David was a champion of compassion. He was committed to awakening the world to compassion, and he always introduced the Charter for Compassion to those he met. He came to the community in which I lived at the time and spent a week outside the local bakery, seated on a bench, engaging people in conversation, and inviting them to write in his compassion book. A book that was later published.
David's murder was extremely brutal, and it was followed by the killing of another young man a few days later, not far from where David was killed.
Will Arnold, Mayor of Davis, CA, described David as a gentle and kind, soft-spoken, thoughtful, brilliant, and selfless man. In 2009, David, a Stanford graduate, embarked on what he intended to be a life-long compassionate journey. Initially, he was a fixture in Davis, but in 2014, he began a global compassion tour, visiting compassionate cities and staying with local Charter members on his journey. David met regularly with citizens in Davis in an event that came to be called a "Weekly Gathering in the Truth." He was scheduled to conduct a meeting on the day he was killed.
David's voice will not be silenced. His words will continue to challenge our thinking and actions. Below is an excerpt from his writing on June 3rd, 2014, in which he notes the celebration of five years of conversations and reflects on what he learned.
As we mourn David, we are grateful for his legacy.
With warm regards,
On June 3rd, 2009, I entered into a lifelong endeavor, asking a simple question to the world, "What is compassion?" Last Tuesday marked the five-year anniversary. Since that initial day, after asking over twenty thousand people and receiving approximately ten thousand entries, I feel as though these first five years are just the beginning of an incredible lifelong journey of bringing awareness to compassion. There have been many blessings gifted through the grace of Love, hundreds of people who have offered of themselves in some way of support of what happens at the corner of 3rd and C in Davis, California. I can only be tremendously grateful for all that has happened since first taking flight into the unknown five years ago.
I am always reflective come June 3rd. What have I learned since I started? I discovered how much dormant pain arises when people are given a safe space, the chance to be still, and the opportunity to express themselves wholeheartedly. I discovered how incubated pain can cause unnecessary destruction in people's lives, individually and collectively. I discovered the extent to which people need to be heard in order to bring healing to those issues which fester deep inside their souls. I can say this because people know who I am and what I do, and I am constantly approached by people who need someone to listen to them. It happens all throughout the city at any time of the day.
It makes me wonder if this is the case in a relatively small, affluent city, what must it be like for the majority of people in the world? The conflicts we witness—the judgments, prejudices, anger, resentments, animosity, revenge, and wars—are all manifestations of pains yet to be properly addressed through the healing energy of compassion. I believe in the power of compassion to turn these haunting ghosts into liberated angels. I believe it is important to sit still and touch upon what may be unconsciously or consciously causing unnecessary suffering in people's lives. I believe we all can benefit from that compassionate stillness that resides behind all the scattered thoughts boiling in unsettled minds.
I continually ask myself, "What is to be done?" The time is now to live in the light of Love. Let us lay down our hatreds and fears and let forgiveness and Love blossom. Let us establish indestructible compassionate connections between our hearts so that we live our daily lives with joy and happiness. We are given this glimpse of time in eternity to be the best of the Love within us. Recognize the full extent of that Love. Offer its authenticity to others. As we allow Love to fill our hearts, it overflows into time and becomes history, touching those who are able to see its light.
The power of truth is grand. I simply wish to reveal the truth of compassion as part of an eternal reality that Love does and will always triumph over fear. To help reveal this truth, I offer this precious life given to me to the virtue of compassion for the next five years and thereafter. And in doing so, I bow to its greatness with gratitude.
- David Breaux