Blowing the Coal to Flame

BY JARED KNAUP

I don’t know what people think of when they think about a typical person who OMs, but I bet it isn’t me.   I’m a divorced man, and I live in Wichita Falls, Texas.  I own my own home, and I work as a physical therapist.

What first started me towards OM was my marriage.  I was in a marriage, and it was, for lack of a better term completely dead eye.  I loved her, but we couldn’t make any progress together.  I couldn’t get her to be honest with herself or with me about what she wanted.  You go into marriage with these high hopes of happiness and connection and sometimes, you end up with just the opposite.  That was certainly the case for us.  And what was so disheartening to me was that I thought I was a pretty skillful person in relationships before this marriage.   Long before I came to OM, I had tried so many techniques and practices. No matter what I tried, it just blew back in my face.

My ex started gaining weight.  I didn’t have a problem with that at first; people’s bodies change and that’s normal.  Then I realized, she was eating to kill the pain that she wouldn’t talk about.  She was literally building a suit of armor to protect her from the world.  The heavier she got, the less anyone could get to her.  It was incredibly painful.

After the divorce, I struggled. I had family and friends and went on dates, but there was a feeling of disconnection with everyone.  It was so hard.  I can’t describe how lonely I was, and how much it hurt.  Even in the midst of all of that pain after the divorce, I kept searching for a technique that would combine the components I knew I needed.  I was looking for something that dealt with sexuality, with meditation and with deep intimate connection.  I knew it had to be out there somehow.  I found a few other techniques that were close, but they were just okay.  After practicing them a while, I knew they weren’t quite what I was looking for.   

Then someone sent me a TEDTalk about OM.  I don’t think I’d been listening for more than a minute before I knew that it was the thing for me.  This was what was going to shift everything for me, I was sure.  I could feel the energy right away. I watched a few videos online and learned the basic technique. I OM’d with a few people here in Wichita and then I felt inspired to go take a class in Austin, where there were even more people who practiced OM. 

I talked to a woman I was dating about going down to Austin with me for the class.  At first she was into the idea but when we got there, she felt terribly jealous. She was upset at the idea that I might OM with someone else. Things got tense and we spent most of our trip arguing. Needless to say, it didn’t work out between us long-term. We’re still good friends though.  I still have a connection with her, even though I’m now OMing with others and the practice is not for her.  My old pattern would have been to just shut her out from my life, throw her overboard as it were.  OM has made me stronger – I can stay connected with someone in even the most challenging situations. 

As I continued developing my OM practice, I found my communication with everyone getting better.  I could connect with my own desires and express them much more effectively than I ever had before.  There’s just this huge buzz in sharing our own desires, whether or not those desires can be met. It's almost irrelevant whether they do or don’t. It’s just the fact that you're in touch with desire, and you are acknowledging it and engaging with it through sharing with others. That really is enough.

I’ve always figured that if you can talk about sex with someone, then you can talk about absolutely anything.  The frankness and directness of OM really helped me have amazing progress in my relationships with women, and that’s been great.  It’s also what I hoped for and expected.  But what has really surprised me is that it has helped me so much in my work as a physical therapist.   My relationships with my patients have also been transformed.  

We have a lot of patients who have cardiovascular issues. When they start rehab, many of them are so weak they cannot even sit on the edge of the bed yet. They’re just in really bad shape.  Here’s an example.  Just these past few weeks, I’ve been working with this man who was in bad shape after surgery.  After 10 days, he was still really struggling.  I was working to get him to try to sit in a chair by the side of his bed.  He wouldn’t do it.  And I was able to touch on the fact that what he wanted most was to get rid of his catheter.  It was bugging him to no end. I connected to that desire he had, and I felt it almost as if it were my own – and as soon as I did that, bingo.  He sat up, almost as if my feeling his desire flipped a switch in him.  He’s been sitting in the chair, and he’s started on a walker, and the catheter is out.  It’s a huge step for him.

The whole root of OM is connecting with desire. You feel your own desire and you connect to someone else’s.  The best way I can describe it is to say it's like blowing on a coal and watching it blossom into flame.   And I want to keep seeing those flames.