Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually awakening people have done roughly 625 of them now. And if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to Bat Gap com. Bat Gap and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website. And there’s a page of explaining some alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Nipun Mehta. Nipun is the founder of Service Space a global community at the intersection of technology, volunteerism, and gift economy. Most recently, Service Spaces’ pandemic response has showcased the unique beauty of its global ecosystem. Nipun has catalyzed the global social movement of community builders grounded in their localities and rooted in practices for cultivating love, nonviolence, selfless service, and compassion. Ecosystem has reached millions, attracted 1000s of volunteers and mushroomed into numerous community-based service projects as well as inspiring content portals. Service Space harnesses the collective power of networks and our deeper interconnectedness to create distributed social movement founded on small local individual acts of kindness, generosity, and service that ignite shifts in individual and collective consciousness. Nipun was honored as an unsung hero of compassion by the Dalai Lama. Not long before US President Barack Obama appointed him to a council for addressing poverty and inequality in the US. Yet the core of what strikes anyone who meets him is the way his life is an attempt to bring smiles in the world and silence in his in the heart. ‘I want to live simply, love purely, and give fearlessly. That’s me,’ that’s a quote from him. In his mid-20s, Nipun quit his job to become a full-time volunteer. One of his most formative experiences was a walking pilgrimage across India with his wife of six months, who must have been a trooper, whose profound lessons also became the subject of his widely read address at the University of Pennsylvania Commencement. Over the last 20 years, he has addressed 1000s of gatherings around the world. Speaking next to wide ranging leaders from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to author Elizabeth Gilbert to civil rights legend John Lewis, Germany’s OOOM Magazine named Nipun top 100 most inspiring people of 2020. And before I forget, I did forget earlier to mention that those watching the live stream if you have a question that you’d like to ask during the interview, go to the upcoming interviews, future interviews menu on Bat Gap. And there you’ll see a drop-down menu with a link to a page where you can ask your question. So thanks Nipun, good to see you. Good to meet you. We’ve met previously briefly, but now we’re really going to get into it.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, thank you, Rick. Thanks for having me on the show. And thanks for having done 600 plus interviews, especially around spiritual journeys.
Rick Archer: Well, I kind of feel the way you probably do, which is I don’t need thanks. I mean, I’m the prime beneficiary of doing this.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. That’s true.
Rick Archer: Yeah, And you’re from Gujarat originally, aren’t you?
Nipun Mehta: I am. Yeah. Do you know the state?
Rick Archer: Well, my wife taught transcendental meditation in Ahmedabad in the early 80s for, I don’t know, four or five months or something like that. And I’ve never been to Gujarat I was just in New Delhi area a couple times, but I know it because of her having been there. Is that where you’re from, Ahmedabad?
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, in fact, that’s the city I was born in.
Rick Archer: Cool. That was I think, yeah, 1981 or something like that. Anyway, um, I want I went back and forth about whether to read your whole bio, because you’re not the type to toot your own horn by any means. And but I was afraid that if I didn’t read it, some of these things might not be mentioned. So but we’ll, we’ll, you’ll have an opportunity to embellish upon everything you’re doing and have been doing as we go along. I know you don’t like to talk about yourself a little bit. But it’s good to kind of give people a sense of your background and things. So they know who it is that’s telling them all these things. And I thought I might an interesting place to start might be when you were, what about 11 years old, and you and your family were flying to India from San Francisco, and you change planes in Tokyo, and you ended up sitting next to an elderly Japanese gentleman, who turned out to be very interesting. And have sort of interesting perceptual abilities. Could you tell us that story?
Nipun Mehta: That’s great. Yeah, it’s been a while since I reflected on that. That’s, that was actually a pretty formative time, because you imagine I was, I wasn’t 11, maybe a little bit older, but I was in my teens. And, you know, here we were, we immigrated all four of us, my parents, my brother, and I, to the US. And this was our first trip back. And we had this layover in Japan, and at the airport. I think my mom saw this, you know, this is a Japanese man and a beard, just very loving and compassionate. And there were a bunch of people around him and just kind of noticed him didn’t make much of it. And, and then we sit on a plane, you know, we get our seats, and there’s three seats. And so me and my brother were together, and the third seat was open, and my parents were behind, and you know, their aisle seat was open as well. And this guy ends up sitting right next to us. Next to my brother and I and he had a little cello that he was carrying. And he goes in, and he, you know, he’s about to put his cello up in the overhead bin. And he just looks at my brother and I and like, I don’t know, what it seemed like a very long time would probably was about 30 seconds. He’s just like, looking at us. And just smiling. And, you know, as a teenager, you’re kind of like, okay, you know, for the first 10 seconds, it’s kind of fun and sweet. After a while, it’s like, you know, and I, you know, there’s this kind of awkwardness to it. And so I kind of looked at him, I’m like, ‘can I help you with that? Putting that up?’ And he’s like, Oh, no, no, it’s okay. And then he put it up. And then yeah, I mean, over the next eight hours or so, I think he just basically blew our minds. He, he, he knew things. I mean, this was a complete stranger. And he knew so many things about us that, you know, we were like, how exactly do you know this?
Rick Archer: Like, what kind of things?
Nipun Mehta: Well, he, he could, he could just see a lot. And he could, he was a healer. He was a mystic. He had cured himself of cancer in his early, earlier years. He could go on without, you know, eating food for a long time. But most of all, he was just very radiant and compassionate. And he just knew about our history, and he’s about our lives. And it was just a kind of a mind-blowing experience at that age. You’re just like, it’s almost like it’s a superpower. Right? Like you’re looking at it. You’re like, Oh, my God, like, how are you accessing all this information? Like, what do you know? And he (taught) him he was not playing any games, you know, he was like, Oh, it’s right here. You just have to open your eyes to see it. And we’re like, right, where? And so he started telling us about auras, and all these things. And I was like, Okay, so are you saying there’s more to people than just their faces? And he was like, yeah, and then you know, me and my brother, there happened to be a monk, I actually on the plane. And so we were, as kids were asking him very childlike questions. We’re like, so is my aura bigger than that guy’s? And I would like that guy. And he was playing with us. He was going along with it. Man, it was just it was it was one of those things where his I think what drew us also it was just his, it wasn’t just his radiance, but it was his compassion. And there’s a distinction there and, and he’s a very kind man. And what was actually very interesting is that we lost touch. And just, we had no way to contact him. We looked him up online, there was a little photo, but we just didn’t have any way to contact him. And, um, I mean, this is a true story Rick, like, this is actually what happened. It was just amazing. We had so much gratitude. So like maybe two decades later. But maybe, I don’t know, maybe a little less than two decades, maybe 17 years or something. I got invited, I’d never been to Japan. And I was invited to one of my friends was hosting a bunch of events there. And she says, ‘Oh, since you’re coming here. Do you know anybody from Japan?’ I’m like, ‘well, not really. But there was this one guy I’ve met.’ You know, it’s like people do this to me all the time. They’re like, Oh, you’re Indian. Oh, you know, this one guy that works at this company? And I’m like, No, there’s like, you know, 1000s of them. And so I kind of did the same thing. I’m like, oh, yeah, there’s this one guy, but not really, I don’t know anybody. And she says, ‘Who is this guy, and I said, his name is Shin’, you know, and he, this, here’s a photo. And she happened to be at a movie screening two days later. And right behind her, was this guy who looked a little bit like the photo I had sent. And she goes up to him, and she says, ‘Are you Shin?’ And he says,’ why? Yes, I am’. says, ‘Do you remember you met these two Indian kids, you know, on a plane’ And ‘she says, ‘oh Yes, I remember very clearly.’ And he says, ‘well, the older one happens to be visiting the country in a couple of days. He would love to see you’. And, and just and I just wanted to say thanks. And so improbably, we actually met in that way again, many years later, and now we’re in touch and so. So he’s still alive.
Rick Archer: He’s still alive. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great story.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, He healed my mom’s knee too he was like, he could do all these things. And so we were just, we were just testing him out, you know, we were like, so do you know about the future? Like, what’s gonna happen? You know, he says, oh, yeah, well, you can forget patterns. But anyone who tells you that this is predictably going to happen, don’t trust them. Because you can’t predictably say it, but there are certain patterns, and people don’t usually have the capacities to step out of those patterns. So it’s a slow transformation. But you can change all of that.
Rick Archer: Cool. Okay, so that was a long time ago. How old? Are you now? Like, early 40s? Or something?
