Going Nowhere

02022-08-28 | Meditation, Zen | 3 comments

Pico Iyer in The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere:

One evening — four in the morning, the end of December — Cohen took time out from his meditations to walk down to my cabin and try to explain what he was doing here.

Sitting still, he said with unexpected passion, was “the real deep entertainment” he had found in his sixty-one years on the planet. “Real profound and voluptuous and delicious entertainment. The real feast that is available within this activity.”

Was he kidding? Cohen is famous for his mischief and ironies.

He wasn’t, I realized as he went on. “What else would I be doing?” he asked. “Would I be starting a new marriage with a young woman and raising another family? Finding new drugs, buying more expensive wine? I don’t know. This seems to me the most luxurious and sumptuous response to the emptiness of my own existence.”

Typically lofty and pitiless words; living on such close terms with silence clearly hadn’t diminished his gift for golden sentences. But the words carried weight when coming from one who seemed to have tasted all the pleasures that the world has to offer.

and this quote, which I think nails it:

“Going nowhere, as Leonard would later emphasize for me, isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.”

Found here.

Yes, yes, so many yeses.


  1. luna

    “Going nowhere….is about stepping away now and then so you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.” Absolutely Yes!
    “…and what else would I be doing?”
    Yes! Go for it, Ottmar! May you find your yeses yet to come! And may those Yeses be “the most luxurious and sumptuous responses to the emptiness of existence.”
    Another question to ask is, “So why are we/I here anyway?” It seems Cohen, “one who seemed to have tasted all the pleasures the world had to offer”, knew the beautiful simple secret.
    Wishing You more Clarity, and genuine Loving on Your Journey through the emptiness of your own existence…..may you find what you seek in Your Heart.

  2. anne

    Yes, nothing will change if we can’t change our own thinking. Constructs!

    It has been said -current problems will still exist with the same thinking that created them.

    So inward . quite reflection is usually required “to see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.”. Many call this maturity development and it can be very difficult due to childhood issues, cultural imprints, belief’s ,ego development etc.

    The healthier the I/WE the more sustainable the “IT”. will be – imo.

    (The “it” speaks to objective systems – ie health care, education system, climate etc.. They all need help! )

    • anne

      Yep – L. Cohen hit a chord with people.
      Slowness, depth.

      Say it again – Music is a great facilitator.

      (integral theory, complex system theory, chaos , ..stages/state development, models, assessments ..etc – they are just tools !)

      (L. cohen – left 2 kids and 3 grandkids. Reviewing his story – looks like he had lots of fun !)


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