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How Submission Training advances one in the Five Steps

The previous essay argued that five root qualities were particularly useful to a person's achieving happiness. If we can now demonstrate that the practices of Submission Training (a.k.a. BDSM) are effective in helping people advance in these qualities, or Five Steps, we have made a good start to showing the public that what we do is worthwhile. Because, however, my own experience in Submission Training is quite limited, it is here that I need special help from you, the reader. We invite you to send your thoughts on the practices of submission training to Mistress Suzanne.

Practices are important. You can read how to throw a baseball, but unless you practice it over and over, your theoretical knowledge will take you only so far. You'll find something like "spring training" in the practices of some religious orders, where the combination of a rule of life, physical discipline, and the guidance of a spiritual director take the candidate much farther along the road to virtue than merely reading a book on the subject.

Such practices can be found in Submission Training, To those practices denominated by the letters BDSM -- bondage/discipline/domination/ submission/ sadism/masochism-- I would add Taoist erotic massage, breath work and role play --as taught by the Body Electric School and others. Let the M, then, also represent massage and these related practices.

Step 1. Balanced self-knowledge.

Many practices that are part of Submission Training promote self-knowledge. Especially relevant are Bondage and Discipline. By being physically bound and made subject to the will of a professional Dominant (Dom/me or Master), we experience that we are fragile and can easily be rendered helpless. We give up control to achieve true wisdom. We are humbled to grow strong. Surviving such loss of control is what restores our equilibrium - yes, we are fragile, but within us is the power of suffering - to endure and ultimately conquer.

Bondage is having our physical freedom constrained - by rope, chain, a cage or, even, by obedience to a command. It means to be weak as a way to becoming strong. Have you ever had your hands "tied up" and developed an itchy nose? The smallest thing in the world suddenly becomes a trial. Or the need to urinate but no place to go. Again, the frustration - helplessness - that reminds us of our fragility. Yet the wondrous thing is, that when we accept that fragility, self-knowledge makes us much stronger, more reliable, able to endure. From knowing our weaknesses, we gain strength.

Discipline uses bodily pain to lay the groundwork for interior growth. Whips, floggers, sharp instruments, hot or cold temperatures, even electric shocks using instruments that are safe for human use, can increase our deep understanding of pain and suffering.

Through pain, we grow in empathy for those who are stuck with pain (ours in B&D is temporary); we learn our limits (more growth in humility); we come to trust others more deeply (those who wield the instruments of pain). In addition, because B&D usually involves full or partial nudity, we are forced to give up the inhibitions that prevent us from accepting our essential humanity.

Masochistic submission, in centering on lack, inadequacy and weakness, puts us in touch with the entirety of our humanity. "Full humanity requires surrender to the down side of life as well as the upside. Religious penitents knew of the soul's need for suffering. They knew that it keeps us from having hubris, or the pride that keeps us in the limited perspective of having too much faith in our competence and abilities." -- Dorothy C. Hayden, CSW, "Masochism as a Spiritual Path,", downloaded 11/23/05.

Step 2. Balance of Structure and Spontaneity

Here the practice of Submission Training that is most appropriate is "M": Taoist Erotic Massage. Overly structured? If there were ever something to loosen up the buttoned-down type of personality, this is it. Try keeping your cool when a caring Sacred Intimate is doing the most intimate things to the most private parts of your body. Does this degenerate into tawdry sensuality? Not if the intention is right. One "SI" writes, "We all know that understanding someone's good intentions in a situation will often make the difference in how we perceive them, especially when those intentions truly involve healing, compassion or love for ourselves or for others."

Seen as healing, nakedness and erotic massage can be wonderfully liberating, letting our bodies come alive and reminding us that there is nothing that is dirty if our intentions are healthy.

Taoist Erotic Massage also involves a form of submission, carried out not with ropes but by the free willingness of the person to place him/herself in the caring hands of another. Under the healing powers of a Sacred Intimate, it involves ritual, breath, touch, psychodrama and conscious S/M as tools for creating individual sessions that allow us to explore our edges and continue our journeys of self-awareness.

Because the sensuality is under the control of a trained Sacred Intimate, what is perceived as spontaneity by the person being trained is actually structured. Thus, there are benefits to persons who are too spontaneous as well as to those who are too structured. Controlled sensuousness is the antithesis of license and libertinage.

Step 3. Balance of Critical and Non-judgmental Attitudes.

The Submission Training method most appropriate here is -- simply -- Submission. Not "when you're tied up," or as a step towards some other objective. Just letting go, putting someone else in charge of your life - at least for a time.

Submission goes against the grain. Yet what a splendid opportunity for the hyper-critical to find that not all new experiences are objectionable. And what a splendid opportunity for the all-accepting to live by a set of rules that are not his own.
Imagine how it feels to trust another enough, to let that person decide whether you sit or stand, eat or fast, go or stay, disrobe or keep your clothes on; whether you are tied and gagged or told to lie on the massage table and enjoy a deep, cleansing massage.

From submission comes a keener judgment, yet a more tolerant and understanding soul. No more will we rest on easy assumptions and prejudices; conversely, no more will we believe everything's "all the same, it doesn't matter." The beginnings of wisdom.

Step 4. Loving others generously.

Spiritual Healing is part of the repertoire of a Sacred Intimate. There are many techniques used by SIÕs to heal, including role play, breath work and psychodrama.

"It has long been accepted in many circles that erotic energy has healing or regenerative powers and that by channeling it to specific areas of the body, healing can begin to take place. ... Through visualization you can channel or direct that energy to specific areas of your body that would most benefit or even offer it up to the heavens and use it to connect with your partner and/or the Divine." - Suzanne SxySadist

Soon the inner transformation has an effect on the whole personality, which then begins to shine a sort of "grace" onto all whom it encounters. This is the beginning of a new and deeper kind of love of neighbor that transforms you even as you are now transforming others.

Once again, we note that it is one thing to read about losing ourselves in loving others; it is far more useful to personally and physically undergo training by a Sacred Intimate where you experience this transformation deep within yourself.

Step 5. Being Useful.

A most traditional aspect of Submission Training is Service -- the service of a submissive to a dominant, of a slave to a master or mistress. Yet let us update these terms to be sure we are not thinking of non-consensual slavery - or mindless submission. What we are talking about is the service of a lover, or a spouse who anticipates every one of his/her mate's needs and wishes, out of love. For some, service is preparing a perfect meal. For others, it is balancing the family checkbook. And for others it is being punctual for appointments. All are service to our fellow humans.

Service is the crown of successful training through the techniques of Submission Training. The testimony of those who live a life of service, whether part-time in sessions with a Master/mistress or full-time in a 24/7 relationship, are filled with claims that their lives have been immeasurably enriched. This awesome life of service was pioneered by religious orders and advanced separately by the Submission Training community. It works; it is available for you to discover and learn.

Now, please take a moment to share with Mistress Suzanne your insights as to how specific practices of Submission Training make you healthier and happier!

slave T's Other Essays:

World's Oldest Newbie

The Connection Between Sex and BDSM

Submission Training

The Five Steps

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