Nipun Mehta: I am? Yes, indeed.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, and obviously, I hinted at a lot of things when I read your bio. So let’s move along. When I can guess you can say in a way that that meeting that Japanese guy, or maybe not so correct me if I’m wrong, but that might have been one of your first inklings that there were sort of deeper dimensions to life that could be perceived if one had the ability to do so. Right?
Nipun Mehta: I mean, yeah, I mean, I think we all have experiences growing up, where you’re there sort of transcendent moments, like, I remember when I was five. And, you know, my, my mom’s side of the family was big into chanting, and I, you know, I didn’t know how to define it. But I kind of went into a state of some absorption. And just chanting the word aum, you know, and that kind of thing. But you don’t know how to process it, you don’t have a framework around it. So as you get a little older, you’re like, oh, you know,
Rick Archer: But you grew up in India, and you probably heard or read the Upanishads, and the Gita and all that stuff. So you knew about enlightenment in higher states of consciousness? And that kind of
Nipun Mehta: Yeah,
Rick Archer: yeah. And, and, of course, these days, I’m told that a lot of young Indians, dismiss all that is sort of antiquated or archaic, and they’re interested in the flashy Western stuff, you know, the science and technology and the money and all that, and I don’t know, is that is that a true characterization? Or?
Nipun Mehta: I mean, I think this is, yeah, definitely, this sort of new dream that people have. And I think that’s, I don’t think it’s intrinsic to us. But I think that’s the trend of society, that it just kind of, you know, it’s outside, it’s like this, or this, and then this, and then it’s like an endless acquisition mentality, which never satisfies. But we’re not told that, you know, that disclaimer, we don’t read that. So we keep trying, we keep trying. And then eventually, I think all roads will probably lead to this.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s a good point. But this of course, you mean that the inner fulfillment that one finds when one turns one’s attention to, you know, the inner life, spiritual, spiritual development. But you did sort of, in a way, obviously, your family itself, I was just reading last night, that verse in The Gita where Krishna tells Arjuna that, you know, Arjuna asked, well, what will happen if, if someone is on the spiritual path, but they don’t make it and they die? And you know, did they not perish like a broken cloud? And Krishna says no, though, you know, spend countless years in the worlds of the illustrious, and then there’ll be reborn in a good family and possibly even a family of Yogi’s and it but although that sort of birth is harder to attain on earth, He says, but then like your brother, you’re saying like he wanted to shave his head and go off to the Himalayas when he was three years old. So there does seem to be. It sounds like you got born into a good family.
Nipun Mehta: I absolutely did. I think I was pretty lucky. It’s a true story. My brother wanted to that Himalayas was more me, but I think my brother definitely wanted to shave his head all the time. And they initially they were like, ‘what’s wrong with him’? You know, and then they took him to see big Saint in that town my grandma did. And the saints like ‘ Oh, you don’t need to worry about him. It’s, uh, you know, you should be worried about your own cultivation’, kind of thing. And that’s always been, yeah, my brother’s a great inspiration for me. And my parents have always been also very supportive of the spiritual journey. So yeah,
Rick Archer: That’s good. Okay, so I’m kind of teasing a little bit of biographical information out of you as we go along. Would it be a leap to now talk about your relationship with your wife and how you met her and how things unfolded there?
Nipun Mehta: I know, a lot of leap. I mean, I think my, my wife and my brother are probably the two most sort of foundational pillars for me spiritually speaking. Yeah, my wife and I, we met a long time ago, you know, when I was in my teens, actually late teens. And it’s been remarkable. I mean, I’ve led a kind of uncommon life. And she’s been right there. She’s been, in fact, encouraging, and oftentimes leading, and I’m sort of following her intuition. And it’s, it’s a, it’s been a remarkable gift. I think one of the greatest gifts in my life, you know, she was there, when we started Service Space, she was there, when I knew her very intimately when we, you know, I quit my job. In 2005, we went on a walking pilgrimage together. And so there’s these always these figures, I always find it very interesting, right? Like, if we look at our lives, there’s those there’s people with whom you have affinities, and they just kind of tend to show up at like, very formative moments in your lives. And I think, you know, at the core affinity, perhaps might be our parents. And then, you know, in my case, my brother, my wife have been two of those formative pillars, and I can never, like gratitude, like you were saying, you can’t say thank you for these things you can’t pay back, you know, you just have to pay forward. And so I’ve, for all that I’ve received that. I’ve tried to pay forward.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you mentioned that you had known your wife for quite a while, and you were sort of best friends or something. And then one day, the two of you were walking down the street and kind of like, both of us. At the same time. You both said we should get married today. And you’d been like, together for I don’t know, a long time. I mean, known each other as good buddies. And she was from a Sikh family. And then you had to go ask permission from her grandfather, right?
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, good work Rick, you’ve really done your research on
Rick Archer: I’ve done my homework seven or eight hours of listening to listen Nipun this week.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s true. It was, we both kind of had a monastic orientation. I think neither one of us. We wanted to serve the world, I think that’s what brought us together, we wanted to become better human beings, you know, the spiritual. And so those were the two always two big pillars for us. And when we, when we met each other, it wasn’t clear to us that binding yourself in a marital context is necessarily the thing to do. And is our calling. I mean, it’s a beautiful thing. But you know, it just wasn’t clear to us that that’s where we should be headed. And then one fine day, it was true by we just kind of felt that call. And it was very rare. After 10 years of knowing each other, you know, you’ve kind of had all these conversations, but like, you’re like, yeah, and somehow we felt like, that was the day and it was against no one at that time in their family. And she’s from a Sikh family had ever been, you know, had married outside of their tradition. So
Rick Archer: In other words had married a Hindu, which you are? Yeah. Yeah. Well, the reason I found that story interesting is that we have a very similar story. We met and then we, we sort of had each other in our radar, but it wasn’t until like 12 years later that we also said, alright, we should get married. And we were both actually on an actual monastic program, the two of us and it was also involved a lot of traveling around the world and doing projects and stuff, but it was, you know, kind of a monastic program. So anyway, I can kind of relate to your story
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, Totally, totally. And it was, it was amazing. I mean, her grandfather, who was a very big influence for her. And one of the strictest guys like no one in the family is even, like, everyone’s afraid to go to him and talk to him about like, the movies or anything. You know, he just like the last decade of his life, I think most 90% of his waking hours were just scripture. And most people perceived him to be a very sort of fundamentalist in his tradition. But that was just an external perception. Because the first time we met in a very improbable settings, where Gauri was, you know, going to go as seek his blessings. He turns to we didn’t even speak common language, we kind of had Hindi as a in between sort of as you know that you’ll have a few common words between Hindi and Punjabi. And he looked at me and he says, you know, you’re on the right path, keep doing what you’re doing. And
Rick Archer: what were you doing?
Nipun Mehta: I was exactly that was my question. What was it? What am I doing? Exactly? I mean, I think I serving, right.
Rick Archer: So even then you were doing the service, the service thing?
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, I think it was clear to me at 17 was sort of a big turning point, I think I was always interested in that. But it was a dominant paradigm story in my head. And there was this inner seeking, I was always into philosophy, I was always like reading sacred texts. Like even when I was I went to college at UC Berkeley. And they have like, this whole part of the library where they have some really amazing ancient texts. And so I would like be doing my, you know, reading something about physics on one side, and then I’m like, I’m tired, I need a break. And then I would go to that section. And I would read, like, that was what always interested me. But I think at 17, somehow, it was a turning point for me, where what was in the below the radar kind of became more prominent, and what was prominent sort of became secondary.
Rick Archer: Did you have a number of years where, I mean, you sort of did the, the tech thing, and you worked at Sun Microsystems? And, you know, perhaps some other things in that vein, but did you sort of feel like, maybe you were selling out a little bit or something, because this wasn’t the highest ideal that you knew existed?
Nipun Mehta: Well I wasn’t sure if I was selling out, per se, I didn’t feel like I was even I even had that choice. But I just felt like there was something deeper, there’s a deeper calling, is that my job, you know, in the Silicon Valley at the time, I came out of college with like, the dot com, boom, right? And everyone, all my peers were doing these startups, and they were talking about crazy amounts of money. And that kind of craziness that was very, very materialistic craziness. And I just felt like, you know, there was this one key billboard, I remember, it was a startup at the time called ‘You Toys’ and it says, He who dies with the most toys still dies. And I was like, you know, like I was, I was actually death has always been at the forefront of my consciousness, you know. And so, I would always be thinking about that. And I would always be then contemplating on life as a result, and, you know, not taking life for granted. And I always be like, you know, what, what is what is the calling? What is you know, and I remember at the time, even in my teen years, actually, one of the things that 17 I did was I said, I want to volunteer, I want to go to a place where no one else wants to volunteer and serve. And I volunteered at a hospice, to be with dying patients, and they told me, you’re 17 You can’t come right now, you know, because you need to be at least 18, and I went back at 18 And they said, Are you sure? You want to be with people who are dying? And yeah, it was, you know, that those kinds of things actually, were always drove. drove me.
