The Darker Album and the Songs

Leonard Ciohen's last studio album (2016)
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Jean Fournell
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Jean Fournell » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:39 pm

Doron, thank you very much for your comment on Alfonso's question.
I've proved myself unable once more to produce anything but junk, and my mind is crying for mercy. So I turn my back on the angel, turn my back on the devil too. And take to more profane considerations.
DBCohen wrote:still there is a little problem with the use of “glass” rather than the expected “cup”
As you might expect from a foreigner to both Christian religion and English language, I didn't expect anything at all, and for me your remark that "glass" was an unexpected term, used instead of the expected "cup", was an unexpected and interesting point. So I asked the internet:

"During the 1st century BC glass blowing was discovered on the Syro-Judean coast, revolutionizing the industry. Glass vessels were now inexpensive compared to pottery vessels. A growth of the use of glass products occurred throughout the Roman world.[citation needed] Glass became the Roman plastic, and glass containers produced in Alexandria[citation needed] spread throughout the Roman Empire."
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_glass)

This means that at the Last Supper they had expensive pottery cups, not cheap glass or plastic "vessels".

And I asked about the Last Supper:

"The last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples is described in all four canonical Gospels (Mt. 26:17-30, Mk. 14:12-26, Lk. 22:7-39 and Jn. 13:1-17:26)."
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Supper)

Under the first of these four references I found this:

"17 On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal."
(https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... rsion=NRSV)

Which means that the table was not Jesus' table at all, as I had wrongly assumed, but that of "a certain man", who sponsored the meal and who most probably provided the earthenware as well.

So if indeed the lines "I sit at your table every night / I try but I just don't get high with you" refer to the Jesus' Last Supper, then the narrator would be sitting at the anonymous sponsor's table every night, not getting high with that sponsor. (Jesus at any rate would be "out of the game".)
The sponsor then could be the Roman catholic church...

All of this gives an unexpected turn to my "hunch", too:
Jean Fournell wrote:A hunch is telling me that this is where "wishing" does help (and not only wishing for a treaty between two kinds of love, by the way)...
And if this supernatural wishing is worth 1.50 €, and thus quite obviously insufficient to buy a table, it should yet be enough for a piece of bread, and for a sip of wine or two, out of a plastic bottle.
The last time I saw such a plastic bottle ("Glass became the Roman plastic"...), there was some writing on it, in very long (high) and very thin (narrow) letters, like a bar code (probably all in capitals, too, so as to make reading even more difficult, but I can't remember that). Holding the bottle tilted, its bottom closer to the eye than its neck, those letters seemed optically shortened, and one could decipher the text: "Vin de différents pays de la Communauté Européenne" (Wine from different countries of the European Community).

An abject mix of the worst stuff, at the bottom line of what is legally allowed to be called "wine", and possibly somewhat "borderline", too. That's what clochards keep themselves warm with, after having spent most of those 1.50 € on buying decent food for their dog.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet


It should be clear by now that I'm not exactly searching for God but if ever I should, I'd know where to find Him.



Of course I do not know what happened in India. But the difficulties a monotheist might have to find a synthesis between zen and faith are not so very difficult to imagine. Zazen causes your hips and knees to hurt, monotheism confronts you with an unanswering God. These are things that happen.
We all obviously want money, and health, and our neighbour's lawnmower to be busted (or similar stuff, you name it). And we experience that zen and God just won't obey our orders or prayers.

Since Leonard Cohen's going to India seems to be a problem, I asked the internet about Balsekar. And I found, for example:

"What is the significance of the statement 'No one can get enlightenment'? This is the very root of the teaching. It means that it's stupid for any so-called master to ask anyone to do anything to achieve or get enlightenment. The core of this simple statement means, according to my concept, that enlightenment is the annihilation of the "one" who "wants" enlightenment. If there is enlightenment - which can only happen because it is the will of God - then it means the "one" who had earlier wanted enlightenment has been annihilated. So no "one" can achieve enlightenment and therefore no "one" can enjoy enlightenment."
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramesh_Balsekar)

Quite obviously I do not know what happened in India. But Leonard Cohen's approach seems perfectly lucid and coherent to me. He read books by Balsekar, and since they spoke true, but written transmission was not enough, he went there to hear oral transmission spoken by a voice of authority.

