Garrett (garote) wrote,

What Mah J0rb Is Like

Being a computer geek - at least at my job - is like being a tibetian monk for about eight hours a day.

In the late morning I drive (or bicycle) up to the temple doors (office) and open them by waving a magic talisman (keycard). Then I walk to my personal alcove, where I don a ceremonial cloak (loose-fitting hawiian dress shirt, in my case). Then I walk out into a gigantic cavern of a room. It is somberly lit, and all around me are hundreds of fellow monks, working alone or in small groups. Each monk is holding a brush or a stick or some other small item, and is down on one knee, looking intently at the floor.

The floor is covered with an immense, colorful mandala. It writhes with strange patterns and textures, and radiant, branching lines. I go to my spot of the mandala, pick up my brush, and close my eyes. All awareness of the world outside the temple leaves my mind. There is only the pattern of the mandala, unfolding in my head. I immerse myself in a trance-like state, and in a while I pick up a stick or a brush, and I add to the drawing on the floor.

Sometimes I have to break concentration when a fellow monk taps me on the shoulder and asks for help understanding some distant part of the mandala. Other times I am the one asking for help. Our conversations are pleasant, because we're all trained monks, and we all enjoy seeing the mandala grow and work.

Eight hours pass, often without notice. I stand up, place my robe back in the alcove, and exit the temple, back into the living world.

That's not what it's like physically, but that's almost exactly what it's like mentally. I pretty much make a living by meditating about math and patterns for eight hours. It's challenging and otherworldly.

But you can see how it requires a pretty big counterbalancing weight: During my time off, I need to really connect with the world. Hence all the journal entries about bike riding. :D
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