Rick Archer: Did you ever meet Mother Teresa?
Nipun Mehta: I never met Mother Teresa. I know people who have and my wife spent time at her orphanages but I have haven’t met her in person.
Rick Archer: I interviewed Lynn Twist a few months ago who spent quite a bit of time with Mother Teresa and who also was very much in the giving mode you know, Lynn?
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, well yeah, very well. Yeah.
Rick Archer: But anyway, let’s just what this this point you just made about death is interesting, you know, because was it was that so he who dies with the most toys still dies? And of course, that’s the alternative to he who dies with the most toys wins, which is, which is absurd because you can’t take the toys with you. I saw a cartoon where it had a tombstone and it said, ‘I’ll be back. Don’t touch my stuff’.
Nipun Mehta: That’s right.
Rick Archer: There’s another cartoon which had this guy standing outside of bank and the sign on the bank says, First reincarnation bank, you can’t take it with you. So leave it with us until you return.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I think that’s a, that’s a pretty important if I if we just hold that idea that like, man, we this is impermanent, then all of a sudden, that brings everything into question, hey, at least it does for me. And it always has, and it never fails to do the trick, right? Like if this was if even now, right? We can ask ourselves if this is the last conversation that I’m having, or that you’re having? How would you actually show up for this? And you know, that just holding that question, our breasts, this false sense of continuity, that our ego is baked into, that this exists. And now I this is my plan for tomorrow. And this is where how I’m going to continue it. And so I think arresting the anything that helps you arrest, this sense of false continuity, I think is, is a noble thing, worthwhile thing to do. And then for me, my whole context started pointing me in that direction. And they were like, what’s most important, like, it’s not this permanency or this mirage of permanency? It’s actually the values that guide that impermanency. And those for me, first and foremost, were it was compassion as a, as a, as an organizing principle of that whole field.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I suppose some people would think it morbid or depressing to contemplate death in the impermanency, and you know how short life is. But perhaps only, well, we can look at it two ways. I mean, if nothing happened, if the if there’s nothing after we die, then it’s probably a good idea to be compassionate, and to help people in all, you know, and have as much of an impact as possible, while we’re alive. And if there is something after we die, which, of course, I think you and I probably believe that, you know, life goes on in some form, and perhaps there is reincarnation or whatever, then again, it’s, it’s valuable, to be compassionate, and to help people and so on. So however you slice it, maybe and maybe you can elaborate on this, it’s, it’s beneficial to have that orientation.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, I mean, I would go even one step further in the sense that, hey, if this is my last moment, I might as well leave it, you know, make a difference, make an impact. I to me over time, even all of that has been like how do I know if something actually makes an impact? And if that is the right kind of impact, if that is a helpful kind of impact? And so if you can’t know that, then why are you even motivated by that? And I think for me, what I have discovered is that I’m not even, I don’t, I think it’s just a more natural expression of compassion, I don’t think you’re discovered. I don’t think you kind of could build a kind of foundation on top of compassion, I think you just like compassion guide you. And when it’s like that, then it’s, it’s less of you doing something, and it’s more of you being guided through this gravity of compassion, like, that just becomes the force with which you act in the world, and you release all agendas and including outcomes, including this sense of having the significance of like, hey, you know, I did this. And so I mattered in the history of humanity. And I think when you do that, paradoxically, you end up, you know, doing so much more that is relevant to the ecosystem of consciousness.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you know, one thing I ponder and was pondering when I was listening to your various talks, is that, you know, some people seem to be naturally endowed with a compassionate, kind, generous nature, and other people not, you know, other, whether it’s due to their level of illusion or their upbringing and all I can’t really say, but, um, you know, some people might say, well, it’s easy for you to say that because you just seem to be a good guy, you know, you’re compassionate, you’re generous, that’s the way you are, but so and so over there seems to be kind of a greedy, you know, narcissist, and how are you going to change him?
Nipun Mehta: Yeah. Well, I so I fortunately, I don’t think virtue is a binary process, right? So in the sense that there are so many different kinds of virtues, and we all have our own calling around those different spectrums. So you may be, you know, you may be less compassionate, but you may be much more still, you may not have stillness, but maybe you have an incredible work ethic, you know, you may, there’s so many different, what the Buddha might call paramis, and we have them all in different proportions. And that’s what makes us unique. And so it’s, it’s not that, oh, I’m compassionate, and you’re not, it’s that, oh, I find I have, I feel like I have this vow of compassion that motivates me. And that motivates my existence that motivates my life. And I think we all owe it to ourselves to find those vows in ourselves. And even if that vow is to awaken end to end all vows, that could, that could be just as good. And so or, in fact, that’s a pretty noble thing to do. But I, so I don’t think it’s a, you know, I’m compassionate, and you’re not in the whole world needs to be compassionate kind of an approach, I think it’s more of, there’s so many virtues and align with your deepest calling, and do it for the sake of your inner transformation, do it with humility, do it with a deep surrender to the field of grace, and allow that to sort of guide your path, and that is probably more intelligent, the guidance of that path is going to have much more intelligence than the guidance of your ego. At least that has been my experience to sort of sort of surrender to that flow, which in my case, has been the flow of compassionate service.
Rick Archer: So what I think you hear what I think I hear you saying, and you can tell me whether you agree with this or not, is that everybody, regardless of their current condition, has opportunities to they have some wiggle room, in terms of their freewill and opportunities will present themselves in which they can do something helpful or compassionate or kind, or, you know, harden their hearts a little bit and miss the opportunities. If you choose rightly, then that moves you in the direction of greater capacity to be that way.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s right. And if you were to nuance it a little further, essentially, what happens when I’m doing a small act of kindness. So let’s say I go I open the door for you, Rick. And you’re in the larger scheme of things. It’s like, okay, what has changed, and we tend to look at the impact as an external ripple effect, that, oh, I did this for Rick. And then this would happen. And then this is what happened. And this is how significant it was. And so my little act matters. That’s one way to look at why is that small act matters. Another way is to actually look at the inner ripple effect. So as soon as I say that, in this moment, the momentum is not about me. But it’s about we, I start to move, I put a brake on my ego. And as soon as I put that brake, even in that short moment, I fall into a deeper interconnectedness. And in that deeper interconnectedness, there’s a kind of stillness. And that stillness brings me a sense of clarity and reconnection with a) my deepest calling your vows, whatever you call it, or your deepest nature. And that, to me, is a very power. So it’s like you take the small action. And that inner ripple effect is actually much more profound than any perception of an outer ripple effect that we might have. And so orienting yourself in that way, with any small act of kindness, any small act of service or compassion, all of a sudden becomes an extremely spiritual act. Or it can right, and so it’s not just, oh, it’s a childish thing. You’re doing a lemonade stand, you know, it’s like, Oh, that’s cute, right? Like we tend, we tend to fufu this kind of stuff, and you’re like, Oh, yeah. But you would be amazed that as you start doing this, and you dismantle the inner architecture, of your, you know, egoic patterns through that small act, you’ll fall into something much deeper and that guidance ends up creating a remarkable external as well as a continued internal ripple effect.
Rick Archer: Hmm, that’s great. But guess what, another way of explaining it is that if we do certain things, it sort of coarsens, our awareness or makes it crude or more insensitive. If we do other things. It has the opposite effect. It refines our awareness it cultures, the heart it, you know, makes you more subtle, like you said makes the mind more quiet. And we are not, in my opinion. There’s some people who argue that we don’t have freewill and all that. But I feel that as long as we perceive ourselves as having it, then we definitely do. There’s a million little choices that we make all the time. Should I, you know, go to the trouble of not stepping on this worm on the sidewalk? Or could I even lift, pick it up and put it on the grass that won’t dry out in the sun? Or? Or should I just kind of keep walking and ignore it, you know, you pick up the worm and throw it on the grass, and it kind of feels good, you’re saving a little life, and it has some effect on you. And who knows what the karmic implications are for the worm or anything else. But um, you know, just kind of living that way. I mean, you don’t have to become a Jain and starve yourself to death. And, you know, so as not to, you know, because then you’re killing a fairly evolved being and in the interest of not, you know, killing broccoli. But, but all these little things as you navigate your life definitely have they are a spiritual practice, and in addition to whatever other spiritual practices like meditation or something you may be doing.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think it’s, you can take, I think, the opportunity for inner transformation. And you know, I’ve spent a long, long time on the meditation cushion. And, and I say this even after that, that I think just as meaningful as that is, I’ve never sat on a meditation cushion, gotten up and said, Oh, I wasted an hour. It’s like, it’s always been a good use of my hour. And yet, I would add to that, that, just as, as that is powerful, so is the, you know, doing that small act with great love. I think that is just as potent, although we don’t have the eyes to necessarily see all the tentacles of transformation that happened through that.
Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s so important. I live in a community where a couple 1000 people meditate, and I’ve been here for decades. And I remember there was a company, I forget the name of it, and I probably shouldn’t mention anyway, which was selling some kind of risky investment schemes. And, you know, these people would spend a couple hours in the morning and evening meditating, and then they’d go and work at this company, and they’d be on the phone, you know, basically talking little old grannies to invest their life savings in this stuff. And, you know, and then come back again, and meditate in evening. And, you know, it’s like, how could they do that? It’s like, you’re trying to fill a bathtub, and you don’t plug the drain. So the water just keeps going out. And you know, you can meditate till you’re blue in the face. But if you kind of behave reprehensibly, in between time, it’s definitely counterproductive.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, well, it’s 22 hours over the two, you know, so you know, you want to try to take care of it 24 hours of the day, as, as far as your conditions allow it. So I would say still good that you’re there doing the two and hopefully, it multiplies to a lot more than two.
Rick Archer: Yeah, then the SEC shut that business down. So hopefully, they found more gainful employment.
Nipun Mehta: And also, there’s something to this sincerity, right, just because you’re doing you could do a small act of kindness, but secretly be propagating your ego, right, like, you could just take 25,000 selfies, and you could try to make a hold, you know, you can try to have all kinds of agendas behind that smallest act. And that’s no good. And similarly, you could be sitting in meditation, you know, Ram Das used to talk about this, and you’re just sitting there for hours and hours and days and days, and all you’ve done is just propagate your inner fantasies, and doesn’t really go too far, you know, so you can’t really judge an external, or that your cultivation, I think through what you’re doing externally, but I don’t think you can even do that through the experiences that you might experience, you know, that you might go through as you so I, it becomes very hard to actually judge the efficacy of anything. And then I think slowly, bit by bit that drops you into a state of much deeper surrender. And that then guides a naturally compassionate act over as opposed to you saying, Oh, this is a much better thing for me to do. This is a thing that like, you know, is going to create like, oh, X million ripple effects in the world. And I, you know, I’m not so sure that kind of logic, at least I don’t think I can trust my, my inner ego to give me all of that data and to guide that action. So for me, at least, that has not been a good way to go.
Rick Archer: Yeah, so we’ll get into discussing some of the various things you have been doing but continuing along here. What I say, based on what you just said, I’m asking, I’m thinking, Well, so what is a good way of, you know, having your finger on the pulse or of whether you’re on the right track or not? In other words, well, you probably get it just based on what I just asked. Is that enough? You know, I’m asking,
Nipun Mehta: yeah, I do. You know, one of my friends went to a monk one time and he says, when I have a choice when I do this, or this, which one? What should I do? And he says, I have never regretted doing what’s hardest on my ego. And I think that’s good advice. Like, if you were to look and say, ‘Look am I a better person’ this is a question I asked myself, do I am I a happier person, Am I a better person for having done this? Over time? You know, you may think in the short term that yeah, like, you know, watching TV and eating my favorite ice cream makes me happy. And then over time, you realize, oh, that’s actually not all that, you know, it doesn’t make me deeply happy. So then you experiment. And as you experiment further and further and genuinely look at, you know, sincerely look at the whole operation, and then you realize that well, actually, it isn’t giving you like St. Francis was right, it is in giving that we received, that Dalai Lama was right. When he says, You know, I think Oprah asked him a question, what do you know for sure. And he said, something very simple. He says it takes giving to be happy. And so it’s, and what is giving? Right giving is, is not net, the external act giving is the internal departure from the me to this falling into a deeper we. And anything that helps you do that, or even an experiment that where you fail, in attempting to understand that is a very significant process.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ve just been studying the Katha Upanishad with Swami Sarvapriyananda and we were so there’s a story of Nachiketa, right, and his father is doing this ceremony to attain heaven. And he’s giving away all these cows, and not to Kate, I said, Well, anyway, you’re giving away the old cows that don’t produce milk anymore, and all that stuff, you know, so what are you getting out of that? And he ends up going and you know, seeing Yama, the Lord of Death, and then Yama offers them all these goodies. And they get into this discussion about the pleasant, what does that preya or something and then versus the good Shreya, the long that which is immediately pleasant or gratifying, might not actually produce fulfillment as reliably or as fully. In fact, it’ll produce the opposite as that which might not be so gratifying in the moment, but you know, yields long term benefits.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, yeah. And I think that short-term, long-term edge is a really, I think, all too often, we have this what are the scientists call it the ‘recency bias’, right? Like, you’re, you’re just what you just remember, you know, and I think what we are biased towards is the patterns of, of the ego. And so I think we tend to look for that short term gratification. And if we can just arrest that, if we can give ourselves that latitude to have be a little bit more equanimous, and move from that equanimity, to thinking about something that’s not just long term, at some point, even eternal.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Nipun Mehta: right. Like it’s outside of time and space, as if you’re able to tap into that and you say, Well, what is going to be true outside of time and space? And what is going to be true outside of your inner architecture of thought, right? What do you know, I remember I was in a conversation, I was giving a talk somewhere and at a business school and people were asking all these questions, and at some point, some person started to get very spiritual, and in an argumentative way. And I was like, Okay, well, what’s the skillful response here? And I just asked him, Well, hey, man, what would you be able to tell me then what do you know that is true that you haven’t thought of? Right? And if you’re still using your mind as the only apparatus, you can think that oh, you know, that it’s, like thought is, is it is a form of intelligence. But it’s not the only form. And it’s certainly not the deepest form. And just arresting all of these mechanisms in time itself is the technology of the mind as well. So how do you start to arrest these mechanisms and go a little deeper and then use these mechanisms? It’s not to like shun all of this. You certainly need to use it to be in service and to practice compassion, but it’s one thing to use it, it’s another thing to be used by it.
Rick Archer: That’s nice. If I understand what you’re saying, It’s like being used by, to me evokes notion of being an instrument of the Divine, which has its own intelligence, which far exceeds our, so like what you’re saying about, you know, just using your own individual thought to work things out, it has a very limited scope of, you know, of, of knowledge or of perspective, whereas the sort of the, the essence of life, divine intelligence, if you want to call it that has an infinitely comprehensive scope. And if we can get out of the way, and you know, there’s a, there’s a phrase, that Brahman is the charioteer, if we can let that drive the chariot of our life, then we can serve as a very effective instrument. And
Nipun Mehta: yeah, yeah, that’s exactly it. I mean, I think that’s it for it to hold that view. Rick, we kind of need to, it requires a lot of surrender, right? Because then you won’t, you know, St. Francis of Assisi had this quote, he says, ‘preach always, but use old words only when necessary’. That, like you, you may have a certain idea of what doing good is, right. Oh, it’s always preaching. But maybe it’s preaching in silence, like it’s so you start holding all the paradoxes. And when you’re to hold all these paradoxes that maybe it’s about making an immediate impact, or maybe it’s about making an impact seven generations later. And to hold all of that together. It’s not like, Oh, I’m just a seventh-generation guy that I just do small acts, or that or I’m just a listener of being humble in the back, like, maybe you’re at the front, maybe you’re in the middle, maybe you’re at the end, and you you’re not interested in the position in the train, necessarily. You’re ready to frictionlessly oscillate, based on the needs of emergence. And so it requires this deeper faith, I think, in emergence.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Not only deeper faith, but you know, we’ve alluded to the fact that, you know, we, we both have been meditating for a long time, and quite extensively sometimes. And I think, personally, I think that’s, I don’t know, if that’s the key for everybody. But for a lot of people, an effective practice, which ends up grounding, you experientially in a much deeper state that you don’t have to think about all day long, because it’s just, it just becomes your default way of functioning, is infinitely more valuable than just trying to intellectually work all this out and figure out, you know, which would be the best thing, and, and so on and so forth. You can’t really grasp it with the individual intellect.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And so then you look at everything you do, and you say, Where all, am I scheming? Right, where am I, where is my mind creating this sneaky little strategy to get ahead and something and you know, get ahead, not just in the, you know, sort of corporate materialistic worldly ways. Even in the world of spirituality, even in the world of service, you can try to get ahead, I remember, I was in a 30-day retreat, and I got on day 24, or something, I was like, Oh, my God, like, you know, I’m trying to get progress. Like, I am just sitting there and sitting there and sitting there. And I am secretly, which I wasn’t conscious of until that moment where I, you know, at the conscious level, I know, it’s not about any of this, right. And I know, I have to let go of all of this, I’m sitting there, I’m doing my thing. And then I’m like, you know, I’m secretly going for progress. Which means that I have a very strong idea of what I where I was before, and I have an addiction to where I want to be later. And both of those are ideas. And so it just, I It’s like in the name of not getting out of the prison of these beliefs and ideas and internal dogmas. I was actually propagating them. And so you know, these things are hard to sort of unravel. But I think that’s what the calling. I mean, that’s what that’s what cultivation is about, is to kind of undo all these mechanics.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I don’t think this maybe this is the how you met it, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with progress per se. It can become, you know, it can become a situation where you don’t appreciate the present because you’re all you’re always chasing some dangling carrot, you know, living for some glorious future that has not yet arrived. But that is not to say that we don’t progress which some spiritual teachers that you know, dismiss they say, Oh, just, you know, this is as good as it gets. I mean, you know, don’t expect anything more and You know, it would be cruel to say that to somebody who was miserable or psychotic or something like that it can get a lot better. There can be progress, but it’s sort of on the basis of this moment and this moment in this moment.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, I agree with that as well. I think even if I look at myself, right, I feel like I have progressed in the sense on the metric of happiness and joy in the metric of compassion and kindness then where I was 20 years ago,
Rick Archer: me too, and it keeps happening.
