Zen and the art of shaving (with a faulty razor)

disposable razor

Meet my philosophy lecturer/spiritual guru: a faulty razor!

I hate waste and our throwaway society, so for some time have been struggling to shave with this faulty razor, faulty because the head keeps coming off – the blade is fine.

This morning, when the head came off for the umpteenth time, I realised that what could be perceived as just another irritation in a life in which I never seem to have enough time for important things, could be ‘reframed’ (some psychobabble for you!) as a lesson in mindfulness.

If I concentrated on applying just the right amount of pressure with each stroke – not too much – then I could shave without the head coming off, but a moment’s inattention and extra pressure would see the thing disintegrate.

I realised that what the razor was compelling me to do was to pay complete attention to every moment.  Every moment is a moment of my life.  What a privilege it is to be alive and have the pleasure of being able to shave in a decent bathroom with a mirror in front of me.  That face in the mirror, which I seldom really look at, is the face of a sensitive and intelligent being I often take for granted and treat brutally, saying things like, ‘Pull yourself together, Eric, you useless so-and-so!’  Every human being is a hugely complex miracle, worthy of respect and appreciation, and I am surely no exception.

Thinking these profound thoughts, I was no longer being fully present, and the blade came off again.  My razor was saying:  ‘Mindfulness is enough. Being here, now, means really living every second of your life.  Life is not in the past or the future.  It’s not an abstraction.’

Thank you, oh metal-and-plastic guru!

Readers may ask:  ‘If you really hate “waste and our throwaway society”, why do you not use a cutthroat razor, or why do you shave at all?’  Yes, that’s a good point, smart-alecs (saccenti in italiano), and another complex topic.  Let’s not go there now.


About biowrite

I am a writer specialising in non-fiction, particularly in assisting people with their biographies.
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