Why Isn’t the Law of Attraction Working For Me?

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The Law of Attraction has gained popularity in recent years and yet it is nothing new. Various Christian and esoteric traditions have been practicing some versions of this philosophy for thousands of years.

Simon, the minister at the church I went to as an adolescent was very charismatic. He manifested a large congregation and sanctuary to hold services in along with cars and a nice home. He and other Evangelical Christians pointed to numerous scriptural examples claiming that one could manifested whatever it is they desired as long as they were in alignment with the word of God. Rather than calling it the Law of Manifestation, Christian Evangelicals referred to it as “living by faith.” I made a very concerted effort to follow these teachings in my teens and a more metaphysical version as an adult, but despite my best effort I often felt as though something were standing in my way.

Spiritual materialism

Many of the people that are into the Law of Attraction are placing a great deal of, if not too much, emphasis on acquiring material possessions. Some of the more prominent teachers are showing off their Mc Mansions, their very expensive cars and their beautiful spouses. It’s important for us to consider the implications of our actions upon other people and the planet. A great deal of pollution is created in the process of extracting natural resources and manufacturing all of these material goods. So much of what we consume has a very limited live expectancy. Before long we end up discarding our cars, electronics and most of the other goods we accumulate. And many of us are continually repeating this cycle of consumption over and over again.

I have at times felt grossed out to see the excessive amount of consumption and waste that occurs here in the United States after returning from India and Sri Lanka. There’s nothing wrong with having basic comforts, but no one really needs the massive amount of stuff that many of us are accumulating. And if we’re such wonderful and spiritually evolved people, then why don’t we take some of our excess and use it to feed, shelter and educate children in need or even adopt one or a few of the millions of children that do not have homes or parents to love and care for them. Or we can donate some of that wealth to combat human trafficking.

Manifesting within the context that we find ourselves

The circumstances of our lives vary hugely according to where we live, the families we were born into, the innate resources we each possess as individuals and a wide range of other factors. The majority of us who reside in the United States live a very sheltered existence in a land of opportunity. We have opportunities in terms of career and education that are seldom, if ever, made available to most people living in developing nations. We enjoy a quality of life in terms of material comforts that much of the world’s population cannot even conceive of. We can manifest all kinds of cool stuff this context, but that’s not going to happen for the majority of those living in developing nations that are struggling just to pay for clothing, shelter, their children’s education or even to have enough food to eat.

You’re just not doing it right!

Many people into the Law of Attraction operate with the absurd notion that bad things don’t happen to people that are spiritually evolved. The Tibetan Buddhists were highly developed spiritually and yet thousands of them were imprisoned, tortured and killed by the Chinese. A large percentage of the Tibetan population fled over the mountains to India where they now reside. American Indians lived in harmony with the forces of forces of nature. Some possessed powers that would enable them to bring the rain or even divert a tornado. And yet over ninety percent of the native people living in what is now the United States died as a result of disease and the genocidal practices of the European settlers and United States Government.

One of the most annoying tendencies among certain individuals within the Law of Attraction community is the smugness and pretension that they have their shit together by virtue of the fact that they’re doing well financially or that they’re able to manifest the nice house, car and other toys. Everything about this world we live in is transitory. We are all vulnerable and it’s just a matter of time we grow old, our bodies break down and we lose many of the freedoms and capabilities that we’ve grown so accustomed to. We, along with everyone we know and love will eventually die. That’s why it’s so important for us to live fully, enjoying life while we can, but to do so with humility.

My own personal experience varies tremendously according to where I’m at, the cultural context I find myself in and the people with whom I interact. I find it very easy to connect with people when I’m in India and Sri Lanka, but I’ve experienced extended periods of being very alone in New York City.

People that I’ve worked with in India really value and appreciate the healing gifts that I work with. I do find people here in the United States that truly value and appreciate the healing gifts I possess, but I encounter more people who are so resistant to being present that they run as soon as their feelings and issues make their way to the surface. It’s even worse now that people are spending so much time staring into the screens of their computers and smartphones. Many have become so disconnected from their core self as a result of being so distracted that I have to now work four times harder just to hold people’s attention and connect the dots for those who are not capable of doing so on their own. People that I worked with while I was staying in Germany seemed to be a bit lost in the beginning, but they tended to catch on quickly. I have found many of the people that I’ve worked with from Germany to be the most committed to doing whatever it took to facilitate healing within their own bodies and minds.

My mentor Horace was one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa tribe. He often had to hide whatever car he was driving at the time in someone’s garage or behind their home, because the word would get out and his own native people would line up to see him once they learned of his whereabouts. It is true that he was exceptionally powerful in his day, but he also had the advantage that his own people understood and valued the healing gifts that he possessed.

Why does it seem to work so well for some and not for others?

One thing I noticed as I developed the ability to read the human aura is that people vary significantly according to their constitutional makeup. The people I’ve seen that do best with the Law of Attraction tend to have a very strong dynamic presence along with a power that enables them to attract more of what they want. Some have a greater ability to compartmentalize their suffering as opposed to having it take over them, and that makes it easier for them to keep moving forward. Sometimes the aura has a very Teflon quality about it. Stress just seems to roll off of them. Not everyone can be like that.

One of the negative psychological consequences of the Law of Attraction is that it tends to induce shame in people when they fail to manifest what it is they think they want. I’ve heard many people say things to indicate that they feel as though they have somehow failed because things are not manifesting the way they expected them to.

Many of us have been subjected to some form of emotional, physical or sexual trauma at various times in our lives. Traumatic experiences can elicit overwhelming emotional responses that trigger biochemical reactions within the brain. The vast majority of us never fully process these traumas. Many of us continue to hold much of the painful feelings and impressions within our bodies.

