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The Nine Degrees Of Submission

This was posted to collarncuffs.com and is meant as food for thought, as an insight to where you see your own submission. Could also be u...

BDSM Is Not an Answer, So Embrace the Uncertainty





"In art, one must throw one’s life away in order to gain it."


I think there are many different motivations for seeking out BDSM play or a BDSM relationship dynamic:

• a drive to satisfy kinks or fetishes
• novelty
• escape from societal constraints
• sense of purpose
• a sense of completion from someone with complementary traits and I’m sure there are many other reasons.

I’m personally not self-aware enough to know what drives me to seek out M/s, SM and the variety of kinks I explore. It would be nice to understand it, but it is probably a complex mix of all of the above.

What I am aware enough to do is accept the attraction and harness it for personal growth.

EMBRACING FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY

American Tibetan Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chödrön writes in When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times: (https://www.amazon.com/When-Things-Fall-Apart-Anniversary/dp/1611803438/)

"Fear is a universal experience. Even the smallest insect feels it. We wade in the tidal pools and put our finger near the soft, open bodies of sea anemones and they close up. Everything spontaneously does that. It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share. We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold on to. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth."


"If we commit ourselves to staying right where we are, then our experience becomes very vivid. Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape."


"We can be with what’s happening and not dissociate. Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives."


As a Dominant, you might be surprised to know that I experience fear and uncertainty. I know, right? You’d never think so.

One of my motivations for seeking out BDSM play and BDSM relationship dynamics is that it requires me to constantly stretch beyond myself. To some degree, I am always navigating uncharted territory, and I embrace that. Where others might want to eliminate uncertainty and find comfort in the familiar, I find that gap to be a place of growth.

Chödrön suggests that bravery is not the absence of fear but the intimacy with fear. She thinks we should become intimate with fear and rather than treating it as a problem to be solved, use it as a tool to give us a whole new way of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and thinking.

MAKING DISCOVERIES IN THE PRESENT MOMENT

The late British philosopher and writer Alan Watts is best known for introducing Eastern teachings to the West, and in his 1951 book The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety (https://www.amazon.com/The-Wisdom-Insecurity-Message-Anxiety/dp/0307741206) he argues that the root of our human frustration and daily anxiety is our tendency to live for the future, which is an abstraction. It’s been having its moment in the spotlight in the past few years as “mindfulness”.

Chödrön also points to the present moment, even if it is uncertain or difficult, as the key to understanding ourselves:

 "We can be with what’s happening and not dissociate. Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives."


In the way that modern gurus promote mindfulness, you’d think it was just a matter of pulling your thoughts back to “the now”, but in Tibetan Buddhism there is a concept called maitri, which is a practice of self-compassion, or loving-kindness towards oneself. Chödrön argues that to remain present and intimate with the moment requires mastering maitri:


"What makes maitri such a different approach is that we are not trying to solve a problem. We are not striving to make pain go away or to become a better person. In fact, we are giving up control altogether and letting concepts and ideals fall apart. This starts with realizing that whatever occurs is neither the beginning nor the end. It is just the same kind of normal human experience that’s been happening to everyday people from the beginning of time. Thoughts, emotions, moods, and memories come and they go, and basic nowness is always here."

IN THE DARKNESS IS THE LIGHT

Only through such active self-compassion to our own darkness, Chödrön suggests, can we begin to offer authentic light to anybody else, to become a force of radiance in the world.

I don’t see life as a problem to be solved, or BDSM as an answer to a question. I’m not looking for a solution to anything. I think it’s only through exposing ourselves over and over to uncertainty that we can become intimate with it. And that intimacy, I think, makes us brave in our lives. By exposing ourselves over and over to fear, I think we find what is indestructible inside us, and from there I think we find what is indestructible in life. Chödrön puts it this way:

 "When we really begin to do this, we’re going to be continually humbled. There’s not going to be much room for the arrogance that holding on to ideals can bring. The arrogance that inevitably does arise is going to be continually shot down by our own courage to step forward a little further. The kinds of discoveries that are made through practice have nothing to do with believing in anything. They have much more to do with having the courage to die, the courage to die continually."

 COURTESY OF: http://www.devianceanddesire.com/author/mastermarc/

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