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Suspension After-Thoughts

On January 26, 2001 I experienced my first flesh suspension, a four-hook suicide suspension. At the time and for months afterwards I felt it was the most spiritual ritual I could have ever undergone. I declared that, "I can't explain how my suspension has made me feel because there are no words in the written language that could ever suffice. I can, however, say that I've never experienced anything like it and offer a small equation to explain how I got to where I felt: LIFE = PAIN = TRUTH = CLARITY = PEACE" I felt like a dramatically changed person afterwards, like many the other people who experience suspensions seem to similarly feel. My world was "changed forever" and I was imbued with a new-found sense of strength. Because of this, I can't deny that my suspension wasn't mind-altering. It had—and very obviously—done just that.

But, since "recovering" from my suspesion and despite my original enthusiasm for the event, I've had ample time to think and re-think about exactly what this ordeal meant to me then and means to me now and my perspective has changed quite a bit. Other suspension experiences I've read and others I've spoken to all seem to share the same general feeling of rapture but I no longer do. I felt obliged to share how I now feel with You, to add to the wealth of knowledge BME has to offer by submitting another (and maybe different?) view on suspension experiences.

I have difficulty putting into words how I feel about my suspension now so please bear with me.

When I decided to perform the suspension, I had certain expectations and a very distinct view of what it would do for me, both spiritually and physically. I think that created a biased view for me, therefore I didn't go into the experience with an open mind, I went into it already knowing that it would fulfill this, that, and the other thing.

Did this mentality prevent me from truely experiencing the suspension for what it really is? I'm still unsure. But, some months afterwards, I considered that the suspension might not have been spiritual at all. I can tell you for at fact that now, over a year later, I don't feel changed by the suspension at all. It was something I did, temporarily mind-altering, and its become forgettable. Even the scars on my back from where the hooks were inserted are only faint memories of what I experienced. (If I were to offer any advice to a potential suspension 'candidate' I would suggest that they expect nothing and approach with an open mind.)

So that about covers the spiritual aspects of my suspension, but what about the physical? Hanging from hooks, that's quite a sight the first few times (although it becomes somewhat common-place after you've seen it twenty or thirty times) and there's no denying that. I think that since it's such a shocking(?) sight we don't consider that the human body isn't frail. It was made to withstand a very diverse amount of stimuli and, given that the gauge and placement of the hooks is made so that your weight is equally distributed, its very unlikely that your skin will just rip off your back.

I used to claim that body and ritual modification aided me in pushing the physical and mental limits of my body but how can I really feel as though the suspension fulfilled its role if my body was simply performing the way it's supposed to? What boundaries have I pushed? If you compare something like yoga which undeniably changes the body physically (and, arguably, mentally, as well) to my suspension—well, there's just no comparison. Something like yoga causes your body to, through methodic and time-consuming practice, change the way it performs and/or feels. At least for me, the effects of my suspension were so fleeting that it would hardly qualify as physically or spiritually altering me in any way.

Honestly, though, I'm not sure if I've convinced myself into believing this by reconsidering the issue so many times or if I truely believe this. Additionally, how much can a person really judge if they've only experienced something once? While I can compare my suspension to other non-suspension experiences, I can't compare my suspension to any other because I've only done one.

I thank you for reading this and, if you've got any questions or comments about my "theory," please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear thoughts on this by other people who've suspended. Also, I am in no way trying to disprove or devalue the experiences and accounts of other people who have performed suspensions. These are simply some of my thoughts on my own experience.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 05 April 2002
in Ritual

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