The conscious mind of an individual that has suffered extensively as a result of having been deeply traumatized may want to attract a good job, a safe and comfortable home and a loving companion. But our bodies, which contain the vastly more powerful subconscious mind, continue to hold onto all kinds of painful feelings and impressions associated with past traumatic experience. The horrible pain and suffering that we hold within often causes us to attract more people and circumstances that reinforce our suffering. Sad thing is that most people do not possess the tools or resources to completely heal that trauma on their own. That’s why many are locked in a cycle of repeated victimization and suffering.

I know from personal experience what it’s like to attract more people and circumstances and have that reinforce the trauma of my childhood and adolescence. I felt helpless to do anything about it for quite some time. My experience only began to change as I began to heal from within. I developed a series of practices that enabled me to “digest” my past and all of the subsequent emotions attached to it. I then started working with a number of exceptionally powerful healers and going on the vision quest, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves fasting alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water.

I have worked with many deeply traumatized people over the years and I could see how they continued to attract many of the same kinds of individuals and recreate the suffering of past traumas. I’ve watched many of these individuals began to attract people and experiences that nourished them and facilitated growth as a result of the healing taking place within their bodies and minds.

A split in consciousness

I’ve heard a number of popular teachers say that the Law of Attraction always works. That may be true to some extent, but it obviously doesn’t work the way that many of us want it to. We tend to operate primarily from our conscious mind in our attempts to manifest. The problem many of us run into is that our conscious mind is not congruent with the subconscious mind which is vastly more powerful in comparison.

Attempting to attract the things we want in life is not inherently bad. It’s just that many of us have a tendency to go up into our heads in our attempt to manifest what we want, but in the process of doing so we disconnect from our feelings and physical bodies. That creates massive incongruencies in our body-mind consciousness. In other words, parts of us are affirming, seeing and believing while other parts of us are forced to hold onto all of the fear, pain, anger, doubt, unworthiness and other feelings that we’re not allowing ourselves to experience. Painful or unpleasant feelings and other stresses that we fail to process can remain trapped within our bodies indefinitely.

Unprocessed emotions, the impressions of what we have experienced in our life and the thought processes attached to them continue to accumulate within our bodies. We may eventually find ourselves overwhelmed by the backlog of painful emotion and other stresses that consume us. The parts of us that are hurting, fearful, confused and conflicted cause us to attract more of what we don’t want into our lives. They also have a negative impact upon our relationships. And in many instances they manifest in the body as some form of pathology.

I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time with individuals who have attained mastery in a number of different spiritual traditions as a result of many years of intensive discipline. I have been training for twelve years at the time of this writing with Chinese Master Li Tai Liang in Xin Yi Quan, Baguazhang, Tai Chi and Chi Gong. I have also trained with a traditional Native American doctor (medicine man) and have gone through numerous vision quests that involve going out alone in the mountains to fast for four days and nights without food or water.

One encounters people nowadays with no real training or discipline, but they’ve attended lectures and workshops and have read “The Secret.” Many are in absolutely horrible shape. Their emotions and lives are a total mess. Despite the obvious, we have now have lots of people who possess no real power or substance that have somehow delude themselves into thinking that they have evolved spiritually.

To deny a truth is to give it strength beyond all endurance

The Law of Attraction can easily become another form of New Age escapism for people that are not willing to be present to their feelings, physical bodies and the realities of their everyday lives. People that follow the Law of Attraction are constantly censoring their thoughts and the words coming out of their mouths. They’re so afraid to think or say anything that would be considered negative.

Tracy told me when we first spoke by phone that she had been following the law of attraction for some time, but that she was experiencing a sense of heaviness as many of the old feelings she had struggled to move beyond kept resurfacing. She said that she was experiencing a sense of unworthiness and shame over not having succeeded to the extent that she thought she should.

I could see that Tracy had disconnected from her feelings and physical body. Lots of old stagnant emotional content had backed up in her abdomen. She told me that she was feeling better when I spoke with her by phone afterwards and yet she never returned for a follow up sessions. Tracy’s problems are only going to get worse as the gap between her conscious mind and sub-conscious widens.

The woman that initially referred Tracy to me suffered terribly as a child as a result of having been severely neglected by a mother suffering from mental illness that didn’t have the capacity to care for her. Alicia was not fully inhabiting the lower portion of her body. Her abdominal region had a very deadened quality about it. The presence working through me enabled Alicia to process huge amounts of old hurtful stagnant emotion while drawing more of her spirit into the abdominal region, which then began to feel more fluid and alive.

Alicia began to talk to me about the Law of Attraction at one point. I responded by telling her that it hadn’t helped her to attract anyone into her life. I then reminded Alicia that it was the changes that took place as a result of the healing sessions that enabled her to let go of the man who had been jerking her around emotionally that she had been strung out on for quite some time.

I have spoken for a number of Law of Attraction groups. I would start out the evening by asking those in attendance if they wanted me to lecture or take them through practices that would enable them to become more firmly rooted in their bodies. Not a single person in attendance at any of these groups was well integrated with their feelings and physical bodies. In fact, many of them were holding all kinds of hurt, anger, resentment and a backlog of other toxic emotional residue bottled up on the inside. None of them had the courage or commitment needed take the steps that would have facilitated the healing of these deep emotional wounds.