It seems perfectly comprehensible to me that thus the pieces of a stubborn puzzle may suddenly have clicked into place, and that the picture became more than the sum of its parts, and awakened to life.

That's when the real value of all such parts can be recognised.

One never really knows in advance which way it is going to happen,
nor how much will be needed
to welcome the banality of ordinary day light.
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Violet
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Violet » Sun Dec 11, 2016 4:15 am

FYI, I made a correction to the last post I did, which I have written as a "later note" that's highlighted in the text.
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Ignacio Urrutia » Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:03 pm

Let me get back to the Treaty lyrics, namely this part:

I'm sorry for the ghost I made you be
Only one of us was real, and that was me

My interpretations are less mystic and more human.

One is a man sorry that he was selfish in his relationship, (only he was real - for himself), thus turning the other person into a ghost, someone not completely real and then probably uncared of, or used as an object to some degree.

Another interpretation: a common complaint between lovers is that one of them idealizes the other person. He or she then loves the ideal, the ghost, but not the real human being in body and soul. "I made you a ghost", shows the dark side of this idealization. "I'm sorry", I was not treating you as a real person despite my love for you.

LC said in one of his interviews that he picks lines that "ring true". Like they are not completely rational, they just echo somewhere inside and ring. This is the reason in my opinion for the richness of his lyrics: they connect with fundamental issues of mankind - yet they are personal and ring differently inside you and me.

Just my 2 cents... Thanks for sharing.
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Diane » Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:14 pm

Yes, I recall you telling me about your Ophelia film project, Violet. I know you'd put a lot of work into it, so I'm sorry to hear it didn't come to fruition. When you complete your novel, please put up some information on the forum for us. Your recent analysis of the literary devices LC uses is a fascinating read and does ring true. More please.

Hi Ann. Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your input regarding Hindu/Vedic astrology. There is a well respected forum member, John Etherington, whom I imagine might have added to your thoughts, but he doesn't seem to be around at the moment. We all join you in being glad that Leonard did get respite from his deep sadness. More than that, he seemed very light and joyful in recent years.

I was just watching a youtube of Anthem from The Big Chill Festival in 2008, that Bev very kindly posted elsewhere. Afterwards, Youtube automatically played me another Anthem - this, including I think the intro from Live in London, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wRYjtvIYK0. Watching Leonard speak for the first minute there sparked a further thought about Seemed the Better Way.

Leonard said, "We are so privileged to be able to gather in moments like this, when so much of the world is plunged in darkness and chaos."

He repeated those lines in many of his concerts, didn't he. And of course, they were not just platitudinous. LC cared deeply about the suffering in the world.

Marsha and Doron, I think Seemed the Better Way might be partly alluding to Roshi.

I wonder what it was
I wonder what it meant
At first he touched on love
But then he touched on death

Roshi did 'touch on' both love and death in the talk ("Sasaki Roshi had only one talk") that LC would have heard presumably, many, many times. And of course he ultimately touched on death in its usual sense too.

The Buddha taught that compassion -- for self first of all, because you realise the net you are caught in -- grows when we accurately perceive the nature of self. Accurately perceiving the nature of self is open to anyone who is willing to suffer many hours risking those painful legs Jean mentioned. Don't just listen to what I say, the Buddha said, try it for yourself.

But of course, the ultimate and earnest wish, manifest in the Buddha, both as archetype and as historical entity, is to relieve the suffering of all living beings everywhere. Just as it was/is for - and I quote Leonard, from your Prayers of LC piece, Doron - "the figure of Jesus, nailed to a human predicament, summoning the heart to comprehend its own suffering by dissolving itself in a radical confession of hospitality." (I looked up what hospitality means in a biblical sense and apparently the translation literally means 'love of the stranger'.)

