I have been bald twice in my life. I shaved my head, on two separate occasions, for spiritual trips to India. Shaving my head was optional. Despite the assumption that India is riddled with bald spiritual seekers on a path to enlightenment, I found that the people of India look at you with the same look as the people of Minnesota: What’s with the bald woman?

There are a number of reasons, depending on the spiritual tradition, for shaving all or part of the head. The reason that appealed to me was releasing attachment. Hair represents a number of things, especially to women, and the act of releasing these representations was very powerful. But, even more, to let go of something that I always perceived as such a part of me started to positively affect my ability to release other attachments.

As I sat bald in the Himalayas, I contemplated my choice and how it related to the rest of my life. What came to mind immediately was my fondness for aesthetic beauty in the form of décor – and my business that sold “material” possessions. Though the intent of the shop is focused on educating people to value the possessions they do choose to own, was I just encouraging attachment? And what about my own possessions?

There are some people, especially those focused on a spiritual path, who confuse having possessions and valuing them as attachment. They insist that owning things represents how attached you are to the material world. They choose to eliminate as many physical objects from their lives as possible. But often, these same people are just as, if not more than, attached to certain beliefs that don’t serve them.

Many of the beliefs, which may be subconscious, focus on poverty consciousness, that you have to be poor to be spiritual, or that money and “stuff” are bad. I am not talking about the act of living simply. Those who embrace that view tend to have a different energy about it. I am talking about those who have a struggle around possessions and/or money. This behavior often is accompanied by either desire and frustration or even disgust and rejection of “things” or money. And often, these same people struggle to make a living, which ultimately may stress their capacity to be of service in the community.

An attachment to an object or a belief is the same thing. It’s an attachment. If the object or belief serves you, it may be helpful to have it. If it is not serving you, are you willing to let it go? That is what it comes down to. Neither the attachment to physical objects nor the attachment to poverty consciousness is serving us. They are actually two sides of the same coin.

Over-consumption has swung our natural order completely off balance. But the issue is not the “stuff.” What drives this over-consumption has more to do with our psychology.

Think about the intention behind what you own. My creative outlet is my space and it is important to me that it’s beautiful. Having this outlet to express myself empowers me to do many different things in my life. It promotes clarity, wellness and creativity that I then channel out to the world. My belongings that form the beautiful space around me encourage my well-being, which therefore moves me forward on my spiritual path of service to others. I do, however, make conscious choices when I acquire belongings. I limit what I buy. I buy second hand almost exclusively. I only keep things that I love and that I currently use, avoiding the tendency to store things that I can’t use or appreciate.

I will always be a big advocate of simple living. But what was revealed to me that day sitting bald in contemplation was that belongings themselves are not what represents attachment. It is how we feel about our belongings. It is important that we value what we choose to have. But we must also be willing to let them go at any moment, much like limiting beliefs…or maybe even our hair.

Susan Shehata assists clients in transforming the space around and the space within, through feng shui, music, holistic healing and spiritual coaching. She is co-owner of Shift Home & Lifestyle, a lifestyle transformation business. Raising the Consciousness, the media and events arm of her business, produces a radio show, the Twin Cities Kirtan Festival, as well as many other healing and music events that inspire global change through individual action. As a musician, Susan focuses on musical theatre and kirtan.


  1. Your Statement: “But we must also be willing to let them go at any moment, much like limiting beliefs…or maybe even our hair.”

    I too went to India 11 years ago. I did not choose to shave my head just because other’s were shaving theirs.
    Yet, shortly after I returned to the U.S. I began to give my meager and insignicant stuff away to others. I even began to give the money I had in savings away to others too. From what I understand they still have their possessions and their hair has grown back too.

    There have been months when I have not had any money or food or a place of my own. I am free. I let it all go. I am still here and surviving just fine too.

    Today I have a few boxes that hold mostly pictures and memoriabilia of little signifance to anyone but my self.
    Things around me do not encourage my well being as you say they do you. They are just things, just stuff! I do not require material possessions around me to promote my clarity, wellness and creativity.
    It is the I AM essence of Self, I AM that encourages my well being! Possesions do not have that ability with me. Maybe we are just in two totally different realms of being. You in this simple material world and I simply free of the material world.

    I tell you what!
    I am an advocate of simple living too!
    I’ll shave my head if you are willing to give all your possesions away and your money also.
    Are you willing to let them go or are you still to attached to them?
    I Am not attached to my hair, but it is attached to me.

    Just Curious

  2. Thanks for the comment Rick! We may be saying the same thing from a different angle. Maybe not…You mentioned the people that shaved their head but stayed attached to the material world. Exactly! You can’t just shave your head and/or give away all your possessions and have it represent anything. It goes deeper than that. It is an internal process.

    I wrote from a specific angle. Many perceive that objects themselves represent materialism and the lack of them represents freedom or non-attachment. I do not believe that.

    I am not advocating that people have stuff. Or that stuff is what promotes clarity, wellness and creativity. I am asking people to consider that having possessions does not always represent materialism. Nor does not having money or possessions automatically make someone free or non-attached. Again that work must come from within. Thanks again for the comment. Susan

  3. So what you are saying Susan, if I may summarize is:
    “It is not about shaving your head, or giving away all your possessions, or giving away all your money, if you do it for another!”
    “I would summize you did not shave your head because others did or have.”
    “I did not give the stuff in my possession away to others, because other’s did or have.”
    “We chose it for our Self, not because of any other.”
    “So what you are suggesting then is this is an “attachment” issue.”

    Attachment!! Wow, we could carry this conversation all the way into “Everything”.
    Relationships, parents and parenting, jobs and career’s, siblings and in-laws, accomplishments and value of self, addictions, judgment, bigotry, religious belief’s & etc, etc.

    Many people are attached to their “Everything’s”, but the interesting thing is the “Everything” is not attached to us. Everything is just around us! But your hair, that was really a safe thing to do shaving your head! Why? Because you knew it would grow back! But would you have shaved your head if you understood it “would not” grow back? Probably not! So shaving your head was a pretty safe choice.
    Relinqueshing your self of all your possessions and money is not a safe choice for many!

    Yes, in general human’s like to make safe choices!
    How you look at your material possessions and write about them, allows you to justify why you have them in your life. Your perspective in reference to material possessions allows you live your life guilt free!

    But no matter what you say or write. The fact of the matter is, you are still attached to them because you feel safe and secure within your self, with them around. You say they promote clarity, creativity and well-being! Are you suggesting with out this stuff around you, your clarity is less, your well being goes down hill and your creativity is stiffled? Sounds like you need this stuff around you! Sounds like attachment to me!!

    There are many who believe they are stepping into the “New Universal Energy”, while they still justify all the old choices withing the “Old Universal Energy”!

    Ah Susan there is far more to all of this topic than just attachments and material possessions!
    This is really about for many adjusting old patterns, but still choosing the old patterns. Just looking at these old patterns and choices through a different perspective, that justify’s for each person why they are choosing what they are choosing, and NOthing really changes!

    You can paint a white horse pink, but it is still a white horse!

    Just Me


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