OM is Just As Much For Men As For WomenBY VAN PATO
Before OM I had been through three divorces, and I was convinced I was broken, that I would never make my partner happy – which is what I thought was expected of me. OM allowed me to move beyond these expectations and to truly understand my own “yesses” and “nos.” I learned how to talk naturally with women, without awkwardness or expectation. I learned how to empathize with and understand the person in front of me. Through OM I experienced an emotional and spiritual awakening that has truly transformed my life.
My first experience with OM was an informational session – a special event held for Valentine’s Day. I took my wife at the time, who doesn’t speak English, so I had to translate for her from English to Spanish. As I was translating, I became more and more interested in the practice. At the time I thought it might help me improve my relationship with her. Unfortunately, that never panned out.
I did start an OM practice, though. I attended several trainings and labs, and then I OMed for the first time, and honestly, I can’t remember anything about that first OM. I remember the second one, though. I was still nervous, and my hand was sweating in the glove. But after a few strokes, I started to feel really connected with myself, and then I felt a spark. A real spark. And I thought it was so strange – how or why would I feel a spark, when I was wearing gloves? I shouldn’t have felt anything.
That was just the beginning.
One day I had three OMs on the same day, and during the second one, something remarkable happened. I became overwhelmed with sensation and emotion. I felt that I was crying and laughing at the same time. I thought I was going crazy, I couldn’t breathe. My body felt warm and cold at the same time, and I saw lights and colors. I started to shake.
And all of this just from stroking.
Now, when I OM, I can feel a spark that moves from my finger to my hand, to my arm, and then up into my chest, and then I feel an explosion. I feel a warmth on one side of me, and cold on the other. Then the sensation moves to my stomach, and I feel a sense of peace and I can relax.
To anyone who thinks OM is not for men, that men don’t really feel anything, let me tell you, you will feel something. It could be just a tingling in your toes, or your knees, or your fingers. It could be a big jewel in your third eye, or a momentary clenching of muscles, or a grounding and a calm sense of peace. It’s different for everyone, and every OM is different as well. But you will feel something.
Even the ostensibly simple act of asking for an OM, standing before a woman and asking, has become quite profound for me. When I’m in front of another person, asking to OM, I register how my body feels as I wait for an answer, how it feels if I receive a yes, how it feels if I receive a no. I have learned to apply this same level of awareness to simply asking a woman out. I used to be like a teenager, sweating and desperate. I never knew what to do, or what to say. Should I have long hair? Should I shave? But now I’ve found a confidence and a simplicity. I can just ask a woman out. If she says no, she says no. I don’t feel upset or take it personally.
In fact, asking for an OM is probably my favorite step in the process. I’m not shy in asking, and even just in that moment, I feel a sense of connection. And whatever the answer is, I’m fine. I’m not hurt or offended if someone doesn’t want to OM with me. And when I’m asked to OM, it also feels great, and I always say yes. I don’t even need to see or meet my partner first, because what they look like is not important; I know that we will find a valuable connection through the practice.
OM really helped me in other areas of life as well. After my third divorce, I began to think I was broken. I thought it was my responsibility to keep my partner happy. My mindset was that I owned my partner and she owned me. I thought if she was happy, I’d be happy. So in my head, my failed relationships were my failures; they were what was keeping me unhappy.
Through OM I discovered that each of us is responsible for his or her own happiness, for our own experience. My role in OM is not to satisfy my partner, nor to be satisfied by her. It’s really to connect with myself and my own body. So that’s what I learned to do, and the results were remarkable. Now I can be honest, and clear. If there’s something I want, I ask for it. If there’s something I don’t want to do, I simply say no. I feel confident in saying I don’t want kids, and I don’t really want to live in the same house with my partner, despite how important those roles are in Latino culture. This simple act of owning my own yesses and nos has been so helpful for me.
A heightened awareness and sensation was available to me through OM at first, but soon I was able to find it in other aspects of my life as well. I have access to similar sensations from eating food, focusing on my sensory experiences and elevating my awareness. The confidence I gained in relationships translated to my job as well – I could simply say what I was thinking, without worrying too much about how it would be interpreted.
OM has provided me such a valuable awakening, and changed my life so much for the better, that I can no longer imagine my life without it. This practice that seems so simple and unremarkable, can actually offer you layers and layers of insight, growth and awakening.