What I don't understand is how that applies to me personally. What am I breaking down? My existence? What and Who I AM? If so, is this all not mere conjecture? I mean I can rationalize evolution from a jelly bean but the difference between my truth and THE truth is obscene.
You are breaking down yourself, your perception of your existence and it's relations to the world. Think about it, this happens all the time. We 'grow out of' certain behaviors, and develop new ones we call habits. It's all unconcious.
Gnosticism, at least in it's first steps, is taking some amount of responsibility and awareness of the process. It's no longer unconcious, but a recognition that if these walls and ideas and issues are going to be broken down in our personality, it has to start with us. The Higher Self (God, Guardian Angel, etc) will sometimes make the first move, but it is up to us to take the next step. Whether that awareness manifests as meditation, or prayer, or fasting, or magickal practice, or simple awareness of everyday things is dependent on the character of the person manifested upon.
Even among the Pistic, it requires a first step. "I believe Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior" is the beginning, for them. Where I see a mistake is that sometimes, they stop after this step.
The difference between my truth and THE TRUTH, as you put it, is not obscene. There is no difference. Read that again. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. But until you've broken down your truth to the point where you understand it, you can't see that. It's easy to parrot the line "All religions are one", but it's another thing to watch some of the terrible things that happen in the name of religion, and realize that, at the ultimate level, it's the same as the wonderful things that happen in the name of religion. The separation is necessary, yet ultimately false.
From the Gospel of Thomas:
18. The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us, how will our end come?"
Jesus said, "Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.
Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.
We must go back to our beginnings. When did you become this person you identify as you? How arbitrary is that model of personhood, to say that "I" am this and not that? Why have we chosen the qualities we think of as "us"? "I" think of "myself" as a constant, but how constant am I, really? What conditions will take this person I think of as me, and twist it into something unrecongizable? Or break it completely until I'm curled in a ball, wailing with the primordial realization that *I* am alone in the universe? Or what conditions will unite me with everything in a cosmic ecstasy, realizing that if *I* am alone, so is EVERYONE ELSE, and thus we are together in our shared isolation. Or the realization that the perception of aloneness that so shattered me was a prelude to the relization that the aloneness is a misperception, to separate me from the divine: An model that I once needed, but no longer.
Boggles the mind, but when you get to the point of looking at another person who's situation is worse than yours, and realizing that not only could that person have been you, and vice versa, but that they are you, and that their suffering is also yours, you realize that all this taking apart and putting back together has it's uses.
We can't KNOW until we KNOW, have gnosis. Is this not the point? Faith until knowledge comes to us?
Gnosis has many meanings, but one is 'knowledge'. Gnothi Seauton. Know yourself. It's not just a mystic gift that bursts upon you one day. It is also a grail to be sought in the wilderness of your own personality, and you can't tell what's a grail and what's a cup and what's a magdalene until you separate it out from the wilderness. I need to know my strengths, my weaknesses, before I put myself through the fire, and step out of it the Philosopher's Stone. Too much heat, and I'll melt into a gibbering mass of madness. Not enough, and I won't change at all, or not enough. I need to separate out the components first, so that I know.
Your methods of gaining this knowledge may be different than mine. I like to read, and do rituals, and volunteer. You may like meditation, and prayer, and long talks with disturbed people. But notice I say "methods" and "gaining". It's an active process, this gnosis. Our love of separating is a first step, as long as we realize it's not the last step. But here, we see the beginning.