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Why Seek Painful Experiences?


So maybe you are saying to yourself, "I hate pain, I can't imagine why anyone would seek it deliberately".
    Unless you're a   weight lifter. No pain, no gain. Go for the burn!
   maybe you're getting one of those really   deep tissue massages.
    Oh, they hurt so good, don't they?
    maybe you're a   long distance runner. You run and run, into your "second wind".
   It hurts, but you feel so good afterwards, don't you?

Breaking the Wall. The Endorphin Glow.

All kinds of physical sensations can provoke endorphin release, pain to pleasure to scratching or tickling, heat and cold, prolonged immobility like a cramped airline seat will do it. (bondage)

A little sensation produces a little endorphin, sensations taken to the physical limit of the senses produce a massive dump of endorphin throughout the body that resembles orgasm in some ways, but is more pleasurable.  "Runner's high".

Personally, I like to get there by overloading my pleasure circuits. Tantric Extended Orgasm. It is this same effect that is the basis of the training I do. It is the basis of the BDSM Tantric Mystery School I am manifesting.
    Pain in itself is only sensation and it is our attitudes of resistance to it, and fear, that make it uncomfortable. These attitudes are conditioning and can be released, or simply traded for more fulfilling attitudes. Acceptance and gratitude. Offer it love, instead.
    It was to learn this mystery that my K. drew me into the fetish world, as a part of my evolution...

Many years ago (1990?) as a "vanilla" grrrl I cast a wish/decision/prayer that I had had enough of suffering and henceforth wanted/chose to learn from bliss, instead. At that time I vibrated with the confirmation that my prayer had been heard and looked to see it's manifestation.

Still suffering came, but Goddess answer was to draw me gradually into this strange BDSM world to unrepress my own attitudes and know firsthand that there are those who seek suffering actively, because for them it is bliss, and to learn their secret. My version of "dancing in the cremation grounds"... or is it meditating..??

There are still some kinds of pain that I try to avoid... physical and emotional sensations that I have not yet learned to accept with gratitude... tough to love a migraine, but where once my migraines used to last for three days to a week, now they are seldom and not more than a day. I accept their occasional presence as a part of my Tao... it feels so good when it stops!

The form of the light is defined by the shadows... they need each other to give us all of the colors and textures we perceive. The perfection we do not see because we go out of the moment into conditioned attitudes and judgments. Yet pain is wonderfully focusing, and it is really difficult to not be in the moment with the pain when it is occurring... it demands attention like nothing else. When we are hurting is when we are most likely to surrender and "Run Home to Mother". Blessed be.

Ever get one of those little long handled bamboo or plastic back scratchers?
    Once you start to scratch your back, it feels so amazingly good you won't stop for an hour, till your back is red and tingly and every part of it has had a good scratching.

When you do stop, you will also notice that your mood is considerably elevated, like you've got a buzz on.
    (Do take steps to clean and moisturize your skin after, in case you have gotten carried away and removed skin, we don't want infection.
   Don't share your back scratcher, sharing your skin bits is not a safe activity.)

 Endorphins are what the body uses to block sensations that are intense and cannot be escaped.
    Chemically, they are very similar to opiates and euphoric, such as heroin.
   That is, the chemicals are very similar, heroin plugs into the  endorphin receptors. The feeling of your body being flooded with  endorphin is not necessarily a sexual sensation, but it is  intensely pleasurable nonetheless, and produces a feeling of wellbeing for days, in some people.

Of course being produced by the body's own natural biochemical factory, not only are they legal and safe, (as long as you are not a heart patient) but they're also considered by most folks to be non-addictive.

At least, in as much that any very intensely pleasurable sensation is non-addictive.
    People may consider themselves "addicted" to running or weight lifting or ice cream,
    but we do not really consider that a true addiction.

In fact,  endorphin release is considered healthy, as it promotes the release of all kinds of other hormones and bio chemicals that regulate physical and mental processes.

Mind you, anything taken to extremes can become dangerous.
     Michelle Phillips, in her book, "You'll never eat lunch in this town again", describes kicking her cocaine habit, only to become an  "addicted runner", pounding away on her treadmill all day in her office while she was making calls and such, breaking the wall over and over, till she had no knees left.
    She would have been a lot better off with a 99 cent bag of clothespins.