Nipun Mehta: But I think the core question is, did it happen because of me, or despite me? And I think that’s the thing is, that was my clinging for this kind of like, I want to be happier 20 years later, right? I want to be a kinder, more compassionate person, 20 years later, now, am I going to an increase my chance of doing that by actually saying, I’m going to be happy? Or am I going to increase my chances of by actually letting go. And I think it’s the, you know, there’s a kind of balance between effort and grace, and sometimes, grace, grace shows up as an effort. And so you kind of need, you know, and I’m very big on (effort), I work hard, I work a lot. So I’m big on effort, in some sense, but I think this is where I find the teachings of the Gita, very apt, you know, it’s like, you, you do all the effort 100 It’s not effort versus grace. I think it’s 100% effort and 100% grace. And that feels like a paradox. But that’s exactly the kind of paradox that arrests your mind and lets you go beyond the field of mind and matter.
Rick Archer: That I was just gonna quote that very verse. ‘You know, you have control over action alone, never over its fruits live not for the fruits of action, nor attach yourself to inaction’. I mean, you can focus like a son of a gun to do your best in each moment. But then that’s the effort part. But then the grace part is what comes of it, you know, maybe great stuff comes, but maybe nothing comes of it. That’s not your responsibility, your responsibility was to do the thing. Yeah.
Nipun Mehta: And that’s it. That’s a profound teaching. It sounds like, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s like, oh, well let go of the outcomes. Well, first of all, for a lot of people in the modern sort of context, and in the modern dream that we are sold by the dominant paradigm, it’s like, Oh, my God, if I release all control, it’ll be chaos, right? Or it’ll be like, or that just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do. But I think that’s an untested hypothesis. Yeah, if you actually, if you actually let go, do you think it’s gonna be chaos? Do you think that you’ll be walked all over with, you know, other forces of life? Or does something else happen? And I think I’ve experimented with the latter. And I’ve, you know, happily discovered that actually, there’s a lot more magic and beauty and joy, when you let go of the outcomes. Just do your response and your, your sort of duty, as the as the Gita says, but your call, you know, fulfill your calling in the moment.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And sometimes that verse or that teaching is misinterpreted to mean that you shouldn’t be motivated by any outcome, like, you know, yeah. But I think that’s, that’s a little off. Because obviously, if you’re doing a thing you’re trying to accomplish something, you know, is you’re not just sort of randomly doing stuff with no idea whatsoever. You know, what, why you’re doing it. But, again, the outcome, if you’ve done your best, then the outcome is not really in your hands, it will come if it’s meant to come. And you know, I mean, I think over time, we get more and more aligned, you know, with, we could call it cosmic intelligence, and things do tend to pan out when we put our attention on them, but not always.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, I think that what starts to unravel is the quality of the motivations. As you start in the through line between the quality of the motivations and the quality of the outcome. So you wanted a certain outcome, but you can be motivated. So there’s nothing wrong, I mean, you obviously need motivation to fulfill that action. But the question is, what is the quality of that motivation if that quality in science speak, you would say in extrinsic motivation versus intrinsic motivations. Extrinsic motivators are like, you know, money or power or fame. And so I can be motivated to do this action for extrinsic purposes, or I can be motivated to do it for intrinsic purposes. And what is the difference between the two? Now, if you look at our whole economy, it’s rooted entirely in you know, extrinsic motivators. But there’s a whole bunch of inner intrinsic motivators, right? You can even look at, you know, fun, or, you know, or purpose There are these are all intrinsic motivators. But and this is where science hasn’t really distinguished between these. But this is where monks and nuns and so many, so many different traditions help us nuance this. They say that even in that field of intrinsic, there’s actually a big difference between, you know, anger isn’t intrinsic motivation or fun as an intrinsic motivation or purpose as an intrinsic motivation, going all the way far out to compassion as an intrinsic motivator. And what is the through line of impact that you’re seeing on the outside to the quality of the motivations that we are holding. So first, we just need to move from extrinsic to intrinsic, but then you even start to nuance, the intrinsic, and you say, Oh, well, what’s on the farthest end of intrinsic. And the Buddha spoke about this very deeply. And he said that you were, he spoke about the four Brahma Viharas. And he says, These are our residents, sort of native states. And one of those is compassion. Another one is joy, and other one is Metta. Another one is equanimity. And these are the four sort of core Brahma Viharas, which are, you know, the Vihara is like house and Brahma says like, this is the house of Brahma, this is the foundation on which all action all you know, great action is built.
Rick Archer: So those and Metta is loving kindness, right?
Nipun Mehta: Loving Kindness,
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, so those four Brahma viharas are characteristics you might say, of, you know, a state of spiritual attainment. That’s what the Buddha saying that if you if you have attained Buddhahood, or some semblance of that or something, then these will characterize your, your nature and be reflected in your activity. Is that correct?
Nipun Mehta: Yeah. And that this is your fundamental nature, because even on the spiritual track, Rick, you can be an entrepreneur, so to speak, which is to say, accumulate spiritual merit, and do all kinds of things with the sort of power intention. And it’s very different. I’ve met so many different spiritually cultivated folks and with, with some of the folks I meet, I’m like, wow, they’re just collecting, but in a different currency, you know, in a subtler spiritual realm, like they’re materialistic, but it’s just subtle materialism. And so for a person who doesn’t have insight into that, that looks like amazing. But I think where the Buddha is inviting us, or we’re not just the Buddha, I mean, all awakened saints, I think where they’re inviting us is to say, hey, even there, that’s a little detour, let go have that accumulation, that tendency to grab, that tendency to sort of have this subtle continuity. And when you release that you fall into your natural state, which, which are these four Brahma Viharas. Or you can even simplify it and say, Hey, compassion and appreciative joy. Like, you don’t need to find those. You don’t need to cultivate those; you actually just need to drop into them.
Rick Archer: Yeah, because they’re there. I mean, they’re there.
Nipun Mehta: They’re who we are.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, it’s who a serial killer is, but in his case, everything is all occluded and covered up with all kinds of garbage. And so he doesn’t, you know, appreciate that inner reservoir that he’s got.
Nipun Mehta: And I think we’re all clouded to the degree that we have identities is the degree to which we are jumbled up in different ways to different degrees. But that’s the invitation is to use this. But I think that’s also the trap is that you can go pretty far on the intrinsic motivation spectrum, and still get into these very dangerous detours
Rick Archer: Yeah, I know
Nipun Mehta: and when the Buddha himself right when he got awake, and he wanted he like, his first act of gratitude was to find his two most recent teachers. And they both just passed away. And he looks for one of them with his, you know, divine vision. And he’s like, Oh, my God, there, you know, one of them was in the highest realm of existence. And he’s like, I can’t help them. Because they, they’re in a state of bliss. And so it’ll take them a long time to realize that there is no continuity, because it was so subtle. And he’s just going to be in bliss for a very long time, but that will change. And he is he doesn’t have the orientation to you know, to understand and appreciate and then ultimately, awaken from that sense of false solidity. And so here’s like the Buddha’s last teacher. And Buddha has gratitude after awakening, and he’s like looking to find them and he says, I can’t help him. And so I think there’s a lot of these spiritual detours that we can get stuck in.
