Just How Open-Minded Are We (Me)?

15 Jul

Last week, as I was visiting clients’ offices, I was struck by a singular sight, one that made me feel a little weird for thinking, as I looked at it, Wow, this is a weird thing to be in a company’s lobby. The thing in question was a large, beautiful oil painting of Mecca, in particular of the pilgrims surrounding the Ka’ba. It looked something similar to this one:

It was the only piece of art in the room, which was the lobby of this medical company I was visiting. I’d never been there before, and I was instantly drawn to the painting, which took up most of the wall. I remember thinking, Cool, and moving up closer to inspect the intricately drawn bodies, the white-draped figures perambulating around the black cube in the center. And then I felt strange to be seeing this obviously Islamic painting here, in Southern California, in the lobby of a medical company with no obvious ties to Islam or the Arab world, and then feeling stupid and bigoted for being conscious of any strangeness.

I’m sure I’m going to get lots of comments about what an idiot I am and who cares, but as a liberal liberal, who feels that people have a basic and unalienable right to believe whatever they want to believe as long as they leave me (and anyone who disagrees with them) alone with my (non)beliefs, I felt weird. I’m still not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I see so little religious art in my day-to-day world, whatever the religion, especially in the context of the workplace. Or because it felt like a statement of some sort, this large painting in the lobby of this company – saying, What? Again, I don’t know. Maybe their company president just really liked the painting or artist. Or just completed his pilgrimage and wanted everyone to know about it.

Am I crazy?

Anywho, pondering all of this lead me to Google (of course), which led me to this person’s beautiful pen and ink drawings of Mecca, which now makes me want to add, Learn to draw and make a visual travel journal, to my 101 Things.

I mean, how beautiful is that? And so much better than, Today, I visited Mecca and saw pilgrims.

Also, I beefed up the little I know about Mecca from this site, which gives a very thorough and relatively easy to follow summary of what Mecca is and why it’s important. There’s two things that resonated with me (again, according to this site): 1) Adam and Eve are thought to have fallen to different (and very distant) places on Earth when they were banished from Paradise and were left to wander lonely and alone and 2) each corner of the Ka’ba points to a different, particular thing, the south wall facing the “rising of the bright star of Canopus.” I’m not sure where my brain is going with these two things, but I’m very curious.

Yours in the never-ending brain wanderings of the over-active and kind of dumb,

Jho

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One Response to “Just How Open-Minded Are We (Me)?”

  1. noura titrit June 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    this is a really an article that touches my soul and my heart simply because it reminds me of my dream which is visiting this inspirational ,beautiful,and holly place .To muslim visiting mecca is like a returns to thier origins ,a spiritual path towords God and because it the The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakkah, full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings as the holly coran mentioned it.
    what you might have experienced “Jho” is something lies to our human nature which is curiosity which simply is the desire to learn and to discover new things it might also be an impulse to a change or to look at how we are human being feel so complex and strange in facing new things in life.this might have a lots of interpretation it depends to the person and how he see himself and things but surely the person have always to follow his soul and heart and of course do not forget his mind too.finally, thank you for this inspiring article hope you rest your mind and find the answer by yourself.

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