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Lions Roar : Nov 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2007 73 “I got this rap as a kind of ladies’ man,” he says lazily and without irony, at one point. “And as I say in one of the poems, it has caused me to laugh, when I think of all the lonely nights” at the monastery. He describes the life on Mount Baldy as rig- orous. “One of the first things you learn is to stop complain- ing. It’s a good lesson. It’s a kind of boot camp. You just get toughened up. “As if I’m the only guy who ever felt this way about women,” he continues, with a smirk. “As if I’m the only person who ever had some sort of deep connection with the opposite sex.” “Have you learned a lot from women?” “Oh, yeah. You learn everything from women.” “Everything?” He leans in. “It is where you move into uncharted territory.” He shrugs slightly, his small, neat hands held in front of him. “The rest is just reinforcing wisdom or folly that you have inherited. But nobody can prepare anybody for an encounter with the opposite sex. Much has been written about it. You can read self-help books, but the actual confrontation as a young person with desire, this appetite for completion, well, that is the education.” “And what a ruse that desire for completion is,” you sug- gest, “because ultimately, you’re still left with yourself.” “What’s left of it,” he puts in, laughing. Cohen sits back in his chair, his ideas as well-worn and familiar as old sweaters. “Of course, women are the content of men, and men are the content of women, and most people are deal- ing with this—whatever version of that longing there is. You know, of completion. It can be spiritual, romantic, erotic. Ev- erybody is involved in that activity.” Cohen at home, spring 2007. CHARLAJONES/THEGLOBEANDMAIL NOV 70-77.indd 73 NOV 70-77.indd 73 8/31/07 10:43:39 AM 8/31/07 10:43:39 AM