Rick Archer: So in other words, what you’re saying in case people didn’t get that was that Buddha’s former teacher had ascended to a very high loka Heaven, but that is not eternal. And you know, you will eventually have to come back from that and work things out over again. I just heard last night I think it was Vivekananda once said to a western audience, he said, you know, I’m not here to tell you how to get to heaven. I’m here to tell you how not to get to heaven.
Nipun Mehta: Right. That’s a great quote.
Rick Archer: And that kind of like, well, what does he say? Because he was talking about a state of liberation that is not transitory as in Vedic tradition, heavens are considered to be.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, yeah. I love that. I didn’t know Vivekananda said that, incidentally, was also a pretty formative influence for me in my teen years. J. Krishnamurti and Vivekananda were
Rick Archer: Yeah. That whole tradition, the Ramakrishna tradition is actually quite formative for me right now. And it hasn’t been up until recent years. But you know, I’ve just as I say, I’ve been sort of taking these classes and studying it and really, you know, it’s nothing totally new to me, but there’s just a lot of it’s a really good outfit really good. A lot of wisdom in that lineage.
Nipun Mehta: Oh man, incredible. And I know a lot of ripple effects, right. Like he went to Rockefeller. I don’t know if you know, the story of Vivekananda and Rockefeller,
Rick Archer: I don’t
Nipun Mehta: Oh that. That’s essentially Rockefeller was inspired to philanthropy by Vivekananda.
Rick Archer: cool
Nipun Mehta: And because Vivekananda is like, telling him, he doesn’t even look up when Rockefeller comes to see him and he’s, he kind of looks and he says, You know, I think you’re gonna die, you have a lot of health problems unless you change your ways, you’re gonna have a lot of suffering. And that was it. Vivekananda of didn’t want anything and the guy, Rockefeller is like, what? And then he ended up actually being diagnosed with something. And he’s like, Who is that Hindu monk there? And, and you essentially guided him on a path of, you know, philanthropy. But yeah, it was it was actually a very formative experience for Rockefeller.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, those early teachers in that lineage also had a big effect on what Huston Smith, and who was that guy who wrote the variety, William James, I think, and a whole bunch of them very, very impactful. Anyway, there’s another thread in our conversation right here that I wanted to pursue. And that is that I, what I heard you saying a minute ago, is that as you progress on the path, you kind of have to fine tune your discrimination so as not to get off the track. And it reminded me of a Padmasambhava quote, which I quote, almost every week, because I like this quote, but basically, he said, he said, although my awareness is as vast as the sky, my attention to karma is as fine as a grain of barley flour.
Nipun Mehta: I like that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So in other words, you don’t just sort of rest on your laurels at a certain point, you actually become more discerning and more and more subtly discriminating as you go along. And even if you’re a great realized sage like him, you can’t be sloppy. You’re careful?
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, you really can’t. I mean, if you look at Krishna, and how Krishna passed away, with an arrow in his toe bleeding away, and you say, you know, it’s this, there’s the laws of nature that we’re all bound by. So there’s no, you know, to try to project onto that and try to try to bypass some of those laws, doesn’t really make any sense, you know, after a while, so I think to try to super impose your will or your idea of good, or any idea really, is, I think, not a wise thing to do. So you do have to be careful of the process. And I think there’s a lot of spiritual traps on the journey. And so it’s best, I think, when my wife was going through a whole series of mystical experiences at some point then, and we ran into this guy who was actually a painter, but also a mystic. And he, he shared something very beautiful, he says, he says, you know, when we’re on the spiritual sort of path, you’ll run across a lot of gold nuggets. But unless don’t pick it up, unless it falls in your lap. And if the if you go around looking for it, you’re in trouble. If you go pick up something that hasn’t fallen in your lap, you’re in trouble. You can easily get into trouble, especially in those subtler realms. So you all you’re really got to do is just stick to your lane. You know, stick to your to your sort of vows to your calling. to your principles, and, and you know, then you’ll be on track. And I think it’s very, that’s a very hard thing to do. And it’s a very hard thing to discern as well. I think as Ajahn Chah had of it, same sort of principle, but in a different story. He shared how it’s like, you sit under a tree, you put your hand out, and you’re hungry, and you wait for the mango to drop in your hands. And it’s, it’s, it sounds so simple, but we are usually scheming. And we’re like, you know, shaking the tree and we’re the first we’re moving the hands and we’re like, oh, here, okay, okay, no, it’s good to be here. And then we’re like, you know, we just start scheming. And we’re like, oh, this doesn’t make sense. And then you start climbing up the tree. Or worse, you start genetically modifying the tree, and you’re like, oh, this will give me a lot more mangoes
Rick Archer: chop the tree down, so you can get the mangoes. Very short-term thinking.
Nipun Mehta: That’s right. That’s right. So that to me, is, is a big, you know, to, to stick to that, like just whatever falls in your lap to honor it, but to not climb on conditions, as they say to not scheme and try to get ahead in what seems like your idea of getting ahead.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you know, that Gita verse satisfied with whatever comes unasked beyond the pairs of opposites.
Nipun Mehta: Beautiful,
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, we’re doing good here. I think we’re touching on some subtle stuff. And we want to get into some of the concrete things that you’ve been doing. But let’s just see how the conversation meanders. And we’ll definitely cover those things. Is there anything kind of in the back of your mind at this point that, you know, we’ve, you’ve thought of that we haven’t actually had a chance to talk about as we’ve been going?
Nipun Mehta: No, I think I think this path of, you know, we were talking about Krishna. And there was just this one story that had come to my mind at one point, and he was, or there’s this one phrase or the concept, you know, there’s a dog on Krishna’s chariot. And the dog is wagging its tail, and it’s in its ignorance. This is used as a metaphor. And it’s ignorance. It says, Oh, I moved the chariot. Left, you know, by moving my tail to the left. No, and I will. And I think that’s the, you know, that’s sort of this distinction between causation or this confusion between causation and correlation, that it was just a correlation, you know, and just because I ate ice cream, and it rained, it doesn’t mean, me eating ice cream, is making it rain, you know. So that, to me is where, you know, this is one of the big sort of, you know, to not on to not think like we know, causation. Even the Buddha made it pretty clear, even if you’re awakened, you do not know causation, like only the Buddha would know, because he has done a lot of work. But you know, even if you’re awakened, you have, you do not understand all the laws of cause and effect. It’s just an intricate, intricate, complex, vast web. And so to not assume that and to just focus instead on the principles that guide that emergence, I think is a pretty key practice.
Rick Archer: Yeah, Krishna says unfathomable is the course of action. In other words, human intellect can’t, can’t grasp or fathom the ramifications of every little action and all the kind of karmic ripples and, and all that stuff, and it’s just beyond our scope, but again, it comes back to sort of grounding ourselves in that intelligence, which, which does fathom it. And even though we might not gain access to that kind of omniscience, we were able to sort of flow along, riding on its coattails, so to speak, in our riding on that wave of that it generates and we become the beneficiary of that vast cosmic knowledge, even though we don’t necessarily appreciate it as it itself appreciates it.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, yeah. I think that the more I, the more I practice, and I try to look at life from this lens, I realized that it’s not even just a dog on Krishna’s chariot, I might just be we sometimes will joke about it. I’m like a fly on the tail of the dog on Krishna’s chariot, just like you it’s just like the causation of you know, so to think that I have done this in the world or I have had this impact or I am this significant in this way. These just seemed to me like a false sort of traps that, you know, even like that quote, you said, even with a deeper awareness, you’re, you’re losing track of the barley, so to speak. And so I that, to me, is a great practice. And really at its core, I think what the, I really go to the Buddha’s teaching here as well, he was asked, you know, his attendance said, What’s the most it seems like, you know, you talk a lot about noble friendships, he said, seems like half of the path is just noble friendships. And the Buddha says, No one, and it’s not just half of the paths is the full path, or the full path, like, and the Buddha did not approximate, right? Like, I mean, if it were 99.8%, he would say, 99.8% of the path, you know, this is like, you know, he was he was very specific, and what is noble friendship, I mean, that’s essentially, the field of deep relationships that kind of keeps you on track. And so I’ve always had this faith, that in, in service, when I serve you, even if I’m holding a door open or coming on the shore, whatever, and you serve me, you create a kind of an affinity. And that affinity, if it is rooted in deep principles of compassion, can become a noble friendship, in that noble friendship is actually going to give you is the only thing that’s going to give you a resilience on this very long path, in not any thoughts you have, or not any frameworks or not, because those are all, you know, arising and passing. And you can’t really be if you expand your horizon to eternity, and you expand your context across, you know, very wide ranges of time and space, like what’s gonna stay true across all of it. And it’s, it’s not what we it’s certainly not the material things. But it’s also not going to be the mental contents of your mind, it’s going to be something even subtler. And I think, I believe the Buddha, when he says noble friendship, because that’s in a very small way, that’s been my experience as well. And that really connects service to spirituality in a very direct way. Because you create noble friendships through service.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So do you feel that, I never thought of it in terms of that term, that phrase noble friendships? Do you kind of feel that are noble friendships, the kind where we’ve actually built some familiarity with a person? Are you saying that, you know, as you walk down the street, or as you go through the grocery store checkout line or something, there is a quality of noble friendship with every interaction that you that you experience?
