Religious devotees endure torturous scenarios for the warm embrace of human connection. Some kneel and stand repeatedly to please their priest and fellow congregants. Others fast and chant for days on end to fulfill their guru’s program of enlightenment. At the extreme edge of the ritual spectrum, aspirants turn to self-flagellation, scarification, and even ultra-violent Philippine reenactments of the crucifixion, with real nails and the scars to prove it. It’s along these gruesome lines that the spirituality of BDSM (bondage-domination/discipline-submission/sadomasochism) emerges. A new study suggests that ritualized masochistic practices may induce an altered state of consciousness.
Full article at Science on Religion