December 3, 2022
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Letter: Finding a place for reflection after UCSB tragedy


Dear Editor:

It was great sadness I heard of the horrific events near UC Santa Barbara on the night of Friday, May 23.

I was close to tragedy in March, when knife-wielding terrorists stabbed more than 150 people in Kunming, China. In Isla Vista, three people were stabbed and three gunned to death, with 13 more injured.

Although the motives in the UCSB massacre were not political or religious, this is a form of terrorism. Everyone loses. All are hurt.

This year I am beginning to understand how isolated we can become, busy with really nothing. We’re focused on wrong ways and are actually very foolish. I found a place in Kunming to renew my spirit and feelings. It’s a Ming Dynasty Buddhist temple. It has an aura of peacefulness and well-being. It’s not about me becoming a Buddhist but more of following a path of feeling better and of taking a break. There is an aura there. It’s not just a meditation or about being alone. There are lots of people there sometimes, and sometimes only a few. One becomes comfortable in the place and way. An hour is enough to renew one’s feeling of well-being.

I am not selling God or religion here. By “accident,” I found that by doing and being this way, many other aspects of life also improved – completely unintended. People actually can sense many good things we generally ignore. I think people need other people.

I am starting to look for a place in our area with a similar atmosphere, where I can just go and sit and be. Perhaps the Santa Barbara area should think about creating such a space as a memorial to those who have died in this tragic event. I have suggested a cherry tree blossom concept before. Cherry trees blossom and bloom. The blossoms die and return the next year.

— Bill Irion
Santa Paula