Monday, October 22, 2012

The Holy Comb-Over


At our A Course in Miracles group this morning, we were sharing about what it means to join.   Specifically, we referred to what the Course calls “the little willingness,” that moment of choice when we turn to face our aversion, our resistance, our judgment of others or ourselves, and we simply stop: stop spinning the stories, the attack thoughts, the perseverating, and just witness.  The Course refers to this as the moment of forgiveness, when we shift from fear to love, from running away to staying present.   We all acknowledged that while we can practice “the little willingness” to turn towards the truth, we can't predict when we might actually experience the shift from misperception to truth, or in Course language, the ego's undoing, or “awakening”: that part is not up to us. 

One group member, R., told a story about an early running experience he had; he entered a bliss state that was so profound, he continued running for four hours non-stop. He explained that he has often sought to recapture the experience but it is elusive, his point being that we don't control our healing process, certainly not by trying to heal.  We can only practice “the little willingness,” that is, showing up as a witness in the place we perceive as scary or challenging and waiting there for Spirit to transform our awareness.   

Laughing, R. added (I am paraphrasing):  “whole religions are built on misunderstanding this process ---- if someone happened to be combing his or her hair when he/she experienced a moment of “enlightenment,” then in an effort to recapture the experience, followers of this “enlightened one” might build up elaborate practices around the perfect hairdo needed for enlightenment.”   

After the gathering, the subject of the Holy Hairdo, which Christine and I began to call it, came irresistibly into our joint awareness, not without a lot of giggling:  we were flooded with a myriad of possible rituals, how-to-manuals, codes of conduct, and learned texts on the subject of the perfect holy “do.” 

It occurred to us that not only would it be critically important to comb and arrange one's hair perfectly in accordance with the enlightened one's coif, it would also be important to have the right tools for the task.  The right comb, and brush, the right hair gels, waxes, and/or hairspray to hold the hairdo in place would be essential.  Of course, there would be rituals also for the correct washing, conditioning, and drying of the hair, not to mention highly recommended scalp massage protocols.  Inevitably there would be desirable times of day for the rituals of haircare to be performed, with regulations that it be done in private, or only in the company of men or women. 

Many practices might grow up around the issue of hair loss, notably the pros and cons of combing-over.  Some particularly blessed individuals, despite balding, who have extremely luxuriant hair growth on their upper backs, might, with the use of sanctified hair waxes, manage to grow their back hair up and over the crowns of their heads.  This would surely be viewed as the most revered of holy comb-overs.

Then, with the passage of centuries, various sects would develop among followers, as confusion inevitably crept in over what the enlightened one's “do” originally, authentically, looked like (no photography existing at the time of the original combing, and anyway, photographs can be faked).  Debates among rival viewpoints would fracture the body of knowledge and practice surrounding enlightenment hair care.  Possibly the most divisive ideological point would turn on the issue of hair pieces and hair transplants.  One sect might be quite inclusive making a place for those deemed to be less desirable, dare we say, hairless, while the other main sect would remain committed to purity. Only those working with their own, god-given hair would qualify to be saved and hence be admitted to heaven.

Finally, of course, there would be a whole array of sacred relics: the holy comb used by the enlightened one, his (probably his not her) brush, his washing basin, his drying towels.  There would also be actual clumps of his hair to be venerated, even holy dandruff to be housed in special vials, which would allow the devoted ready viewing of the treasure, but secure it from vandals and pagans. There would also be pilgrimages made to the sites where these holy relics reside.

Needless to say, despite conscientious application of all these practices, followers of the “enlightened one” would continue to find enlightenment mysteriously elusive.  Meanwhile, a whole religion is born.

…..... Or, there is that other choice: to stop and remember to smile and perhaps occasionally belly-laugh at the ego mind and all its confections.

Annie and Christine