“Hunger hurts, but starving works.” It’s an old Fiona Apple lyric, and I’ve always admired the naked truth of it. More often than not, truth and comfort are at odds with one another, and we have to make an individual decision about which we’ll pursue more earnestly.
I’m admittedly new to the study of gnosticism, dualism, and even minimalism, although I’d like to think each appeals to my inherent nature. I’ve always needed very little and wanted even less. I’ve never been focused on my own appearance, health, or physical comfort, and I’ve always considered my mind/spirit a more accurate reflection of myself than my body. I’ve also always considered the individual pursuit of enlightenment more valid than proselytizing.
I’ve long believed that growing up with adversity tends to either make a person more comfortable with it or vehemently bent on escaping it. My family always struggled financially, and minimalism has always come easily and naturally to me, presumably as a result. So, without making a conscious decision to do so, that’s where I started.
I have very few possessions, and holiday gift ideas can be maddeningly elusive to those who love me. They’re best off focusing on things I need for survival or on experiences with the potential to broaden my perspective. I appreciate the second more than the first.
Since my youth, I’ve been accused of spending too much time inside my own head, being too self-focused (but never selfish), and caring too little about the way others think and feel about me. I have very few opinions that aren’t directly based in logic and reason, and I rarely push my preferences on (or even make them apparent to) others.
Such natural tendencies make it easy, obviously, for me to appreciate the stark existence of the ascetic and the solitary, internal journeys of the gnostic. The more I learn, though, of the associated philosophies and practices, the more I realize that I am only either able or willing to commit to a certain level of adherence. And I’m not sure that’s categorically wrong.