Subsistence of the Soul

Builds Upon: Any Small Thing,
Introverts: Denizens of a Social Ghetto

Especially in youth, an extreme introvert feeling little commonality with the surrounding society must find ways to nourish the spirit even through the most trying times.  A life on the fringes is sink or swim.  You either find ways to take care of yourself or you just don’t make it.  To this day, I tend to be very reverential of food and intolerant of wasting any usable resources.  A subsistence survival sort of mentality got drilled into my head early on.  Though I never went hungry growing up, I’m the sort of person who likes to eat every last grain of rice or sop up the crumbs and juices left over from a meal with a piece of bread until my bowl is clean.  My stomach lurches when I see someone throwing out food.

Most people I meet dread the passing of time and aging.  I feel the passing of every day to be a gift, especially if it passed without too much trouble.  I will see having a white head of hair as accomplishment because I have a feeling of good fortune and privilege to make it even as far as I have.   My life has rarely been in serious physical danger, yet I feel I’ve had to claw every inch of the way out of stone.  I feel I’ve already been alive nearly forever yet most others consider me to be quite young.

This sort of mentality, this subsistence of the soul is an attitude that utterly baffles most people I encounter.  Rather, they find my actions strange because they know nothing of the code by which I act.   How would one even begin to explain face to face in a way that really made sense?  Would one want to if one could?

Do I really want to explain that every grain of rice, every red cent is another precious second of my life won from the birth society’s capricious standards and demands?

That I still make the most out of every grain of rice as I had to with every good feeling and happy moment?

That cultivating such reverence produces the sort of emotional rewards that make life worth living?

Though it could be tough to hold myself together in the worst times, I would find myself inspired to joy by things people around me didn’t even seem to notice.

Living with a lean soul has had its advantages.  I find I require far less than others around me to be content with life and therefore there are less things I fear losing.  I have an ongoing relationship with death in my everyday life while others postpone the very thought of it until telltale signs of aging can no longer be ignored or covered up with denial.

Most importantly, living by subsistence of the soul has the potential to teach one: fulfillment when distilled to its quintessence has very little to do with pleasure.

12 responses to “Subsistence of the Soul

  1. I was thinking of such things recently. This post was an influence on what ultimately has been a change of my perspective on the aging process. Hopefully, it is a change for the better! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    The end of your post reminded me of “The Moon Cannot Be Stolen”:
    Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing to steal.

    Ryokan returned and caught him. “You have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.”

    The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.

    Ryoken sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused, “I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon.”

  2. KW, have you ever realized that maybe we can only be as old as our memory capacity? Once we reach a certain limit perhaps further experience only serves to dilute pre-existing experiences. Or does it concentrate them?
    Perhaps I feel old because I’ve lived as long as I ever will, no matter how long I actually am alive.
    But my intuition tells me that experience can pile up in the subconscious, irrational mind far past the limits of the conscious, rational mind.
    Aside from physical manifestations of aging, our length of time alive can only be relative to our perception of the time lived.

    I actually take pleasure in living through each day in part because I imagine a race. I think of all the rock stars and celebrities who I’ve already outlived. It’s a lot fun to get older and feel smug.

    • Yes, and while I doubt that such a limit could be reached, I think that it does concentrate in at least two ways. One way being the replacement of preconceptions and beliefs with new information as we acquire it. The other being, as you said, a kind of subconscious collection that manifests as a “gut” feeling.

      The mind is an incredible thing, even with it’s limitations on memory and other things. Furthermore, it seems that those limitations are actually not limitations at all. It seems that they are just temporary boundaries that can be either expanded or contracted depending on the person. I’m rambling, I know, but as a continuation of the previous sentence: What does that expansion/contraction depend on? The mind itself or something else, perhaps deeper?

      • If we are to suppose there are no limits then I suppose we implicitly assume the phenomenon of mind is somehow non-physical or that the brain is merely an antenna for channeling mind from some less finite external source? If mind were a physical property of the brain we would have to assume that there must be definite physical limits, however expansive they might be.
        I have long wondered if our brain’s reluctance to retain information unless it’s deemed important is a means of saving limited space. However, it could also be a means of maintaining efficiency, however much space there might be. It could also simply be a matter of conserving precious energy. Our brains are an enormous metabolic drain as it is.

        Don’t hesitate to ramble if you have a general direction. You just might end up at a destination.

  3. True, frugality can be a considerable handicap in excess. It can merely result in limiting oneself and holding back when there’s a whole world out there to explore.

    But only with measured frugality can abundance have value.

    Without appreciation, abundance feels much the same as poverty.

    Such is the curse of one who is not grounded. Nothing is ever enough.

  4. Shyness – A Vindication
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    My pleasure.

  5. I am not religious. My parents were atheists. Even as a twelve year old I saw no real purpose in my existence. What was the point of making the effort when in the end we all die? Death I was taught meant oblivion. What did it matter if we did good or evil when in the end there was no accounting? Why should we endure suffering? What was the point of developing our minds when in the end our consciousness would be snuffed out? I studied religion, but found religion was just another elitist club or clique. I was told by mainstream science there was no soul, but science is also a religion full of unquestioned dogmas. As I searched in the library I discovered many books from around 1900 by scientists of the time that seriously studied psychic phenomena. Madame Curie, Maxwell, Faraday, Crookes all believed they had proof of the existence of a soul. Even Newton absolutely believed in the soul. Why in the public schools and later in college was I taught that belief in spirituality was anathema to science and reason? When I showed these books to my instructors they said they were fake and Newton was crazy from inhaling mercury fumes. All proof of a spiritual reality has been purged from school textbooks. I realized that in order for the system to enslave us we must be taught either that we are soulless biological machines or that our soul belongs to a tyrannical, man-made religion. After years of study I proved to myself there really is a soul, afterlife, reincarnation. There is an intelligence that runs the universe. That intelligence is physics and the laws of physics! Newton tried to explain that all matter had consciousness and was part of God. I wish some one could have explained this to me when I was a kid, but I wouldn’t have believed it until I proved it to myself. For years I felt worthless, hated myself, felt my life was pointless. I was told that all that mattered in life was social climbing and consuming. As an introvert I saw no place for myself in this society. Now that I know there is a spiritual reality, I know my life has value and purpose. We are here to develop our minds and character, not to be popular and have a good time. I felt old as a child because I have reincarnated so many times. I don’t fear death because I know the afterlife is my true home. I must stay here until my time is up. I watch other people suffer because they love external things. They fear losing their money, status, physical appearance. When they die they will lose everything that is external. What will be left of these fake people? Imagine the emptiness of their souls. My reward as an introvert is having searched for truth and found it. Now I have real peace of mind.

  6. Pingback: Subsistence of the Soul | Neurodiversity

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