Developing greater congruence

The bottom fell out from under me when the economy crashed in 2008. People were afraid of making any investment in themselves, the phone stopped ringing and I had no idea of know how I was even going to survive. There were many nights when I couldn’t fall asleep until two or three in the morning or I would wake up during that time feeling overwhelmed with anxiety. I would lay there in bed breathing into all of that horrible anxiety and ask myself “What can I do? How am I going to make it?” It took some time, but creative insights began to emerge as I continued to breathe into all that fear. And that gave me the inspiration to offer classes to help people heal the loss of a love and learn how to attract healthier people into their lives.

The practices of affirming what we want, seeing it in our mind and believing we have it can work very powerfully in some instances. Numerous athletes have used these practices to improve their performance. The danger here is that many our tendency to disconnect from our feelings and physical bodies as we attempt to affirm, see and believe what we want into existence.

The practice of focusing my attention on what I want and following up by taking constructive steps to make it happen has helped me in many ways. I take it a step further by breathing softly and deeply while focusing my attention on any corresponding feelings of desire that I experience within my body. The challenges I face on a daily basis can sometimes elicit anxiety, fear, pain, self-doubt or any number of other feelings. Breathing with my attention immersed in these feelings initiates a digestive process that transforms them so that they become fuel for growth.

I make a daily practice of breathing with my attention fully immersed in the stuck places within my body and mind that are bound or constricted. After some time I can feel these parts of me beginning to flow. The world feels more responsive as life takes on a more fluid quality. I become more responsive to people and circumstances. That makes it easier for me to adapt to the challenges of my everyday life.

Digesting all the charged emotions and other forms internal resistance creates an opening for change. New opportunities do have a way of presenting themselves. Sometimes it’s more of a matter of being able to let go of what’s not working so that I can embrace what does. And in many instances I’m able to recognize and respond to opportunities that I had previously overlooked.

©Copyright 2014 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

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Learning to Feel Comfortable in Our Social Interactions

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edited social
A young Korean man showed up in one of my classes not too long ago. Hwan shared with us during the introduction that he was having great difficulty expressing himself and was not able to convey his feelings for a woman that he found himself attracted to. I had Hwan bring the woman to the forefront of his awareness by picturing her immediately in front of him while breathing softly and deeply. Before long Hwan complained that he was becoming very dizzy and asked if he could stop. I had Hwan shift the focus by focusing his attention on the feelings and sensations throughout his body. Hwan told me that the dizziness had subsided when I checked in to see how he was doing a few minutes later.

Hwan spoke after completing the practice saying “I was feeling very dizzy when you had me focus my attention on the woman. It felt as though I were spinning. I became much calmer once you had me redirect my attention by having me focus on the physical sensations. I’m feeling more stable, comfortable and peaceful.

I spoke with Hwan after the class and he was receptive when I offered to look into his aura. It was quite apparent that he wasn’t fully inhabiting his body. The solar plexus and navel chakras were very underdeveloped. Hwan told me that he had been subjected to a lot of physical and emotional abuse by his overly controlling parents. He had internalized much of the trauma and that had apparently stunted his development.

The chakras serve as a form of bio-electrical circuitry that support the functions of the various internal organs and systems. In this case they were also reflecting developmental deficits that were making it difficult for Hwan to function. Hwan doesn’t have the faculties needed to remain fully grounded and to work constructively with his feelings. Consequently he is easily overwhelmed and that prevents him from expressing himself.

I told Hwan about my own personal experience of healing from similar traumas and about the success I’ve had working with others struggling with the same kinds of issues. Sadly, people don’t always recognize or make use of the opportunities being presented to them. Much of that has to do with the fact that most people are not familiar with the traditional Indigenous healing practices and their ability to facilitate healing that would not otherwise be possible. Hwan doesn’t possess the resources that would enable him to process his feelings, heal the deep emotional wounds and express himself as a fully functioning adult. He will most likely continue to struggle with the same sets of limitations indefinitely.

I’m very familiar with the difficulties Hwan is experiencing after having suffered similar abuse during my own childhood and adolescence. I was painfully shy for the longest time and that made it very difficult for me to function in various social interactions.

What’s preventing me from functioning?

Many of us feel awkward, shy or become anxious in our attempts to interact with others. Those of us who suffered abuse at some point in our lives may even feel that something is wrong with us or that we are unlovable. We often try to fight or resist these feelings, but in doing so we only feed the emotional forces that are working against us. I started making a practice of paying attention to all the things that were preventing me from expressing myself or functioning in different areas of my life.

I initially began to do this practice while sitting down in a quiet place with my eyes closed. I would bring the person, situation or issue concerning me to the forefront of my awareness then breathe softly and deeply while centering my awareness in the middle of any feelings or bodily sensations that arose. I would also breathe into places where I felt constricted or inhibited. Working with this practice helped me relax and feel more natural and flow more comfortably in my interactions. I continue to do this and other practices on a daily basis.

I’ve learned so much about being present by experimenting and I encourage others to do the same. I realized after some time that I needed to be applying this practice in my daily life. I started making a conscientious effort to be fully present with the feelings and sensations that I was experiencing within my body while in the midst of various interactions with people. After some time I found that I was able to maintain the connection with my feelings and bodily sensations while conversing with others and looking into their eyes. I found that it actually deepened the quality of the interaction.

Range of motion

I would intentionally put myself in all kinds of challenging social situations to further expand my range of motion. I would seek out the kinds of people I admire and do the things I had always wanted to do. The whole process of showing up present on a daily basis helped me to feel more alive. It also left me feeling quite vulnerable at times. Some of the more difficult or challenging situations brought up all kinds of uncomfortable feelings. Fears, anxieties, feelings of shyness, intimidation and inadequacy softened and became more diffuse as I continued to breathe into them. Digesting these feelings helped me to feel more at ease and to move through the world more freely.

