A young boy watched a Buddhist monk shaving his head, and inquired, "why do you shave your head?" The monk answered, "To make myself ugly". At first I thought this was one of those tricky kōans (in fact it is), but I quickly realized the obvious truth in the monk's statement.
Now in my mid-forties I struggle with this a lot, spending inordinate amounts if time in the gym keeping what inevitably will be a decaying body fit and lean. I ask myself how much of my effort is driven by ego? Endless miles running and biking, following the black line in the pool, weights, and now a healthy skin care regime. To what end?
It all balances on the "pinhead of intention". Is this effort to fuel an already over-active ego, or rather simply for health and quality of life? This is my kōan.