OM Took Away My Need for PainkillersBY JOSH
I am well-versed in reading a person or situation for what I believe they expect from me. Before I found the practice of Orgasmic Meditation, whatever someone wanted from me, I would become just that. Whether it was what I thought my family expected of me, or what my subscriptions to GQ or Men’s Health magazines said I should be, I was good at playing that game. Even I believed that was who I was most of the time.
After I finished college—where I drank heavily and called it “recreationally”—I moved back home to the small-town I grew up in in Pennsylvania to run my family’s business. That was when I knew the jig was up: I was working alongside people who had had real world experiences, and they knew themselves far better than I knew myself. I didn’t have any sense of real purpose or power, and I began to lose control over maintaining the façade I’d manufactured, this guy who had his life together. Even though it didn’t seem like anyone noticed it crumbling, I did, so I gripped tighter for more control in every area imaginable.
Because of this stress, I developed back pain that made it hard to sleep through the night. My doctor gave me muscle relaxers and pain killers to manage it. He told me that if these pills didn’t work, surgery would be next . . . but I refused to accept that. At the time, I was also hopped up on Adderall and Xanax, and the combo of those with the pain killers and muscle relaxers was really hard on my system. I had no idea who I wanted to be in the world, but I knew that what I was doing wasn’t getting me closer to knowing that person, either. After rejecting back surgery as an option, I had a fleeting thought that came and went quickly. Maybe I’ll go to California and do yoga.
I told my doctor I was going to be quitting all of my prescription drugs, and he assured me that was not advisable because of how dependent I had become, but I barely listened to his recommendation. Then, one night, I was arguing with my dad, the president of our company, about a bad hiring decision I made. Nothing felt stable anymore. I had a deep, unsettled knowing that the world as I’d known it was gone. Within one week, I’d quit my job at the family business and found myself on a whirlwind trip around the world, starting in the Middle East and finishing in Los Angeles, California.
I first learned about OM during my travels. So, when I finally landed in LA, I jumped right in. I learned how to OM and began exploring this practice that would come to change my life.
Right away, I noticed that the pace of an OM—how slowed down it was—allowed me to really feel into the connection with another person. Something happened in that pocket of time, and for the first time in my life, I could feel that there was a whole world going on for the woman next to me. That awareness alone was eye-opening, and it made me want to lean in more.
I’d been OMing regularly for a few months when I noticed several other shifts. The first was that I realized it had been quite a while since I’d been on any kind of prescription medication for back pain. I’d stopped using muscle relaxers, Xanax, and Adderall, too. I had more energy, and I noticed that my nervous system wasn’t as easily startled. For example, I walked everywhere when I first moved to LA. Horn honking and homeless people screaming used to genuinely startle me. Then, one day, I noticed that horns were honking and people were shouting all around me, and I never got startled. I was just okay in my own skin, which wasn’t always the case. Could that really have been because of OM? I thought to myself. It had to be. Nothing else had changed, apart from adding OM to my life.
Because of the practice of OM, I’ve not only gotten off all prescription medication for pain, anxiety, and focus, but I’ve also learned how to identify what I want and ask for it without shame or guilt. What’s more, I don’t feel I need to use strategy or manipulation tactics to get what I want from others. I’m living a life that feels good to me, not a life that I think my family or society will approve of. The freedom in that has been second to none.
My life is so much different today, and it’s a direct result of how the practice of OM has allowed me to slow down, feel the connection between two people, and from there, make decisions that feel right. Not just for me, but everyone around me, too.