selfish or selfless?

tuesday sermon march 26 2013

                                      selfish or selfless?

the dictionary definition of selfish is; to be concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself, seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.  in this regard i can not reconcile the idea of the artist as selfish.  i am compelled to make art, to think of deep philosophical ideas.  i did not choose this, but i do not make or do for myself.  i make and do for the world.  i have devoted my life to creating images and ideas for other people.  art is made to heal and help the world change and evolve.  art is not a selfish act, but the most selfless.

my family were not role models, more things to look at to not be, to not aspire to.  the major decisions and ideals of my life are my own choice.  i chose my personal faith, morality, intellectual pursuits and aesthetic understanding.  i chose contrary to support and precedent of my families and peers.  it has seemed very real at many times in my life that people important to me would rather that i choose or do different things.  yet, i can not.  i am compelled.  at times the idea of compromise has become so abhorrent that it has brought on depression and physical illness.  i have been called, since i was 8 i have been hearing the universe calling, honing my craft.  if i had decided to be a doctor, lawyer or business person no one would have a negative thing to say.  because i wish to devote myself to art, culture and philosophy i am considered lazy and irresponsible that i do not wish the distraction of mundane employment that does not enhance my position or inspiration as a professional artist.

not only is my vocation my primary means of making a financial living eventually, it is also my spiritual devotion.  asking me to devote my time to more mundane financial concerns is like asking the monks and nuns to have day jobs on top of their monastic duties.  being a shaman is a full time job.  devoting your life to spiritual and religious concerns also does not seem a popular path in our society either.

it seems the pressures of my life bring out a contrary nature. the contrary in society serves to show a mirror to the norm so that may contemplate themselves.  the more i am pressured to conform the more i want to act out and be non-compliant.  perhaps it seems selfish to always lean away from the mainstream, to always want to be different, but that is what my inner voice says.  i have had to make my own choices and i think i have made it pretty far, fairly well.  so when others suggest that maybe they have better ideas for how i should be spending my time it feels wrong inside.  it takes effort to hear what the universe has to say and i feel grateful and fortunate to be able to take this opportunity to try and pursue the direction that universe is laying out for me.

i have never chosen to do the hard and unusual things without regard for others.  i am filled with doubt and guilt and fear.  but i do not allow those feeling to stop me from following the voice of the universe.  the brain chemically experiences reality the same way that it experiences memories and dreams.  the universe wants to tell us that you can dream your own reality and remember how to be creative and control your own destiny.  this is not a selfish desire but a gift to the rest of the world.  at the very least this is what art and artists can teach us.  whatever call you hear the universe giving, answer it selfishly and selflessly because that is the best thing that you can do for everyone and the universe will reward you for it.

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