This was too wonderful of an article not to share - reposted from Control to Compassion (Copyright © Skip Chasey 2004. All rights reserved.)
WHAT IS A SERVANT MASTER? A Servant Master is not a service top! It is an archetypal role to which some leathermen and leatherwomen are called and, in that way, it is very similar to a religious or spiritual vocation. Archetypes are predefined patterns of behavior that one is born with; impersonal energies of psycho-spiritual influence universal in their meaning (i.e. a collective consciousness).
“Servant Master” is merely one of literally hundreds of archetypes. Each of us is influenced by a specific number of different archetypal energies running through our psyche.The archetype of the Servant Master can be seen throughout history and in every culture (e.g., the Buddhist or Hindu bodhisattva). In our contemporary culture the archetype of the Servant Master has evolved into the Servant Leader--Martin Luther King, Jr. is a good example. The difference between the two archetypes is the degree of authority given and assumed.
Servant Masters are not deficient in their dominance and are most certainly not weak or wimpy—quite the contrary. There are, however, some distinctive differences between Servant Masters and other Dominants who do not possess this archetype. The first, and most important, difference is that Servant Masters place the well-being of their slaves ahead of their own, and personal gain is not the driving force behind their mastery.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SERVANT MASTERS
The characteristics of Servant Masters are most readily apparent in five key areas: Awareness & Spiritual Consciousness; Empathy & Acceptance; Power & Authority; Healing; and Growth & Stewardship. Arguably, all ethical Dominants possessing these characteristics are in fact Servant Masters, no matter what role or title they claim.Awareness & Spiritual ConsciousnessServant Masters have a well developed spiritual consciousness. Because of that they have a keen awareness of what is occurring in the inner world of their slaves. They hear things, see things and know things that others miss or ignore.
Servant Masters are rarely fooled by appearances and their intuitive insight is exceptional.A Master cannot elicit a slave’s trust unless the slave has confidence in the Master’s values and moral competence (including the Master’s judgment) and unless the Master has a sustaining spirit that will support the Master in his tenacious pursuit of mastering the slave. The Master must have a palpable “entheos,” a Greek word meaning “god within.” Because Servant Masters answer to a higher spiritual authority they are profoundly trustworthy.
Empathy & Acceptance Acceptance means to receive what is offered, with approbation, satisfaction or acquiescence; empathy is the imaginative projection of one’s own consciousness into another being. The opposite of both empathy and acceptance is rejection. Servant Masters have a highly developed ability to walk in the shoes of their slaves. They understand and appreciate their slaves’ circumstances and problems.
A Servant Master never rejects a slave but sometimes refuses to accept the slave’s service or performance when it’s less than the slave’s best effort. slaves grow confident in their slavery when their Masters empathize with them and when they are accepted for who they are, even though their service or performance may be judged critically in terms of what they are capable of doing.A Servant Master’s interest in and affection for her slaves is not something the slave must deserve or earn. Servant Masters may have gruff, demanding and uncompromising exteriors, but the love they have for their slaves is unconditional.Full acceptance of a slave requires a tolerance of imperfection from the Master.
Any Dominant can “master” perfect slaves. But there aren’t any perfect slaves or, for that matter, any perfect Masters. It is part of the beautiful mystery of human nature that even the most immature, inept or lazy person is capable of greatness if wisely led. Many otherwise capable Dominants are disqualified as Servant Masters because they cannot handle less-than-perfect slaves.
Power & AuthorityThere are many different types of personal power. There is the power of persuasion, for example, and there is also coercive power that is used to dominate and manipulate people. Persuasion elevates the dignity and self-esteem of the one at whom such power is directed, while coercion forces the individual into a predetermined path that leaves little room for their own inner guidance and growth.Coercive power can be overt and brutal or covert and subtly manipulative. The former is open and acknowledged; the latter is insidious and difficult to detect. However in either case it only strengthens resistance. And even if it is successful in controlling behavior the effect it creates lasts only as long as the force is strong.
The power of persuasion, on the other hand, has a lasting effect that continues long after the situation for which it was utilized has past.Servant Masters are naturally very persuasive. The Servant Master says “are you willing?” while knowing that the path he and his slaves are walking is uncertain. Fortunately, one of the hallmarks of Servant Masters is that they are better than most at determining the best direction in which to proceed.
Servant Masters know that the Spirit—not knowledge or physical skill—is true power. They know that they have no power of their own and that they cannot create power. At best they are simply conduits of power and, as such, must remain connected to the Source of that power in order to exercise power and authority over their slaves, which they do through the development of devotion and not through force or coercion.HealingServant Masters have a remarkable appreciation for the emotional and spiritual health of others. They are good at facilitating the healing process and others often turn to them when such a need arises.
The ability to create an environment that encourages emotional and spiritual healing is critical for those called to be Servant Masters.Servant Masters have a conscious awareness that in facilitating the healing of their slaves they themselves are healed. Although that is something that is seldom (if at all) acknowledged by most Masters, it is one of the reasons a Master engages in a relationship with his slave(s).“Healing” means to make whole and a profound affirmation is subtly communicated to a slave when implicit in the contract with his Master (written or otherwise) is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something that they share.
Growth & Stewardship Servant Masters look to facilitate their slaves’ growth in all sorts of ways—personally, professionally and spiritually. A Servant Master is more likely to receive spiritual insight into what is for their slave’s greatest good than a Dominant who is providing just enough care giving for the slave to appease the Dom’s nagging conscience or solely to conform to community expectations.The concept of stewardship stems from medii.e., the slave has a vocation or Divine purpose) and actively engage their slaves in the discovery and fulfillment of that purpose.
IN SUMMARY Servant Masters offer unconditional love for their slaves, their steadfast dedication to their slaves’ growth and development, and their passionate faith in the worth of their slaves and the ability of their slaves to discern and fulfill their Divine purpose. Servant Masters do not answer to their slaves but to an authority greater than themselves. In doing so the Servant Master becomes an instrument for the slave’s well-being. The mastering of their slaves is one way that Servant Masters fulfill their own Divine purpose. That does not mean the Servant Master’s BDSM experiences are less enjoyable, less hot and sexy or less fun than they are for a Dominant who does not have such noble intentions. They are all of that for a Servant Master and much more gratifying as well.I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.