I usually vary my focus in accordance with what I’m feeling at any given moment. I will often focus my attention in the chest, abdomen or any other part of the body where the feelings arise. At other times I experience a whole range of feelings and sensations simultaneously in different parts of the body. I will then maintain a more diffuse focus with my attention on the feelings and sensations throughout my body.

Moving into the spotlight

I had to become a public person in order to build a practice as a healer and that has forced me to stretch far beyond my comfort zone. I used to be painfully shy and found public speaking to be especially intimidating. My mind would often go blank while I was giving classes or workshops and then I would sit there frozen and not be able to think of anything to say. It usually took me about an hour to relax enough so that I could feel comfortable. The fear and anxiety has diminished as I’ve continued to work with the practice of breathing into any inhibiting feelings that arose. Now I’m offering classes on a weekly basis. Working in a group format can be very demanding, but I actually enjoy the process when I have people that are open and responsive.

Feelings of intimidation would often surface whenever I went to speak with radio show hosts or the program directors of various healing centers about giving an interview or workshop. I’ve grown to feel more comfortable in these kinds of interactions. I gradually became more cognizant of the fact that I have a great deal of knowledge to share about healing that is not readily available to the general public. I also more appreciative of the fact that I’m a conduit for a very powerful healing presence that is much needed by people in today’s world.

Asserting healthy boundaries

People who are unable to establish healthy boundaries and assert their needs are more likely to get stepped on or taken advantage of. I had suffered abuses for far too long and something inside me was unwilling to tolerate it any longer. I have on numerous occasions breathed into the fear and anger I was experiencing while confronting people that had overstepped their boundaries or were trying to take advantage of me.

The fears and anxieties were so strong in some instances that I would be physically shaking. Making a concerted effort to be fully present while asserting myself helped me to work through my fears and insecurities. It has also enabled me to become more embodied and establish healthier boundaries. It has become much easier for me to assert myself in these kinds of situations. I find the whole process to be very empowering.

Finding that special someone

Many people want more than anything to have someone to love and be loved by, but are afraid to approach or express their feelings for someone they feel attracted to for fear of being rejected. This is one of the main reasons why so many people do not have a love in their life. It also accounts for the fact that many people are settling for someone who is not the best match. They would rather settle than end up being alone.

I was really serious someone in my life, so I began to engage with women I found myself attracted to whenever the opportunity presented itself. I encountered a lot of fear and guardedness and sometimes found myself in awkward and embarrassing situations. I felt hurt or disappointed at times when things didn’t work out quite the way I wanted them to. Breathing through the uncomfortable feelings that surfaced helped me to work through the hurts, disappointments, fears and sense of awkwardness. I stopped personalizing a woman’s lack of response or interest as I came to realize that it had to do more with where she was at.

Many good things came of these interactions. I have gained a much better understanding of women and people in general. I gained a much greater sense of the qualities I truly desire in a friend and companion. I’ve developed the communicative skills that have enabled me to become more socially adept. A lot of these encounters turned into spontaneous dates. A number of the women I met became friends. Some of these encounters have been the start of a relationship. I would have missed out had I not taken action.

I would often breathe into any feelings of attraction or desire at times or the enjoyment of connecting with another human being during these encounters. Teaching myself to become more fully present in this way has helped me to feel more comfortable and flow naturally in my interactions.

Divine intervention

Many of us experience a painful sense of inadequacy or inferiority when we encounter people that we perceive to be smarter, more attractive, powerful or together in some way. Breathing into the underlying sense of inadequacy or any other feelings that arise activates the healing intelligence that resides within our body and mind. We gradually come to a place of greater self-love, appreciation and acceptance as the uncomfortable feelings dissipate.

Those of us who suffered from childhood abuse are more likely to feel damaged or defective. These wounds become so much a part of our makeup. I made a daily practice of being fully present in my body as I went about whatever it is I was doing. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get past some of the debilitating emotional wounds on my own. I would often come up against the limits of my own operating system. I was in many ways dissociated from body and was very cognizant of the fact that I didn’t possess many of the resources I need to do the things that truly mattered to me in life.

I realized that I needed some form of outside intervention in order to heal the deep emotional wounds. I worked with a number of exceptionally powerful healers and went on numerous vision quests, which are a traditional Native American healing practice that involves going out alone into the mountains for four days and nights without food or water. It was during the healing sessions and vision quest that I began to heal the debilitating emotional wounds and develop the resources that have made it possible to become more fully functional in my professional and personal life. I became much more connected to my feelings, my physical body and the world in which I live as a result of these interventions.

We all need to be making a concerted effort to show up, pay attention and participate on a daily basis. We also need to be realistic in understanding that we cannot do it all on our own. It is critically important for us to be making use of the tools and resources to help facilitate the healing and initiate the growth which we are not fully capable of doing on our own.

The never ending process of becoming more fully present

We cannot fully live our lives when we allow ourselves to be controlled by our fears and inhibitions. We need to be confronting our fears head on. Moving beyond our comfort zone by engaging with people and placing ourselves in situations that challenge us facilitates growth. We need to keep in mind that developing the ability to feel comfortable in the various kinds of social interactions is a gradual process. There will always be challenges along the way. Many of the same kinds of feelings and vulnerabilities will resurface in response to the people and circumstances we encounter as we go about our lives. The emotional discomforts that inhibit us will gradually become more diffuse as we continue to work with this practice. And with continued practice we will gradually find ourselves navigating a wider range of social situations with greater comfort and ease and move more freely through the world.

