‘A monk shaving the head is symbolic of renunciation. But really what is to be renounced is self-clinging, so shaving the head is just to remind us to renounce whatever it is that we cling to, whatever it is that we attach to. We need to let it go, let our life flow through our hands like a river and not try to grab some piece of it and hold on to it. Just to be present with it and find out how to express our vow in this moment, in this circumstance, right where we are right now, instead of trying to figure out how to make it the way we want so it’ll be just what we always dreamed of. It won’t be. There will be too many surprises.
If we’re open to embracing the surprises as they arise, then there will be inconceivable joy. If we fuss and fume and say, “This isn’t what I expected, ” then there will be inconceivable misery. Just to welcome our life as it arrives moment after moment, to meet it as fully as we can, being as open to it as we can, being as ready for whatever arises as we can, and meeting it wholeheartedly, this is renunciation – this is leaving behind all of our preferences, all of our ideas and notions and schemes. Just meeting life as it is.’ (Seeds for a Boundless Life)
Just to note that ‘inconceivable joy’ was Blanche’s dharma name – Zenkei – and that I cannot help but hear her cadences and her exhortation when I read the words in the book. With the way the weather has changed over the past week or so, I have been thinking, and teaching, about transitions a lot, and this is a wonderful expression of what I have been trying to say.