Zen Through Shaving

April 10, 2011

A lot can be said in favour of the time it takes to complete to wet shave in the traditional manner, using a brush and single blade. As a society we have become technologically dependant. So rarely do people simply wait for something, alone with just their thoughts in that time. Instead they text, surf, e-mail etc. The beauty of nature and the outdoors has become a less commonly experienced joy for some, as instead, spoon-fed entertainment such as films and tv become the easy option. We no longer go out and look and explore. Instead we switch on or log on and simply recieve, rather than use our mind. But I'm not going to keep preaching. I'm a willing volunteer/victim to all of this input also. 
But sometimes you can claim a little time back.

Last night I had the house to myself so I ran a bath and took the time to just soak and relax and shave. I finding the whole process of lathering and surrounding myself with scents very relaxing but I had recently started to forget to take the time, instead looking for a quicker and easier shave. I know many men who shave using a double edged (DE), single edged (SE) or straight razor, learn to slow down enjoy this time they take each day to simply be by themselves. Some people find this peace and relaxation by doing something such as gardening or dancing. Once the basic techniques become habit then the mind can relax and flow into a rhythm, completing the task at hand, focusing the mind and simplifying our thoughts. Taking a moment to slow down.
This got me thinking about how some cultures use head shaving as a ritual to cleanse, reflect and discover themselves. Some use it as a form of sacrifice. I won't go into all of the details as more information can be found on-line and in books. The culture, particularly of Hindu people in relation to shaving, is fascinating, so here are a few facts:
"Chudakarana Samskara: Head Shaving: This ceremony is performed in the temple for both boys and girls
before the age of four. Hair is seen as an adornment. By shaving the head, the child confronts his or her bare ego. It teaches humbleness and devotion."
Culturally Indian servants shave their heads as a sign of submission to their masters.
Tonsuring (mundan) is an important ceremony in Hindu communities. The first haircut is an important ritual and it is believed that shaving the hair rids the child of his past life's negativity. Some believe that a mundan bestows a long life, a better future and also protects the child from the evil eye.
Click For: Interesting article detailing head shaving ceremony in Thailand with pictures 
Click For: Article about a couple who shave eachother's heads as part of wedding ceremony, even if their families don't understand why.
One person on the forum Badger And Blade recently posted a topic saying how, by wet shaving, he had begun to take his shaving time think of times gone by and he remembered how generous his family had been to others while he was growing up even though they had very little themselves. He realised that as he grew up he had slowly become self focused and this memory, along with seeing how generous and welcome everyone on the forum is, inspired him to improve himself and to become more giving and less selfish.
This is a long post but it's also a lot to think about. So take what you want from it, something big, something small or nothing at all. But I hope it has given you something to reflect upon for a moment, and simply think.
- BE


Telecaster52 said...

So, does the Chudakarana Samskara have to be preformed by a white guy with an eagle tattoo? And are the nipple rings part of the ritual as well?

Lindalu Forseth said...

What a great article! I had actually read some of this before, but until you posted this I had forgotten. Thank you!

Barber Eile's Blog said...

Lindalu - I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Tele - For you, yes.

fluffman86 said...

Great article. I'd like to add that I used to suffer from bad ingrowns and razor bumps when I used a Fusion. It just cut the hair too close.

To cure it, I started by using an old toothbrush at night to coax the hair out, just gently rubbing it against the grain of my stubble/hair growth. Then I started shaving with an old DE razor and kept shaving daily for a couple of weeks (I used to only shave once a week with the fusion because I hated the irritation) and now I rarely get ingrowns and razor bumps.

Barber Eile's Blog said...

Thanks Fluffman. I know you meant this comment for the blog above. My blog is odd in the fact that you put your comment in the section above it rather than below it like lots of other blogs. Sorry about the confusion but thanks for the good advice!

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