Sunday, December 5, 2010

The secret's in solitude

Ive been thinking. One of the reasons I have chosen to do this thing is to get away from the things that I thought were important and really get down to what is meaningful to me in my life. In my studies I have come across a few interesting things that I think help me to understand a little more the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle.

In not a few cultures throughout history there is a ritual, or rather a practice, adhered to that we in contemporary society have all but abandoned.

In Native American cultures throughout the North and South American continent the true test of manhood is a test of solitude. A boy will grow into a young man and soon enough will be on the threshold of manhood. The boy will take a minimal amount of necessities with him as he ventures into the wilderness. There, alone, will he spend his days, working out his own salvation with fear and trembling. When he is ready and has accomplished that thing which he has set out to do, he returns as a man.

We dont do this anymore! There is no interim between boyhood and manhood! There is no proving ground, no escape to solitude to escape the world and scrape away at the things that you think you are. When you shed everything, the clothes, the cars, the house, the entertainment; your health, your hapiness, your everything. When you rip it all away and that little speck of something is left there standing... well there you are. Most of us will never even approach this however, and I feel that we may miss out on something invaluable to the fabric of our make up that could otherwise fulfill us in a way that no other stimuli or luxury could.

There are other examples of this sort of solitude escape but perhaps I can, hopefully without stepping into blasphemy, give one more ultimate example. One of the necessary experiences the Lord Jesus Christ had to pass through was one of solitude. For forty days and nights the Lord left for the loneliness of the desert to face the temptations of Satan, facing Lucifer in an arena bitter and dry, without proper nourishment and without the relationships that one might commonly rely on. He fasted from food and by going into the wilderness he fasted from the world. Then, and ONLY then, did he depart from the wilderness having proved himself faithful to his Father in Heaven, and returned to the world to begin his ministry. It was after this test of solitude that he was able to begin his mission on earth.

I hope that I havent overstepped my bounds and dont want anyone to think that I am relating myself to the Lord. However, I want you to know the serious spiritual nature of the desires that I have in living the way that I live. I have grown closer to the Lord and to the people that I love by throwing off those things that I used to deem necessary and now find absolutely irrelevant. I hope that by this small, if incomplete decent into a life of semi-solitude that I will be able to re align my life on the path that was originally intended for us all. First we grow up learning from our parents. Then we develop ourselves and begin to search for a place in this world. I hope that now I can go into the wilderness, lose myself or at least what I thought I was, and return a man with a mission and a purpose, having no reason to remain stationary or aimless in my life.

I have much more that I could say about this topic and if you'd like to hear it let me know. I think about and study this out constantly. I hope that this was something you could relate to and shows a little better the reasoning behind my actions. Later dudes!


  1. Kurt, what about the Mormon tradition of sending out punk 19 year old kids on a spiritual journey? I can't speak for everyone, but leaving my home for 2 years with nothing but clothes and books gave me a maturing experience like no other. So I would argue that such traditions are still preserved today. Would you agree?

  2. This was a great post for me to read after a long day at work, on a Sunday (yuck). It really made me take a min and think what would be left if all those things would be stripped away. I know that I always filling my life with foolishness because I am afraid to look and see that. I hope I'll be able to find that out someday.

  3. Deep Kurt. Very interesting to read and defiantly got me thinking about who I really am without all of the foofiness around me.

  4. Hey Kurt! Our interim is college... which is something I will fight until the end of time. College as it stands is wasteful and far from a proving ground. I'm glad you and I exist to shake the tree of tradition and catch the apples as they fall.

  5. Tom: You are absolutely correct about Mormon missions. I, unfortunately wasn't able to go the full two years. I got sick a year in and was "kicked out" like so many other Mormon sick boys experienced. I never have been able to get over it and I feel like my interim, my retreat away from everything, has been incomplete as it were. Its a big reason for me doing the things that I do.
    Steve: I agree with you. We are a part of our community and family and then we "disappear" to college for a few years and come back ready to assimilate into a more mature society. I hate it. College is a business where the customers are forced. I believe in education. I do not believe in college. So yes, though the tree of college is rooted deep in our culture, its people like you and me who's charge it is to recognize that it is not the tree that matters but the fruits that come from it. Let the reaping begin!