An unexpected book arrived in the mail the other day. A gift from my friend’s at Wisdom Publications. Zen Master Raven: The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird. by Zen Master human form, Robert Aitken. Here the koans are told by and to animals of the forest: raven, porcupine, owl, woodpecker, badger, black bear, and […]
A friend of mine who is 70-years-old and very fit, talented, and successful has male pattern baldness–the hair line recedes until there is only a ring of hair left around the bottom of the head. One of my professors in graduate school had it and he would let his red hair grow long. I always thought he looked like Bozo the clown.
My older friend, recently got his hair cut and he was complaining to me that his hair was cut too short. While he was whining about it, I blurted out quite spontaneously, “Why are you attached to that hopeful remnant?!” I think he would look better off shaving his head completely bald as is currently the fashion.
My friend could’t stop laughing. The “truth” in that statement seemed to hit him between the eyes and expressed itself in a shocked humor.
For Bill, he wanted to retain the appearance that he still had hair but all that was left was a remnant of his lost youth. Attachment to that hopeful remnant kept him from enjoying the present moment more fully.
We all have our own version of hopeful remnants–things we are not ready to let go off, things we are not ready to proclaim dead, finished, or gone. Your hopeful remnant may be a come-over on your head, an old object, or a wistful memory. It may be the hope that something will change in an important relationship that shows no evidence of changing and likely cannot change and hasn’t for years.
Think about what you are holding onto and ask yourself if you could let it go. Just think of how liberating it will be to jettison that hopeful remnant. You’ll feel lighter as you came into closer contact with the reality of things as they are rather than as you wish them to be.