Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Love one another and you will be happy. It is as simple and difficult as that." Michael Leunig.
The creator of this exquisitely illustrated treasure trove of wise sayings, Mike Medaglia, and I have something in common. Both of us are practising Zen Buddhists. I would love to say that we also share a talent for drawing, but sadly that would be a complete and utter lie. For whilst he has mastered the art of... well... art, I am currently in danger of being surpassed by my four-year-old daughter in terms of illustrative abilities...
When Mike told me that he was planning to create this work I was delighted, and mentioned that it sounded like a book I had read when first beginning to meditate over twenty years ago, called Glimpse After Glimpse: Daily Reflections on Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. Which contains '365 thought-provoking meditations on life, death, doubt, mindfulness, compassion, wisdom, work, and more!' He mentioned that book was indeed also a favourite of his. This work, also containing 365 meditations, is like that book with one superlative difference: every single daily espresso shot of enlightenment is accompanied by equally powerful art.
The pearls of wisdom you'll find within the covers of this book are not contained to any one faith, or indeed purely religious in nature. Some do come from Buddhist masters and teachers of other faiths, but also philosophers, poets, artists, musicians, gurus, playwrights, scientists, politicians, ku fu masters, even comicbook creators and retailers. Okay, well maybe not retailers, but Mike has included a wonderful Osama Tezuka quote that is accompanied by Astro Boy gently holding a snowflake on his outstretched hand.
"What is one man's life compared to the eternity of time and space? No more than a snowflake that glitters in the sun before melting into the flow of time."
Actually, the word "accompanied" does Mike a total disservice, for here the art empowers and invigorates the prose words, bringing them vividly to life using many different artistic devices which convey additional interpretation, emphasis and depth to the phrase in question. Indeed often the words themselves form part of the fabric of the design of the artwork. People who have read his moving, and very touching, SEASONS will know just how clever this approach can be. This work is in fact some of the finest iconography I have ever seen. There were several pages that moved me deeply, caused pause for thought, and generated a deep swell of emotion within me. Exactly as it should be when taking in such powerful packets of wisdom.
This really is the perfect gift for a loved one who you think might benefit from some beautiful moments of serene reflection. In fact I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from the sage words of wisdom contained within and feel spiritually uplifted by the emotive artwork. And you should include yourselves in that. For whilst Sogyal Rinpoche commented in his best known work, The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying, that "The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life", and that is undoubtedly true, I think Sogyal himself might concur that picking up a copy of Mike's book would be a close second...