Primal: in Play and Being
What images or ideas are conjured when we say Primal? For some its a visceral experience in the thrill of the chase or conquest, or the elation of speed and breath in running. Its the indulgence of the senses, the sights, smells, tastes, and texture as you eat. Its letting go of the analytical and surrendering to the Now, fully engaged and saturated by the present moment. Its running on instinct to guide you, embracing the animal awareness within. It’s all of it – and more…
Getting in touch with the Primal energy and state of being isn’t difficult, but actively balancing this kind of energy with a rational mind and still hold on to the primal feeling it can be a challenge. Understanding how and when to use it to your advantage, and still be able to steer it without succumbing to reckless and risky impulses, is no easy feat. For many, the experience is both wonderfully and terrifyingly powerful. The benefit to developing and using your primitive side is adding yet another way to connect with another and yourself. You gain a better sense of what drives you, what a partner may crave or dislike, a deeper appreciation for being within the moment, and a smoother and more organic ability to respond naturally to changing circumstances.
Our neurological system has developed over eons, and modern humankind has only been around for a fraction of that time. We carry with us the ability, if not the habits, that exist to ensure the survival of the species – yet complicated by social and technological development. Primal energy in play and as a state of being seeks to reacquaint these capabilities, opening the dialog to a focused state in the Now. Example: slow exhales calm us, reducing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure; while rapid breathing and rapid eye movements build anxiety and stress responses. These are part of the human condition as mammals. As individuals, we typically possess very basic responses to situations and stimulus, all a part of the neurological programming that reduces to 5 basic impulses – Fight, Freeze, Flee, Feed, and Fuck.
Thought we possess drives, and these drives are often very powerful and primal in nature, they are experienced and then filtered through the rationalizing mind. We place upon these experiences and drives the context of societal constraints in order to survive and prosper collectively. If we act solely on our impulse, we risk being cast out of our clan, pack, tribe, or village. Even in modern society, we expand our circles and then narrow them down into shapes and forms of individualized definition. We customize our definition of family and community, often back into smaller units of packs and villages. Acting just on impulse therefore, is a risky proposition. We have learned that there’s a time and a place for everything, balanced with observing cultural taboos and interpersonal consequences. We evaluate and balance the risks to our relationships, which have bearing on our long-term survival. However, over time, the expectations of the greater society can create too much separation or dissonance from the reality of the personal experience. Even worse, we learn to deny that these impulses even exist, and silence our instinct and awareness – eventually becoming victims to drives and actions which mystify us.
One way to help demystify our own behavior is to renew dialog with our primal drives through engaging experiences viscerally. Until you hear the voice of instinct or impulse, you cannot manage or understand a huge part of yourself. For those new to this, it takes focused exercises to engage, experience, and evaluate the messages from the primal side. Because each of us varies in how we process input from our experiences, the way we train our awareness differs. However, the majority of this mode of processing falls into only a few categories. As such, it’s best to start with your strongest natural tendencies (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, movement) and learn to shut down any distraction from that experience.
Engaging the visceral experience requires attenuating yourself to the basic reality of body and mind without judgment or analysis – and learning the internal dialog of primal being. Practice is required to listen to the senses, leave judgment and analysis behind, and indulge slowly and wholly. In many ways, the practice of training Mindfulness is no different. By putting the focus on the Now, and silencing the analytical mind, we learn how to experience fully and listen completely. However, one cannot remain in this state, so we practice “switching on” the now and then turning it back off again. Learning to pace and modulate these states allows us to select how to appreciate experiences, and how to engage with another through these experiences. The practice requires the trick of not projecting – not allowing the mind to overly Plan or Anticipate, but to Respond within parameters we “set & forget”.
Instinct & Improvisation
A message we get from deep within ourselves, our gut feeling, is Instinct. Often the signals from our instinct is quiet, stifled, and non-language oriented. Occasionally it shouts, roars, and screams – especially when something is very wrong. One’s instinct provides a wealth of information about things the cognitive and often rationalizing mind is missing or ignoring. Practicing kinesthetic dialog with emotions and sensations is a good way to develop a greater rapport with your instinct. Once we hear the messages more clearly, and understand them, we can let go of the tendency to plan and anticipate. Instead, we experience reality as it unfolds, and respond dynamically with guidance from our instinctual selves. This is where the ability to improvise naturally and fluidly begins. Of course, in the world of BDSM, one needs to have already agreed to the range of activities which may be acceptable as well as that which is off limits. Never assume that because you intend to do some improvising that consent and guidelines for activity isn’t necessary. Consent is always necessary.
I’ve touched on some very basic but key themes regarding primal energy for play and as a state of being. Like anything, the more time you invest in developing these skills and abilities, the easier and more enjoyable it becomes. While some may be more natural at it, all have the potential to get in touch and enjoy their primitive side. Likewise, someone with a natural talent can always benefit from focused practice and deepening their appreciation of the primal state, especially if you are looking to mitigate the risks when you “lose yourself” when primal. If you want an in-depth understanding in developing your Primal side, and how to use the primal experience more effectively in your scenes, I invite you to join one of my workshops or presentations. You won’t be disappointed.
Copyright 2015 – Limits Unleashed, LLC