Finding Humility

by Jamel Cruz

My life before OM was great.  I want to start by stressing that because I think there are many different paths to finding something like OM, and they don’t all look alike.  Some people know that there’s a lack in their life, and it’s really obvious.  Others are doing really well, and OM takes what was already good and makes it better.  That was my case.

I was living and working in New York City. I worked hard, and I played hard.  At one point, I had seven girlfriends, one for each day of the week.  I wasn’t lying to anyone; I was just dating a lot of people.  I liked the newness of all that, and I liked the work of it.  People would tell me I was taking on too much, and I would just smile – I knew I was strong enough to handle it. 

I was very goal-oriented, but in retrospect, it was very mechanical.  I realize I thought of myself like a heat-seeking missile: once it’s launched, it can make any number of adjustments based on its target, but it basically has one mission.  And a lot of times, I’d be so focused on the mission that I’d forget why the missile had launched in the first place. More than once, I’d meet someone, often on a dating app, and I’d start doing my thing, and I’d catch myself wondering if it was worth it.  A woman might be beautiful in her pictures and gorgeous in person, but there was no connection -- and I’d still be that heat-seeking missile, making those constant little adjustments, going through all the motions, even as I wondered what the hell I was doing.  I’d often have this sinking feeling, but I stayed on target.

I was proud of how hard I worked at women, just as I was proud of how I worked for my tenants.  I’m a real estate investor, but I get my hands dirty.  A lot of times, I’d have a date and then in the middle of the night, go to work fixing up an apartment for a tenant who was moving in the next day.  I was dedicated to making women happy, and making my tenants happy.  I liked the thought that there were very few people who could work as hard as I did.

I’d heard a lot about OM before I came to my first workshop.  I’d tried some other practices too that were at least a little similar to OM, so I showed up expecting a lot of this to be familiar.  And I got rocked. Here I was, nearly 40 years old, and I thought I knew so much about women. And I didn’t.  I rolled my eyes at men who didn’t know how to find the clitoris, but I realized in OM how little I actually knew.  It was humbling, and I think I needed to be humbled a little bit.

As much as I was learning about women’s bodies, I was learning more about myself.  That heat-seeking missile image I mentioned?  I always thought of myself as being a cool missile, if that makes sense; a chill missile homing in on the fire.  In OMs, all this heat would start to flow into my body, and I’d be the one getting hot.  I’d start sweating, which was really unusual for me.  Heat isn’t just something I seek in others – it’s something I have, something I experience. 

OM has become the practice that centers me.  I’ve always struggled with jealousy but recently, I had this experience that just threw it in my face.  I was on this week-long retreat, and one of the other participants was this woman I really liked.  It turned out that she was more into my bunkmate, and he into her.  Over the course of a couple of days, I had to watch them progress from flirting to asking me to stay out of the bunkhouse for a few hours so they could be alone together.  Here I was, supposedly on this spiritual retreat, and my body was just vibrating with this intense jealousy.  It was all-consuming and exhausting.  I couldn’t blame anyone; I liked my bunkmate – this was just one of those things that happens.  Knowing that didn’t make it better.

Part of me wanted to stay stuck in that overwhelming sensation of jealousy, and part of me wanted connection. The desire for connection won out and I had an OM while I was still seething with jealousy.   I remember that when I started to stroke, I could feel the dense jealousy lighten, and then pass out of me. It wasn’t because I got distracted – it was because the heat and the energy that come from OM need space, and the bitterness and the hurt had to go to make room.  It wasn’t a conscious thing; I didn’t decide I wasn’t going to be jealous anymore. It was that OM left no more space for it.

More than anything, OM has reshaped my attitude towards work.  Before, if I wanted an apple, I’d think, well, I need to start by clearing this field, ploughing it up, planting seeds, and maybe in ten years I’ll get to eat an apple.  It wasn’t just that I liked to work, it was that I thought that work was the only way.  What OM showed me is that it’s less about working, and more about allowing.  Sometimes, the orchard is already planted.  Sometimes, the trees are already there.  Sometimes I can have an apple right here, right now. 

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