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Thursday, January 12, 2012

TIME OR MONEY


 

     m.f. hussein


I've been wondering for some weeks what happened to my Asian readers. Used to be views in SoKorea, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, India and others. About a month ago the Asian readers stopped. I miss them. My sensing is that this is the same length of time USA and Israel have been bombing Iran. Iran supplies oil to much of Asia, including China. USA wants to slow oil supply to Asia. China released a news bite the other day calling USA a "troublemaker," for the posturing toward war with US fleet playing war games in the Pacific for them to see. The paper tiger better watch out. I used to think Obama was an intelligent president, but seeing him take us into these most dangerous places in the world, posturing and bombing simply because we need a new victim for American ongoing aggression, gives me chills. They talk about "pre-emptive" strikes, like daddy hitting the kid "for general principles." I'm curious if Asian countries have agreed to cut off internet with American blogs, etc. I can't say that I blame them.



I understand better every day the meaning of "live in the world, not of it." Finally, I feel like I have some understanding. My inclination when I moved to the mountains was to get out of the world. But the world was in the mountains too. Over the years, I've attempted to get along in the world, make a living, keep peace with the people around me, wondering all along the way where is the dividing line between in and of. Looks to me like Asia hunkering down, seeing the paper tiger's gaze move from Middle East to East. They had their cold war with Russia, but now that Russia is not able to play power games any more, it's time to subdue China's economic influence by controlling their oil supply, keeping it low to keep their production low. No point saying anything about it. It's not my call. If USA were not a rogue warrior nation, we could have good, solid, cultural exchange relationships with China and the other Asian countries. But America must dominate. Shiny, shiny, boots of shiny leather.



We, the American experience, have become in the world something like the Comanche Indians of western Texas and Oklahoma. The Comanches had horses a long time before the other Indians. The Comanches were a warrior culture. Little to no arts and crafts. The liked stealing horses from other tribes. Horses were their status. They commanded a rather large territory with their aggressive natures. In USA 2/3 of our taxes go to military. We don't do arts and crafts except in people who must. And they end up in corporations. They lose belief that their art is valid because it's not up there with the Best and making the Most money. When they stop, they stop forever. It doesn't pay. Maybe some might take up painting in retirement. We put off our lives to make more money. This is why I've never made money. Like in economy it's a trade-off where guns and butter are the issue. More guns means less butter. Americans are so used to it, it's our way of life.



Many years ago, I saw that divide between money and time. I chose time to money. I live in a world where it looks like everyone else chose money to time. I thought, what's the point of having money when you don't have time to use it? I believed I could have a better life with more time than money. Looking back, I don't assess that way of seeing it a mistake. I chose time and, though I can't say I've spent my time well, I can't imagine I'd be much better at using money than I am at using time. I also follow advice from some masters of the East. Shirdi Sai Baba recommended letting money flow through your fingers. Upasni Maharaj recommended living without ambition. Mind you, this is for people on the spiritual path; people living in the world, not of the world. Ambition would be the desire to do well in the world, on the world's terms. Ambition is involved with wanting. Letting money flow through the fingers allows the flow of the economy, keeps money, the bloodstream of civilization, in motion. Keeps the economy healthy, and is good practice in detachment.



Discovering those two methods of living in the world, not of it, each one sort of jumped off the page when I read them. I didn't need to make a note. I knew. As soon as I saw each one, I knew there was something to it to pay attention to. In my trust that these guys knew what they were saying--they did in everything else they said--I let go of ambition to see where it would take me. It's not that it took me someplace. It's that it inhibits attachment to position and other egoic magnets that look silly from the grave. I've learned from mountain musicians how to continue in my art form without ambition. I have my interest in making each painting what I want it to be in itself, not thinking how much I can get for it. When the money enters into my painting, the painting fades away. In this round of painting mountain musicians, I'm keeping money mind out of it. Art is not about money. It's not about position, either. I live in a country that discourages art for the sake of military might, the two don't seem to go together well, and art is my only interest. Military might is not even in the top thousand on my list of interests.



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