fellow resident on Hydra. At the time this letter was written, Leonard Cohen was living in Montreal, and Wallis was at his home on Hydra. This letter is archived at the National Library of New Zealand – Wellington, Originally posted September 9, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Never question where love comes from …” Leonard Cohen

Jennifer Warnes: I phoned Leonard on the day that my mother – who in many ways was my ‘significant other’ – died. ‘Was that somehow strange, devoting one’s life to one’s mother?’ I asked. His response was impeccable

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Never question where love comes from. We have no control over these things. From a stranger, a mother, a dog, or that perfect mate, it comes from wherever it comes. You were lucky, in fact – everyone hopes to find love in the place that you found it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, quoted by Jennifer Warnes in Leonard Cohen – as remembered by Jennifer Warnes by Marcus Webb (Slow Journalism: 7 November 2016).