Leonard Cohen

Opening and Closing

“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 about the thing because the heart is always opening and closing, it’s always softening and hardening. We’re always experiencing joy or sadness.”

~ Leonard Cohen


[Thanks, Jonathan Carroll!]

Your Heart is Like Mine

A Deep Happiness
by Leonard Cohen

A deep happiness
       has seized me
My Christian friends say
that I have received
       the Holy Spirit
It is only the truth of solitude
It is only the torn anemone
fastened to the rock
       its root exposed
to the off-shore wind
O friend of my scribbled life
Your heart is like mine—
your loneliness
       will bring you home.

The Key to Life is to Forget Things

"The key to long life, is to immediately forget things. If you forget, then instantly and inevitably, a new state of consciousness always arises," says Sasaki Roshi, a Zen master who turned 100 years old this month. My meditation teacher, Shinzen Young interprets for his teacher in this short news clip.

Sasaki Roshi entered a Rinzai monastery when he was fourteen. He earned the title of Roshi (which means "old" and "teacher") when he was forty and moved to California to teach in 1962. His most famous student is Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-writer who served as the Roshi's personal assistant during the years he spent in seclusion at Mt. Baldy Zen Center.

Shinzen was ordained as a Shingon monk in Mt. Koya, and has been teaching Vipassana meditation for thirty years. He draws the majority of his teaching analogies from mathematical and scientific concepts and emphasizes the similarity among the contemplative and ethical traditions of the world's religions. He has extensive experience coaching people who are suffering from chronic and acute pain.