©Copyright 2014 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

Quieting the Mind

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Quiet MindPeople often meditate with the goal of quieting the mind. Despite our best efforts, a wide array of thoughts, imagery and other distractions intrude upon our consciousness. We often find ourselves thinking about what’s happening at work, concerns about friends, family members and other people with whom we interact or what we’re having for dinner tonight. Feelings of confusion, fear, anxiety, grief and other unprocessed emotions may also surface at times when we sit down to meditate. We may assume that we’re doing something wrong when that happens. People sometimes become frustrated and give up for that reason.

Some people do manage to find a quiet space within by pushing the intrusive thoughts, feelings and imagery out of their awareness. The problem with this approach is that the inner turbulence gets pushed down into the body where it continues to operate outside of our conscious awareness. The danger here is that it can create a greater disconnect between our conscious mind and our feelings and physical bodies.

Many people do use meditation to avoid their feelings and escape from their lives. My goal has been to use meditation to help me feel more deeply and become more involved in life.

All kinds of scattered and distracting thoughts, feelings and energies can surface when I sit down to meditate. It didn’t take me long to realize that any attempt to resist this content was futile. Instead of fighting or resisting the noise I needed to learn how to work constructively with it.

I often find myself consumed by conflicted thoughts and feelings pertaining to the never ending stream of people, situations and circumstances I find myself dealing with. I sometimes experience a sense of scatteredness or feel as though I’m being pulled in all directions. The internal noise and other distractions sometimes causes me to feel as if I’m on sensory overload. In some instances I feel a sense of agitation that makes it difficult to sit still.

Many of the thoughts and images that intrude upon our consciousness are driven by charged emotion and other stresses held within the body. I have found it helpful to ask myself “What are the deepest feelings behind all these thoughts and images. I notice where the feelings are located within my body. I’ll then begin to breathe softly and deeply while centering my awareness within the middle of any feelings or bodily sensations that arise. Fears, anxieties, frustrations, anger, disappointment and a wide array of other feelings can surface in the process. Pleasant feelings will also surface at times. I will often experience a whole succession of feeling as I continue to breathe.

Breathing with our awareness centered in the midst of feelings and bodily sensations as they arise can be a powerful form of meditation. Following the progression of feeling and sensation leads us further into the depth of our minds. I’ll continue to follow the feelings by breathing into them until they run their natural course. At other times I’ll breathe while immersing my awareness in the feelings of agitation, scatteredness or that I’m being pulled in all directions.

The mental – emotional – energetic clutter we carry around on the inside of us takes up a lot of bandwidth and consumes tremendous amounts of valuable energy. It also deadens our consciousness. Breathing into the feelings, bodily sensations and energies helps me to declutter my body – mind by enabling me to digest the internal static.

The body – mind works much more efficiently as we free it from the internal noise. I become progressively calmer and more relaxed as I continue to work with this practice. I find it easier to work through feelings that arise and bring issues to a place of resolution. That gives me a clearer sense of direction and improves my decision making capability. I feel a greater sense of grounding, centeredness and connection to my internal core. My intuition grows stronger along with my awareness of myself and my immediate surroundings. This process also stimulates my creativity, giving me all kinds of creative insights and workable solutions to life’s challenges.

©Copyright 2014 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

Finding Love on the Subway

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met on a bus“We’ve been married 31 years.”
“How’d you meet?”
“I saw her on a bus, put my watch in my pocket, sat down next to her, and asked her for the time.” – Humans of New York

The thriving music scene happening in Manhattan’s Lower East Side was one of the initial attractions that drew me to New York City. I went to so many concerts after moving to the city, but the music scene began to wind down after a few years. I still went out to various events whenever the opportunity presented itself, but it seemed that I rarely found the opportunity to meet the kind of women I was interested in. I was so busy with my work anyway. I seldom met or talked with women unless I spoke with those I encountered on the subway during my daily commutes. I was quite serious about having someone in my life, so I made a point of speaking to at least two women a day as I commuted to and from appointments.

Rules of the public transit system

I would often see women I found attractive during my daily commutes and felt a sense of frustration over not having an opportunity to meet or get to know them. I began to ask the women knew and those I encountered along the way if they had any suggestions as to how I could go about engaging a woman I found myself attracted to.

Some responded by telling me “Approaching women on the subway is harassment, so don’t do it. You need to understand that minimal social contact is the unwritten rule of the public transit systems of New York City.”

One encounters different sets of rules wherever they go. These arbitrary sets of rules were all made up by people at some point along the way. Some rules do serve a useful purpose. And yet many were conceived out of people’s ignorance, fear, confusion, superstition and in some instances stupidity. Rules often serve as a convenient excuse for those who are either unwilling or unable take responsibility for their own lives by thinking for themselves or relying upon their own intuition.

Restrictive sets of rules greatly hinder our ability to show up fully present as active participants in life. And in doing so, they prevent us from living our lives as fully functional human beings. Rigid sets of rules are also unnecessarily stifling. They shut down the natural flow of interaction in such a way that they prevent lots of people from meeting their normal and healthy needs for love and companionship. Consequently, many people end up being alone.

As Tom Robbins said in his book Jitterbug Perfume “What limits people is that they don’t have the fucking nerve or imagination to star in their own movie, let alone direct it.” We all have a choice. We can throw our youth away by allowing fearful and contracted people to define the terms and conditions of our lives or we can chose to think for ourselves and show up fully present. There are exceptions to all man and woman made rules and this “minimal social contact while riding on the transit system or moving about the city” is no different. It’s an exception that will lead to friendships, dates or even the possibility of a healthy and loving long term relationship.

