By Mako Allen
I’ve got some bad news for you: you’re not special. There’s good news though too. Neither is anybody else. We are all one in the Tao. This is a very tough lesson for kinky people, because it’s a very tough lesson for anybody. It’s an important lesson too, because if you don’t understand it, you deprive yourself of a phenomenal power. Lao-tzu had some very blunt advice about how to avoid this trap: shut up.
The Tao doesn’t take sides;
it gives birth to both good and evil.
The Master doesn’t take sides;
she welcomes both saints and sinners.
The Tao is like a bellows:
it is empty yet infinitely capable.
The more you use it, the more it produces;
the more you talk of it, the less you understand.
Hold on to the center.
Kinky people sure do love our binary identities. We categorize people as tops or bottoms, being “lifestyle” or “bedroom” players, edge players or mainstream, Old Guard or modern, SSC or RACK, even kinky or vanilla.
The problem with these sorts of categorizations is that they’re filled with judgment. This judgment can range from incredulity at something someone does, to outright intolerance. You might hear “Spanking is just fine, but making someone bleed is crazy!” or maybe “Nonsexual spankers are just a bunch of repressed people.”
That sort of intolerance is really ugly. It’s also often based on prejudices, uninformed opinions, and downright fear. But those are the least of why you should avoid it. Intolerant statements are both a sign of and a precursor to one-dimensional thinking. It’s exactly that sort of thinking that disconnects one from the Tao.
Let’s use spanking as an example. Ever since I hit puberty, spanking has been a sexually charged subject for me. Just hearing someone say the word was enough to make me hard. I used to scoff at the idea that, in a kink context, a spanking could be non-sexual, or that any attempt to spank someone non-sexually was legitimate.
But I was wrong. Over the years I’ve met loads of non-sexual spankers, and participated in that sort of play with them. I’ve both spanked and been spanked in sexual and non-sexual contexts. In fact, I’ve even experienced them as a mix, where the person I was spanking wasn’t turned on by it, but I was. When I let go of my judgments about non-sexual spanking I became fully able to experience it for myself.
I had this one particular friend of mine recently ask me for a spanking, just because she had a lot of emotional stress and tension brewing, and needed one. I took down her pants, and put her over my knee, and began spanking away.
I was all ready to be turned on, but that turned out to be a very mild part of the experience. Instead, I felt a warm bond of connection and comfort between us. When it was over, I hugged her, and patted her bottom, and felt close to her.
Just days ago, I was up late and having trouble sleeping, and I asked my wife to spank me, because I felt like I needed one, so I could get to sleep. She gave me a very firm, but almost chaste spanking over my underpants, and afterward I drifted off to sleep on a sore, warm bottom.
I fully experienced these things because I wasn’t caught up in judging them as good or bad. Instead of being filled with judgments, I was empty, able to breathe in all of those experiences.
Lao-tzu’s image of the bellows is just right for expressing this connection to Tao’s power. A bellows starts out empty, and then fills with the air around it. When you stretch it full, and then press it over a small fire, it ignites it. From nothingness comes vast energy.
Embracing nothingness is how we fill our own bellows, mentally speaking.
Damning others for their differences from us is the very opposite of embracing nothingness. When we damn some other group or person for having an odd fetish, being religious, having different political views, or even being vanilla we’re just stuffing ourselves with mental chaff.
Don’t mistake me; I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have religious, political, or sexual views of our own. But getting stuck inside them we lose perspective.
“This is how that person should be!” we think, and we lose sight of who they actually are. There may be more to them than we’re ready to see.
Conversely, instead of worrying about how they should be, we might learn from them by avoiding their mistakes.
This same sort of intolerance applies to how you think of yourself. If you think you’re never going to be cool enough to top someone, you’re right. Why not shut the hell up and give yourself a chance to become the dominant you’ve always wanted to be?
It’s not just negativity that’s an issue either. When we congratulate ourselves for being special, or put someone up on a pedestal for some one thing, we’re shortchanging ourselves. We’ve stopped living the reality around us, and have placed ourselves apart from the world that actually is.
Words, ultimately, are meaningless. They actually get in the way of experience. You can talk about spanking until you’re blue in the face, but you don’t actually know how it feels to spank someone, or be spanked by someone, until you do it.
I remember when I was first getting started in the kink community. I’d hear about or see some fetish activity that looked so scary, and think I could never be interested in it, or that it was beyond my capabilities, tolerances, or tastes. Without fail, a short time later, I was usually doing that activity on a regular basis. That sort of growth is power.
Lao-tzu said this famously, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”