What is the one virtue that connects all spiritualities? In my opinion, it’s Imagination. Upon visiting mosques, churches, temples and grottoes, and hearing the soulful rhythm and melodies of hymns, chants and musical instrumentals, I’ve come to the conclusion that art and music has elevated spirituality more than doctrine itself. The proof is everywhere. Sistine Chapel. Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Angkor Wat. Mogao Grottoes. Borobudur. Prambanan. Notre-Dame. And that’s not including the myriad of sacred masterpieces displayed at galleries and national museums. Imagination has delivered creative texts like David and Goliath, Ramayana, Golden Elephant and the Great Flood. Imagination has conceived religious fashion like the papal tiara, hijab and orange robes worn by monks. Imagination has inspired followers everywhere in so many ways and will continue to do so until the sun sets on humanity. So the question must be asked—Where does this boundless imagination come from?
Since none of my students listened when I told them so, I went ahead and illustrated my point.
In my opinion, the best way to improve your art is by observing the beautiful creations Nature has to offer, say this rooster’s head for instance.
One day I came across this mural while walking through an underground tunnel. “So true,” I thought to myself, for as intelligent sentient beings, we all have our preferences of what’s nice to look at and what’s not so nice. But to call someone ugly is not only rude, it’s selfish, for someone else might think otherwise. And that’s a good enough reason to accept someone as he/she is—a miracle of nature, not just another ugly face (this reasoning goes for plants and animals too).
Nothing makes a greater gift than a book marker. It’s cheap, thoughtful and applicable to all recipients. And if you really want to impress, don’t buy it. Make it. With a few simple resources (paper, markers and a pair of scissors), you too can give a gift that will last a lifetime (of a book, that is).