nBy Keith P.
I don’t practice. I either excel or avoid. Mostly avoid.I was in a band, a funk band, for 15 years. I played congas next to my best friend’s 4’ 18” Bass Speakers amplified by 1500 watts of power. (Crazy the clues the universe sends you that you just don’t pay attention to, but I digress). See, I never practiced my instrument. I have been playing on tabletops since I can remember. There’s just always been a drummer in here. One day, someone put actual drums under my hands and I discovered I could make this incessant tapping sound GOOD. I never took lessons; rarely sat at home in my room by myself playing along to my favorite bands, and generally took my talent for granted. And it’s true. I have a natural talent. In my mind, I naturally excel at something other people have to work at. And because I “excel” at it, it’s okay for me to do it in front of other people (at least that’s the way it worked in my head).nnOn the other hand, there’s something I always wanted to do in the band that I didn’t excel at: Singing. Occasionally I would try to belt something out on the way to the gig and the other guys would take turns laughing and making fun of me. I became a part of the nation’s legion of shower singers, and chalked it up to something that I was just never going to be good at. I avoided doing what it would take to BECOME good because I was convinced I would never BE good. I either thought, I excelled at it or it was pointless. And then there’s practice. I’ve never had one before I came to OneTaste and learned how to OM. No team sports, no gym routine, no yoga, no meditation, NOTHING. I didn’t get up at the same time, didn’t work the same hours, didn’t go for walks. I tried to count band rehearsal, but it turns out I was using it to escape from reality (falls more under the addiction category, considering the substances imbibed), so no go. I never had anything that I did for the sake of doing; something that slowly, over time, would shift some paradigm just because I kept showing up to it.nnIn the last blog, I mentioned that I had hit a wall the summer before I showed up for my first InGroup. Learning as much as I did about myself in the courses showed me that there was a lot more available here. I knew that despite everything, I was still smacking face first into this wall. Nothing I did really made the wall move (though my face really started to hurt from the effort). I either excelled at something naturally or didn’t try at all.nnAnd then came OM. Like I said, I first learned the practice in January 2009. And then I didn’t OM. However, at this point, I knew enough about myself to know that if I stayed in my one bedroom apartment by myself, everything I had learned would fade, and I would end up back in my old habits and miserable. I did the only thing that seemed to make sense at the time, I moved into SF to be a part of a community that had an OM practice, where almost everyone that lived there OM’ed daily.nnAs with forming any habit, I started slowly. I OM’ed three times a week for the first 3 or 4 months. Except, I skipped a bunch because I hated getting up early. Sometimes when I got home from work I could get an OM in before dinner, but usually not. So really, it was more like once a week for the first 2 months, and 2 or 3 times a week for the next two months.nnThen I started to notice something that I don’t think I would have noticed so succinctly if I had just gone right into OMing every day. I noticed that on the days I OM’ed, my mornings were more productive. I had a slightly springier spring in my step, and the “uplift” lasted through the end of the day. On the days I didn’t OM, I had a regular day, which usually did not include bright, cheery mornings and sustained energy and focus throughout my workday.nnWhoa. Could doing this practice for 15 minutes twice each morning really make a difference? I did what I had taught myself to do; I put more attention on it. It was true, there was a distinct difference between the days where I OM’d first thing in the morning, and the days where I didn’t. Then I thought, well if I’m feeling this difference from OM’ing 2 or 3 times a week, what will I feel if I do OM every day?nnThe turning point for me was the day, about 6 months into having a “regular” practice, that I had 5 OM’s in a 9 hour period. I had my two at morning practice as usual, and then, home early, I had one OM before evening practice and then two at evening practice. My body felt pretty normal for the first four. During the 5th, however, I started to notice this vibration in my chest that hadn’t been there before. About an hour after that OM, I still felt this vibration, but now it had spread to my arms and legs. Three hours after the OM, and I felt like a swarm of hot bees had been let loose inside of me. I couldn’t sit or stand still, it was like I had a power generator in my chest and I couldn’t turn it off.nnThat night, after finally getting to sleep at 2am, I knew, viscerally, in my body, that this was a powerful practice; one that had me feeling a LOT of sensation in my body that I had previously been unaware of. In the weeks and months that followed, I began to put the tool I had taught myself to use, my attention, as deeply into this practice as I could.nnThen something happened. I was on the other side of the wall. I no longer felt disconnected from the world around me. I no longer felt like I was a victim to my life. I had learned to hold enough sensation in my body (and remain awake while I did) that I could interact with the world around me in a way that didn’t have my circuit breaker snap off and have me running for the nearest book or TV show to numb out.nnIn a lot of ways that was the beginning of my journey to becoming the man I wanted to be.nn nnOneTaste is dedicated to fostering deeper human connection through the practice of Orgasm. OM is taking the lives it touches from good to better.