A Logical Guy Remembering How To FeelBY DANIEL STEWART
I grew up an anxious kid and I became an anxious adult. I know that’s not uncommon, but for so much of my life, I was worried that I wasn’t good enough. I was always especially insecure about whether I was attractive to women; I had tremendous insecurity with the opposite sex.
I realize now that I coped with all that insecurity by doing two things. First, I became very cerebral. I threw myself into my education, and into cultivating my own intelligence. In one sense, that paid off well: I built a successful career. I’m a business intelligence analyst, and I’ve worked for both public and private clients. I’m good at what I do – which boils down to seeing things other people can’t, and then explaining those things in a way that they find useful. The second thing I did to deal with my insecurity was build a shell around myself. That made it difficult for anyone to get close to me. That shell helped cost me my marriage.
I remember being in therapy with my ex-wife. My soon-to-be-ex had just shared something very powerful at length. The therapist asked me how I felt about what I heard. “I understand,” I told her. The therapist shook her head. “I didn’t ask whether you understood. I asked how you felt about what she said.” And I was confused, because to me they were the same question. I didn’t have any ability to drop into my feelings. Eventually, my wife had an affair, and we talked about that in therapy too. When it became clear the marriage was over and my wife was leaving for this other guy, I honestly felt relieved. I felt like a burden had been lifted. I said to my therapist, “I'm just happy that everyone can end up being okay.” The therapist looked at me. “That remains to be seen,” she said, “because everyone is not okay.”
I tried to open up after that, I really did. I tried many different modalities in order to increase my consciousness and awareness. I’m a lifelong Buddhist, and I took the time to go spend a year in Tibet with my teacher. I became a tantric practitioner specializing in sexual contact control practice. I became a biogenesis coach.
I first tried OM in 2012. I was in the prime of my business intelligence work with the city of Aspen, Colorado. I was on assignment near Boulder and some guys I consulted with suggested we go to a workshop. I was incredulous when they described what OM was supposed to be about. It seemed like a joke, and not one I wanted to roll with. It didn't sound like there was anything good about any of it. As I told the guys I was with, I couldn't see how it was going to end well.
I know a lot about sex. Remember, I did tantra. I had this very cerebral understanding of it, though. I would say that, for the most part, my sexual participation has always had me looking for what I can receive rather than what I can give. And for all of my studying, I realized as the workshop began to unfold that there was a lot I didn’t know about how the female organs work. With all of my skepticism about OM, I gave one of the facilitators a hard time. At one point, they asked me to sink into my body and my feet. I was taken aback because no one had ever really ever asked me to do that. They walked me through how to drop into my body and feel, rather than only using my mind to think. It was challenging.
My first OM was nerve-wracking. As I began to stroke, I began to sweat, and the drops came off my forehead and perched on my nose. I was terrified I was going to drip sweat on this woman and she would be disgusted. I realized that even though she was the one with her pants off, I felt incredibly vulnerable and exposed. It was a new feeling.
During the OM, my partner began to cry very loudly. I couldn't tell whether I was hurting her or if she was working through something. I kept stroking. Her crying got more intense and she began to wail, but I could sense that her crying didn’t have anything to do with me or what I was doing. Then, all of a sudden, I started to feel her in my chest, and not just in my finger. The emotion translated into pressure in my chest. That was my first experience of the feedback loop in OM, what can be felt through a shared experience of connection. It turned out this woman had been widowed for 25 years, and this was the first time anyone had touched her since her husband had died. In one OM, she had opened a huge block.
The next day I woke up in my motel room so zoned and so stumped, I just couldn't come to grips with what I'd experienced. It was a three-hour drive back home, and I drove the whole way in a kind of trance. When I got home to Aspen, I realized that something profound had happened, and that I should quit questioning why it happened, and try and get in touch with what. Over the following 24 hours, I came to understand that no one had ever taught me how to feel. And while stroking, I had felt more deeply than I ever had before. I’m a logical guy. If this practice of connection can change my life, if it can help me learn to be vulnerable, then I have to do it.
Eight years later, OM is a central part of my life. If I neglect it, I become cerebral and productive, forgetting to feel. When I’ve started to lock myself away in my intellect, I can always return to OM. And whenever I do, I remember how to feel.