When I Almost Lived in a Van with a Man...Irrational Desire and Assigned Authors
by Ruwan Meepagala Jul 9, 2014
Once upon a time, about a month after I've started OMing, I walk through the Lower East Side with a close friend wondering what we should do with ourselves in the new year. The previous year 2012, the year of the supposed apocalypse, came and went anti-climactically and I couldn't help feeling that I didn't do it big enough.
I am in a uncomfortably comfortable point in my life.Everything in my life is in order, yet I wake up stressed everyday knowing that there's something that I am craving, I just can't tell what that was. It drives me nuts not being able to hit a specific target.
Up until this point I have been very goal-oriented. I'd set a specific goal to buy something, or do something, or win something, and create actions steps to get it. The achievement of projected objectives was the marker of happiness to me. But for some reason the normal rational goals of accomplishment no longer seem exciting.
My friend has similar underwhelming ennui. We talk about how buying another electronic or going on another vacation feels like more of a hassle than fun. The prospect of another year of quietly chasing superficial goals feels like Chinese water-torture.
He lobs up a thought,
"What if we sold all our things except our suitcases and laptops, sublet out our apartments, and live in a van! I'll pay for it!"
What? That's friggin' ridiculous. That's probably a joke, yes a joke amongst bored men. But what if...
In between heartbeats the phallus of my soul erects. I blurt,
"That's a brilliant idea."That night I tell my roommates that I'm not renewing the lease. They think I'm insane. I tell them paying rent to live in immobile habitat is insane.
When asked about the motivation, I say some version of "well, it will be a test of character, and minimalism, and integrating returning to the Earth while still staying an employed productive citizen of New York City, and a way to experience every neighborhood, and I can blog about it, and in the summer we can drive our house to the beach!"
A part of me knows that's bullshit rationalization. The truth is, I have no idea why I want to do it. All I know is that there is an undeniable feeling of excitement guiding me through it. It's its own kind of natural high. I flow from action to action without a thought. Within days I find someone to sublet my bedroom, I sell all my furniture, and downsize my clothing to one suitcase.
Nothing I've ever done has been so fluid.
A week later I meet my friend again to budget out our van. He has a droopy look on his face. "So I've been having second thoughts..." he says.
Uh oh.I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. I start cursing him, cursing the Universe, cursing myself. What the hell was I thinking to get rid of a East Village apartment to live in a van with another man. How could I be so deluded?! Now I'm homeless...I have no things...I'll be the laughing stock of friends and family...I'l never find a cool apartment again...I completely sabotaged my life!
Such brain activity occurs in what's called the vigilance center of the brain. It's the region associated with the amygdala that assesses risk and tries to minimize danger. It has the important survival function of identifying physical threats. However our ego can cause completely unnecessary vigilance center stress by projecting in the future.
Given the circumstances of my apparent homelessness, my mind has plenty to be afraid of, but for some reason I don't physically feel upset. For some reason I still have that excited feeling even though the van idea has disappeared.
Then I remember, an OM house (an intentional community based on Orgasm training) has recently been founded in New York City. I visited the Harlem penthouse, dubbed "The Morellino," the day they opened and thought "Wow it would be awesome to live here, too bad I already have a cushy pad."
I text one of the residents. It turns out they happen to have space for one more. A few days later I move in to the the New York OM House and begin the most intense, incredible, adventurous, life-changing (insert a few more adjectives) year of my life.
I never actually wanted to live with a man in a van parked on the streets of New York City. It would have been lonely, irritating, I'd never be able to have women over, and in the winter I'd freeze to death. However it was just the thing to free me from the golden shackles of my East Village bachelor pad which was blocking me from my real desire to live in an OM house.
We call that an assigned author.Like the ghost writer of a book, it gets your story started in place of the thing you really want when that thing may seem too confronting or far off. For instance, a woman may use "fitting into a smaller bikini by beach season" to motivate her when her real desire is the lose 20 lbs. She doesn't really care about the bikini, but it's an easier, more superficial thing to motivate her to actually get into the exercise routine that would have her become healthy.
A good assigned author is basically a game that, from playing it, you achieve your bigger dream.Our egos tend to grip on to the way things "should be." The ego believes that when everything is rational, orderly, and accounted for we'll be best off. Not only is that boring, such adherences to stability contribute to the death of soul.
Our desire, not our ego's goals, but our true desire, contributes to the death of ego. The heat of our desire melts away the shackles of our ego's projections, freeing us to enter into the greater unknown. It doesn't actually matter if we realize the desire, like living in a van with a man, it might just be a way to bring us into closer contact with the real thing that we've been too afraid to pursue.
The bigger your desire, the greater the accompanying fear. Remember, desire isn't a goal. Desire is your subconscious telling you "something awesome this way comes." The best things in life cannot be planned for.