Nipun Mehta: I mean, I think there’s a potential of it, but what makes it noble is actually the organizing principle of our intention. And so the idea really, is that what do you know, if, if you are rooted in that space in you, which is noble, which is around at its deepest level, which is about the four Brahma viharas or any however you frame it, if you are rooted in that deep part of you, then you get and the other person is rooted in that deep part of them, then, that’s really the field in which noble friendships can arise
Rick Archer: I see what you mean.
Nipun Mehta: So it’s, it’s not it’s less of like me going out. It’s not like okay, me getting like 1000 Twitter followers, right? Like, I’m gonna now have this scheme and I’m gonna get ahead, I’m gonna make this you know, this happen, you can’t do that what you all you can do is actually put yourself into that nobles, a noble friendship, space. And you know, that is what will increase the propensity of, you know, all that comes your way. And if there is nobleness on the other side, it will naturally like a magnet, create that kind of a connection. And so we can’t control other people, but we can control you know, our intrinsic state,
Rick Archer: I think I understand. Well, you know, Jesus said, Love your neighbor as yourself. And, and then Krishna said, that one can achieve a state where one sees the self in all beings and all beings in the self. And, you know, based on my understanding of noble friendships from last two minutes, I think what you’re alluding to is, you know, an orientation in which you actually literally see the Self capital ‘S’ in all beings and all beings contained within the wholeness of Brahman or the self. And thereby there’s this sort of like infinite in intimacy with everyone. And, and the golden rule is, is easy to follow, you know, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, because they are you, you see them as you perceive them as you,
Nipun Mehta: I would even make it even more concrete, like I think we can, if you look at our daily lives, we have multiple kinds of relationships. So I really like this idea of relationships as a mirror, right? So if you have a me, to me connection, that’s very much a transaction. Like I’m rooted in the me, you’re rooted in, in the me, and we’re both like trying to see what we can get from it, right. And that’s very much a transactional thing. But I can be rooted in a we part of me, and I can’t control you. But if you’re in the me, and I’m in the we, you know, you’re, I’m going to be a giver. Right? I’m going to give to you, and you know, and if it’s the other way, I’m going to be a taker. So if I’m in the me, and you’re nice and compassionate to me, I’m going to be a taker. But what’s most interesting is where we get into a we-to-we connection, that if I’m in the way, and you’re in the we, then you really have this deep bond. And what is the trajectory of this deep bond, that trajectory of this deep bond is over time, it’s like even we to we is limiting. It’s not just me, to me is transaction we to we is a deep relationship. But it’s actually when you get to the us that you have something much more profound. Because even in the we you can say, Oh, all these bald people come together, and they’re totally a we, you know, and we do that we do that with all kinds of different associations, and everyone within this circle is great. And everyone outside the circle is not me, right? And so even though we can be very limiting, and this is where if you really start to go to the us. That’s where the sort of noble friendship arises. That’s where the field in which you have this great deep compassion awaken. And so every relationship, in that sense, it’s not just a perceiving and giving yourself a pep talk and saying, oh, this person is divine, it’s actually to go into that moment, and say, well, first, what space Am I in? Am I in the me? Or Oh, I like this person, because he is he is like me, he thinks like me, he’s spiritual, all of that? Or is that a we? And can I go even deeper into the us. And if you can, then by the organic self-organization of the universe, you start to really come together into this us connection, which is rooted in noble friendship, and that, to me, is what gives us this incredible resilience. And it you know, in my life, if I look at it, it’s not that I don’t fall is that every time you fall, you’re on a trampoline, and you bounce back up higher. What is the trampoline? Trampoline is this web of normal friendships?
Rick Archer: Yeah, and I would suggest that it’s not something you have to, it’s like, Jesus, for instance, didn’t have to think himself into that over and over again, all day long. That was just his normal way of functioning, you know, seeing people as the self, seeing what I and my Father are one, and he could probably also say, you know, we’re all within the Father. So in the oneness, we all abide like fish in the ocean. And that was his sort of just using him as a case in point but I think one can, one can function from a state in which none of this is sort of little intellectual gymnastics, you have to do with yourself, it’s just your, your natural way of being.
Nipun Mehta: And we can ask ourselves, what percentage of our interactions are transactional? What percentage of our interactions are as givers and what percentage of our lot of our interactions are purely just no strings attached? Emergence, and that’s the me too, we do us and that’s, that’s a very good mirror of, you know, and once you get rooted in the us, you just cannot go back to the transactional like, you just can’t you don’t go in saying oh, this is good. Like, you know, even this conversation, right like or any conversation that you don’t go in and say, Oh, what if this gets a million views or can I use Rick in that way? You could but like, what if there’s some other emergence which is even far more profound than that that you haven’t you didn’t even have the capacity to think of so you don’t know these things so why even try to go down after a while you just you’re just like you just don’t do that like it’s just it’s like, you know, once you have fiber optic connection, like who wants to go back to dial up right?
Rick Archer: Hey, remember that? you know the old modems? Yeah, okay, good. About four questions came in. So I want to ask Those and it’ll cause us to jump around a little bit. But when then once I’ve asked those, I want to get into, you know more specifics about all the stuff you’ve been doing, which is fascinating. I mean, I would recommend that people who enjoy this interview also, like search for you on YouTube and listen to some of your talks, because there are all kinds of great stories you tell and all kinds of interesting things anecdotes, like, oh, maybe I’ll make you tell this one. Before we do the questions. There was the guy who was held up at knifepoint by some kid. And he gave him his wallet, and then he gave his coat and tell the rest of the story.
Nipun Mehta: It’s great. Yeah, there’s the story of Julio Diaz. Yeah, this guy on the subway is like, Give me Give me everything you got, you know, and the guy’s like, okay, here is my wallet, he, and he’s going away. As he’s going away comes this guy who was just robbed, looks, and looks to the kid. And he says, hey, you know, it’s a little cold. Do you want my jacket too? And the guys like, you like, (the robber), but you know, the guy, the thief is being asked to like, oh, wait, you forgot this, you know, you want something more? And so he takes, he’s like, actually, it is a little cold that I could use the jacket. Alright, I’ll take it. And then as he’s going away, he comes back to him. And he’s like, Hey, do you know, I’m about to go have dinner you want to join? And the kid again is like, is this a trap? Like, what do I do? You know, and so he goes, they actually they have dinner together. And we’ll is, you know, just a nice guy. And he talks to everybody. And they have this wonderful conversation at the end of it. You know, Julio says, It’s time to pay the check. He says, Hey, kid, I would pay for your tab, but I don’t have my wallet. And so the kid wonderfully, like, you know, is like I can imagine this moment is like, gives him back the wallet. And at that point, Julio says, Can I ask for one more thing? He says what he says, Can I have your knife too? And he gives him the knife. And I think what’s compelling about that story is that is so contextual, right? It’s, it’s, it’s not to say, Okay, well, when you’re getting robbed, you know, invite the person to dinner. I, this is not a recipe.
Rick Archer: Wouldn’t always work.
