I bought a Kindle for my brother for Christmas and I’ve been collecting some ebooks up for him. He has a particular genre of book he likes to read. You might know what I mean if I mention authors like Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Rhonda Byrne and Stephen Covey.
At the risk of grossly over-generalising, in the Western thinking happiness is acquired by attaining all the things we want. In Eastern thinking, happiness is acquired by letting go of our need to have anything at all and finding joy in the act of being.
The big thing us Buddhists talk about when we get together to gossip is attachment, and how you’ve got to let it go and just enjoy right now. Really. We nudge each other and say “man, you’ve got to let that shit go!” We really know how to party.
HOLDING CONFLICT IN THE PALM OF YOUR GLOVED HAND
Identifying under the BDSM or kink umbrella brings a certain amount of cognitive dissonance for even the most enlightened kinkster. We flirt with what seems to be paradoxes all the time. Maybe you’re an adult who enjoys being a little at home? A business manager by day and a sissy maid at night?
I can think of a couple that apply to me, personally. I think of myself as a caring and compassionate man who cares deeply about my partners and my community, but I love torturing my slaveboy in ways that we consent to but the population in general would not understand (or would see as abuse). And we indulge in some Daddy/son/little-boy play that would be totally off the social approval charts.
Polyamory has been a particular process of adjustment and letting go of cultural expectations for me. I’ve had to work through the dissonance between what I feel is right and good and rewarding for me and what I imagine are the attitudes of the people around me.
On a day-to-day basis the ambiguity or inconsistency in these things don’t bother me. I accept these things as being part of the complexity of who I am and I’m very much at peace with myself.
ACCEPTING THAT THERE IS NO BALANCE
But, I certainly understand it when anyone tells me that they have moments where they wrestle with their own dissonance. Perhaps you’re heading back to your family home for Christmas, or something is making you examine yourself in light of your faith, or political ideals, or social norms. Much of what we do would be shameful, embarrassing and often downright criminal, if it weren’t for the fact that we personally deem it acceptable and find consent and mutual shared enjoyment in it. It’s why many of us keep our kinks private.
These times when you feel the tension from questioning yourself take away your happiness. There’s never going to be a perfect balance. You’re never going to be able to resolve this dissonance and still live life being true to yourself. To find happiness you’ll need to be content with what is, without all the “shoulds” and “oughts”.
I know I’m a pervert who likes to go into some deep dark places with my partners, and you know what? I’m good with that. And being good with that is my path to happiness.