Friday, 17 June 2016

The Meaning Of Hair: Should We Grow It, Or Shave It?

Person, Human, Female, Redhead, Red Head, Red, Girl

By Leah Legare

In the 21st century, hair is nothing more than a fashion asset and a prospering industry for hair product brands and salons around the world. But if we have a look back a few centuries ago, hair seemed to have a great and deep spiritual meaning. It has been well documented that Native people used to have a cherishing relationship with their hair and believed it was some sort of extension of the nervous system, or antennaes, which have the power to enhance extrasensory abilities to perceive energies and connect with the environment around them. If we have a look at eastern traditions and the roots of Buddhism, monks seem to always shave their heads and wear the 'bald' look. What is the explanation and motive behind both traditions? Which is most meaningful in spiritual growth? In this article, we will explore the Native and Buddhist perspectives on hair, as well as its mainstream scientific definition.

First of all, what IS hair?

Hairs are basically tubelike pockets of the epidermis, made of dead tissue. They consist of the shaft, protruding above the skin, and the root, which is sunk in a follicle beneath the skin surface. Hairs are composed mainly of keratin and other related proteins. Human hair is formed by rapid division of cells at the base of the follicle. As the cells are pushed upward from the follicle's base, they harden and undergo pigmentation. Healthy hair should grow about 0.5 inch per month and have an average life of 3 to 5 years. We have between 100 000 and 150 000 hairs on our heads! (Source)

Native Perspective

Long Hair, Stand Alone, Face, The Person, Men'S

"Our hair fashions might be just a trend, but if we investigate, we may find that we have been depriving ourselves of one of the most valuable sources of energy for human vitality." -Yogi Bhajan

A very interesting investigation made during the Vietnam War shed light on the Native American perspective on the purpose of hair with in a pretty shocking way. During the Vietnam War, special forces were sent to native reservations to recruit talented young men with exceptional tracking and survival abilities. Before enrolling, those individuals were extensively tested for their abilities and their performances were documented. But once enrolled, experts were left speachless as the performances of those incredibly talented men became mediocre. They could no longer feel the enemy coming without seeing it, or wake up instinctively when danger was close. They started investigating as to why the recruits were no longer performing like they did in the reservations where they were found, and the young men told them exactly what had happened. They said that since they had received the military haircut, they could no longer rely on their sharp intuition and access extrasensory information from their environment. After this discovery, Native American recruits were exempted from receiving the military haircut to maintain high levels of performance. 

Yogi Bhajan is a worldwide reknown leader Yogi Master, and he has a lot to say about the meaning of hair. "When the hair on your head is allowed to attain its full, mature length, then phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin D are all produced, and enter the lymphatic fluid, and eventually the spinal fluid through the two ducts on the top of the brain. This ionic change creates more efficient memory and leads to greater physical energy, improved stamina, and patience.” He also explains that hairs are antennaes that channel the sun energy, or prana, and send it to the frontal lobes, the part of the brain which we use when we meditate and visualize. He says that these antennaes act as conduits to bring greater quantities of subtle cosmic energy. According to him, it takes about three years for the antennaes to grow again at the tip of your hair after you cut them. (Source)

Buddhist Monk Perspective

Moine, Bouddhistes, Séance, Personnes Âgées, Vieux

Whenever we see pictures of Buddhist monks, they usually have their heads shaved. 'Tonsure', as it is called, is not as mandatory in Buddhism as it used to be, but is still widely underwent by monks. The act of cutting off the hair is symbolic of letting go of material attachments and the self-obsessed ego. (Source) In Buddhist history, it is said that when the prince who was to become the Buddha left his palace to seek a way beyond ageing, sickness and death, one of the first things he did was to cut off his hair and beard. Buddhist monks therefore do the same, to show their commitment to the Holy Life (Brahmacariya). (Source) Other texts suggest that the Buddha would have implemented this rule to discourage weird hair practices of the time, where mendicants seeking enlightenment deliberately left their hair unkept and unwashed, having taken vows to avoid grooming until they had realized enlightenment. The rules made by the Buddha for his ordained followers are recorded in a text called the Vinaya-Pitaka. (Source)

Which Path Should We Follow?

In the end, it is always up to you to choose which belief system you want to follow, or just follow your own heart and do what you think is best for you! But I hope this article gave you a more in-depth insight into how different civilizations with different traditions deal with hair and its purpose. One thing for sure, hair has a lot more of a spiritual meaning than most people nowadays assume. Once again it is time that we listen to what our ancestors said and re-learn all the great knowledge they had of the world and of themselves.

Did you like this article? Did it help expanding your mind to the universe we live in? If so, leave a comment and tell us what you think!

No comments:

Post a Comment