IN THE DIMENSIONS OF DAILY EMPLOYMENT

Any workplace holds confidences you can never reveal. Not that you don’t want to expose company secrets. Then, considering the office computers, fax machines, and photocopiers, you realize they’re incapable of guilt. They simply do their job — and you might find that unsettling.

Whenever I do manage to tap genuine emotions regarding this employment, no one’s more shocked than myself. Take something as simple as a pane of glass between my desk and the trees outdoors. Even on my job in Appalachian mountains, I wanted a window. One the size of a book would suffice, although a picture view would be preferred. I’ve always appreciated a panorama, a sense of precisely where I fit into the weather of a particular day. Instead, I feel trapped underground, half-buried in regulations and routine. Only a band of natural light at the far end of the fluorescent-and-steel expanse hints of sun, moon, sky, or clouds — and even that aperture is tinted. Why are my hours on the job so cut off from the rest of life? “We may as well be coal miners in carbonized veins or muscular razorbacks sweltering in midnight foundries. Is it only the sun we miss? Examine the calendar. Check on the moon’s phase.”

I could just plot my escape. I am surrounded by desert. Trek there alone. Right to the heart.

He recall the words of another friend who spoke of the paradox of Zen Buddhist freedom: the very limitations the practice imposes also lead to an extraordinary freedom. An individual who’s free in the Spirit can be placed in prison and yet not be captive — persecuted and yet unbowed — denounced and still spotless.

The Dedicated Laborious Quest, as my Teacher taught, is a truly free way.

Free, yes, with the labor.

I pick up the phone and hear Kokopelli’s whistle. He wants us to get going. Then tells me of the dance where we’ll be playing.

For more insights from the American Far West and Kokopelli, click here.

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