Will someone please set my hair on fire? Thank you.

There’s a man at the farmers market who sharpens knives and scissors. The spot at the end of that row seems to alternate between the sharpening man and a young woman who does chair massage.  So one week you can get a massage and the next week you can get your scissors sharpened.

The man uses a power wheel to do his sharpening. No doubt that is the tool to use for the task he has, but I would not put my Dragonfly on a wheel. I love that knife. I carry it every day. It’s the best pocket knife I’ve ever had. But mostly I love it because it was a father’s day gift from my kids. That wheel would create friction, and friction causes heat. And I don’t want any heat put into the edge of my blade. Of course the steel in that blade was once molten. It was transformed and tempered by fire. The finished blade is cold.

I read that Krishnamurti was having a conversation with a friend, and the friend said that he felt like he was on fire and what should he do about it? Krishnamurti told him to pour some gasoline on the fire and let everything burn up. Then watch and see what arises from the ashes.

It’s been said that we should practice like our hair’s on fire. That’s an image of urgency, don’t you think?

Most days I feel some urgency. Some days I also feel some fire.

I don’t do this to comfort myself. In the past, maybe. But not now. Now I want to get uncomfortable. Overthrow my status quo. Break some chains. Disrupt some patterns. And I know that none of that shit’s going down without a fight.

I’m feeling a need for heat. Burn my fearful, ego-bound, compulsive mind to ash. Use the heat to forge a cold blade. Call that blade Discernment and use it to cut down between the true and the false.

What can I tell you – I’m in a mood. I’ve been trying to reason with X. Tried loving it, tried accepting it, tried forgiving it, tried ignoring it, tried embracing it… And I think I might even have suggested once or twice that you do the same. So carry on if you can. I’m not complaining. But it just may be that I’m not ready for the loving approach to my bad habits and compulsions. I still love you and everyone I can, of course. But the next time some X shows up we’re throwin down. Mano a mano. I’m ready to RIDE on this shit.

A pledge of honesty has compelled this report to you. And as always, Dear Reader, we should examine the wisdom of listening to a frustrated man.

I’m out.



22 responses to “Will someone please set my hair on fire? Thank you.

  1. I don’t care about your frustration. It makes for such good writing and so I’m happy. There are very few if any things that come across in the topic bar of my e-mail that make me laugh out loud. Wanna throw down? I”m your girl. We’ll go till we laugh ourselves to death. May the howling begin right now. Or after you’ve put down that knife. Fire scarecrow?


    • Okay… We cut off our hair like De Niro in Taxi Driver; get naked and smear mud all over our bodies; go down to the busiest street corner on Music Row, and just stone cold mug the next bad habit coming by. Fire scarecrow can be the backup plan.


  2. It’s just the phenomena that is samsara brother… keep stoking that fire!

    “A summary of everything in brief
    Should be known to include the following two motifs,
    Since everything can be summarized fully in terms
    Of phenomena together with pure being.

    That which is classified here as phenomena
    Is samsara; that which is classified precisely
    As pure being is nirvana, transcendence of grief,
    As this is defined by the vehicles, which are three.”

    (Maitreya’s Distinguishing Phenomena and Pure Being, 71)


  3. Yes, i been wanting to throw down too!! As a matter of fact, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday of every week this 2013th year! Oh yea… It’s getting hotter every minute, my hair definitely will catch on fire… i hope not… but i feel it coming!

    Fortunately for you frustration precedes great writing. As for me? just sighs…


  4. Setting hair on fire brings forth picture to me of the Tibetan monks. Out of frustration they set themselves ablaze. We notice and the Chinese condemn. Out of the ashes they are released, purified.
    I am obsessed these days with my upcoming birthday, the 65th. I call it the last box. Every survey you have has one box for 65 and older so now I am there–at the last box . Maybe what i need to do is to enter this life stage with reverence, passion and purification. I’ll think on it.

    Thanks for the suggestion

    Karuna Ma


    • Dear Karuna Ma – I’ve been checking the last box for a while now. It’s great – more discounts! I’m figuring out that when I’ve entered a new stage of life, I need a new model for it. There are things that served me well in the previous stage, and they need to be left there. New adventure – new map!


  5. You know what, I appreciate heat and I like your post. But I can’t get down – I’ve had two teachers, count ’em, two, tell me to practice Sitali pranayama. A doctor of acupuncture told me it was like a yang pump in here when he did pulse diagnosis. You pump up the volume and throw the gasoline on the fire, I’ll be over here, sucking air across my tongue and dipping my toes in ice water. Great post! Best of luck with you and X. I’m sure you’ll keep us posted.


    • Well see, Auntie – yang pump – that’s why you can work about four jobs at a time and still have something left over. Can I get you to pour some of that ice water over me if it looks like I’m getting too carried away?


  6. As of late I’m 99% distracted 100% of the time…. In the past when I’ve let myself sink into IT and feel IT without any resistance it has burned up quickly, and a lovely Phoenix arose. Yet now I can’t seem to take the time needed to feel it, fuel it and let it burn out. I admire that you’re ready to feel it fully. I think you’ll feel better soon. Love
    PS: I’m not far enough into my trainings that I’ve debunked the notion a good ass whooping.


    • Yeah. We get on that high road to nirvana and tend to forget the benefits of just opening up a big ol’ can of whoopass from time to time. Yoga teachers never tell us about whoopassana. That must change! Love to you, my friend.


  7. The world of fire offers both a blissful release and a rebirth. About time I had a damn playmate in the pyre…welcome…and I daresay, it’s about time!


  8. Heh. heh. Krishnamurti is hard core. It isn’t my tendency to let it burn off– Usually I go with, ‘collect yourself, get it under control, and take some deep breaths.” I wonder what would happen if gasoline got added to the fire. 🙂


  9. Oh my dear brother, soul poet. Your words reach my heart and I know we are on the path together for our soul education. Setting our hair on fire, thank goodness the fire of our practice is love.


    • Ahhh… Sister Joy. I’m smacking myself between the eyes with a two-by-four and you say, Okay, do what you must, just do it with love.

      Thank you for the adjustment, my dear sister.


  10. I appreciate your exploration, questioning wrestling, and the fire, especially with the difficult stuff. May I humbly say that what I have learned that in the world of Yoga where we love to always say all is One and all is a part of ourselves, we can often get lost in this truth….and yet it is certainly true. But…..all this dark stuff we tend to identify with too much, and believe intensely that it is who we are, when it is not…in fact, all this stuff comes from OUTSIDE OF US…..it makes its way into us and convinces, persuades us through Feeling and Thinking and every tool to make us think we are this dark stuff…..but it is a lie, and if we can truly take this position, that it is not something that needs to be understood but simply rejected and offered over and over as something that has lost its place in life, and see that its place is not any more inside us, then we gain a power over it more and more…to say No More, and to replace it by Aspiring for something else to replace it..for the Light, for the Truth, the Love, Peace, Everything. We make battles out of everything, but in truth all we need to realize is that the fight is in simply Choosing over and over again, building a new habit and Vibration within us, and saying goodbye to the drowning darkness in our flood of Light, which comes in time. Best wishes with your Journey towards your Light…..it will come, simply because the Question in you now is the magnet that is drawing the Realization closer.


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