a Cheap Holiday

Cheap Holiday

Welcome to a cheap holiday in my life. At least you get to go home at the end of the day!

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Due to recent personal circumstances, I've had cause to muse on the connection between my interest in BDSM/bondage play and Zen Buddhism and meditation. Please, don't look at me that way, it's not as disconnected as it might appear on the surface.

You see, I have what is now technically referred to by the psychoanalytical industry as a rumination problem. Rumination basically gets its name from the ruminant process in bovines. Due to their gastric physiology, cows and their family members must regularly regurgitate, rechew, and reswallow what they eat. As a psychoanalytical concept, rumination means that someone--and apparently this behavior is more common in women than in men, so by "someone," I'm pretty much pointing at myself here--is mentally re-chewing past or current or even possible future events or circumstances or feelings beyond the point of it being useful or meaningful.

Yeaaaahhh.....that would be me.

Buddhist meditation seeks to quiet that internal dialogue we have with ourselves, a behavior that Buddhists view as being inherent to being human and having a more evolved brain and psyche and conciousness. By silencing that internal dialogue as much as we can, we provide ourselves the space to simply experience life as it is happening, rather than creating a mental play-by-play of it that is not fully truthful.

My difficulty is that I've not been practicing my meditation of late. And that's my shortcoming. I need to quit writing or talking about it and just get to it.

However, I do feel some parallels between my recent BDSM/bondage play and my desire to control my rumination behavior. The actual activities of play simply require that I give my attention to who is leading the play--the "dom," the "top," whatever title you care to use--and respond to it genuinely. This is not entirely dissimilar to zazen meditation, where one simply seeks to sit and experience each moment as it occurs. In zazen, one does not completely close one's eyes--the point of meditation is not to remove oneself from the world, but rather to eliminate all pretense one might have about the world and experience it genuinely.

So, ergo, do I view being spanked and whipped as being a meditative state? Well, sometimes, yes. There are also numerous physiological factors at work in that circumstance, such as adrenalin, endorphins, and mind-fuckery that are the hallmarks of "ecstatic states" that have been the toolkit of shamans for thousands of years. But there is a moment, in the midst of the pain and the struggle and the mind-fuckery, where everything that is trivial and quotidian and superficial to my existence simply....falls away. And it is not unlike what has happened to me during meditation.

All that either circumstance, whether it is zazen or being a bottom to someone's singletail, asks of me is to be genuine and present. And in those moments, as odd as it may sound, I do find a state of grace.


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