Hi everybody – I will be contributing my thoughts here every fortnight. I would like to start my introduction today with lyrics from the song of Leonard Cohen.
The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while, and then it’s done –
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it’s real,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.
I did not know too much about Leonard 5-6 years ago when I learnt for myself‚ you win a while and then it’s done… and in that period I was neither sure if the life is still real or not. In the situations like that we usually resort to drink, to depression …or to meditation; sometimes to all three in this or that order. With me – it was a little bit of everything, lot of sadness, some quilt… but eventually I ended up with meditations.
Back in 2009 I had started with writing a diary, which was a good way to deal with emotions. Putting my thoughts and grievances on the paper removed some weight and sufferings from me; and it made it easier to create some distance from the events. Here I use the extract from my diary that I had written back then: Each major event in my life, each disaster, misfortune or catastrophe brought me to a turning point in my life. When I turn back I can see the misfortunes and dramas as milestones that diverted me in certain directions and outlined the next point of my life. Or better – each part of life was dedicated to different accomplishment. Initially, it was the raising of family, doing scientific work, building business…. Each of these activities came to a conclusion at some point and moved me to a next step. The last misfortune, the breakage of my marriage led me to explore the secrets of human mind. I became interested in hidden secrets of my own nature and that of other people. It opened a brand new world in front of my eyes. Maybe I was able to have a glance at another universe… a universe that is inside of us all…and I add today: …a universe which is gradually unfolding more and more as I progress on the path of meditation….
As I was listening to seductive music of ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’ I was wondering what Cohen really had in mind when he was writing this song. In one of the reviews I found his explanation:
Cohen says: ‚Well, I think it’s a good line: “summoned now to deal with your invincible defeat. . . . You live your life as if it’s real.” Even though the dreamy aspect of it begins to prevail, and the sense of having no control begins to be apparent. The evidence accumulates that we’re not running the show. You still have to make choices as if you were running the show. But you make your choices with the intuitive understanding that it’s unfolding as it must. And that’s why I use that phrase “a thousand kisses deep.” That’s the intuitive understanding of the fundamental mystery. And if you can relax in that or if you can even touch it, or if it asserts itself from time to time, then the invincible defeat is transcended.
It’s a song that summaries quite well this feeling of invincible defeat anyone is affected by. The feeling that everything is temporary and unsubstantial. Of course you have to live your life as though it were all real, but the fundamental reality is far beyond the human’s understanding…..You can only have this feeling that everything escapes us.
After reading these words it did not come as a surprise to learn that Cohen had written ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’ in the meditation hall where he spent long hours. As he said: I found the mediation hall was an excellent place to work on songs. I could concentrate on a verse, work out the rhymes and the ideas would come.
I am not advocating the use of mediation halls for writing – but we all know it is like that – until we calm and clear our mind the life worries engulf us as a dark cloud. It is a dark cloud without end and we lose any perspective on life. And only slowly, gradually, the clouds lift and we are able to see the life again. The meditation hall is a good place to come to dissolve our clouds and to get better view…And only after that the real meditation starts….
I was glad that after 30 years of meditation Cohen added additional (seems to me more optimistic) verses to his song:
Don’t matter if the road is long
Don’t matter if it’s steep
Don’t matter if the moon goes out
And the darkness is complete
Don’t matter if we lose our way
It’s written that we’ll meet
At least that’s what I heard you say
A thousand kisses deep
Well that’s my story
I admit it’s broken and its bleak
But all the twisted pieces fit
A thousand kisses deep