Thursday, January 5, 2017

Quotes of the Week 364 - Tribute to Leonard Cohen

Life is Worth Living

Other times, the Zen life wasn’t enough. “I was sitting in the meditation hall one afternoon,” said Cohen, “and I thought, ‘This sucks. This whole scene sucks.’ And I moved from that into cataloging the various negative feelings I had for the mother of my children. I found myself descending into a bonfire of hatred, you know – that bitch, what she’d done to me, what she left me with how she wrecked the whole fucking scene. I was in there, I was in my robes, and the furthest thing from my mind was spiritual advancement. The furthest. I mean, I was consumed with rage.”

That day, Cohen’s rage gave way to a moment of unexpected grace, a kind of temporary epiphany. “There was sunlight on the floor of the cabin, where we were waiting to go see Roshi,” he said. “There were leaves outside and the shadow of these leaves was on the floor. The wind moved, something moved, and I disappeared into this movement. The whole scene blew up. A dog started barking, and I was barking. And everything that arose was the content of my being. Everything that moved was me. In certain blessed moments, we experience ourselves as the reality that is manifesting as everything. There’s no ‘I am one with the universe,’ which is the cheapest mystical slogan,” he continued, “and it decides that life is worth living. I was barking with the dog, but there really was no dog.”

-- Leonard Cohen, as quoted in Rolling Stone magazine, Dec. 15-29, 2016 issue


I wanted to stand with those who clearly see G-d’s holy broken world for what it is, and still find the courage or the heart to praise it.

--Leonard Cohen, on the writing of the song Hallelujah, as quoted in Rolling Stone magazine, Dec. 15-29, 2016 issue

In Spite of It

Depression has often been the general background of my daily life. My feeling is that whatever I did was in spite of that not because of it. It wasn’t the depression that was the engine of my work. That was just the sea I swam in.

-- Leonard Cohen, as quoted in Rolling Stone magazine, Dec. 15-29, 2016

I’ve Been Saved

Ramesh Balsekar was a Hindu mentor who lived in Mumbai and wrote about a concept called “nondualism,” developed in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. In 1999, Cohen departed Mount Baldy and headed to Mumbai. [Cohen had spent five years as a Buddhist monk at Mt. Baldy Zen Monastery in California. He happened upon a book by Balsekar, and attracted to his teachings, he left the monastery to study with him.] He spent a year studying with Balsekar. “The model I finally understood,” he recalled, “suggested that there really is no fixed self. The conventional therapeutic wisdom today encourages the sufferer to get in touch with his inner feelings – as if there were an inner self, a true self, the real self that we have glimmerings of in dreams and insights. There is no real inner self to command your loyalty and the tyranny of your investigation. What happened to me was not that I got any answers, but that the questions dissolved. As one of Balsekar’s students said, “I believe in cause and effect, but I don’t know which is which.”

Slowly, the depression eased. “By imperceptible degrees, something happened, and it lifted,” Cohen continued. “It lifted, and it hasn’t come back for two and a half years. That’s my real story. I don’t feel like saying, ‘I’ve been saved,’ throwing my crutches up in the air. But I have been.”

-- Leonard Cohen, as quoted in Rolling Stone magazine, Dec. 15-29, 2016 issue

Sighing Eternally

Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld
So I can sigh eternally

--from Pennyroyal Tea, by Kurt Cobain

Lights, Shadows and Love

Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful if we tried to pretend there were no shadows.

--Walt Disney

You want it darker
We kill the flame

Hineni Hineni
I’m ready, my Lord

--Leonard Cohen, from the first and title song from his last album

I wish there was a treaty
Between your love and mine

--Leonard Cohen, last lyrics from the last track of his last album

No comments:

Quote of the Week 381 - Heaven

Heaven is all round,

Translated to sound.

--Michael Hedges



Announcing Publication of New Book, DIMENSIONS: Navigation the Spiritual Spectrum

I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book, DIMENSIONS: Navigating the Spiritual Spectrum, now available at Amazon, in paperback print and Kindle versions. It is easily found by searching my name, or by searching the full title and subtitle. You can also click on the image of the book in the right hand column of this blog.

What a great way to start the New Year, cozying up to a fire, real or imagined, and reading a new spiritually inspiring book, sure to become a classic!

DIMENSIONS: Navigating the Spiritual Spectrum

Grounded in the traditions of Torah and Veda, Steven J. Gold takes us on an oceanic tour of the depth and breadth of spiritual consciousness. Sharing personal stories and insights into various traditional scriptures as examples, he urges us to adopt a spiritual worldview, to “ponder infinity, awake and arise,” to “find your inspiration and follow it.”

“The chapters…are records of what happens when Steve’s right mind, and heart, are given full freedom to wander where they wish. As discoveries and correlations are made, his well-trained left mind and sharp wit give his observations shape and form…” – Brother Shankara, Resident Minister, Vedanta Center of Atlanta

“Universal Ice Cream: Dive deep into Steve’s wonderful book to help find your favorite flavor on the Spiritual Spectrum.” – Rabbi Mitch Cohen, Spiritual Leader, Congregation Shalom B’Harim, Dahlonega, GA

“Steven J. Gold’s Dimensions is an exploration of spirituality from the inside out. If you are looking for a guide through the pathless land of truth, read this book.” – Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of The World Wisdom Bible

Interfaith/Inter-Spiritual Contemplative Groups

Please check out the following, which is an ongoing activity that may be of interest: