By Deane Barker

This is the practice of voluntarily denying pleasure or even basic human needs, usually in order to achieve some higher spiritual awareness. This is not confined to a single religion. Ascetic practices such as fasting are common in many belief systems.

A practitioner is called an “ascetic.”

The name comes from the Greek word for “practice” or “exercise.” It’s pronounced “uh-SET-ick.”

Why I Looked It Up

I started seeing an image on Reddit of an Indian (presumably Hindu?) ascetic with a metal grate welded around his neck in order to prevent him from ever laying down horizontally.

I had always confused the word with “aesthetic.”

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