I had a very clear plan for my life. I’d always been intensely goal-oriented and focused, and I had a timetable for when I wanted to accomplish certain things. Then, in college, I was in a car accident. I was lucky to survive; I suffered a traumatic brain injury, and the recovery was painfully slow. Worst of all for the kind of young man I had been, the recovery wasn’t linear; I’d have weeks of progress and then awful, prolonged periods of regression. It took me a long time to accept that in some ways, I might never recover.
I was able to graduate college – just two long years later than I had planned. I had a job lined up too, and after working so much both on school and coming back from the accident, I was ready to have a more eventful and satisfying social life.
I met a woman who told me about OM. I loved the idea just from her description; I was intrigued by the idea of something centered on orgasm, and I already had discovered that meditation was an essential part of my recovery from brain trauma. I went to my first introductory workshop on February 13, 2016. I’m not good with dates anymore, but that one is emblazoned in my memory.
The very next day – Valentine’s Day – I OMed three times.
I loved OM from the beginning and began to do it every day. In addition to the benefits of OMing itself, just the commitment to do it early every day began to shift things around for me. I decided that in order to be in the best possible headspace for the OM, I needed to get up extra early, and exercise and shower beforehand. Adding that routine to my life helped rewire something in my brain – and it helped make me more “available” for the additional healing and joy that OM itself could bring.
In terms of the actual OMs, I’ve found that the practice has been an amazing teacher. When I first started on that Valentine’s Day, my partner seemed to respond so quickly and enthusiastically to my touch, and she hardly gave any adjustments. That gave me a big ego high. I felt as if I knew exactly what I was doing; maybe I was just a “natural” at this, a born star! As I continued to OM, though, reality set in; OMing isn’t meant to be tough work, but it doesn’t always come easily. You always have to be teachable, to be open, and to not let yourself believe that you have some sort of magical talent that never needs to be adjusted.
I look back on those early days in OM with a rueful but empathetic eye. Maybe, with so much doubt in other areas of my life, I needed that ego rush in order to commit to living with this practice. There were so many areas of my life, especially since the accident, where I felt clumsy and incompetent. It meant so much to me to feel like I was instantly good at something. Yes, I was wrong to think I knew everything – but for a little while, that over-confidence was a real help.
What I came to realize is that I have to put my trust in what I hear people in OM call “feel over formula.” The moment I go into any human interaction with the expectation that just doing the same thing over and over will work, I’ve set myself up for disaster. The most extreme sport there is? It’s creating real connections with other people. That requires trusting your feelings and responding to the feelings of others you encounter.
I like rules. I like planning. I liked it before my accident, and I rely on those rules even more now. Those rules give me the discipline to show up in life, but if I’m not careful, they block me from experiencing what I’m meant to experience when I do show up. I have to be open to whatever might happen, or be exchanged, when I’m with someone. Not just someone new, either. Even with partners I’ve OMed with dozens of times, there might be a day where there’s a new feeling, a new need, a new energy, and I have to be open to that. It’s an opportunity, not an obstacle.
The biggest lesson I have learned from OM is to be authentic, and authenticity requires trusting one’s own feelings. You have to be honest with yourself about everything, even the little things, and honest with others too.
The bottom line? If you’re willing to put feelings over formula, if you’re willing to show up and tell the truth, you can have absolutely everything you’ve ever wanted. It’s all there for you.