The Practical Side of OMBY CHRIS COOPER
Computers have always been my life. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s when I was still very young. Social interactions were sometimes difficult, but logic – and the basic binary language of zeroes and ones that dominates programming – always made sense. I’ve been fortunate to have had a lot of success in the tech development world. It was what I did before OM, and it’s what I still do now, but everything has shifted.
I wasn’t just logical. I was suspicious, even contemptuous of anything that wasn’t strictly rooted in math and science. At the same time, I had this hunger in me for a deeper connection. The problem was, I didn’t believe that there was any realistic way to satisfy that craving. So, I spent time searching for alternatives, and then dismissing them.
I first encountered OM in London. My tech startup had started to expand, and I was in charge of building it up in England. I was alone in a huge city I didn’t know, and I felt lonely. I didn’t know anyone in the area. I started by finding things that were familiar to me, like chess groups or walking groups, but those left me bored. I started looking online for more interesting events, especially ones where I might have a chance to meet women. That’s how I ended up at my first OM workshop. I came in wary: it sounded like a scam of some sort. It couldn’t be real. When I walked in I saw these beautiful men and women who seemed to radiate warmth. I was impressed: if this is all a way of fleecing people, it’s really well done. A man came up and gave me a hug. It wasn’t a presumptuous hug, it was just a very good one that I felt in my spine. I hadn’t been held like that in a long time. Okay, I thought, I’ll stay a little while. This is more than mumbo-jumbo.
My first OM didn’t happen for another month. I was still figuring out how to get started, when this woman who had been doing the practice for a while asked me to OM. I told her I’d never done it before, and she replied, “I want to OM and you’ll be fine.” I was struck by the way that she connected her desire and my ability. That gave me the confidence to try. My partner guided me with clear direction, making adjustments that guided me to her spot and kept me on it. My nervousness melted away and I found an ease.
I started OMing regularly. Soon it hit me, I was consistently sitting with another person for 15 minutes without talking, without checking my phone, and without solving a problem. That was just so unlike me. The big shift happened one day when I was stroking and I felt this huge buildup in my body. At first I thought it was just sexual arousal, but then the build just kept getting bigger, and it was in my chest instead of my genitals. Then I burst into tears. I never cried like that in front of someone, but I just started sobbing. The connection between my OM partner and I opened something up in me that I had just locked down for so long. We didn’t stop the OM; rather my tears seemed to intensify the sensation. We were sharing this incredible connection, each of us opening things up for each other. We rode the wave together.
I came in expecting a scam. What I found was the realest thing I’ve ever experienced.
I still look to my work life to measure real progress. Yes, business has gotten better for me since I started OMing, but it isn’t just about me. I’ve been able to change the company a great deal. Women are a tiny fraction of those who work in tech, and they’re even more rarely on the development side. Too often, they’re in the background rather than a position of leadership.
I’ve made a conscious effort to hire women. This isn’t just about empowering women because they deserve more opportunities. This isn’t a particularly political thing I’m doing. It’s that I learned in OM about the extraordinary energy and power women have, and I saw how that energy brought so much more creativity and connection into my own life. I want to give women a chance to bring that energy into the company. This benefits everyone.
OM brings together these two powerful energies – masculine and feminine, structure and creation – around a very specific practice, and it unleashes so much, both for the people practicing it and everyone around them. If a guy as practical as I am says this is world-changing stuff, then there’s a deeper truth here worth exploring.