So when LC says, "I wonder what it meant", maybe he is reflecting that neither Christ nor Buddha (the Buddha's teaching represented to him by Roshi) showed us, humankind, how to bring about any kind of wholesale end-of-suffering, because that is clearly 'not the truth today' when "so much of the world is plunged in darkness and chaos."

If you believe in a God (or that Jesus is God) who is responsible for doing something or not doing something to intervene, that you are to say grace to - to thank - for the darkness and chaos, then I guess you would have to do that with a heavy heart, holding your tongue in disappointment.

As has already been said, he was far from disappointed on a personal level with Roshi's teaching or the understanding he gained in the years spent with him.

edit - thanks for your "2 cents" also Ignacio, I didn't see you there when I posted. I am sure you are right with the more 'human' interpretation of the 'ghost' line. LC does write on many levels, and from various perspectives all at once.
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Jean Fournell
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Jean Fournell » Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:50 am

Welcome Ignacio, that's a fine first post.

You are putting your finger exactly where it matters.
Self as different-from-the rest, and thus different from the lover. To exist, from Latin ex- + sistere (to stand, stop): to be standing apart, to be blocked outside.
Such a self is a ghost, in return making the rest of the world a ghost, too.

And since, somewhere in ourselves, we all know that, we recognise the true ring when someone mentions it. We are constructed to be different, to have an ego; and we are allowed to realise that this ego does not "exist". That the other is different and not different. That's when otherness in sameness occurs, alterity. Or as Diane has it:
Diane wrote:(I looked up what hospitality means in a biblical sense and apparently the translation literally means 'love of the stranger'.)
No matter whether that stranger is a grain of sand, or a flower, or a dog, or a person, or God.

You interpretations are fully mystic and fully human.


Diane wrote:Leonard said, "We are so privileged to be able to gather in moments like this, when so much of the world is plunged in darkness and chaos."

He repeated those lines in many of his concerts, didn't he. And of course, they were not just platitudinous. LC cared deeply about the suffering in the world.

[...]

The Buddha taught that compassion -- for self first of all, because you realise the net you are caught in -- grows when we accurately perceive the nature of self.
As an illustration, here a few passages from the 2012 biography "I'm Your Man" by Sylvie Simmons (I'm quoting from the 2013 Vintage Books edition, so the page numbers might differ):

Autumn 1998. Leonard has been living in the monastery for five years.
(Page 394)

[...] he realised that he no longer had any idea what Roshi was saying. 'I used to be able to understand, but my mind had become so concerned with dissolving the pain that my critical faculties had become really impaired.'
[...]
His heart pounding, he took out the [antidepressant — JF] pills, then threw them out of the car. 'I said, "If I'm going to go down, I'm going to go down with my eyes open." There's something obscene about taking this stuff and going down. And then I went back to Mount Baldy,' Leonard said, 'and I really went down.'
[...]
[...] On a cold early January night in 1999 [...]
Leonard broke the silence. 'Roshi,' he said, 'I've got to go. I'm going to go down the mountain.' Roshi said, 'How long?' Leonard said, 'I don't know.' The old man looked at him. 'Okay,' Roshi said. 'You go.'
(Page 395)

A few years earlier, someone at the monastery had given him a book called Consciousness Speaks, a question-and-answer session with Balsekar, published in 1992.
[...]
When Leonard read the book that first time, he liked it but could not say that he understood it. He put it aside, and during 'those last dark days' at the monastery he found himself drawn back to it. This time when he read it, it seemed to make more sense. He even found that by applying Ramesh's teachings to Roshi's teishos, he could once again understand Roshi. But it was a purely intellectual understanding, which did nothing to ease the intensity of his mental torment. Leonard drove to the Bodhi bookstore to look for more books by Balsekar, and decided to go to India to hear him in person.
(Page 396)

