I Was No Longer Numb
by Allan Rosenthal

When I was younger I practiced something that had the same foundational approach as Orgasmic Meditation. Then I started a family and started a law firm, and the day-to-day requirements of life took over. For 35 years, I put blinders on and became numb, forgetting that deep sense of ego-less connection I had tapped into. Then in 2016 I discovered OM, remembered the expansiveness of those moments in my past, and rediscovered a level of transcendent connection much deeper than thought allows. I relearned how to leave behind the imprisoning bars of my own fears and to let go of my ego. I felt like a colorblind man suddenly seeing in color for the first time. 

My OM story starts all the way back in 1980. I decided to take a leave of absence from law school, and I bought some land for agricultural purposes. Without getting into details, let’s just say I ended up spending ten months in county jail.

When I got out of jail, I had nothing, and I moved into a communal living situation, basically for lack of anything better to do. Everyone there was dedicated to elevating their awareness and getting more out of life by acknowledging the perfection of the present moment. There was no time limit, no container, but their ideas resonated with some of the concepts of OM: the idea of focusing attention, the ideas of masculine and feminine. I saw something inherently true in it, and I found an entirely new level of connection. 

I found value in these practices and concepts, and I tried to share them with my wife, but they weren’t right for her. Eventually, my life’s focus shifted to my career and my family, and these brilliant truths faded like wisps into the fog of the distant past. I got swallowed up in the hard work of creating a law firm, of becoming a human ATM machine for my kids, and of achieving a pretty unassailable level of worldly success. 

But I was numb. I had blinders on and I wasn’t really feeling. I went from being an ex-con, to creating the most profitable bankruptcy firm in San Francisco, so the numbness wasn’t interfering with my success. In fact, my life was so busy and filled with so much, that I didn’t even realize I wasn’t feeling. It manifested only as a distant melancholy. 

I found OM in 2016. I read the description on a meetup site online, and it raised my eyebrows – I was intrigued. So I went to an informational session at a restaurant on Market Street and met some practitioners within the community. Almost immediately I thought, “wait a minute, this is like that thing from 35 years ago.” The perfection of the moment, the men responding to women, all of these thoughts and truths that I hadn’t touched in three decades came cascading down.

I was so enthusiastic that I tried my first OM with my wife, without a proper nest or a zafu (meditation cushion), based on instructions from a YouTube video. We did our best with pillows and blankets, and we had fun, but it was imperfect. And I underestimated the importance of the zafu, so I was in pain from being in the wrong position. 

Once I became more practiced, I started to love the container and the 15-minute timeframe. I found it lent the whole process a level of safety that both I and my partners found really comforting. 

Even the act of asking for an OM, and opening yourself to another person, was valuable. The way I was brought up, these things were supposed to be a big deal. According to my upbringing, if I was going to let go of my ego, to be intimate with someone else, with their body and their attention – it had to be the absolute right person. So those moments of connection ended up being relatively rare in my life. But part of the OM practice is being able to set aside all of that societal garbage, and simply ask. 

OM really taught me how to focus my attention on another person, even outside of OMing. I guess it’s like other forms of meditation in that sense, but for me it was a total shock: one day I was talking with somebody, and I realized I was 100% focused on them. The same concentration and attention I had learned to bring to the OM container was now available to me in everyday life. This was really eye-opening, and it suddenly expanded my universe, letting me connect with people and feel their energy in a way I never had before. I learned to attune myself to the essential core of people, to sync with their energy and divorce myself from my thoughts.

This new sense of expansion, of feeling, was in stark contrast to the numbness I had felt before. It was like living life with cataracts, or seeing everything in black and white, and then suddenly seeing the world in color, in perfect clarity. I have always had this terror that my imperfections will be witnessed, and that I’ll be rejected. OM helped me move beyond the imprisoning bars of this fear to get in touch with my own energy. To suddenly not feel imperfect, to feel content in the moment with who and what I am, is incredibly valuable. To then be able to extend that beyond myself, to connect with another person’s energy, is really magical.

OM taught me to feel again and brought me back to the deep truths of my past, truths I had forgotten and left behind. I won’t forget them again.