[My] other favorite line is: ‘And summoned now to deal / With your invincible defeat, / You live your life as if it’s real, / A Thousand Kisses Deep.’ Everybody realizes at a certain time that they aren’t leading the life they want to. Life feels like a defeat. If you are lucky, you will realize later on that no one leads the life they want to. You realize that you cannot control your life, because if you could, you would have lead a different life. The awareness that you don’t control anything is the first reminder of the defeat. After that, you have to understand that you have to live on as if your life is real, as if you are the director and as if your choices have got consequences that are predictable. Life is to choose and therefore we have to carry on making these choices as if they are real choices that we can control. But the deeper understanding is that you don’t run the show, but live your life ‘a thousand kisses deep,’ and by that phrase I mean, that you have to accept the mystery and surrender to the mystery. Not even that is under your control. You can pray that it happens and try to arrange it, as if it was something that could be achieved through that path. You can also imagine that you are aware of what it’s all about. But before you actually experience the surrender, you don’t even know the shape of it. Something relaxes inside you. Everybody wants to be relaxed, but relaxing is another activity that you cannot control. For me it was very much about getting older. I read somewhere that when you get older the brain cells that are connected with fear start to die. I know a lot of older people who are very worried and bitter, but luckily it hasn’t happened in my case. At some point my angst started to ease. I think it was the understanding of not mastering an understanding of what the old master was trying to tell me. I couldn’t break through. I didn’t really understand it. And maybe I wasn’t meant to understand. Maybe it just had to sink into my heart and make it more relaxing to be alive. But I am both uncertain and unconscious of the process, and therefore I cannot give you a good description of it. But something eased inside me.
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 Mar 14, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.