One of the paramitas, which really bridges Buddhism and Kink together smoothly, is a continuous self-conflict for me. Discipline, needed in almost any long-term commitment be it relationships or spirituality, has a general definition that can either be taken one of two ways. During my last training course when there was time for Q&A, I dropped a big one. Discipline was holding me up, something prescribed as not gaining attachment to a set of rules or expectations but that still functions like a bodhisattva warrior in every way. Which lead me to question: What if not having structure or rules makes discipline more difficult and can attachment be given up but have the ability to have rules?
When I raised this question, saying I need rules and structure daily to function because of Aspergers, the room went completely silent. After a few minutes of discussion I was offered a piece of advice: define Discipline for yourself while remembering Buddhist ideals. The path is considered as what will lead the student to discipline, and defined by the individual.
Connection of Old Guard versus New Guard exists here. I have focused on Discipline in my private life for a while. I don’t think one definition of Discipline can be determined by one person, or one book that fits everyone. Even if a person doesn’t have a disability, labeling discipline as one or the other will eventually set in a guilt complex that is commonly found within traditional Catholics. The discipline that I need to tap into for Old Guard servitude is almost spiritual. The routines and protocols, based around rules from the Dominant, creates a smooth flowing connection that ideally leads to a more focused sub. The same could be said for New Guard and in the a Buddhist sense can be applied to the book definition.
However, even though I know the protocols, and where the expectations are, my attachment to the old ways and being a smart-ass masochist has gotten me in trouble more than once. In the spiritual sense, I am still finding attachment in being a former “Cafeteria Catholic” and not being able to focus on losing some long-lasting habits on how I practice and when I practice. To be able to release from attachment will really be a stepping stone. It’s just is a struggle to get to that point.
The key is to focus on the goals of Discipline. Finding the pillow every day, for example, can boggle a Buddhist practitioner down. Diving deeper into the Buddhist practice creates the ability to see past the expectation of doing every smaller practice built during different stages or levels in the journey can lead to a two-hour practice, ignoring the voice of reason that even ten minutes of focused practice a day is more beneficial than a 2 hour practice once a week. Playing an instrument doesn’t happen with only one music lesson a week. There are practice books that are used when not in class, and when engaging in a power exchange if it’s based on rules applied on a daily basis, leaving after cleaning a house does not mean D/s ends.
If I know that not having rules or a structure does not allow me to reach my full potential (isn’t that partly why someone add spirituality into their lives?), I fit it to make sense to me. Following an ideal because a book says so is not going to help find my true self. In my path of spirituality, finding the true self and identifying with my needs is really what I am striving for.
I find it with my tasks and assignments, both from Sir (my Dominant) and from my journey, and I find it living every day on a path that makes sense to me. Some may find it with having less rules, focusing on expectations and the “big picture” without putting definite rules in place. My training sessions have ranged from teachers who diligently light the shrine every session, focusing on the protocol of standing and bowing, to simply acknowledging the shrine, and what it represents to the room, but not feeling a need to practice protocol. It’s almost amused that when even talking to students, and some teachers, everyone’s perception of what protocol is looks like is setting up for a meditation sitting or a class. Protocol can differ even if they come from the same meditation center. Going into a room full of kinksters asking about one set of protocols, like going out for a meal or bedtime rituals, can differ from having rules on how to address the waiter or whether or not sleeping in the same bed is appropriate.