WHAT IS SPONTANEITY?
John Ruskin wrote, "Spiritual power begins by directing animal power to other than egotistic ends." What does that mean? What is the connection with slavery? What is the purpose? What does it feel like? Why bother?
Many times in SM play men or women will experience an animal. That is one of the rewards of letting go into the scene. The animal often feels playful and we indulge ourselves with it. It might be one of the strongest attractions to the SM "play" that is practiced for recreation.
When a man is being developed toward his slavery, he is being processed to empower his destiny. There are many development steps needed to take us from childhood to a moment in life in which we are willing to permanently accept the path our Creator made for us, the moment of conscious acceptance of destiny.
There can be confusion about whether or not we are getting closer to that moment, or going the opposite direction by doing the wrong things. Most of us have a fear of investing effort into anything which might not have a payoff, which might not yield the results for which we expend our energies. An Italian philosopher once explained that we could tell whether we are getting closer or further away from developing who we are by assessing if we feel more happy, or less, as we go down the path.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine when we are getting more happy or less. Many of the lessons and experiences that we have had, feel very negative at the time, even when they are precisely what needed to be presented into our lives.
We might not be clear about whether or not we are becoming more or less happy because there is still too much other "stuff" in our life to know our feelings. If there is anything we are hiding or afraid of, we protect ourselves by not letting ourselves feel the things which cause us trouble or discomfort. We either feel everything emotional or we don't feel anything. We don't have a watch dog kind of system that can monitor for the acceptability of a feeling, and only let in those that we want to have, while rejecting the unwanted feelings.
When we see someone who is spontaneous, most of us look upon that person with either envy or admiration. Seeing spontaneity tells us that the person feels nothing that needs to be hidden, can act without thinking, and isn't afraid of his deepest and most intimate intentions. These are envious attributes that attract us to such people. If we are still judging those who are exhibiting spontaneity, then we are even further behind in our development.
One of the purposes of slave development is to uncover all the things that we try to hide, to find the animal inside that knows already how to act in every circumstance, and who knows that it is incapable of any negative intention. Several are willing to let themselves "be animal" when it is in a very safe and controlled environment, for a self-controlled amount of time. Few are willing to let an animal rule our lives when we're in public, making the important decisions in ours or others' lives, or when we're out where we can be observed and potentially criticized.
Personal freedom comes with spiritual development. When the spirit is experienced as the animal inside, and it is controlled by another in a way that the animal can feel safe, that spirit matures and can be trusted to be who we are. The real secret of spontaneity is knowing that the animal inside is very wise, has our best interest at heart, has immense wisdom, cannot want to hurt or harm anything or anyone, and is who we really are. That's the secret John Ruskin is trying to tell us.
Knowing the secret doesn't produce the result, or make any changes in our lives. What stands between us being who our spirit is, and who we are now, is who we want to be.
Our ego defines for us who we want to be. It has decided the kind of person that we should be from an accumulation of expectations and training, education and financial reward, social class of our family and hundreds of other influences. The ego probably has selected for us to be someone who others can instantly admire, someone who can impress others usually just by their knowing our profession or title, someone who will please those we care about, and someone who is thought incapable of making mistakes. We probably pick being someone who belongs to a popular religion and a popular political party.
We put a terrible burden on ourselves when we define who it is we want to be. The truth is we have no control over who we are. Giving in to the animal inside feels like we are selling out, and losing all rights to be who we want to be. Who wants to be an animal?
Some might answer that they do want to be an animal, while what they mean is that they want to be an animal only in controlled, non-visible circumstances where nothing is at stake. The truth is we do want to be an animal because we know how good it feels, but we don't want that to produce any limitations or restrictions on our egotistically defined life. We want to experience the animal like having the perfect recreational drug that we can consume when we're in the mood, enjoy without any side effects but, most importantly, doesn't have any control over our life. Feeling the animal is often perceived as being wonderful recreation, inexpensive, and very risk free.
The real answer that most of us give, though, is that we don't want to be an animal. We have been trained by our culture that it is better to be domesticated and refined than wild and animal-like. There is this class feeling that if we don't control ourselves we can't appear sophisticated, and won't be respected. Being "animal" is a feeling of being lesser, a loser, someone who is raw or primal, even barbaric. "That's no reward for years of education, a good family name, standing in the society, owning a name-respected car, and living in a better neighborhood!", we tell ourselves.
All of these are prejudicial feelings about ourselves that create an emotional prison from which spontaneity can never spring itself. The animal wants to be who it is and to guide and direct our lives. The cost of every prejudice and every judgment we make about others is that it forms the bars and lock to our own emotional jail cell. What we habitually practice with our thoughts becomes the attitudes that are imposed on us.
