In this complex song [Bird On The Wire], the assertion that love inevitably causes as much pain as pleasure.
Whenever you really walk into that, which only happens now and then I guess – well it happens with your kids, it happens with your parents, it happens with your mate. If you ever surrender the self – if you ever let the self die for a moment, then of course you’re going to experience suffering – you’re going to know what it’s about. Because to surrender means you have to stop maintaining this hero at the centre of your own drama. Yet we spend most of our energy maintaining this hero. And this hero is doomed because nobody can live at the centre of the drama thinking that he’s the hero and that everybody else has some kind of lesser role. So that’s precisely the character we have to surrender when we move into that field of love, and it’s always painful for him to take off his armour. He gets wounded immediately because there’s arrows flying all over the place. As soon as he take’s off his hero’s costume he goes down with an arrow in his heart, that’s why, you know, the figure of cupid arose. You go down with that arrow in your heart, it’s no joke. It’s no joke. You feel it with your children, you feel it with your mate, and you feel it with your parents, you feel it with your friends. If ever you take off the hero’s armour, you get hit right away.
From How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns – Interview With Leonard Cohen Presented By John McKenna. RTE Ireland, May 9 & 12, 1988. Found at LeonardCohenFiles.com. Photo of Leonard Cohen by Roland Godefroy (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
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 December 2, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.