Art and Compassion

When senseless acts of violence are brought upon innocents, as they were in my hometown of Boston a few weeks ago, it’s understandable that we become so distraught, fearful, or helpless that we draw into a cave, physical or mental, that protects us from these feelings.

Yet, as we have been taught by our spiritual teachers, we must be braver than this. We must be brave enough to consciously carry these awful feelings in our hearts and yes, grieve and rail, but ultimately turn them into a compelling compassion, from where we can look out and say, ‘What must I do?”

I am not a politician, therapist, social worker, or city manager. I cannot make new laws, counsel the disturbed and poor, or re-arrange city protocol. I am an artist, who believes the creation and witnessing of things beautiful can uplift spirits, calm the mind, and open the heart in profound ways.

For upon realizing that we are inexorably linked because someone else’s images tell our story, we become incapable of wishing harm on others. For there is clear evidence that they feel what we feel. When we share the pain of others, it lessens for them. When we share the happiness of others, it grows and becomes a light that ignites joy in all around. So let us all do what we must do.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Alvarado Endorsed by Capps, Lurie for School Board

He's running against seven other people for two open seats.

Latinos Are Being Pushed Out of Santa Barbara in Droves

New census data shows their population has shrunk by 24 percent since 2011.

Police Suspend Public Sleeping Laws

The non-enforcement comes in response to a new court ruling.

Priest’s Firing Raises Questions

What's the real reason Father Gavancho was terminated from Our Lady of Sorrows?

1/9 Repeat? ‘Nobody Knows!’

A UCSB geologist says predictions are purely guesswork.