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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 Five Steps