Ramesh was a straight-talker. He dealt with his satsang audience much as you might imagine he would [with] his employees at the bank, imparting information and instructions in a direct, no-nonsense manner. [...] When he spotted someone in the room who had been coming repeatedly for too long he would single them out and say, according to Mathr [an acquaintance Leonard Cohen had met on his first visit to Mumbai — JF], "Don't you have anything better to do? My main message to you is that God is everywhere, so you can't just focus on religion, you don't keep meditating your way to God." Basically he said, "Get a life." Ramesh never said this to Leonard, though, whom he had also seen privately and with whom he became friendly. 'He was always very polite and nice about Leonard.'
(Page 398-399)

Then Leonard drove to Mount Baldy. It had been almost four months since he had seen Roshi [...]
(Page 400)

Nor did Leonard discuss with Roshi what he had learned from Ramesh. 'Roshi doesn't discuss,' not even his own teachings, Leonard said. 'He's not interested in perspective or talking. [...] Roshi is direct transmission.'
Leonard did not stay in the monastery long. In June he came back down from the mountain. His close friend Nancy Bacal, who met with him in LA, observed that 'he was like a kid when he came back from Baldy; suddenly he could come and go as he pleased, do whatever he wanted. It took him a moment or two to figure that out, but when he did, it was a delight to see him so happy and so joyous. Baldy was wonderful for him. Now it was time to take the next step.'
(Page 401)



The words you quote, Diane, were really not platitudinous.

And she's there where the light and the darkness divide
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Diane
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Diane » Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:42 am

Great stuff from you again, Jean.

It is becoming clear what it was about Leonard Cohen that was so immense.

I wonder what it was
I wonder what it meant
At first he touched on love
But then he touched on death

And what are us acolytes to do, now that the priest has died?

I better hold my tongue
I better take my place
Lift this glass of blood
Try to say the grace

---
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Jean Fournell
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Jean Fournell » Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:13 am

Diane wrote:And what are us acolytes to do, now that the priest has died?
Leonard Cohen was perfectly clear about that:

Sure it failed my little fire
But it's bright the dying spark
Go tell the young messiah
What happens to the heart

Go tell the young messiah
What happens to the heart
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Joe Way
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Joe Way » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:55 am

DBCohen wrote:Some amazing activity has been going on here the past few days and it would be impossible to relate to it all without spending hours at the keyboard, which unfortunately I can’t afford to do. But I did read and reflect on it all; there seems to be a fruitful dialogue going on between Diane and Jean, and several other people have turned up with meaningful comments and suggestions. Here are a few quick notes.

Marsha,

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I know some people believe that “Seems The Better Way” is about Roshi, but I haven’t seen any evidence to support this; since the poem uses only Christian imagery without any hint to Roshi, there would have to be some external evidence and I’m not aware of any. I also doubt that LC was disappointed with Roshi after spending so many years in his company.

Jean,

I admire your interpretation and associations, but I don’t see why the narrator in the song has to be God; to me it seems like a very personal song in which the narrator is Leonard himself.

And by the way, although for the “glass of blood” the obvious first association is the Eucharist, still there is a little problem with the use of “glass” rather than the expected “cup”; also, in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) the idiom “blood of grapes” appears as a parallel to wine (Genesis 49:11), so this too may have been on LC’s mind (and as often with him, he mixes the holy [grace] with the profane [an ordinary glass of wine]).

surrender,

Thank you very much for quoting the earlier version of the song; the variations point even more strongly in the direction of Christ. I think that in the final version he tried to make it a little more abstract and a little less specific, perhaps.

Alfonso,

Thank you for quoting those verses from Ecclesiastes; they contain some devastatingly beautiful metaphors of the deterioration of the human body with age, senility and death. I can see why you had this association, but “If I Didn’t Have Your Love” also speaks about, well, love, which the biblical passage does not mention.

Violet,

Thank you for your intriguing contributions, including the allusion to Hamlet.

Finally, Joe hasn’t posted here for a while so I hope he’ll rejoin us soon.

