Growing Closer — How I Deepened My Relationships through OMBY HECTOR
I was in my early 40s when I first came to OM, a decade ago. I had more than 20 years’ experience with a variety of traditions and modalities; I’d been meditating since I was a teen. I grew up in Peru, in a deeply Catholic and repressed society. (I’m not condemning Catholicism, just the lived experience of it for myself and my family and so many others like us). I got tired of my own shame and fear early in life, and I started looking for other ways to live.
I’ve found the trailheads on to the most important spiritual paths through the recommendations of friends. If you are open to hearing suggestion and direction, and you have people in your life who know you, they will guide you to the places you need to go at the exact time you need. The key is being open, and I was open when a good friend told me about the OM practice, and why she thought it would be good for me.
The first thing I think when I enter a new community is, why are these people here? What’s the key to their practice? What do they seem to be receiving? I knew it was important to go into OM with an open mind, a blank slate if you will. I wasn’t there to impose any past knowledge or start teaching anything. I was instantly struck by the diversity of the people in the room. I don’t just mean ethnic backgrounds – I mean the variation in ages and walks of life. Whatever was here was pulling in people from everywhere. The next thing I noticed was that the community was down-to-earth and accessible, which is very beautiful to me; too many paths are so esoteric and ritualized that they are forbidding and stern. There was none of that rigidity in OM.
A lifetime of spiritual training didn’t make my first OM any less intimidating. Perhaps it made it more so, as I could sense the energy and the implications. I was sweating like crazy, and the woman I was OMing with was trembling; it was also her first time. I kept thinking I must be doing this wrong. It felt strange and uncomfortable. Life has taught me that a lot of good things come if you push through the strange and the uncomfortable. As I kept OMing, I got to a point of not caring if I was doing it right or wrong. I was focused on the energy, on the importance of just being there and present for the experience. I didn’t have the responsibility for the results; I had the responsibility to show up.
What struck me is that this OM practice was radically different from anything else I had done. So many meditative and prayer practices are solitary. OM is all about the connection that two people can generate, and one of them for sure has to be a woman. There’s an energy that we can only tap into if we share it; there’s no way for anyone to OM on their own, and I found that fascinating. We’re all responsible for our own growth, and yes, you have to do a lot of this work of life on your own. Sometimes, though, you need to do it in community. There’s a limit to what we can achieve entirely alone, and OM showed me that with another person, there was a whole new level waiting to be found.
I remember as a boy in Peru learning that prayer is work. Most of the old people whom I respected went to church every day. You might get a miracle if you went once, but you were more likely to get it if you went 1000 times. I’m not a Catholic anymore, but I’ve learned that any spiritual practice requires devotion, at least for a season. So, I OMed every day for months, knowing that the lasting results and conclusions would only come if I went all in.
OM changed my attitudes towards sexuality. It’s hard to see that OM isn’t sexual at first, because it seems so drenched in what we imagine sex to be. The more I practiced, the more it became clear that OM is about getting somewhere above sexuality itself. It’s about doing the conscious work to get to a very high plane where two egos, two unique identities, can connect on an incredibly profound level. It doesn’t depend on romance, or fate, or sexual chemistry – it’s a technique that gets you there and allows the residue of the work you did to change the rest of your life.
For me, the great change was confidence in relationships with other people. Those who know me might be surprised to hear me say that; I’m an outgoing person, very friendly. I already seemed confident. OM took that ability to connect to its next level. It made it easier for me to grow close to both men and women. That’s the lasting legacy of OM in my life; I can seek out and find deeper friendships than I could before. And in this life, there’s not much more precious than that.