Given the chance, the animal will love when it should love, support when it should give support, help when help is needed, and know what to do in every circumstance. We don't want to give power to the animal, however, because it refuses to give us understanding about why it does what it does. Most of us would rather know why everything happens than to be spontaneous. We feel we have a right to know. We're not going to take orders from a barbaric animal that will not explain anything about its motivation, where it gets it insight, what criteria it uses for determining its course of action, nor explain the morality, ethics or laws by which it operates. We refuse to be subjected. In that refusal we reject being spontaneous and being who we are. It has been said, "Understanding is the booby prize of life." Yet, we fight and struggle to have understanding.
When the animal through which we come to know spirituality is made alive by its Owner, it will act when it feels like acting, and will act when no one could have known that what it did needed to be done. Our life isn't about understanding the reasons for why we do what we do, it is about doing what should be done so that the resulting influence is created. We are not responsible for the results of our actions. We are responsible for producing our actions in honesty and integrity. That is the same as saying we are responsible for acting out of obedience. Obedience is the only unselfish, non-egotistic motivation we have. Everything else is either egotistic or doesn't result in action. Destiny isn't about what we know, it is about what we do.
It isn't even our task in life to get feedback on the benefit of what we do. The real benefits might not appear for several generations. They may only implement change after we have spiritually abandoned our bodies. There isn't time nor wisdom in this world to follow the ripple effect of any honest, animal action. Destiny is simply about having moral certainty in every action we produce.
The problem with rules, whether church rules, political rules, legal rules, family rules, tribal rules, and any rules which don't specifically enforce who we are and provide a framework for spontaneity, are rules which destroy spontaneity. It takes a lot of faith and trust to know that what the animal spirit wants to do will always be the right thing, that it will conform with the precepts of personal integrity, and spiritual rightness. Our egos keep asking, "What if it doesn't?"
When we "Let go and let God", when we free ourselves to work for the Creator, we give up the right to tweak or adjust what we do. We do what we must do. When we act in integrity, which means honestly, we automatically do the right thing. If it isn't what others approve of, then it is our place in life, our function and our assignment to do what others don't approve of. That's what change and progress is all about. That's why we have a destiny. That's why we were created.
There is a terrible misconception about slavery that it is intended to force a man to serve without making any ripples. The truth is that slavery is about serving so that everything you do produces ripples, including every thought. Slavery isn't about becoming invisible and ineffective. Slavery is about becoming recognized, uncontrollable, spontaneous, and right.
We are challenged by the ego when it declares it wants to stay in control. What if the animal does what the ego doesn't approve of? What if the animal creates a situation that you have to take care of? The ego constantly fights by producing doubts of overwhelming and substantial fear.
The faith is that when we act in integrity, the truth of our action is protected by the Creator for which we are taking the action. If our faith isn't really that strong, then the ego can convince us it is dangerous to let the animal do what might require our personal and egotistic attention. Without adequate faith it feels like the animal is creating debts that we will egotistically have to later pay, but can't.
Most of us don't have the level of faith required to be spontaneous and accept our destiny. For most, faith is about what others should do, and the rules by which they should do it. Real faith includes a belief in the beauty and goodness inside that is so complete that we are protected from doing that which is morally wrong, and protected from the results of doing what is right. Faith simultaneously frees us from the consequences of actions and forces our actions to be perfect.
The leap of faith is the same leap as the leap into spontaneity. Anything and everything that interferes with finding and exhibiting spontaneity interferes with our being who we really are and what we should be doing. There is no way out. There are no alternatives.
The hope of continuing to believe and act by the rules which now direct our lives, and doing the things we should be doing is a wasted hope. The beauty of living in this country is that it is founded on not making civil laws which direct moral acts. The separation of Church and State is a beauty which allows us to live consistently with our own morality. To the extent that personal morality becomes legislated, we are outlawing living our destiny.
There is a huge and morally fatal misunderstanding that when we feel morality, that it applies to everyone. That cannot be the case. Morality is a personal issue between each individual and his Creator. Many of us are scared away from accepting that what our animal feels is right or wrong because we fear the "right and wrongness" would have to apply to everyone. It cannot, will not, and should not apply to anyone but ourselves. The spirit animal doesn't know what's right for your family, friends or neighbors. The spirit animal, alone, knows what's right for you.
The purpose of having common moral laws is to give a frame of reference and understanding necessary to accept letting go of our very limited egotistic purpose and free us to live where only our obedience is present. Without the ability to put into context the vast volume of experience that prepares us for our unique path, we cannot withstand nor accept the barrage of input. Common moral laws, like those taught by formalized religions, provide the rebar and bridges necessary to cross over into our destiny. Religion isn't an alternative to our development. Religion is a step in our development.
That which makes us spontaneous, makes us perfect. That which interferes with adequate faith to feel spontaneous interferes with accepting our unique path. That which is a fear of being spontaneous is a fear of being who we are. Spontaneity is the same goal as integrity.
The passive aggressive process of remaining without action until an explicit order forces every movement is not obedience. Obedience is holding the order as your only will, and letting everything you are accomplish the objective of the order, spontaneously.