Not Needing to Be RightBY CARL
I was a hyper-sensitive child. I could barely go into a room without feeling like I had to leave. I was anxious about being around other people, but very confident and content when I was alone. I’d run out of stores when clerks would ask if they could help – and then go ski in the mountains by myself for hours. Other people were an overwhelming mystery.
Not surprisingly, I struggled with intimate relationships. Eventually, I did meet an amazing woman with whom I could relax, and at least partly be myself. We both had had similar struggles when we were young, and that helped bond us. We also found common purpose learning about spiritual healing, and training to become healers ourselves. Eventually, we ended up traveling the world together, until we finally settled in Massachusetts.
At first, I felt terribly frustrated settling down. We worked, went to the grocery store, watched mediocre movies, and went to bed, only to repeat it all the next day. I asked myself, over and over, I moved to the U.S. for this? My relationship with my girlfriend deteriorated, and we fought constantly. The only time we didn’t fight is when we were working together on a project.
Increasingly, we found fewer projects on which we could agree.
I had first heard about Orgasmic Meditation from my brother, who had emailed me a link to an article about the practice. I’d read it, set it aside, and had not thought much of it. But with my relationship on the rocks, I searched for that old email – and we signed up for an introductory workshop.
There’s no wrong reason to come to OM. We came because we were bored with everything else we had tried, and we were worried our relationship couldn’t survive without some sort of a major makeover. We were right that it was what we needed, but we had no idea how much it would change our lives.
After that introduction, we started OMing together, guided mostly by books and videos and what we had learned in the class. I felt uncomfortable about it at first, but that discomfort abated, even though it took me a long time to feel as if I knew what I was doing. After a few OMs, I began to feel myself sinking back into my body. My chest began to loosen; I hadn’t even realized how tight it had been, and for how long! My anxiety, which had been intense since we’d moved to Massachusetts, dissipated. Every time it started to come back, an OM would calm and center me.
When we realized that some people do it every day, my partner and I committed to a daily practice. One morning, I woke up and lay in bed, and it hit me that I hadn’t felt anxious in more than a month. Before OM, my fears were worst first thing in the morning, and I’d often lie there, nearly paralyzed, until I forced myself to get up. OM brought that to a halt.
My partner and I had some hilarious but serious arguments as we OMed. She would say, “Move to the left.” I would answer, “No, I can’t move any more to the left. There’s nowhere to go.” (I was wrong. There was more room to the left.) I would say, “I’m doing it right.” And, she would say, “No, you’re not.”
I certainly didn’t fully understand the concept of adjustments! I’m glad that she didn’t just quit in frustration. She was all too used to my need to be right all the time, though, and she hoped that OM would help cure me of that. That’s exactly what it did. Over time, the OM practice taught me to surrender and to listen to her. The stroker is not in charge; the stroker is surrendering to the process and responding to what he hears. That’s been an amazing breakthrough for me personally, and for us as a couple.
Not long ago, we lay atop each other. We noticed how our bodies merged, and how close we felt. We realized that maybe the most important thing we’ve learned in OM is how to be intensely intimate while also radically differentiated. We were entangled, legs and arms and so forth, so close together, and conscious of both that closeness and of our own individual autonomy. All of my life before OM, I was shy with people, in part because I felt as if they might overwhelm me. I did not have good boundaries. Now, we feel like individuals, but also like one person. Our energies have merged so much that we know how to finish each other’s sentences. We often don’t have to speak, as OM has given us a language of non-verbal communication that is rich and intense. In so many ways, we know what the other one wants and doesn’t want.
We still OM together because we always can benefit from fine-tuning our energies. If we argue, it lasts four minutes and then it’s over. We simply talk it out. Being together is so much smoother, and so much more fun.
I feel a lot more connected to my own body, too. I used to train a lot—three hours a day, six days a week at martial arts. I’d ski on my “off day.” I was always doing things, always restless. I no longer have that same need. I am kinder to my body. The OM practice trained me to listen to it and do what it wants. I don’t feel a need to be chiseled anymore and walk around in a hard-muscled suit of armor. I am happy being softer.
OM has developed our innate knowledge of each other and ourselves. I have become more keenly aware of impulses and feelings in my body. When you’re first learning to drive, you think through everything – but in time, it becomes second nature. When you’ve done it for a while, your body’s experience combines with innate intelligence to push the pedals and turn the wheel and look in the mirror, seamlessly and without anxiety. It’s the same with OM for us. We have developed this knowingness. I will know to go and get my partner something without asking, and it just matches what she needed or wanted. I don’t even have to put any thought into it.
I don’t want to imply that the only changes have been in my relationship. I also have so much more compassion and kindness towards the world. I got glimpses of that before, but now I feel joy and contentment when I contemplate or interact with other people. Instead of running out of the room, I walk into it with enthusiasm, excited to see old friends and meet new ones. I can fall in love with so many people at once, in the best and purest way, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop being grateful for that.