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OM and Flow: An Elegant Design

OM and Flow: An Elegant Design

Overview:

The practice of Orgasmic Meditation (OM) is an optimized path to developing peak consciousness via flow states. It is the democratization of flow and is readily engaged with minimal pre-conditions or constraints. Flow is the highest state humans have access to. OM is designed to induce a flow state that improves the human condition. Increasing human flourishing requires better human connection. OM engages primal forces via flow states that elicit connection and shared consciousness that improve humanity.

Other approaches to actuating flow—while potentially effective—risk bodily or psychological harm (e.g., extreme sports and psychedelics), or require laborious and lengthy practice in order to obtain significant benefit (e.g., meditation and breathing exercises). OM rates highly for safety, efficacy and efficiency and has been shown to reliably generate great human benefit.

What is Flow?

The academic concept of “flow” arose out of research into positive psychology by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi at the University of Chicago in the 1970s. Flow itself, however, is not new—elevated states of consciousness are as old as the species. Our mammalian physiology has innate response patterns that can be triggered under certain conditions to produce heightened states of awareness. The most immediate and powerful ways to attain these states are found in life/death situations and sexual experiences.

In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being “in the zone”, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one’s sense of time.

Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as helping to integrate the self because in a state of deep concentration, consciousness is unusually well ordered. Thoughts, intentions, feelings, and all the senses are focused on the same goal. Experience is in harmony. And when the flow episode is over, one feels more ‘together’ than before, not only internally but with respect to other people and the world in general.

Steven Kotler, author of The Rise of Superman, observes that flow is an optimal state of consciousness, a peak state where we both feel our best and perform our best. It is a transformation available to anyone, anywhere, provided that certain initial conditions are met.

Initial conditions necessary to enter flow in a given activity were identified by Csikszentmihalyi with fellow researchers and expanded upon by Steven Kotler. They identify seventeen “triggers” across four categories that need to be present in some combination in order to obtain flow:

Physiological

Intensely focused attention Clear Goals
Immediate Feedback Challenge/Skills ratio

Environmental

High consequences Rich environment Deep embodiment

Social (to produce more group flow)

Serious concentration
Shared clear goal
Good communication
Familiarity
Equal participation/skill level Risk
Sense of control
Close listening
Always say yes

Creative

Creativity

Benefits of Flow

A copious body of research beginning with Csikszentmihalyi [5] has established the following benefits associated with flow states:

  • Better emotional regulation: With increased flow, people also experience more growth toward emotional complexity. This can help people develop skills that allow them to regulate their emotions more effectively.
  • Greater happiness: Research also suggests that flow states may be linked to increased levels of happiness, satisfaction and self-actualization.
  • Greater enjoyment and fulfillment: People in a flow state enjoy what they are doing more. Because the task becomes more enjoyable, people are also more likely to find it rewarding and fulfilling.2
  • Increased engagement: People in a flow state feel fully involved in the task at hand.
  • Improved performance: Researchers have found that flow can enhance performance in a wide variety of areas including teaching, learning, athletics,4 and artistic creativity.
  • Learning and skill development: Because the act of achieving flow indicates a substantial mastery of a certain skill, people have to keep seeking new challenges and information in order to maintain this state
  • More creativity: Flow states often take place during creative tasks, which can help inspire greater creative and artistic pursuits.

 

Downsides and Difficulties of Flow

Activities which rapidly induce flow involving life or death experiences have the potential to be physically or psychologically harmful. Chasing after extreme physical experiences carries risk of injury and death. Escalating the challenge of the experience to continue to access flow states perpetuates and increases risks. This is clearly seen in the extreme sports world where death and devastating injuries are routine. Further, after people leave these environments they may experience significant dissatisfaction with life. When they leave the activity that brought them into flow and and no longer have access to these states, they often face long term negative psychological effects.

A key difficulty of accessing the flow state is that many of the activities used to access flow require long periods of practice that can run into decades before receiving full benefit and are difficult to sustain. These activities often offer minimal rewards in the initial stages of practice. This can be seen in traditional meditative, contemplative and creative/artistic practices.

Benefits of OM

Orgasmic Mediation (OM) is a 15 minute, safe, predictable partnered protocol. It is explicitly consensual, standardized and not a disease risk. Partners engage in a practiced series of consent, safety signals and direct stimulation of the clitoris with no other goal except to feel. The purpose of OM is to harness the sexual impulse in a securely contained environment in which one can access the flow state in connection to a partner.

