In the Timeless PlaceBY MARK GRAY
It was just another day at the computer programming job I'd held for over a decade. I was married, I owned a house, and my life was in order. But there I sat at my desk one day, unable to move. I hated myself, and I hated my life. I felt dead inside. A voice in my head said, “I can't live this way anymore.” That moment marked the start of a journey into psychotherapy, drugs, and a whole range of healing paths. When I discovered OM, it sounded pretty strange, but I thought, Well, I'm trying all sorts of stuff. I'm going to try this. I was open to the possibility of doing something that would transform my life.
My once promising job had developed a toxic atmosphere. Due to a management structure that emphasized blame over support, my kindly boss had turned into a jerk. I was angry every day. I'd wake up at three in the morning with frustration and rage zinging through me, so I went to work exhausted.
At the same time, my marriage of eighteen years was grinding along without a satisfying emotional connection. I tried to make it work and hated myself for not succeeding. The last Valentine's Day my wife and I spent together, we tried to have sex. We ended up screaming at each other. She never seemed to have the slightest clue what was going to turn her on or satisfy her. If she did know, she had no way to communicate it to me. Or if she was communicating it to me, I had no way to receive it.
We had already started OMing at that point, but our OMs were not working either. She was giving me adjustments and complaining that she couldn't feel anything, and nothing I did had any effect. There was no connection between us and after three or four sessions, we stopped trying to OM.
She didn't have a job at the time, so it was all on my shoulders to take care of everything financially. I probably wouldn't have minded if we'd had a happy marriage, but we didn't. There I was, pushing myself to do a job I hated to support an unfulfilling relationship. I decided that was crazy. That job came to an end, and my wife and I decided to part ways.
At that point, I wanted to be around women, but I didn't want to dive into a new relationship just out of the hunger of being newly separated. I decided to go back to OMing. I had some OMs that were frustrating, others that were extraordinary, and a whole range in between. I rarely felt anything significant in my body during OMs, although other people would report lots of sensations. But as I persevered, I began to learn how to OM and how to sit with whatever was happening.
The way society trains us, we're always evaluating and criticizing ourselves. Through OM, I learned to approve of myself as I am. A lot of that came from how much approval I felt from my OM partners, regardless of how the OM was going or if every stroke was resonant. One offbeat stroke didn't mean there was something wrong or lacking in me. Now I can see how approval and acceptance were the missing elements in my relationship with my wife. She didn't have approval for herself not knowing what she wanted, and neither of us could accept that I didn't know what would work for her. No one could win.
There was a period of time where I would fall asleep in the middle of OMing. My head would nod and pop back up again. But I noticed that my finger kept stroking. I would bounce back from one of those moments, and my finger was still stroking just fine. Afterwards, partners would say they hadn't even noticed. I began to understand that my body knew what it was doing way better than my mind did. I just needed to get out of the way to let it happen.
I experienced a strong connection with one woman who became my frequent OM partner. Our practice together helped me get past the idea that OM was about sexual stimulation. I realized the heightened state of arousal allows for a communication to go on between the stroker and strokee that has nothing to do with physical touch or verbal connection. In one OM session, I experienced our connection so deeply that when the OM was over, I broke down in tears. I felt such a sense of loss that we had to stop, and this beautiful connection that I was feeling with her would end. It didn't have to do with her personally. She wasn't a lover. It was just this profound connection I was experiencing.
It's hard for me to put into words, but I would say this connection has the quality of complete presence in the moment, with no thoughts, no distractions, just right there in the timeless time and the eternal present. I found the stillness inside the movement. We were both in a very still place, and in that stillness, we connected to each other.
There's a state in Zen meditation called samadhi, which is a bliss you can reach after a lot of practice. What I began to feel in OM was a sort of tandem samadhi, where that state is enhanced by two of us experiencing it together. I came to see this connection as the heart of OM. It's part of our human nature, but we're not usually aware of it.
As I reached that state more often while OMing, I also began to experience it outside of the OM sessions. In my current relationship, I'm able to sense a shift in my partner even if she doesn't talk about what she's feeling or visibly show it. It's so clear to me when she's upset. Then I'm able to draw out of her what she's feeling and what she wants.
Finding out what a woman desires has become my mission in life. I like following the flow of her desire, feeling it change and shift. To me, things flowing and constantly changing is just how the world is.