Many years ago, long before I discovered my BDSM tendencies, I had a plantars wart on my finger that was pissing me off. It was not the first time I had had the wart, and I was profoundly unimpressed with doctors removal techniques.
    I decided to take matters into my own hands. I tuned my steam iron on "high", and did a bit of self hypnosis to disassociate from pain.

Then I pressed the wart against the tip of my iron for as long as I could, watching as from a distance as my body twitched and shivered in reaction like electricity. Going well beyond my normal pain thresholds. Taking my finger off when I really couldn't stand it, but holding an ice cube on the wart till it went numb and then frying it again. Over and over. I kept it up until the wart was a shiny flat scorched looking thing.
    I was very pissed with that wart, and wanted it Gone!!

Freaked my fiance at the time *right* out, but, afterwards, I noticed that I felt like I was in an altered state that was *wonderful*.

Clear headed, relaxed, peaceful, serene as the buddha, my body tingling.

Working on untangling the negative cycle that produced my eczema, I made a few discoveries.
   Thanks to Louise Hay, I realized that "scratching and itching" were criticism internalized. Negative thoughts. Scratching at my self till I bled, uncomfortable being still without being driven mad with itching.
   (I do NOT enjoy being tied up, you can imagine... hellish, not being able to scratch!!)
   Connecting thought patterns to sensations helped, (and taking 9 flax seed oil capsules daily) gradually I was able to become conscious of the links.

Then, when I occasionally did allow myself to scratch, I discovered how extremely pleasurable I found the sensation, and a light bulb went off.

  1. negative self critical thought =>
  2. itching =>
  3. scratching =>
  4. endorphins produce a lift =>
  5. Positive thoughts again.

I know it sounds like a strange idea, but I was hurting myself to feel better!
    Unconsciously using endorphins to shift negative thought patterns.

The other thing that I used to do quite unconsciously several times a day is to wander over to the sink and turn on the hot water tap, washing my hands until the water is very hot and I am shivering with the pleasure/pain of it. I started doing this because, not surprisingly, I have eczema on my hands, and hot water would temporarily soften the hard dry skin and numb the itching, as well as washing off whatever I might be having an allergic reaction to. It opens the pores and allows the moisturizer to sink in better.
   Dries the skin out and makes it itchy tho... so I do it again.

I am not ever a switch, but I am a Dominant Self-Maschocist... I cut my own hair, too... nobody else can do it for me as well as I can... Artistic Snobbery.

Grieving at the death of my beloved slave cymbal, I laced myself into a 22" leather & steel boned corset and wore it for several days. I felt that I needed to give my insides a physical reason to be hurting so much, it made the emotional pain easier for my brain to handle.
    The endorphins and the breathing restriction, as well as the meditative mindfulness of posture that a corset necessitates, transported me to an altered state where grief was easier to bear.

It really makes me wonder how many people there are who are labeled self destructive because they like to stick pins in themselves, or something,...are actually unconsciously seeking to alleviate depression with endorphin? Using pain to keep themselves in balance?

Ever noticed how you feel a little lightheaded after a blood test? Piercing is an invasion of the external envelope, and produces powerful endorphins. There are some reasons besides fashion that piercing has become so popular.
   A nose ring will produce a tickle and an internal nerve sensation with every breath. Ever noticed someone who has a habit of tugging on their earrings while in thought or annoyed?

I scratch my head a lot while I am thinking and writing, not unusual... scalps are very sensitive, a little positive perk makes thinking go better.
   The fifties prescription for PMS was a trip to the hairdresser. Ever had your hair back combed and teased? The tightness of rollers and the heat of the dryer... not to mention the sublime pleasure of a professional shampoo..
   ( I was a hair stylist for several years, too... before I discovered my Domina self... probably one of the more Dominant of the 'service' industries. I was considered a brilliant stylist, but a little bit sadistic... not surprisingly, most of my clients were male.)

 Adrenaline, is a substance produced by the body when the body needs to escape or fight.
   The fear response.
    Both of these chemicals serve a slightly different purpose in the body.

Both of these chemicals serve a slightly different purpose for our needs, as well.
    We want to have a little bit of  adrenaline, we want to have the body awake, and alert. Charged up and ready for anything.
   However, we do not want to profoundly trigger the fight-or-flight response.
    Mentally attempting to escape the sensation or stimulation,
   will not trigger as much of an   endorphin response.