Doron
Let me first apologize for my absence and let me thank you all as Doron has above for your generous contributions. Even though I haven't had time to post my thoughts I've been reading along and appreciating all of your intriguing contributions.

I'm ready to say a few words about It Seemed the Better Way.

First of all, despite the allusions to Christian thought, I think that the use of the Synagogue Choir is quite intentional to allow Leonard to return to his childhood Jewish roots.

The song is in duple (probably 4/4) time and is in a minor key. I think it is very beautiful with the Choir and the violin and Leonard's delivery seems especially heartfelt.

Leonard has, of course, referred to "turning the other cheek" previously in Coming Back to You. That song, one of my favorites by the way, is probably one of the greatest texts on repentence that has ever been written. I think that it specifically refers to the narrator's relationship to a Supreme Being. "Turning the other cheek" is, of course one of the more famous sayings of Jesus. Leonard also refers to the Sermon on the Mount in Democracy and confesses deep confusion about its meaning.

The Beatitudes are the very first part of the Sermon on the Mount and reflect that everything that we would take on the surface is wrong. The first shall be last, the last shall be first etc.

I think that it is important to remember that Leonard's first exposure to Christianity was through his Irish Catholic nanny who used to take him to mass as a child. I'm only speculating but I suspect that there were conversations about many of these aspects. It is also important to note that Leonard probably learned about the Holocaust not many years later. It seems to me that event makes turning the other cheek extremely difficult for any Jewish person.

I had the extreme privilege of meeting Leonard's sister, Esther on a couple of occasions. The first time we met, I'm not sure how it came up, but Esther was close to 80 at the time and expressed concerns about what happens after death. I'm paraphrasing here, but she said, "I asked my brother and what he said really surprised me. Then I thought to myself 'Remember who you are talking to here, it is Leonard Cohen'" I wish now that I had followed up on that conversation.

Anne & I just had a wonderful weekend in Chicago and visited the Adler Planetarium. One of the things about this experience is that it gives you a wonderful perspective on the vastness of the universe. It reminded me of the line that Leonard used to quote about Roshi-how if he were a Professor of Physics at Heidelberg, Leonard would have learned German and moved there. What I'm trying to say is that Leonard is trying to describe his quest to understand "life" and perhaps more importantly how we are to go about living our life.

The aspects of the Sermon on the Mount are all about how one is supposed to conduct one's life. Leonard gently rejects this. I think that in Steer Your Way-we will get a little more about how difficult is this process.

Oh, and by the way, as the song finishes and the Synagogue Choir hums, Leonard very audibly draws a breath. Since the Choir was recorded separately, the fact that this was left in seems intentional. I don't know what it means.

Joe
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"Pledging My Love" and "Leaving The Table"

Postby Steven » Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:20 am

I don't know if others here have noted some evocation of "Pledging My Love" in "Leaving The Table." It's a classic, established
by Johnny Ace and then cemented by others. Johnny Ace's recording went to number 1 on the R&B charts for weeks, after his death
from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The song was published in 1954. Johnny Ace's recording was released the same year. As the
words and music of "Leaving The Table" are by Leonard Cohen and he no doubt first heard the song at an impressionable time in
his life, there's special significance as to why he musically drew upon the earlier song.

Clearly, the inclusion of the evocation is a tribute to the song and an enhancement of "Leaving The Table." I believe it's also messaging to listeners of an intimate, heartfelt pledge. "Pledging My Love" has these words: "Forever my darling our love will be true, / Always and forever I'll love just you." How so? By his art, of course, for those reached by it. Bringing this up, as not everyone is familiar with the classic song.
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Joe Way » Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:02 am

Nice catch, Steven.
Here is a link to a youTube version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT_eOiTwtoQ

Beautiful song as is Leonard's.

