Leonard Cohen’s rules for living well

“Act as you would like to be and soon you will be as you act.” – Leonard Cohen.

For some reason, it’s a pretty comical motive to imagine Leonard Cohen playing tennis, but when he fled to a Buddhist monastery, that’s exactly what the monks sent him to do. . Their goal was to make him take life a little less seriously. He had been informed that he “knew how to work but not how to play”. All of this led Cohen to celebrate the mantra he continued to extol long after hanging up his racket: “Lighten up!” This is what enlightenment means, to enlighten.

His songs may appear to have been written by a man of a thousand lives, and in a way, he had a wealth of wisdom that made such a comic book feat possible. So, we’ve put together various comments on mindfulness, fulfillment, and just how to live well in general that the wily Leonard Cohen served alongside his singing tower. He was the first to admit that he was far from perfect, so these nuggets of advice don’t come from a deity who is holier than you, and what’s more, Cohen would also concede that the old line “he it is better to learn from other lessons than yours ”, reads better than played; nonetheless, his hard-earned insight is a boon to brighten up our daily lives.

On his birthday, we not only say thank you for Leonard Cohen’s songs but also thank you for the balm of your sagacious lyrics. From the sane to the sincere, please enjoy the words of the man himself below, looking at the central tenets of his art and the things he said about them far from six strings or the album.

Leonard Cohen’s rules of good living:

At the discretion of creativity …

While Cohen’s catalog may not have compared to the optimistic realm of chic, his funeral chants were a means of seeking salvation from the suffering that had engendered them. Alas, not all of his songs were cut out of the oppressed fabric, so he quickly disowned the idea when told that good work comes from suffering itself.

In an interview during his time as a Buddhist monk, he remarked: “It is a popular notion that it is exclusively suffering that produces good work or insightful work, I don’t think it does. . I think in a way it’s a trigger or a lever, but I think good work is done despite suffering, like a victory over suffering.

He went even further in 1976 when he told the Guardian: “A cry of pain in itself is just that. It can affect you or you can turn away from it. But a work which deals with the experience which produced the cry of pain is quite another matter. The cry is transformed, alchimized, by the work by a certain objectivity which does not abandon the emotion but gives it form. It is the difference between life and art.

In the face of mortality …

We all have to deal with mortality to some extent, but with Leonard Cohen’s long battle with illness, he’s had time to watch it and turn the confrontation into song. His album You want it darker saw him stare at the subject without flinching and kill it with golden prose.

Talk with PBS in his later years he said, “We are all dying from this incurable disease called age. Of course you can feel it. My friend Irvine Leighton, Canada’s greatest poet, once said that it is “the inevitable disappointment of growing old”. But later, in the face of death, he said The New Yorker: “In a sense, this particular situation is filled with a lot less distractions than at other times in my life and it actually allows me to work with a bit more focus and continuity.”

Adding, “You are dying but you don’t have to cooperate so enthusiastically with the process. It’s very compassionate at this point. I mean, more than at any time in my life, I don’t have that voice that says “you’re fucking shit”. It is a huge blessing.

To be a scholar …

Leonard Cohen was an extremely open-minded person. He sought to see the value of most things and apparently weighed everything up. All of these adventures, for lack of a better word, seemed to be underpinned by an almost studious view of what one can learn from experiences and as such he took a scholarly approach to life and the arts.

In this regard, he remarked with humor: “I am an old scholar, more handsome now than when I was young. That’s what sitting on your ass does to your face. And sitting down, he spilled over just about everything, explaining, “Every time I pick up a magazine, I read writing that stands out. My pace and my perspective are continually influenced by the things I encounter. You recapitulate all the movement of your own culture.

Adding: “Sometimes we are touched by certain elaborate languages, like the language we associate with the Elizabethan period, with the King James translation of the Bible, or Shakespeare. There are times when you are influenced by very simple things. The instructions on a packet of cereal have magnificent clarity. You are touched by the writing of National Geographic – it represents a certain kind of accomplishment.

Before concluding: “Sometimes you go to another phase where you are touched by the writing of the demented or the mentally ill. I receive a lot of letters from these kinds of writers. You begin to see it as the most precise reflection of your own reality, the landscape on which you operate. There are many types of expression that I am sensitive to.

On love…

It would seem from albums like Songs of love and hate, that Cohen spent much of his time reflecting on the ways of love. In fact, he is the central protagonist of his life’s work. Despite this, he said he was not an authority on the matter, joking: “My reputation as a ladies’ man was a joke that made me laugh bitterly during the ten thousand nights I spent. single.”

From the outside this certainly doesn’t appear to be the case and as such he’s a pretty reliable source on the subject. And of all the open love letters he’s touted, this is the next piece of Poems and songs it seems important to him, and it is the humble question of accepting the condition for what it is: “We are not crazy. We are human. We want to love, and someone must forgive us for the paths we take to love, for the paths are many and dark, and we are fiery and cruel in our journey.

And like he said the Guardian in 2009: “It is the most difficult activity in which humans engage, it is love. You know, we have the feeling that we can’t live without love, that life has very little meaning without it.

On the fight against depression …

Throughout his life, Cohen faced depression like many people do. His message of hope to move away from it is a balm of hope for those who suffer or for all those who have been depressed elsewhere. “When I talk about depression I am talking about clinical depression which is the basis of your whole life, a background of dread and anxiety, a feeling that nothing is going well, that pleasure is not available and may all your strategies collapse, “he said.

But I concluded with joy: “I am happy to report that, by imperceptible degrees and by the grace of good teachers and luck, this depression slowly dissolved and never returned with the same ferocity. which has prevailed for most of my life. “

Whether you should listen to his advice anyway …

Listen to the hummingbird
Whose wings you can’t see
Listen to the hummingbird
Don’t listen to me

Listen to the butterfly
Whose days but number three
Listen to the butterfly
Don’t listen to me

Hear the mind of God
What doesn’t have to be
Hear the mind of God
Don’t listen to me

Listen to the hummingbird
Whose wings you can’t see
Listen to the hummingbird
Don’t listen to me

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