Using intense sensation to experience altered or transcendent mental states is not a new idea.
   The polarity of the Tao.

The early Christians used to flog themselves until they experienced  endorphin ecstasy, they interpreted the sensations as the  Holy Spirit filling them with joy.
    Perhaps it was, I do not judge their experience.

The biochemistry of the brain is barely understood,
    let alone the workings of mind and spirit.
   It is interesting, though, to contemplate what the effects of the "hair shirts" worn as a penance by christian saints, and inquisition torturers must have been like.
   Because they were ritually surrendering to the constant tickling and poking of these horsehair shirts, they must have been constantly flying on endorphins.

Many religions prescribe some form of torture, humiliation, or personal sacrifice as a requirement to become closer to  Goddess/God.
    The  North American Indians were known for their  sundance rituals.
   If the tribe was starving because it could not find the buffalo, one of the Braves would volunteer to offer himself for a ritual that involved the Shaman hanging him from chest piercings.

At some point the pain would cause him to leave his body and go find the herd in the astral, then go back and tell the tribe where they were.
    Very dangerous ritual, one can suffocate from the skin over the ribs becoming too tightly stretched to breathe.

There is a  Modern Primitives fellow who goes by the Name of  Fakir Musafar, who has done the sundance several times, and describes it as a spiritual opening that never closed entirely. He has had 40 years experince travelling the world and participating in primitive rituals. He started on his own, in secret as a teenager.

From an interview with  Fakir Musafar on the web at  Gloria Brame's "Different Loving. (adult only site)

The third way is the body-first way. This is the way of the Shaman and the Fakir. By using some kind of intense sensation in the physical body, you focus all concentration on one particular space in the physical body. After that, you can take the attention and make it go inward [to] explore your inner space. Your attention cannot wander when you're doing something intense. [And] when your attention [is this] focused, it's possible for something to happen. [You may] direct the attention into another sphere of consciousness. Shamanic activity for the most part [is] intent on body focus.

The   Fakirs of India have been a staple of National Geographic for years, with their religious self torture, although National Geographic never shows some of the more bizarre, sexual pain rituals.

Even  Asceticism taken to extremes could be called  masochistic.

Perhaps it's possible that one reason why these games are so intense for us, there is some   genetic memory that takes us back to primitive times, when testing yourself with pain was the surest way to achieve  personal growth.

Author and family counselor  John Bradshaw has a theory that the complete absence of challenging, humiliating and painful Rites of Passage in European/North American society has resulted in population of adults that are emotionally still children.
    As a result, he says, we often create extreme situations in our lives, so that our unconscious can grow up.

I'm not sure that I entirely agree with his theory, but I have seen intense experiences resulting in personal growth, and Kundalini Awakening.
    Building personality by seeking challenging experience is hardly a new idea: primitive people have been doing it for millennia.
    "Outward Bound" is one modern version that comes to mind.

The mystics would say it's  yin and   yang,
    unless we know   pain and understand it,
    we cannot fully know  pleasure.

Like  light and  darkness, the opposites are truly one,
    and they require each other to be fully experienced.

The   endorphin experience is about embracing intense sensations as a gift, a path that when accepted will take the seeker to the place where all becomes    ecstasy.

 Lamaze natural childbirth training is one place to learn how to do this.
    Mother's happy glow is partly an   endorphin buzz.
    Even if you cannot give birth, the breathing and focusing techniques are readily adaptable to  SM play.
   I wonder if there is any research on Lamaze and emotional pain?

Whenever we deliberately undertake internal voyaging with intense experiences,
    pain rituals, role playing and so on, we want to have  experienced guides for our trip: the  Shamans, the Wise Women, Witch Doctors, Witches, the Priestesses and Priests, therapists, Karate Instructors, etc.
    Add the  Safe, Sane, Consensual Dominatrix to your mental list of those who have dedicated their lives to facilitating intense experience in others.

There was at one time, in mental hospitals in England, a therapeutic process for severely emotionally withdrawn patients.
   
The technique was simple.
    The nurses would tie the patient down very tightly,
    and paddle the patients buttocks
    until the patient started to cry from the pain.
    This was considered an effective emotional release.



copyright 2001 Mystress Angelique Serpent.
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