Vaguely relephant update: “Ayesha Curry shows off her new hairstyle in a photo with husband Steph Curry” is trending worldwide, this morning.
And here’s Steph’s reply to the haters in defense of his wife’s blonde doo. It’s just the best:
Original article follows (we love to use current events to drive attention to mindful, too-overlooked articles on Elephant):
Buddha’s Lesson on Hair Dye.
I have a first-world problem. I face the question of whether to grow out my silver-gray hair or keep dyeing it blonde.
As I often do when faced with a decision, I took to my meditation cushion for inquiry.
“Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows” of revealing my age, as Shakespeare would say, or “to take arms against a sea of trouble” with boxed color.
Another thought arose, “I’ve been dyeing my hair for 30 years.” The realization hit hard.
I’m a graduate of the school of stupid mistakes and poor choices. A 61-year old yoga teacher with two stainless steel hip replacements, a failed marriage, history of depression, and no retirement plan…. lived a little, learned a lot.
I’ve been clawing my way out of the cultural, yet self-imposed vortex of younger, prettier, smarter, wealthier, for years.
We live in a society that doesn’t want to look at the pains of aging, a society that runs away from death. We treasure appearances and devalue the cultivation of our inner life of mindfulness.
We bleach and wax our hair, get Botox injections, buy expensive make-up to cover the lines. We swallow bio-identical hormones, enhance our breasts, get liposuction and tummy-tucks.
Yet an authentic life requires mindfulness. It asks us to face what is difficult, and not to turn away.
The Buddha didn’t look away.
When Prince Siddhartha went out into the world for the first time, he saw aging, illness, dying, and death. He couldn’t look away, and he realized the impermanence of life on this material plane. Siddhartha left the palace to pursue a spiritual path. After six years living the life of an ascetic, he spent six days sitting under the Bodhi tree. There he experienced enlightenment and became the Buddha (One who is Awake). He put forth the first tenet of Buddhism: Life is painful.
It can be painful to look at aging, illness, and death.
At the yoga studio, I teach and take part in a two-part process from the Yoga tradition. This practice is called Satya, or truthfulness.
1) In meditation, we look inward and ask ourselves what we value and believe to be true.
2) In continued meditation, we look outward at our surroundings and look at what we devote our time and energy to.
Then we ask:
• Are the external circumstances of my life compatible with what I value and believe is true?
• Have I been wasteful and consumed with the material aspects of my life?
My answers are revealing – I suck at Satya.
I too often live above my means, work to hide my age, dye my gray hair.
I have not been true to my most important values. These are service, sustainability, minimalism, and reverence for Mother Earth.
I cringe thinking of the time, effort, and money I have spent on makeup, hair color, and waxing. I realize that same amount of time, effort, and money could have provided benefit at a homeless shelter, helped stock a food pantry or been donated to a Conservation Center.
Meditation asks us to look at these choices – where we live, what we wear, who we spend our time with, and what endeavors we invest my time and resources in.
This practice asks us to accept who we are and where we are in each season of our lives—to honor and be grateful for it.
So, I ask myself what good it does to slap some blonde color on that gray.
In an act of self-compassion, I chopped off my box-blonde hair close to its gray roots. Despite Satya’s call to authenticity, I struggle with the vulnerability of revealing my gray hair.
This is where the work begins.
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.
– Pema Chodron
That vortex of younger, prettier, smarter, richer, begs me to deny that I’m dying, that you’re dying, that we’re all dying, every single moment.
Death is with us from the moment of our birth, and it will vanquish that bottle of hair color, our bodies, and our possessions every single time.
I’m done denying my humanity, age, experience, and rich living wisdom, and I’m tossing that box of hair color in the garbage.