Another common topic I cover quite regularly is the fact that we are conditioned by society from the time we are infants. This conditioning is a means designed to control us and make each of us obedient subjects. This can come from a variety of sources but the usual culprits are parents (family), friends (peers), the media, teachers, religious institutions, and employers. In fact, it can be said that everyone we encounter seeks to influence us in some way. Ultimately, by the time a person is in his/her late 20s, the entire belief system was established by others. Few ever take the time to sit back and question what they believe. What is ironic is they will defend it to the hilt without ever considering how the belief was adopted. Political outlooks, religious views, and sporting affiliations are prime examples. People will staunchly defend what they view is right without ever researching if what they are defending is correct. Ergo, the instillation of the belief system was complete.
One idea that society promotes is the concept of marriage. Of course, as we heard for over a year with the political discourse, marriage is between a man and a woman. This is the pathway that society approves for relationships and the family structure. It is also the way to happiness and fulfillment. The problem with this concept is two fold. To start, what happens if you fall outside this structure to begin with. For example, as we know, the homosexual population is excluded since it does not fit the model. At the same time, those who are into poly relationships fall outside the bounds since society only approves of one such relationships. We can also see how open relationships are frowned upon. And finally, those who opt for a single life simply have something wrong with them because this is not "normal".
The second problem with this belief system is that, those of us in BDSM, know it is a complete lie. The simple truth is most of us went down the traditional path only to find it lacking. Now, that is not to say that some people, many people, do not find fulfillment going this direction. I believe many do and it is the ideal path for most. However, not everyone fits into that mode. Those of is in BDSM realize that a marriage in the traditional sense did not work for us. In fact, relationship structures based upon the equal sharing of power was not effective, marriage or otherwise. Therefore, we started the search for something different.
Part of the process that everyone who finds BDSM goes through is the questioning of the belief system that was instilled. People, because of the pain realized in the vanilla world, start to look elsewhere to see what can satisfy them. The simple act of starting to search means one is questioning the existing belief system which is common for that particular culture. In our realm, we confronted the idea that happiness and fulfillment was found in a heterosexual union with equal power committed to each other, and only each other, for life. Of course, this meant breaking those a host of ideas that we held for a long time. Beliefs are not easy to change and entering the world of BDSM meant that we smashed a host of ideas which were deeply rooted within us.
Our entire world centers in our mind. This is something that some might take exception to but it is reality. For centuries, writers alluded to this fact in all the great works. It is our minds that determine our experience. The outer world is only a reflection of the inner. Therefore, it is how we view things, our perception, which ultimately decides it all. How we feel, what we do, what we like, and whom we interact with are all based upon the judgments of the mind. Beliefs are a short cut to this end since it gives us the "automatic" decision without much thinking. Of course, as we know, this can be a real problem since a lack of thinking is not always a great thing.
Letting go of old ideas is the basis of all transformation. I feel this is the single biggest challenge people have when entering BDSM. The simple truth is that BDSM is a world completely different from what most of us are experienced in. The ideas, concepts, and behaviors are not something that we encountered when conditioned by society. In fact, much of what we see in the BDSM world is commonly thought of as negative, i.e. meaning we have a poor opinion of it when entering. For example, society views impact play as abusive when we know that, when done properly, it is fulfilling for both parties involved. In this realm, impact play is positive yet our culture views it as negative. This example and many like this tend to cause conflict within a person.
Ultimately, for one to excel in BDSM and have successful interactions, one must be willing to let go. This is a scary concept for most. We are not conditioned to question what we think or believe. Our culture teaches us that "we are right" no matter what the subject is. Of course, the human ego eats this up completely. Yet, sadly, the truth is we are not since most of us were unhappy with how our lives were going. Nevertheless, the need to defend is intense even when, deep down, we do not believe what we are defending.
Getting back to the concept of depth, we also find that society conditioned us in this realm also. We hear a lot of information about depth especially in relationships yet how many of them do we really see. Most people, even in the world of marriage, simply co-exist with their spouse. Their interactions, for the most part, are rather shallow. What society promotes as virtues tend not to develop deep, meaningful interactions. This is where the conflict arises especially when one wants to achieve success in the BDSM world.
It is true most of us have a history of train wrecks when it comes to relationships. The truth is that we would not be in this way of life if our success rate was exceptional in the vanilla world. If it was working, why change. The fact that we went searching for something else was the result of pain caused by continually beating our heads against the wall in a relationship structure that did not fit us. Hence, we enter this realm with a bit of unresolved hurt. This creates a major problem for most.
My experience is that for one to enjoy all that a BDSM relationship has to offer, it is a necessary step for one to let go of all that he/she is attached to. What do I mean by this? Basically, we need to question our entire belief system. I feel the proper approach is that, no matter how old you are, you do not know shit. If you knew anything, why are you here? My conclusion is that we arrive at the door of BDSM lost and confused. This way of life provides clarity and gives us a home. However, we need to be willing to let go of all that we brought with us to really enjoy the fruits of this way of life.
Naturally, this is going to be a process, like peeling an onion. Few are able to rid themselves of old beliefs and hangups instantly. Nevertheless, this is something that we all need to be working towards. We are screwed up people when we get here because we thoroughly absorbed the ideas and beliefs that society taught us. Sadly, my feeling is these ideas were not in our best interest but, rather, the one instilling them. Therefore, we need to let go of all that holds us back which, ironically, is just about everything.
BDSM success means to stop the fight. I cannot tell you the number of times I witnessed the internal struggle that a slave has. There is a battle which pits her core against her mind. From what I wrote here today, you can guess what is present in the mind: societal conditioning. This is where one tries to hold onto the belief system which has failed her for so long. All the hurt, pain, and anger is resident here and the mind uses fear to prevent one from moving forward. Fear is something that every Master encounters within a slave. Getting past this is paramount for BDSM success. The best way to do this is to circumvent the mind, which is going to fight, and go after the core. This is where one makes the connection. It also offers the greatest chance of success since the core will often override what the mind is telling one, if allowed. But remember, there is a fight going on which often you will not be able to do much about. It is often necessary to stand back and let the battle take place. Ultimately, she will decide which side is the victor. Those who leave BDSM tend to listen to the mind while those who remain are in touch with what resides in the core.
So in conclusion, to really enjoy depth, one must be willing to let it all go. Over the years, our minds get filled with all kinds of ideas which tend not to serve us. Much of this is instilled in us by society. However, a lot of it is conclusions based upon our own experiences. The problem with the later is that often our perspective skews what really took place. Ultimately, all fear boils down to the belief that "I am not enough" which means I cannot handle what might take place. It is imperative to know that your core is pure; it is always correct; it knows what is best. Sadly, we, as a society, are not taught to listen to this part of ourselves. Therefore, we fight it continually until we either give up or get so stubborn that we simply do what the mind tells us regardless.
Ultimately, it is a choice that one needs to make.
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