Attractive women get hit on all the time

Many of the women I have spoken with have told me that they don’t appreciate being stopped on the street or approached on the subways. And that they find the level of harassment and attempts to engage with them that they are forced to endure to be exhausting.

I spend tremendous amounts of time on the subways commuting to and from work and running errands and I can’t help but pay attention to what’s going on around me. I see occasional panhandlers begging for money. I also see some very talented musicians and break dancers performing on the trains. Most of the people who are not with friends or family sit or stand engulfed in their own little protective bubble. Most of the women I see riding alone on the subways spend their time texting or surfing the net on their smart phone, reading a book or staring off into space. Rarely do I ever see men attempting to approach women or trying to engage them in conversation.

Too much time on our smartphones

People used to chat more on the subways before they became so dependent upon their gadgets. These days no one really looks, smiles or talks unless they happen to be riding with someone they already know. As our smartphones and the net have become more interactive many are becoming less willing to engage with people in their immediate proximity. Engaging with the people around us has lost its sense of normality and is in some instances perceived as threating because we’ve become so accustomed to talking to people at a distance through our smartphones.

One of the primary reasons many of us spend so much time on our smartphones and surfing the net is that we crave interaction. People who are guarded or that allow themselves to be controlled by their fears are usually not very interactive.

Weirded out by the fact that some guy finds me attractive

A number of the women I spoke with would say things like “As a woman, I feel incredibly weirded out that some guy on the subway finds me attractive and wants to go out with me. He’s only approach me because he thinks I’m physically attractive. He doesn’t know anything about who I am as an individual.”

I responded by saying “You’re absolutely right about the fact that the guy doesn’t know you. It’s a normal and healthy response for men and women to become curious and want to check each other out. How about operating from a more receptive mindset that says who is this person? There’s absolutely no harm in becoming curious about getting to know another person. And if it turns out that you share common interests and enjoy talking with them, then why not spend some time getting to know each other.

Our first sense of an individual we find ourselves attracted to us is usually visual. Approaching and expressing an interest in the people we find ourselves attracted to is all part of the normal and healthy process of mate selection that has gone on for thousands of years. Everyone has their preference for a certain features. Men and women are naturally drawn to those individuals they find physically attractive and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If looks were not so important to women, then why is it that the more handsome men have considerably more dates and are more likely to be in a relationship? In fact, many women automatically reject a man who doesn’t appear to be her type.

Give her an easy exit

Standing directly in front of or towering over another person can be perceived as threatening. Women are more likely to feel at ease when we stand at an angle and give them some room to breathe. It’s also important for us to be mindful that any person we engage on public transportation is in an enclosed space where they cannot easily get away. Therefore we need to be gracious by giving them an easy out if we see indications that they are not a willing participant.

She’s just not interested

Men can be incredibly tone deaf. It’s important for men to pay attention to subtle cues such as a woman’s tone of voice, body language and the vibe she’s giving off whenever we attempt to engage. Short one or two word answers like “Yes” or “No, sorry,” an unemotional tone or scowling face, purposely turning away or going back to her book or music are often indications that she just wants to be left alone. It’s best to just get the hint, say “thank you” and then move on.

We also need to take into consideration that any woman who captures our attention has a life of her own. She may be struggling with various work related, financial or personal issues. She may already have someone in her life. A wedding or engagement ring is, in most instances, an indication that she’s already taken.

Many women have learned to maintain a level of friendliness because men have either caused a scene or insulted them when they haven’t. Men who have lost touch with their feelings may also lose their capacity for empathy. Many are not able to tell when a woman is attempting to brush them off. They often make the mistake of assuming that any woman who smiles at them is interested because of their inability to distinguish between a polite response and genuine interest.

I can tell when the woman I’m speaking with is not really putting any effort into the conversation by the vibe she’s giving off. It’s obvious that she’s not a willing participant if I have to do all the work. I’ll stop talking if I get a sense that the woman I’m engaging with is not receptive.

I will sometimes test the waters. There have been many occasions where I could sense an initial discomfort from women that I have engaged with on the subway or in other public spaces. I always set the intention that I want any interaction to be mutually comfortable. I’ve learned over time to feel a person’s boundary or comfort zone and that gives me a sense of how close or far away I should sit or stand. I will sometimes back off for a while and at other times I would completely disengage. Many have gradually relaxed and let their guard down. Women who were initially fearful or hesitant often became much more open and engaging at some point once they realized that they were safe.

Places where women go to meet men

A number of woman I’ve spoken with said things like “I cannot even fathom why you would even consider approaching women in the subway. There are so many places you can go to where women actually want to meet and talk to men. Go to a bar or create a profile on match.com. Just leave us the fuck alone on the train.”

Many of us have spent inordinate amounts of time going to events in hopes of meeting someone. Going to events related to our own specific areas of interests can increase our likelihood of meeting people who share similar interests. Many of the men I have spoken with in the city talk about how that same sense of fear and guardedness they encounter on the public transit system carries over into these so called safe environments where women go to meet men.

Going to all these classes, workshops, concerts, museums and wherever else we can think of to go can also become very expensive and time consuming. People who are working long hours, commuting great distances and saddled with tremendous responsibility just don’t have the time or energy.

I hear so many people expressing their frustration over the fact that they never seem to meet the kind of person they want to connect with despite the fact that they’re going to all kinds of events. Limiting ourselves to the small pool of individuals who our friends introduce us to or that happen to show up at the events we attend severely limits our likelihood of finding the love and companionship we truly desire. Why not just engage with the people in our immediate proximity that we encounter as we go about our day?

