I have always been an ardent admirer of Leonard Cohen as a musician, a philosopher and a poet and I get tears in my eyes and love in my heart when I listen again and again to a recording of my granddaughter singing “Hallelujah” as a solo at her school concert when she was 10.
So his recent death saddened me and rekindled my interest in this remarkable man.
Here are two paragraphs from my recent reading about him:
He was born in 1934 and ordained as a Buddhist monk. He wrote songs partway between philosophy and prayer – songs radiating the kind of prayerfulness which Simone Weil celebrated as “the rarest and purest form of generosity”.
One of his most beloved lines from the song “Anthem”, which took him a decade to write, remains what is perhaps the most meaningful for our troubled and troubling times:
“There is a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in”.
It springs from a central concern of Cohen’s life and work, one in which he revisited in various guises across various songs – including in “Suzanne” where he writes “look among the garbage and the flowers / there are heroes in the seaweed”, and in the iconic “Hallelujah” with the words “there’s a blaze of light / in every word / it doesn’t matter which you heard / the holy or the broken Hallelujah”.
And then even more telling for me at age 78 is this piece of his own writing, especially when I realise that he was only 4 years older than me!
“I always had a sense of being in this for keeps, if your health lasts you. And you’re fortunate enough to have the days at your disposal so you can keep on doing this. I never had the sense that there was an end. That there was a retirement or that there was a jackpot”.
Today I look around and see the mess the world is in. The awful behaviour of humans to one another and towards our blessed Planet, which is the only one we have. And I could throw up my hands in despair and give up our Energy teaching – but for the inspiring words of Leonard Cohen.
“There’s a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in”.
So, roll on next week …. and the next …. and let the light in!
Thank you Leonard Cohen.