September 25, 2011
What’s more Metal than long hair to go with your black jeans, band T-shirts, and guitars and amps or drums? Yes, hair can be a source of power in Metal, and even though these days short-haired rockers are being accepted in all genres of Metal probably because they don’t look good in long hair (too curly, pouffy, frizzy, etc.) or they’ve simply just gone bald, I remember the days when you had the long hair or something just wasn’t quite right (you weren’t really Metal). Let’s face it, if your hair is anything like Justin Timberlake’s and you think you’re in a Metal band, and you may very well be, nobody is going to say anything but we all know it–you just don’t have the look.
Where am I going with all of this? Believe it or not, it goes back to Yoga, stressing not the physical, but the mental. Yoga is a mental discipline that allows you to lead the body with the mind. Through this, there is a spiritual awareness. Yoga brings strength to the practitioner.
In the biblical narrative of Samson and Delilah, Samson inevitably loses his strength after he mistakenly, probably with trust, tells Delilah the secret to his strength. What he didn’t know killed him. He didn’t know that Delilah was hired to win him over and find out exactly that secret. Samson was definitely not a Yoga practitioner.
I am a lot like Samson. My long hair is not the source of my strength. At this point in time, my hair is the longest it has ever been. My hair is exactly as long as I have been practicing Yoga. In that way, my hair defines my yogic experience without having to make it blatantly obvious to anyone. At the time just before I discovered Yoga, I had a haircut known as a Mohawk for three years. At the end of that hairstyle run, I had become deeply aware that those three years marked how fresh and exciting a Mohawk was when I first wore it, and then how ridiculously played out it had become, and I had to eliminate it from my persona. I shaved my head. Samson took the Nazirite vow of dedicating his life to the full-time service of God. One requirement was that his hair never be cut. I vowed to grow my hair as long as it would get. I started learning and experiencing Yoga.
My hair continues to grow. I’ve been told it is beautiful. Women are envious of my hair, its texture, its color, and other things I just don’t understand. I’ve had longish hair since about 20 years ago, and people who haven’t seen me in ten years say I haven’t changed a bit, not knowing I had regular, Non-Metal, short hair for most of that time. I always felt a spiritual awareness and peaceful understanding throughout my life for as long as I can remember. These Metal Yoga days are just a deliberate focal progression of who I was, confident in who I am. Yoga was not something I needed to find to heal me or guide me to the other side out of some crisis. Yoga was there, however, at a time when I decided to heal myself physically out of poor food habits and a high body fat percentage. I already knew how I was going to do what I needed, and Yoga was thankfully an added bonus that I could revel in and experience without any judgement or expectation. I am fully aware of everything that Yoga did for me then, and what it does now.
I attribute my great feats of strength and endurance to Yoga. When I was on a weight loss cycle (I am now on a weight gain cycle) I got down to 150 lbs. I considered this my limit and didn’t want to lose any more weight. My metabolism was running so efficiently, however, that if I worked too many hours and didn’t eat well enough to feed my body with healthy food, I’d end up losing weight. This is what happened when one week one summer I dropped from 155 to 150 lbs. Even so, at this weight I was able to do things like deadlift sets of 15 reps with increasing weights of 135 lbs., 185 lbs., 225 lbs., and finally 275 lbs. The really amazing part was that Yoga gave me this mental acuity of how and why we are all here, and an easily accessible dialogue with what some call the Cosmic Intelligence. Being very strong and therefore making my body physically thrive in every way (and I mean in every way) was just an unexpected extra. Let’s face it, there’s nothing special about lifting heavy things in a gym; lots of people do it all the time, and are better at it than I am. The difference is in what you don’t see.
People tell me all the time that they have found God, or Jesus is in their hearts. What they are actually saying is that they have realized how to be the best person that each of them could be. Religious rituals mean nothing when one makes such a statement. The proof is that if you haven’t had the realization, participating in the rituals of any religion will have no effect on fulfilling your life’s destiny. Samson’s destiny was to deliver Israel from the land of the Philistines. The more he strayed from his destiny, the more suffering he endured because of it, and his ego was the source of it. Delilah was the last harlot that his selfish lust brought him to before he had all sense of self taken from him. This, ironically, was what saved him and his destiny.
Luckily, if Delilah cuts off my hair or even obstructs my Yoga, I won’t be defenseless to my attackers who aim to put my eyes out and bind me with fetters of brass in a prison house. But if she aims to be in direct conflict with my dharma, life will be a detention facility where I will remain powerless, reduced to something I was never meant to be, criticized and demoralized for giving away my secret to the wrong person, the one person I thought I could trust the most. How Metal is that?