A Manual For Living With Defeat
Lessons From Leonard Cohen – A Manual For Living With Defeat is a collection of Leonard Cohen’s observations that offer insight into living in this imperfect world. For information about how this series differs from other collections of so-called lessons from Leonard Cohen, see Lessons From Leonard Cohen – Introduction.
Lesson #2: When Dealing With Grief “You don’t avoid the situation – you throw yourself into it, fearlessly.”
It is, I think, a matter of tradition. You have a tradition on the one hand that says if things are bad we should not dwell on the sadness, that we should play a happy song, a merry tune. Strike up the band and dance the best we can, even if we are suffering from concussion. And then there’s another tradition, and this is a more Oriental or Middle Eastern tradition, which says that if things are really bad the best thing to do is sit by the grave and wail, and that’s the way you are going to feel better. I think both these efforts are intended to lift the spirit. And my own tradition, which is the Hebraic tradition, suggests that you sit next to the disaster and lament. The notion of the lamentation seemed to me to be the way to do it. You don’t avoid the situation – you throw yourself into it, fearlessly.1
More From Leonard Cohen On Dealing With Suffering
The evidence accumulates that ours is not an entirely happy undertaking. The amount of suffering that one sees and hears about is shattering. But the only comfort in the matter is Thy Will Be Done. To whatever degree you want to establish that as a principle in your life: The notion that it’s unfolding according to a mechanism that you can’t possibly penetrate. Acceptance. Or surrender.2
Credit Due Department: Photo ©Nima Taradji Photography http://www.editorialportrait.photography
Lessons From Leonard Cohen
All posts in this series can be found at
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Nov 21, 2017.
- Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before: Leonard Cohen – London, June 1974 by Allan Jones. Uncut: Dec 2008.
- Leonard Cohen, quoted in State of Grace by Doug Saunders. Globe and Mail: Sept 1, 2001. Accessed 09 June 2014 at Ten New Songs