Leonard Cohen in 1988 interview with Mr. Bonzai. Photo of Leonard Cohen by Roland Godefroy (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Originally posted May 15, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Leonard Cohen’s response to a query at Old Ideas listening party about how his spiritual journey was going. From A Night With Leonard Cohen by Timothy J., Program Manager, Starbucks: February 21, 2012. Note: Originally posted July 15, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
You can be the subject, and poetry can be the object. You can keep the subject/object relationship, and that’s completely legitimate. It is the point of view of the scholar. But I wanted to live this world. When I read the psalms or when they lifted up the Torah, that kind of thing sent a chill down my back. I wanted to be the one who lifted up the Torah. I wanted to be in that position. When they told me I was a Kohen, I believed it. I didn’t think it was some auxiliary information. I wanted to wear white clothes and go into the Holy of Holies and negotiate with the deepest resources of my soul. So I took the whole thing seriously. I was this little kid and whatever they told me in these matters resonated, and I wanted to be that figure who sang, ‘This is the Tree of Life.’ I tried to become that, and that world seemed open to me, and I was able to become that in my own modest way. I became that little figure to myself. So that was poetry to me, and I think it’s available to everybody.
Jewish Book News Interview With Leonard Cohen By Arthur Kurzweil And Pamela Roth: 1994. Originally posted July 29, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
We sense that there is a will that is behind all things, and we’re also aware of our own will, and it’s the distance between those two wills that creates the mystery that we call religion. It is the attempt to reconcile our will with another will that we can’t quite put our finger on, but we feel is powerful and existent. It’s the space between those two wills that creates our predicament.
An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Robert Sward & Pat Keeney Smith. The Malahat Review: No. 77 (1986). Originally posted July 14, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
I really like that life, it’s very regulated and it has some kind of a military crispness to it . And then, you’re doing it for a reason, it’s not to build up your muscles, it’s not just a macho exercise, it’s to kind of cook your mind so that you can hear what you’re saying, because you can’t hear what you’re saying if you’re full of yourself. … you know most of us are not open most of the time, we pretend that we are open, but mostly you’re running your own dramatic event of which you are the hero or the heroine. Usually that’s what we are doing most of the time.
So there you get so tired that you can’t pretend, and that’s all that a monastery is. They make you so tired that you give up pretending.
The youth stops being so important, you’ re too tired to maintain the hero that you think you are or the failure that you think you are, whatever the version of yourself that you bought into is … Those versions of yourself are not very useful. I mean, they’re useful when you’ve got to operate, but they’re not useful up there. We all need those versions of ourselves, and it’s perfectly alright. I mean – you’ve got to be an interviewer, I’ve got to be the guy who has written Suzanne or whatever it is – we have to be the things that we are, so that the enterprise can unfold appropriately. But when you’re up there, those versions of yourself they’re not useful. They make sure through lack of sleep, and hard work that, if you’re lucky you can let those things go and actually learn a thing or two. You just get a little more open.
From a 2005 interview with Kari Hesthamar for Norwegian radio
Credit Due Department: Photo by Cynthia Krause from Whittier, California – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikipedia Commons. Originally posted October 15, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric