Archive for the 'General Pablum' Category

Finding Forgiveness

Symbol fo the 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 Strangest Dream


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’

An Epidemic of Anguish

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?

Incalculable Sorrow

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.

Inspiration on Tap

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.

Blasts from the Past

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.


... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.


... because everyday is Mother's Day.


... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.


... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.


... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.


... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.


... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?


... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

Join the Banter!

At its most fun, memestream is a dialogue -- or, better, a cacophony -- rather than a library of overwrought essays reflecting a single point of view. For that, we need your two cents!

If you read anything on memestream that provokes an interesting thought, an emotion, a laugh, violent disagreement, passionate agreement, an anecdote, an uncontrollable non sequitur... be sure to leave a comment.

It will be no surprise to anyone who follows this blog that "all the best stuff" resides in the readers' comments. So don't stop reading when you hit the end of the essays. And add your voice to the discussion!

Enter your email address to follow memestream and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 56 other subscribers

Blog Stats

  • 377,879 hits