Joe
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby DBCohen » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:18 am

Joe,

Welcome back. Thank you for pointing out the choir in “It Seemed The Better Way”; I also mentioned its beauty, but did not relate to the fact, which seems ironic, that the synagogue choir is featured on a song with such outstanding Christian motifs. But as you pointed out, in his childhood LC was introduced to both traditions, and he never lost certain degrees of attachment to both. The use of the choir also links this song to the first one, “You Want It Darker”, and both express disappointment, but also traces of hope.

Steven & Joe,

Interesting musical connection indeed between those two songs. I was reminded that Paul Simon also referred (more literally) to Johnny Ace in his tribute to John Lennon:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DMIVZtbrGA

Ace died in December 1954; Paul Simon was 13 years old, LC was 20.
Last edited by DBCohen on Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby vickiwoodyard » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:30 pm

I am rather timid in approaching how I feel about the songs on YWID, or any of Leonard's music, so forgive my rather simple approach to It Seems the Better Way....

When one is faced with death, everything that sounded workable when you were in good health now seems to evaporate in the clear light of how things are NOW. Nevertheless, the song seems to be saying that one still clings to their former position, even so. But there is a clear-eyed reluctance to face what lies ahead. The mystery is looming into view and no one knows how it will end.
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Diane » Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:21 pm

Great post, Vicki - yours is a so-obvious-that-we-overlooked-it interpretation, and it does ring true.

I am glad we are touching on the music in the album - it is beautiful, and deeply enhancing to the songs (unlike, imo, some of the binging and bonging on previous albums).
Jean Fournell wrote:Welcome Ignacio, that's a fine first post.

You are putting your finger exactly where it matters.
Self as different-from-the rest, and thus different from the lover. To exist, from Latin ex- + sistere (to stand, stop): to be standing apart, to be blocked outside.
Such a self is a ghost, in return making the rest of the world a ghost, too.

[...]

Ramesh was a straight-talker..."Don't you have anything better to do? My main message to you is that God is everywhere, so you can't just focus on religion, you don't keep meditating your way to God." Basically he said, "Get a life." Ramesh never said this to Leonard, though, whom he had also seen privately and with whom he became friendly. 'He was always very polite and nice about Leonard.'

[...] Nor did Leonard discuss with Roshi what he had learned from Ramesh. 'Roshi doesn't discuss,' not even his own teachings, Leonard said. 'He's not interested in perspective or talking. [...] Roshi is direct transmission.'
...He came back down from the mountain. His close friend Nancy Bacal, who met with him in LA, observed that 'he was like a kid when he came back from Baldy...it was a delight to see him so happy and so joyous.
So, we surmise that the time with Balsekar had Leonard realise he had been 'selling himself for the love' of (trying to 'get') Roshi's message.

And then:

They're dancing in the street - it's Jubilee
We sold ourselves for love but now we're free
I'm so sorry for the ghost I made you be
Only one of us was real - and that was me.

I am starting to wonder once again about the 'You', the pinning down of whose identity has exasperated us all the way through Book of Mercy and beyond; the You of the album title, the You who wants it darker. Who is this You?
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby vickiwoodyard » Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:59 pm

"I am starting to wonder once again about the 'You', the pinning down of whose identity has exasperated us all the way through Book of Mercy and beyond; the You of the album title, the You who wants it darker. Who is this You?"

I think we are all wrestling with this one, so I look at my own life as a supposed "separate self," which automatically creates "the other." This could be me and God, me and a guru, me and a lover, etc. Because in this set-up in which we are all embroiled, there is only One Self and a posited "other." We play the game as best we can. Although some of us leave the table at some point.
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Re: The Darker Album and the Songs

Postby Diane » Tue Dec 13, 2016 8:43 pm

vickiwoodyard wrote: I think we are all wrestling with this one, so I look at my own life as a supposed "separate self," which automatically creates "the other." This could be me and God, me and a guru, me and a lover, etc. Because in this set-up in which we are all embroiled, there is only One Self and a posited "other." We play the game as best we can. Although some of us leave the table at some point.
But you responded to my post. So something about you must be other, and real :D .

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