Steve Peskind 1951-2004


To my dear friend Steve Peskind,

I just called your home and had a long talk with Bob who told me that you passed away on Thursday. My dear radiant Steve, I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet that I won’t be hearing your bubbling voice or seeing your laughing eyes as you impart your words of playful wisdom. What serendipity it was to meet you so many years ago at one of Elisabeth’s parties – you all dressed in white like a happy little guru – Baba Ganesh. Our sitting in ET’s room and your teaching me a meditation to transform the anger I had over some guy. Do you remember?

Baba: Hold your right thumb over your right nostril and breath in through your left. Hold your right index finger over your left nostril and breath out through your right. As you do this imagine (“the guy”) as a cloud of dark vapor in front of you. Imagine the vapor as a terrible monstrous dark cloud. Now breath in the dark vapor, breath it all in and let it surround your heart. Let the dark vapor form around your heart. Allow the dark vapor to dissolve the bars and walls surrounding your heart. As the walls dissolve allow the bright light of your heart to break through, shining brightly. Breath out your bright light. Breath it out into the space where the darkness once was.

See Steve? I remember pretty well. I also remember calling you one day about being afraid to die. You told me that life is like someone pushing you out of an airplane when you are born and then you free fall. You will hit the ground someday, you just don’t know when. So, you might as well enjoy the ride. I don’t think I’m doing as many acrobatics as you did on your ride, but I’m working on it. And as you said, everything changes when you have cancer and you can see ground coming closer. I’m so sorry that you left us so soon. Please come back and visit and if and when you come back into this world, come find me. In the meantime, if you see Elisabeth over there, please give her my love. Thank you for every moment, every smile, every kind word.


The Shanti Project – Steve was a founder
A wonderful article written by Steve for the Gay Buddhist Fellowship. Here’s an excerpt:

I was diagnosed at a very late stage. I didn’t have lung cancer—how could I get lung cancer? I think I shared this the last time I was here. I couldn’t believe it: I’m a total non-smoker. Of course, it’s not just smokers who get lung cancer. About 50% are nonsmokers. I remember telling my doctor when I was diagnosed, “I can’t get cancer. I go to Whole Foods. This doesn’t make any sense.” Surprise on me. I have to admit it still feels a little bit like that. If I ask myself why, I don’t know. I don’t know how, and I don’t know why. And that is the truth of death and dying and impermanence for all of us. We don’t know, none of us. Ten out of ten of us still die, and we do not know when or how exactly it’s going to happen. Don Juan’s advice to Carlos Castaneda, which was a strong influence on me at a certain time when I was just going into college, “to keep death as an advisor,” was very good advice, and it’s very hard to do it. Denial is a wonderful thing. If anyone tells you it’s not, it’s baloney. Denial is terror management in a certain sense. It’s a way to keep the harsh realities at bay, and we all like to live in this bubble of immortality and not really consider the reality of death. It’s impossible for me to imagine that “I”—my favorite mantra, “I I I I”—am going to disappear. How can “I”—which from a Buddhist perspective is a false construct anyway, in any sense of reality, the essence of reality —how can I imagine itself disappearing when it is so
invested in perpetuating the illusion of continuity of self?

If you knew Steve and want to pass on condolences to his partner Bob, please email me at mail at elise dot com.