Published 25 February 2007
Bio , General Pablum
Tags: appendectomy, appendicitis, appendix, Dalai Lama, Delhi, forgiveness, guest is god, India, kindness, laparascopy, pain, revenge, spiritual poseurs, Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Say what you will about His Giggliness the Dalai Lama, but the lessons he has taught the world about the power of forgiveness are pretty significant.
I count myself in the camp, ugly as it may be, who draw a degree of strength from the art of the grudge. Somehow, I find both creativity and motivation from the self-righteous sense that someone has done me wrong, even as I understand that the energizing feelings it engenders are probably more-than-counterbalanced by the negativity of focus, and know that such enmity is hardly the thing I wish to be propagating in the world.
So, I work on forgiveness. The process is, perhaps, all-the-more interesting because it does not come easily to me. For that matter, it may not come that easily to anyone, even the Lamaisto Giganto himself. Forgiveness is a concept we throw around pretty easily. It is not difficult to utter the words of forgiveness; it is altogether a different proposition to work through the resentment and excise the satisfyingly ingenious, mouse-trap acts of revenge the mind cooks-up, to arrive at an attitude of true indifference to the slight.
Continue reading ‘Finding Forgiveness’
The little man in the photo above is Zeke, the new son of my friends Tom Zakim and Jill Foley. He’s sleeping. When he awakens, he’ll turn to his mother as if to say: “Man, I just had the strangest dream. It was like some ninja was chopping my dick off.” And he won’t be far from wrong.
Zeke was just circumcised in a Jewish ritual called a “bris”. The moyhel performing the snip-snip – a tiny Asian woman, dressed entirely in black – moved with such deft speed, the whole thing was over before Zeke could gasp or the rest of us in attendance could shy away in sympathetic reaction.
Continue reading ‘The Strangest Dream’
Published 29 December 2004
General Pablum , India
When a natural disaster strikes in a distant part of the world, we tend to fix our minds on the tangible – the loss of life, the displacement of people, the environmental cost, and the economic expense – but struggle to understand the emotional trauma. This does not mean that we ignore it or are by any means indifferent to it; it’s just that we are not capable of developing more than impressionistic, anecdotal, and extrapolated senses of what may be occurring. The news media can show the greif-stricken faces of mothers who have lost their children, but they can’t quantify the misery for us. This makes it more difficult to talk about around office water coolers, in cafes, or in our living rooms. And so we don’t.
But we think about it, or at least we struggle to.
The vast human anguish generated by the Indian Ocean tsunami is beyond comprehension. And it is epidemic. Can you even begin to ponder it without also becoming overwhelmed with sadness?
Published 29 December 2004
General Pablum , India
How does one comprehend the enormity of the tsunami destruction in South and SouthEast Asia?
Imagine you could wave a magic wand over the region and return the nearly one-lak dead to life. Let’s say that you could revive the countless animals, domestic and wild, that also perished. Suppose you could house the millions left homeless, feed the millions who are now hungry, cure the millions those who will fall ill from pestilence, and restore the millions more left destitute. Pretend you could mend the property damage and repair the shattered economies.
What if your wizardry could undo all the physical harm, but was powerless to repair the emotional damage? What if the only effect of the Indian Ocean tsunami was the grief, anguish, misery, and spiritual pain people are now suffering?
This would still be among the greatest human tragedies of my lifetime.
Published 13 December 2004
General Pablum , Service
I participated in two wonderful events this past weekend – the kind of events that gladden the heart and make one happy to be a part of this amazing San Francisco community.
On Saturday night, there was a benefit for my lovely friend, Allyson Anthony, who is battling cancer. Actually, it was a party. In fact, it was both. All night long, hundreds of Ally’s friends and acquaintances celebrated the joy she gives us and bid on auction items to raise money to help support her during her convalescence. Hundreds of items were donated (and purchased), there was food and drink aplenty, and a fabulous time was had by all.
It was deeply moving to see people rally in community to support each other. As my dear friend Hans Franke said, “This was the most tribal experience I have ever been a part of. It was so inspiring to see how people come together to take care of their own.”
And if one was looking to draw inspiration, they could have done worse than to be at SOMAsala on Sunday night, where the San Francisco Urban Alliance for Sustainability held a year-end mixer. These are folks who live by their values, brim with compassion and altruism, and work very hard (in ways that go largely unseen) to bring an ethic of environmental responsibility to our city.
When the better angels of our nature express themselves, it can take your breath away.