I’m an artist, so I always gravitate to art. I always find something in it fascinating, something that holds my attention. And when I saw this piece today, I knew it was what my post on compassion was going to be about.
You may be wondering what a drawing about an Indian war has to do with compassion. Do you notice anything different about it? That blue mass in the middle is the US Army. Everything else are Kiowa and Osage warriors fighting in battle. There were three or four drawings like this that were similar in structure. Details varied a bit but not by much. In all of them the US Army is portrayed as a single mass of blue, the soldiers all piled on top of one another, small, inconsequential. And likewise, in all of them the Kiowa and Osage are portrayed as larger than life, colorful, individuals … each one of them different, each one of their horses unique … almost in celebration.
The artist Silverhorn was Kiowa, born in 1860. He had a unique perspective on what he drew based on how he saw the world and what he’d experienced in the world. It was his perspective of the world that the Kiowa and Osage were colorful and important individuals and that the US Army soldiers weren’t. We are left with an amazing image of it that invokes conversation.
Most people won’t give us a solid example of their perspective on life. They don’t paint their feelings or thoughts for the world to see. And yet, to show compassion for others, somehow we must be able to see the world from their perspective, we must put ourselves in their shoes. Understanding the world from a different viewpoint is what makes us able to connect with other human beings on an intimate level, to start a conversation that gets to the heart of an issue, the heart of another human being.
To be able to put our own thoughts and desires and wishes and dreams aside for a moment and put someone elses first in our thoughts and hearts … sometimes that’s all it takes to make the difference between peace and war, love and hate, joy and sorrow.
Practice compassion. Find peace. Be joyful. Love.