Practitioners report benefits from OM in the areas of trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, chronic pain, body image, sexual dysfunction, social isolation and mental health.

The anecdotal evidence expressed by practitioners is overwhelming and touches on almost every human domain and ailment. A growing body of science substantiates the benefits of OM as seen in rigorous surveys and in brain measurement studies using EEG, fMRI and PET scans.

Sample findings from scientific research into OM:

  • After one OM people show increased cognitive function post OM and increased executive functioning which instills better decision making, increased attention toward tasks and self-regulation skills.
  • Studies have documented findings with reductions in depression, anxiety and stress symptoms, improvements in mood, emotional connection and sense of safety, and have explored their use for emotional trauma as well.
  • 50-60 brain connection patterns changed permanently in people who OM regularly compared to those who have never practiced OM. Long-term effects of the OM practice show that it might beneficially alter brain physiology associated with emotional processes. A long-term practice of OM may be useful in supporting brain patterns of activity that help regulate emotions and improve symptoms of trauma.
  • Females showed significant “at one” like patterns in the brain and males showed significant “flow state” like patterns in the brain when practicing OM.
  • OM has comparable MEQ results to a therapeutic dose of psilocybin which has been shown to powerfully effect depression.
  • Study participants display increased heart rate variability (strong indicator of physical and psychological health) post OM

Flow with Connection

OM develops the fundamentals of human connection, replacing fear. The container of OM isolates a powerful primal force and channels it into deeply safe, positive connection and flourishing. Religious practices, yoga, meditation, flow, psychedelics, breath-work, and food may have both structured containers as well as elements of human disconnection. In contrast OM always pairs containers with deep human connection.

The benefits of OM include everything known to be associated with flow states and additionally include, ineluctably, connection to another individual. Because OM is a partnered practice, human connection is central to the experience. The connection fostered by OM between two individuals restores basic human connectivity that is substantially lacking in many lives. This restored connectivity is broadly healing of the human condition.

Comparing OM to Other Flow Generating Activities

The principle criteria for evaluating flow generating activities are: safety; efficacy; efficiency; sustainability.

Safety: unlikely to cause danger, risk or injury.
Efficacy: the ability to produce a desired or intended result.
Efficiency: achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense. Sustainability: the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

The OM protocol and practice was specifically designed to simultaneously maximize safety, efficacy, efficiency and sustainability. The optimized result is genuinely elegant in the mathematical sense of a solution marked by simplicity and effectiveness. The effect conferred by the OM practice is powerful and appears to maintain flow states outside of the practice and to facilitate easier entry into flow in other unrelated activities.

OM positively reinforces human connection by pairing it with the highest states of human consciousness in our human sphere, whereas other practices positively reinforce disconnection by pairing the highest state of human consciousness possible with isolation or solo activities.

Future Developments

The practice of OM is mature and the container needs little or no additional development in order to maximize the benefits of the practice. OM is safe, effective and efficient. It has been fully tested and refined over the course of 16 years with over 40,000 practitioners trained in person and millions of OM sessions completed. Ongoing and future efforts by the Institute of OM, the body supporting the practice, are in the areas of, public policy, education, media and public engagement. Scientific study into the practice is facilitated by Institute of OM Foundation, a 501c3 public charity. The Institute of OM Foundation will continue to facilitate world class research into the biomedical and psychological effects of OM for individuals. This research seeks to understand the neurobiological mechanisms by which the OM practice can lead to human improvement and promote human flourishing.

The practice of Orgasmic Meditation (OM) is an optimized path to developing peak consciousness via flow states. It is the democratization of flow and is readily engaged with minimal pre-conditions or constraints. Flow is the highest state humans have access to. OM is designed to induce a flow state that improves the human condition. Increasing human flourishing requires better human connection. OM engages primal forces via flow states that elicit connection and shared consciousness that improve humanity.

Other approaches to actuating flow—while potentially effective—risk bodily or psychological harm (e.g., extreme sports and psychedelics), or require laborious and lengthy practice in order to obtain significant benefit (e.g., meditation and breathing exercises). OM rates highly for safety, efficacy and efficiency and has been shown to reliably generate great human benefit.

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