Go within, or go without

 Posted by on August 22, 2011
Aug 222011

By Mako Allen

There’s this problem with being kinky: it can slowly drive you insane. The kink itself, that’s not really the problem. It’s the chase for it. Lao-tzu knew all about it.

Verse 12

Colors blind the eye.

Sounds deafen the ear.

Flavors numb the taste.

Thoughts weaken the mind.

Desires wither the heart.

The Master observes the world

but trusts his inner vision.

He allows things to come and go.

His heart is open as the sky.

The scene is filled with all sorts of sensual and intellectual delights. A night at your average play space is filled with exotically dressed people, doing arousing things to one another. It’s a nonstop barrage of sights, sounds, scents, tastes, and ideas. Your mind fairly sizzles with the possibility of it all.

Along the way, we get swept up in a particular kind of longing. First, perhaps we identify with a particular role, like being dominant or submissive. Then we seek perfection in that role. People do this in a variety of ways: by attempting to follow a complex protocol for behavior, by seeking out a mentor, or by trying to emulate someone well known.

But there’s a hard truth to understand about this chase for perfection. It’s a lie.

Actually, it’s two lies. First, that there’s this mythical plateau of perfection. Second, that there’s a proscribed way in which to get there.

Sometimes you’ll hear people refer to this first lie as the phenomena of the One True Way, or how to be a Real Dominant or True Submissive. It’s something you hear intolerant, judgmental folks use seriously, and new folks often use without knowing any better.

It’s an insulting idea – because it implies that we’re all cookie-cutter people, cut from the same cloth. Does liking being spanked make you a True Submissive? What if your only desire for domination is to polish someone’s boots, alone, in a room by yourself? Can you still even be called a submissive?

Of course you can. People who question this, they’ve lost their way. They’re letting their thoughts weaken their mind.

Why do people do this? They do it because of the second lie, the one about desire. The desire is the need for someone else to validate who and what you are, or wish to be.

Here are some classic examples of this desire-based thinking:

“If only I do as Master Dominator says, then he’ll see I’m tough enough to be taken seriously.”

“If I act very macho and misogynistic, I’ll come across as a virile, masculine dominant.”

“Everyone else is dressing that way, I need to wear those clothes so people know I’m real too.”

None of these things are true. But, even if they were, they all still suffer from the same common problem: they’re appetites, based on other people’s opinion of you. It’s a bit like eating a meal. You can have absolutely the greatest sushi dinner ever, followed by a heaping slice of key lime pie. You get so full that you think you’ll never need to eat again.

That is, until you’re hungry again, of course.

After Master Dominator tells you what a great True Submissive you are, you’re still going to have the desire to be validated. People won’t line up to lovingly adore the approval stamp he put on your kink license. Because there is no such thing, thank goodness.

Nor are you like some food to be prepared. You’re never “done.” There’s no speech, act, toy, or scene that will forever satiate your desires. Spankings, unfortunately, are kind of like donuts. After you have one, you’re going to want more.

However, this is not entirely bad news. Lao-tzu knew an important truth about us. We live in this world, but we’re not entirely of it. Deep inside, there’s more to us than the illusions we chase.

Ever wake up, the morning after a night of play, look back on it fondly, and then drag your sore body into the kitchen to make breakfast? I know for me, I enjoy the memory of play as much as the play itself. That next day, as I go about my business, I treasure the little moments of soreness, the remembered pleasures, and the contrast between them and the things I’m doing at the moment. I feel a sense of contentment at being a whole, full person, with a balanced life.

Lao-tzu has a big secret to tell about that contentment. He knows the right places and situations in which to feel it. He knows when it’s appropriate to listen for it. The place is here. The time is now.