Stepping into My Emotional AuthorityBY JONAS
Through my journey with Orgasmic Meditation, I rediscovered an ability that I’ve had all along, but that I’d suppressed. It’s a capacity to be highly attuned to the way other people are feeling, an ability I’ve had since I was a child. Reclaiming that innate ability—especially in my work in sales and business strategy—I can relate to others and guide groups of people as an emotional authority and a trusted leader.
As a kid, I had a way of dialing in to other people’s emotions, to the point where I could almost predict when someone was going to get angry or sad. If I was at a sleepover at a friend’s house, for example, I’d be tuned in to what was going on with the parents. Whereas the other 8- or 10-year-olds were focused on themselves and playing with each other, I could read the mood of the whole room.
My friends’ parents would think, “Wow, this kid is something else. I’ve never met a kid who could relate to me and engage me as an adult.” I’d ask questions and put attention on them because I was curious. I felt comfortable doing that, and in some ways, I’ve carried over that way of relating into my life as an adult. But I took a couple of detours along the way.
In my teen years, growing up in a world where boys and men are not encouraged to have emotions, I felt like I had to squash myself down to be like all the other young men. I made myself small, in a sense. I had to pretend that I was not a feeler and that I didn't have emotions.
A lot of that modeling came from my dad. He was not very emotionally aware, so I mirrored that. My response to him was always, “I'm good. It's all fine.” We would have a surface level of interaction where he didn’t delve into the way he felt, so neither did I. We’d just focus on whatever task we were doing. It was about the activity, not the emotion beneath the surface.
With all the societal expectations around what it means to be a man, I suspected that my ability to feel strong emotions was a liability instead of an asset. So, I started numbing myself out with drugs and alcohol. It was a way of coping, and it effectively put a damper on my feelings. It was also crippling, because it caused me to retreat to my own little world, as opposed to being open and connective with others.
It wasn’t long before I realized I had a problem with drugs and alcohol, and my sobriety journey was the first step in getting back to feeling again. But it took more than that. What really accelerated me along the path to regaining my sensitivity was my experience with Orgasmic Meditation.
OM is about tuning in to sensation. When I started practicing around 2014, I wasn’t even conscious of the way that I had numbed my capacity to feel. But I started meeting other men who also had an OM practice, who were having experiences similar to mine. They told me, “It’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay for you to open up.”
Once, I was at a gathering of around 50 people, and a man there was going through an intense experience. I related to him and felt this incredible welling up of compassion and care. So, I shared what I was feeling, and everyone listened. It was a powerful moment where I was fully vulnerable and present and expressed my feelings. I guess you could say that I found my voice of emotional authority. Everyone related to what I was saying, and I felt accepted and seen.
Their encouragement and nonjudgmental support were all that I needed. The emotions came pouring out like a waterfall. It was as if I’d been waiting for that moment where I could be authentic and put everything out there. My practice of OM opened my feelings again and I was able to freely express them. From that moment on, there was no turning back. I thought, “Whatever this is, I want more.”
Rediscovering my capacity to feel began to translate into my professional life in powerful ways. Once, I was at a meeting at a new job, having joined the team just three weeks ago. It was a big step for me career-wise and there was a lot on the line. People were checking in with each other and everyone was being cautious. When it was my turn to check in, I tried to be honest. I dropped into my body and said, “I feel like everyone knows what they're doing, and I don't know what I'm doing yet. I don't really have the keys to the kingdom. I haven't figured this out. And I'm worried that I'm going to fail.”
It was scary saying these things to people that I would have ordinarily tried to impress. But right away, what I said grounded me. It also grounded the entire room, because it gave everyone else permission to be honest about what was going on for them. My vulnerability gave the others a chance to be authentic, too.
Before my OM journey I might have just said, “Oh, everything’s fine.” Or maybe, “I’m a little stressed.” But I would never have opened myself up that way. I wouldn't have let other people feel me.
When you can lead from a place of vulnerability and emotion, that’s true leadership. I can make space for other people and see what they really need. I’m in touch with the energy in my environment, and I know what needs to happen next. I can speak with confidence in front of all kinds of people, even those who are twice my age or who’ve had different experiences from mine.
OM has helped me harness these abilities, and because of that, I’m realizing my true potential.