I was brought up in a traditional Chinese family with very conservative values. The number one rule I learned as a kid: if you’re a man, you don’t show emotions. Dad was Buddhist, and my Mum was Presbyterian. I grew up between two religions, and later, between two countries, Hong Kong and the United States. I didn’t feel Chinese, I didn’t feel American, and I didn’t have any anything to tell me who I was. The one thing I had was the obligation to be tough and not feel anything.
My father was violent and abusive, both physically and emotionally. He belittled me and hit me, and I learned to be strong and impassive to get by. I came into adulthood emotionally shut down. Not surprisingly, I had no success with women. I was too shy to make any moves, so I just accepted the inevitability of rejection.
I first heard about Orgasmic Meditation through a buddy. He’d been a lot like me, shy and clumsy around women. All of a sudden, he was confident and open and bright. I asked what happened, and he invited me to check out OM. I scoffed. No way that could work! Yet OM lingered in the back of my head for nearly two years until I finally took the initiative to sign up.
I’ll never forget the lake of perspiration that poured off me in my first OM. I was terrified, confused, and excited. I didn’t know what to feel; all I could was my own nerves. It was only when I walked out of the room that I realized that I felt a little less stuck. I was lighter, and not just because I’d sweated out most of the water in my body. For the rest of the day, I felt like I was floating just a tiny bit off the ground.
I kept coming back to OM. Perhaps the biggest shift was that I learned to love my father for who he is and not try to change him. The container itself that we create in OM makes me safe enough to be who I am. It helps me accept everyone for who they are, too. I’d spent my entire life stuck between repressing myself and resenting others. OM set me free from both of those traps.
All of the lies I’d believed about relationships fell away too. Before, I’d thought every relationship with a woman was about commerce. “If I buy you nice things, maybe you’ll give me attention.” “If I give you a diamond ring, maybe you’ll love me.” I always assumed women didn’t really like what men liked -- they just pretended to in order to get the fancy things they really wanted. OM showed me that was a lie. Women love men as much as men love women. And they want connection – not just jewelry. I don’t need to dress up my desires behind a lot of games and manipulation.
I have an OM journal that I write in after each time I practice. I record where I feel sensations, and I note where I am having blockages or frustrations. It becomes a manual for things I can work on in regular life. I can bring the emotions I'm feeling from problems and concerns from my “outside life” into an OM, work through them within myself, and map the progress in my journals. Every time I stroke, I feel connected to a higher power.
I’ve grown in my ability to connect to others, especially through adjustments. There were times, early on, when I worried that adjustments meant I was doing everything wrong. That worry vanished one day during a weekend retreat I went on. We, the other participants and I, were making dinner together, and I was asked to make a Caprese salad. I wasn’t sure what one was, so I figured cherry tomatoes would be just fine. Someone stopped me and told me that a Caprese needed the green tomatoes. I joked, “How was I supposed to know? I’m Chinese, not Italian.” The woman laughed and replied gently, “You weren’t supposed to know. That’s why I’m telling you.” And it hit me that that’s what adjustments are – not criticisms, just information to help me do something.
It sounds cheesy, but OM has helped me learn to love myself. The body I hated and shut down – it’s now my friend. In that first OM, I sweated buckets. Now, sometimes I cry quietly or have this big grin spread across my face. I have healed from so much repressed emotion, and I am present. I know who I am, I like who I am, and I feel like I belong.