What Is Power?
Before going any further, it is best if we define what power is. Too often we discuss a particular subject without having a clear idea what we are referring to. Of course, everyone knows what power is but did you ever take the time to ponder what it truly means.
We know that our cars run on power. At the same time, we get a bill from the electric company for the power they provided us. The owner of a company has the power to give an employee a raise or fire that person. For those who are gym rats, you know it takes power to lift a heavy weight. Finally, in the BDSM world, one person wields power over another.
Since we all know what power is, how come it is so difficult to define it. Like many things in life, it is so familiar to us yet we do not take the time to articulate exactly what it is. So let us get a working definition of this.
Power simply is energy. That is all it is. Everything in the universe is made of up energy. Our entire existence and everything in it is nothing more than protons, electrons, and neutrons buzzing around at incredible speeds. It is from this energy center that things occur in the physical world.
Let us look at the example of the automobile. We put gas (petrol for my readers across the pond) in our cars to make them run. This is the resource that is used to generate the energy in the vehicle. Once the gas is ignited, it gives off heat which then is used to run the engine giving power to the car. As this is accomplished, the axles on the car are turned and it moves. If you want to go faster, simply step on the accelerator which burns more fuel creating greater heat making the vehicle move at a higher speed. The power comes from the energy source, in this case the gasoline.
For power to be most effective, it needs direction. If this does not occur, it is lost. Going back to the car, the engine is designed in a way to maximize the use of the power. The same is true in our home. When power is directed into the house, it comes across power lines which run from one specific location to another. The power does not travel haphazardly. It is harnessed.
Now let us contrast this with a lightening strike. When lightening hits, it is one of the most powerful forces we see. The energy field has the strength to set hundreds of acres on fire. I am not sure the exact ratios but I feel certain in saying the energy contained in one lightening strike would power many homes for a year. However, this power goes to waste since it is unharnessed. There is no direction to it. It simply strikes and dissipates.
Therefore, as you can see, the amount of power is a secondary issue. The primary concern starts with the idea of whether power is harnessed or not. The power coming into your house is much less than that of a lightening strike. However, you can turn on a light and power it for hours. A lightening strike contains a huge multitude in terms of power compared to what is coming through the cord on your lamp. Yet, since it is unharnessed, it gives off a quick burst and then is gone. In essence, the difference is a fraction of a second versus hours.
Power In BDSM
As mentioned, everything, including us, is made up of energy. When we witness an exchange of power within the BDSM relationship, what we are really seeing is the transfer of control over the energy from one person to the other. To fully understand this idea, let us take a look at personal power.
Some will say that personal power is the ability to act. This is true but it is jumping over an important component. Personal power is the ability to generate the energy to take action. Exerting power over oneself to go workout requires generating the energy within to get off the sofa and go to the gym. The action comes from the energy.
As you can already guess, in a power exchange situation, the submissive is ceding the power over the energy generation to the dominant. He is the one who decides where her efforts will be focused. Depending upon the style of the dominant, he might determine when she gets up in the morning, washes the dishes, bathes, works out, does the laundry, if she holds a job or not, when she sits down, and when she has sex. All these activities require the generation of energy.
Now that you understand what power really is and what is exchange, there is a final point that needs to be explained. Power not only needs to be harnessed but also focused. This is what is meant by "direction". Again, going back to the lamp, the power is delivered in a consistent manner over the power lines, into the house, and through the wiring into the lamp. The grid is designed in such a way that the power if directed to go exactly where it is desired. Contrast this with the lightening strike which basically can go anywhere the laws of physics will allow it.
In BDSM, we see many who receive the power by entering into an exchange relationship yet fail to focus the power. This often occurs because the person fails to harness the power to begin with. When receiving power, one must be able to harness it. In other words, can the person handle it? Electricians know they need to use wiring that is capable of handling the power that is going through it. That is why the power lines along the street are a lot thicker than the wires in your house. They are designed to handle a great deal more power than is transmitted to your lamp. We see the same thing in BDSM. If you are going to cede power over to me, do I have the wherewithal to handle it? Can I harness the power that you give me?
One thing I need to mention is that the power a submissive gives to the dominant is only half the power. Do not forget, that since power is energy and within everyone, the dominant also has his own power source. This means that the submissive is adding her power to his. This creates a problem in many BDSM relationships because the dominant is unable to handle his own power. Ultimately, this leads to a blowout no different than when a transformer blows on the electrical pole. The dominant cannot handle his power yet a submissive adds hers, and he goes into overload.
Getting back to the idea of focus, when handed the power in a BDSM relationship, the dominant is assigned with the task of leading the relationship. Another way of describing this is to say he is the one who is to direct the interaction. He is the one who decides where the energy is focused. Those who are able to focus the power in the relationship are able to generate a strong bond. Failure to do so results in the power being lost.
I will give you an example to illustrate this point. Energy increases in intensity when it is focused. Let us consider the sun. If you go outside on warm summer day, you see the sun shining brightly. Go out without sunblock, the sun has the power to "burn" you. Lay your clothing down, especially if it is dark and the sun will heat the garment up considerably. This is the power that the sun has when unfocused.
However, when we focus the power of the sun on the garment, we learn that the ability exists to set it on fire. If we take a magnifying glass, the intensity of the sun directed through this item increases to a level where the garment will actually burn. This is what results when power is focused.
Ultimately, when we break it all down, control is the ability to harness and direct power. As mentioned, for a dominant to successful be able to do this, he must first start with himself. If he is unable to control his own personal power, how can he expect to do that with another? Remember the idea of a transformer. When a submissive adds her power through the exchange, she is really doubling the amount of power traveling through the "wire". Is he able to handle it? Sadly, when we hopscotch our way around the web, we see many "dominants" who are ill-equipped to handle the power. In fact, look at their lives and you see a person lacking the ability to harness and focus his own power.
BDSM is not about whips and chains. Entry into this lifestyle is an exercise is growth and development. The BDSM relationship is unique in the separation of power. For one to enjoy success, he must expand himself in all areas of life. Domination is not telling one what to do. It is the successful leading and control over the areas of finance, health, emotions, psychological, and mental arenas. Contrary to popular thought, it is not making her do something she doesn't want to do but rather making her want to do that what she doesn't want to do. There is a big difference.
So the question always comes back to, can the dominant handle the power he is being given?
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