Ken Cormier
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WHEN I USED TO WORK AT MY JOB

When I used to work at my job, I would get out of bed at 6am, make the coffee, feed the cat, eat an English muffin, take a shower, and leave the house by 6:45. I didn't have to start work until 9am, but I liked to arrive a couple of hours early.

My job mainly consisted of folding and bending. Sometimes I would collate. Every once in awhile I would be asked to apply the glue and seal the edges. This was the least pleasant job of all. Company masks, which were supposed to be made available at all times, were often not stocked, and I'd have to apply and seal with no protection at all. My eyes watered and my nostrils burned. No one else seemed bothered by this. My boss, who had hairy arms, was especially unsympathetic. And I found it peculiar that a man with such incredibly hairy arms would insist on rolling up his sleeves in every possible situation. Each morning I watched him arrive at the office in a two-piece suit. He would hang his suit jacket on a hook on the back of his door, roll up his sleeves past the elbows, and begin his work day. Just like that.

Most days, I could reasonably expect to fold and bend. Materials were left in my cubicle each morning, and I found that, with a two-hour head-start, I could be done with the day's work by 3pm. This meant that I had time to meditate in my cubicle for two hours before quitting time. Though I disliked my job, I did enjoy the meditation time. The hum of the machines downstairs blended in my mind with the smell of hot glue and the faint buzz of the fluorescent lamps. As long as we folded and bent our quota, and remained quiet and calm, we were free to do whatever we liked in our cubicles. I felt that the afternoons were entirely mine, and the fact that I was trapped in the office made it

feel even more liberating somehow. Since my job required no communication, I didn't have a phone at my desk. No one could reach me. As far as anyone in the outside world was concerned, I was busy at work.

I read once about a man who practiced Kundalini yogic meditation. He woke up each morning at 4am and sat in the dark with his legs crossed. He concentrated on the image of a lotus flower. He meditated like this for years before he was finally rewarded with a vision. One morning he saw a brilliant, flashing fountain of stardust and electricity in his mind. Then he felt a burning sensation in his spine, starting from the nape of his neck and working its way down to his tail bone. The serpent that had been lying dormant at the base of his spine had finally uncoiled. His brain flooded with light and his body seized up on him. The experience was so overwhelming that he was unable to walk or eat solid food for weeks. He was fired from his job, and he nearly lost his family. He had no choice but to live the life of an ascetic monk from that day forward.

I meditated in my cubicle for two hours each weekday afternoon for nearly a year, but I was never able to achieve what the Kundalini man did. Once, though, when I had been applying and sealing all day without a mask, I felt dizzy and then had a vision of a diamond-studded glue gun floating in a glittery rainbow that arched above a massive sleeping elephant with multiple hairy arms. I woke up in the hospital that evening, and I quit my job the next day.