I know a few couples who have met in bars. But there are lots of problems associated with meeting in bars. Bars are full of intoxicated people who are not in their right state of mind. And they tend to attract lots of people who are looking for a means of escape from the realities of their lives. Many people go to bars with the purpose of hooking up with someone for the night.

Bars also tend to be very noisy. The music is often so loud that one can barely hear what the other person is saying. They’re definitely not the kind of environment that’s conducive for reflective thought or really getting to know a person. Women that go out to bars to spend the evening with their girlfriends often do not want to be approached. Their friend’s lack of social approval can easily torpedo any possibility of making a connection.

Lots of women have told me they think it’s creepy for men to engage them on the subway and said that I should be looking to meet someone online. I have asked a number of these women to tell me the difference between a man who approaches them in a public space and one who contacts them through their profile on mismatch.com. Creating internet profiles to advertise ourselves online is so sadly pathetic. But many of us do it because we’re too socially retarded to engage with the people we encounter over the course of our everyday lives.

We don’t really know the person who engages us online. They can easily create the kind of image they wish to portray. We cannot see their real personality because that person is not physically present right here in front of us. Many lie about their age, weight, height, marital status and other important personal details in their online profiles.

There are a number of advantages to meeting someone in the subways. Those of us who are in touch with our intuition can get a better sense of the person standing in front of us and that makes it easier for us to determine if we have something in common. We get a sense of their level of intelligence and their overall outlook on life. We can also pick up on potential red flags that let us know to be careful or to not get involved.

The newer trains are fairly quiet and brightly lit. The subways are full of all kinds of interesting, intelligent, well-educated and creative people who share similar interests and passions. One encounters lots of well-dressed professionals on their way to or from work. There’s less pretention involved when meeting someone on the subway and that gives us a more realistic sense of the person we’re interacting with. The people we meet on the subway are usually not under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. All one has to do is open their eyes to see that there are more potential partners on the subway and other forms of public transit than any other venue.

The truth is that there is no universally acceptable setting for men and women to meet. The world we live in becomes an incredibly lonely and boring place when we allow small minded people controlled by their fears to cause us to contract in ways that prevent us from engaging with the people we encounter during the course of our everyday lives. Teaching ourselves to remain present in our bodies while tuning into our intuition will give us a clear sense of who is trustworthy. With this knowing we can determine who we want to open up to and allow into our lives.

Making the approach

Approaching someone on public transportation we find ourselves attracted to is taking a risk and that requires a lot of courage. We have to accept the fact that we will be viewed by some as a creep or predator. We may encounter a lot of rejection. Those individuals we find ourselves interested in may not necessarily be rejecting us. People that haven’t learned to truly think for themselves and tune to their own intuition and tend to operate on autopilot. I have found that centering our awareness in the middle of the feelings while breathing softly and deeply will soften and diffuse the sting of rejection so that I can bounce back and move on.

The window of opportunity

One of the most challenging and sometimes frustrating aspects of meeting on the subway is not knowing how much time we have to engage with an attractive stranger. It can be very difficult to connect with someone who is getting off at the next stop. I’m always thankful for the thirty minute to an hour windows of opportunity to talk and get to know someone provided by the long commutes to or from the Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. I have in some instances acted as though I had intended to get off at the same subway stop. That has on occasion made it possible to continue the conversation.

Some women I spoke with recommended that I start by making eye contact and only approach those who show some indication of being responsive. The problem with using this approach in New York City is that lots of women on the subway and in other public spaces make a concerted effort to avoid eye contact. Making eye contact can work in some instances and yet it may also be perceived as a threat. It’s not that uncommon for women and men in the city to visibly tense up if they notice an unfamiliar person making eye contact or checking them out.

It’s difficult to engage with someone who catches our attention at the other end of the subway car. If at all possible, I’ll find a way to stand or sit next to a woman that captures my attention. I will often initiate by commenting on something a woman is wearing or a book she’s reading. I’ve had women pull the ear buds out of their ears to ask them about the music they’re listening to. I’ve actually said things like “I really like what I’m hearing there. Can I check out what you’re listening to for a minute?” In many instances that has gotten women to engage me in conversation. I have asked for directions at times when I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

Revealing any kind of romantic interest or feelings of attraction is more likely to scare the woman being approached. It also creates a lot of unnecessary pressure by putting her in a position of having to decide if I’m someone that she wants to be involved with romantically. Keeping the interaction light and friendly creates a more neutral setting to get to know one another. It also gives her more of an opportunity to determine if she feels comfortable with me and if she wants to continue the interaction.

I’m only romantically interested in women that I can relate to as a friend. Being genuinely curious to learn more about the woman I’m speaking to as a person encourages her to open up and become more engaging. Introducing myself at some point in the conversation helps to put her at ease and moves the conversation smoothly from strangers to mildly acquainted. Instead of asking for an email or phone number I will usually say “What steps can we take to continue this conversation?” Many have offered me their email or phone number. Some have suggested that we continue the conversation over coffee.

Opening ourselves to possibility

A number of the women I spoke with have said something to the effect “I cannot possibly imagine a conversation that takes place on public transit would turn into anything else. I’ve met interesting people along the way and enjoyed the conversation, but they always ended as soon as I got off at my stop.”

One of the greatest impediments to finding love in cities like New York and Boston is the pervasive sense of fear that causes so many people to contract and put up walls around themselves. Fear is a protective mechanism that serves a useful purpose when it mobilizes us to respond to a legitimate threat. Conversely, inappropriate or disproportionate fears can have a negative impact upon ourselves and others. We all have legitimate reason to exercise caution. However, the baseline state of fear that many of us operate from that predisposes us to be fearful and suspicious of those we are not familiar with is what prevents so many of us from finding the love we truly need and desire.

