What’s a special day like in the monastery?
There are no special days. The whole idea is that nothing and everything is special at the same time. There is only the routine to which you surrender. If you can’t do that, you become very unhappy. Everything is arranged to happen by the sound of bells or clapping. If you feel defiance every time you hear these signals, which mark that you have to do something particular, you become very unhappy after a while. That happens to some people and therefore they leave… You have to surrender in order to stay there. You follow the routine no matter how you feel, and this has the advantage that you stop being dependent on how you feel. As it says in one of the songs: ‘I don’t trust my inner feelings / Inner feelings come and go.’… I think that is my favorite line.
From Leonard Cohen Gave Me 200 Franc by Martin Oestergaard (Euroman, Denmark September 2001).
Note: The referenced lyrics, “I don’t trust my inner feelings / Inner feelings come and go,” are from That Don’t Make It Junk.