My parents raised me with a relatively blank slate. Except for the fact that I needed to excel academically and athletically, they raised me without any other dogma and preconceived expectations. The concept of God didn't exist in our house, and that extended to a lot of things culturally.
However, I went through a long phase in high school where I was concerned about being Asian and shorter than average. I worried I was too scrawny. My need to excel worked and after high school I went to an Ivy League school and managed to graduate with honors, landing a job right out of school where I was being paid $200K a year.
At that time I would have said I had a lot of self-confidence. In some ways I was ridiculously smart, and, in most ways, I was ridiculously fortunate. I saw a lot of my friends really struggling after graduating from college, trying to find themselves. I thought I had found myself already, and thus I felt superior to people in a lot of ways.
In truth, many things were not the way I wanted them to be. I was overly concerned with having an impact on the world and was always trying to calculate the right steps to getting ahead. I constantly compared myself to influential people. I also had trouble staying in long term relationships. Most romantic relationships never lasted for more than a couple months. I was very status oriented and particular about how attractive a woman had to be for me to date her. And yet, under the surface, there was this crippling anxiety and doubt about my worth and my attractiveness. I was anxious about being able to connect with other people, and I was worried, thinking, “Am I going to go my whole life never having a fulfilling relationship with a girl? Am I never getting married?” I was convinced I was not funny enough or charismatic enough and somehow socially defective.
Some people I ended up living with told me about Orgasmic Meditation. I was really curious how what seemed like might be a sexual thing could be a purely non-sexual practice. I was fascinated by just how much I didn't understand it. I mean, why would a guy want to do all this work and not be stroked in return? What's the appeal of this?
I don't remember a whole lot about my first OM. I do remember not wanting to be like an absolute newbie. I was really up in my head trying to have laser focus on stroking my partner, utterly dialed into “up, down, up, down, up, down” until the bell rang.
A couple months after I had started OMing I was at a gathering and saw a woman. She was sitting on a couch and, as I walked past her, I noticed a glint in her eye. I also felt a surge of attraction and connection. In the past I would have just kept walking and anxiously shrugged it off. But something happened that night. I felt like I sloughed off all these layers of issues. It was like I’d always been walking around in a rubber hazmat suit and I just stepped out of it. I went up to her and said, “I think you're beautiful. I'd like to talk to you.” And that was something that I could never have imagined myself doing before.
In just a few short months, OM had taught me that if I feel something, I can follow the feeling. Go with it. And it had also taught me honesty. So, when I sat down and started talking with this woman, I didn’t try to come off as anything I was not. I told her, “I'm feeling really nervous. I have a lot of anxiety.”
The big breakthrough that really changed my life was getting past the view that I was socially defective. I learned clear communication and it gave me permission to be able to say something that was true for me. It also taught me the ability to be okay when another person says “No,” or corrects me. I learned I am not broken.
For so many years I wrestled with existential anxiety, trying to plan my success. Since OM I’ve realized that there's no way that you can plan. While your partner is settling into the practice setting, you can’t sit there thinking, “Okay, today, I'm going to start with light feathery upstrokes and then, at the five-minute mark, I'm going to move into a segment of downstrokes. And then, after that, I’ll start doing smooth, slow upstrokes.” There's no way that works out! You have to be in the moment.
I have learned that I am an extraordinary person— a man who can sense how things are happening around me. All I need to do is feel my way to what feels resonant in every aspect of my life. I can follow what feels alive and go in that direction. And then everything, everything, will work out from there.