Many of us spend inordinate amounts of time traveling to and from wherever it is we’re going in trains filled with all kinds of interesting people. If we were to truly open ourselves to possibility we would clearly see that we encounter more potential partners on the subway and other forms of public transit than any other place.

Closing ourselves off to the possibility of meeting in public spaces severely limits our likelihood of meeting the kind of person we truly want to be with. Moving through the world with a sense of openness and willingness to meet people wherever we go gives us a much wider selection of potential partners to choose from and greatly increases our likelihood of finding the love and companionship we truly need and desire.

Showing up fully present

There are so many people residing in New York City that feel they have to schedule their lives minute by minute filling every waking moment of the day. They’re up at six-forty-five, on the subway by eight, beginning their work day at nine, taking their thirty to sixty minute lunch break at one and then continuing to work until five-thirty. They’re back on the subway as soon as they leave the office, attending yoga class at six, dinner with their friends immediately thereafter and then they spend the remainder of their evening online.

Many New Yorkers become so stressed out because they lack the resources and understanding that would enable them to process the realities of their daily lives. They’re constantly doing and doing to avoid their fears, insecurities, hurts and the profound sense of emptiness that resides within. They’re never fully present in the moment because their mind is always caught up in the past or busy thinking about the next thing they’re doing. If they’re not thinking about their upcoming activities, they find something to distract themselves such as television, their smartphones, a game, alcohol, etc. They cannot be present with themselves, therefore they cannot be present for anyone else. Many are incredibly lonely. They want so much to meet someone they can love and be loved by. But many are so scared of other people, rejection, the world around them and their own feelings that they end up shutting down and that’s why people in the city become so isolated from one another.

New Yorkers have so many fears associated with the transit system. They have a tendency to go into this collective state of disconnect as soon as they embark on the subway. But the transit system is now about as safe as any other place we would find ourselves in the city. And we will discover some truly amazing things when we get out of our heads long enough to be present to what’s happening around and about us.

One can experience the wonderment of life anytime and anywhere. It’s important for us to slow ourselves down enough so that we can actually enjoy the journey. We do that by making a conscientious effort to become fully present in the moment wherever we happen to find ourselves. We take in our immediate surroundings while opening ourselves to the possibility that there may be something of benefit for us here in this time and space. And we remember to ground ourselves within our bodies by breathing softly and deeply while maintaining a state of openness to whatever good life brings our way.

Can you find love in public spaces?

Going through one rejection after another and dealing with so much flakiness takes its toll. I would sometimes give up for periods of time. I felt that I had no choice but to keep approaching and brave the rejections if I was ever going to find the love I needed and desired. After some time I began to realize that many of these women were only operating according to their socially programmed autopilot responses.

I’ve made friends and have gone out on lots of dates. I went out with an Egyptian woman for some time that I met one night when I was stranded in a subway station because I forgot to bring my umbrella. I was in a relationship for a year with a woman I met on a flight to Sri Lanka. Nearly all of the relationship I’ve been in began as a result of my talking with women I met in public spaces. All kinds of amazing things can happen when we open ourselves to possibility.

I fell in love on the subway

Robin wasn’t in the habit of noticing men on the subway. But one day she had a feeling that someone looking at her. She looked up to see a tall attractive man who stood out among the crowd. Robin would see her “subway crush” on occasion while commuting to work. She sunk into a depression at one point when he seemed to disappear for weeks on end, fearing that she would never see him again. But Robin’s subway crush materialized next to her on the subway platform one cold January morning. She discovered that they had lots in common as they began to chat. Robin shoved her business card into his hand before getting off at her stop. Josh emailed the following Monday to ask her out. Robin and Josh moved in together ten months later. They had a model subway train positioned on top of their wedding cake when they later married.

Love can happen anywhere

Daniel sensed a woman standing behind him on the platform as he stood waiting for the downtown 6 train at 33rd St. He turned and asked her if she knew of a good place to have a drink. Daniel listened politely as Rebecca began to go through a list of possible establishments and then asked her if she would like to join him. Rebecca was hesitant at first, but then agreed to go along. Daniel and Rebecca got off at 14th street and walked a couple of blocks to a bar. Something about their conversation felt so natural. They began spending weekends together. Daniel moved in with Rebecca four months later and they married soon thereafter.

We need to feel safe and comfortable and be encouraged to engage with one another

Healthy and loving relationships can only develop when we actually take the opportunity to get to know one another. That cannot possibly happen until we begin to engage each other in conversation. Having a reciprocal interchange with other human beings on an interpersonal level is a critically important part of our personal growth. Men and women need to feel safe, comfortable and feel supported and encouraged in their interaction with one another. It’s important for us to follow up whenever we do make a connection by answering emails and phone calls and meeting again in a neutral place where we have the opportunity to actually get to know one another.

I’ve said to people on many occasions “How do you know that person sitting next to you on the subway or that engages you in conversation isn’t the best match you will ever come across in your entire life? You really don’t know until you at least give yourself the opportunity to get to know this person.”

Love can happen anytime and anywhere when we open ourselves to the opportunities being presented to us. New York City’s mass transit system brings anywhere from four to seven million people together a day. Surely we can find the one we’ve been waiting for when we just open ourselves to possibility.

And be sure to check out this amazing story about how another couple found love on the subway 🙂

©Copyright 2013 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. To learn more or to schedule a private session call (913) 927-4281