Nipun Mehta: That’s not gonna work. That’s right. It but it is that this potential is there. And can you discover that skillfulness that context, and that context is not just like the way in which you speak and the way in which you give your coat and your wallet, it’s actually also who you are, right? And it’s who the other person is. And there are so many examples of sages where, you know, they’re deeply awakened people. And they will say, Oh, you know, I can’t transform this person, but maybe my right-hand man or my left-hand man can because they have those affinities. So it’s not about a spiritual mite that actually creates this transformation. It’s that it was his to do and when it was his to do, he did it in a, you know, he recognized it. And he actually had the capacities to not be transactional about it, which then led to a powerful transformation. And so I think there’s a, you know, there’s a compelling lesson underneath that. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah, great. All right, I got to ask you these questions. So this one is from Dennis Sullivan, in Beaverton, Ontario. ‘You mentioned that you were laughing when you had a moment of enlightenment, David Godman, who is, you know, David, he writes biographies of part of Papaji and Nisargadatta, and Ramana Maharshi. And all that. David mentioned in one of his videos, the observation of people around Papaji laughing without cause to the point that it would annoy him. Is there something significant in the act of laughing that Papaji used as a tool or imparted to people in his presence? Not sure about this question, because maybe you don’t even know anything about Papaji. But is there anything you can get from that?
Nipun Mehta: I would say laughing in general, like, I think there’s a kind of sense of joy, but also comedy, right, like comedy in the sense of, I think taking things lightly. So I think just realizing the erroneous ways of, of, of our internal apparatus, and at some point be like, Oh, my God, like, I didn’t quite have it right. And not to beat yourself up with it. But just to laugh so to me, I’m not sure of the essence of that question. But to me laughter. has, you know, obviously, there’s like, you know, Thich Nhat Hanh used to say that sometimes your joy is the reason of your smile. Sometimes your smile is the reason for your joy. So I think there are biochemical things that do happen because of the smile. But I think at some level, I think you want to take lightly and to me, if you can laugh at things that happen, you’re probably in good shape. You’re not subsumed by other reactions, which means you’re going to be open to deeper insight.
Rick Archer: You know that guy who does laughter yoga, and he gets people out in a field or something, and they’ll just start going, Ho, ho, ho, you’re laughing and laughing. And next thing, you know, they’re actually doubling over with genuine laughter
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve done that. So it’s, yeah, it’s great to do I mean, of course, there’s a breathing, you know, there is a biological element to it, I think, the way in which you breathe, I think there’s a lot to it. And then there’s a, you know, there’s a kind of sense of levity, as well. And there’s a sense of contagiousness, and we know that all these things, especially if you do it in a group, right, if others are yawning, you’re gonna yawn if others are like, totally cracking up, that’s just gonna make your crack up. And, and when you smile, it’s hard to have a frown on your face.
Rick Archer: Yeah, here’s a question from Michael Moran in London, “I read somewhere recently that Samadhi is associated specifically with Jnana yoga, as opposed to bhakti or karma yoga, but do not find any scriptural or authoritative reference to support this. Do you have any thoughts on this?”
Nipun Mehta: He saying scriptural references to what to?
Rick Archer: do well to, to suggest that Samadhi is associated with Jnana yoga as opposed to bhakti or Karma Yoga? And he’s, I mean, I have some thoughts on that. But you have any?
Nipun Mehta: I mean to, to me, it personally, I think all of those four delineations in Hinduism, I think that’s true at a certain level of consciousness, you can say that there are for these four different paths that, you know, Bhakti is, is a certain entrance into this knowledge is a certain entrance into this Karma yoga, which I think probably has been my path is a certain entrance to it, you know, Raja Yoga as well. But I think, at some level, and this has been true, in my experience, all for those kind of merge, right? I think those delineations are not really as you know, the boundaries of those are not as distinct as we might think they are, that I think there’s a deep absorption quality to, to Bhakti yoga, you know, that you can, you can totally get into I think there’s a deep as we’ve been talking about action, right? Like, there’s a deep way to look at action. So it leads to a stillness of the mind. There’s a deep way of insight and meditation, that leads to a deep stillness of the mind. So I think all paths do lead, there isn’t different gateways. But as you walk a little further into that gate, I think you end up arriving at something that’s quite fundamental. Yeah, I also think that Samadhi can be a component of every path, you could have a practice where you dip into Samadhi for a little while, and then come out and engage in Karma, some kind of activity or in Bhakti, in devotional practices, or in Jnana you sit around studying the Scriptures all day. And to a certain extent, I think it depends on one’s temperament and makeup, which activity is more dharmic for you, but compound, but Samadhi, which is just a Sanskrit word for kind of transcendence or dipping into pure consciousness can be a fundamental to all those paths. Yeah. And I think it’s, and there’s also so many layers to those samadhis. Yes, all kinds of different samadhis, you know, all kinds of different Samadhis. And, and some of them are helpful and required, and some of them can be distractions, as well. And so one has to use that discerning capacity, even though all of that, and again, to me, it’s whose discerning capacity are you going to use, you know, whose apparatus will you have access to in those deep moments of absorption? And I think it to me that that insurance comes from noble friendships. And so I, to me, it’s all kind of related to some of the themes that we’ve been talking about.
Rick Archer: Okay. So the next two questions actually allude to things we haven’t really talked about much yet, but this will give us a segue into your explaining more about them. So the first one is from Carrie Lake and Encinitas, California, who asks, Will you please speak about the transformation you’ve experienced since you first started Service Space? So tell us about service space and how not only how, what has it done, but how has it influenced you?
Nipun Mehta: Oh, it’s influenced me dramatically. It’s, it’s changed me I think for the better, you know, I started Service Space back in, like 2019 99 was our first project. So you know, more than 2022 years now. And all through all of that I think I would say the biggest way it has changed me is it has given me a deeper understanding of compassion. I think it’s really made me realize that there’s a difference between sympathy and empathy and compassion. That sympathy is where you pity other people, and you help and you know, there’s a beautiful Rachel Naomi Remen quote that says, ‘When you help you see life as weak, when you fix, you see, life is broken. And when you serve, you see life as a co-creative whole’. And I would go even further. And I would say that even beyond service is offering, that I’m actually grateful that I have a chance to make this offering. Because through this offering, regardless of its external ripple effect, it is transforming me. And so there’s this incredible gratitude in that state of offering. And I, you know, I think only compassion, sympathy, or empathy, can I get you to that place of offering, it has to be compassion, and because compassion is regenerative, you know, and simple. And these are different actual scientists have measured this, these are very different neurochemical states, I sympathy is, is a very different state than empathy. Where you feel like everyone’s empathy is where you feel like everyone’s pain is yours. And in compassion, it’s a very different state, where you know, your boundaries, and yet you’re able to you feel called to be in service. And so, there is, to me, having a deeper understanding of all of this has been a very incredible insight. And I think it has deepened my faith. And I just realized that, you know, I think it was an untested hypothesis. You know, like, I grew up, like, my mom and dad would have these phrases from the Gita. You know, Karmanye Vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadhachana release all the outcomes, and you know, they’re like, just act for the sake of action, all these things so you kind of knew, but then you’re like running an organization, right? And you’re like, ‘Okay, well, what does that actually look like?’ And even this idea, I think, initially, like, people would ask me, what do you do? I would say, I volunteer, and they’re like, Oh, what do you really do? And I’m like, No, I really volunteer. And then I realized that, okay, you’re talking to a whole bunch of people and you know, different settings. And they’re like, they need a title. And I’m like, Okay, what’s the title? Like, why should I? Okay, ‘CEO’ just doesn’t sound right. I don’t know ‘Board Member’? No. So I use ‘Founder’, right. And, and I said, Okay, I’m a Founder. And that’s true. But really, is that true? You know, did I start like, is that a, you know, it was a fly on the tail of the dog on Krishna’s tail Right? Like, what actually, like there are so many causes to it’s sure, I can find a through line and say, I create, I was a major part of these causes that created this thing called Service Space. But really, there were so many factors that kind of allowed that to emerge. And that’s true with everything. And so you say, Oh, well, it’s happening. And it’s less of, it’s less ownership of it. And so to me, when if I would have held this idea 20 years ago, and said, Oh, it’s happening, you know, it would have been a confusing idea at that time. It because it’s like, What do you mean, I’m creating, I have to have these meetings, I have to have rally people together, I have to, you know, you got to coordinate and you got to do stuff, right? And you got to have a collective story and all of that. And I look back now, and I realized that actually, it did happen. And there is something happening and is definitely going right now as well But I’m, I’m not so sure. It’s if it’s just mine. And that just makes complete sense to me now. Whereas before, it made a little bit of sense, and that just makes total sense to me now. So it’s not just a thing that’s present intellectually, or that’s present on the meditation cushion, like you can actually be in the mud of the world and still have access to this kind of a lotus, this kind of a lotus of, of, of acting without wanting stuff in return without having an agenda without trying to promote without trying to scheme without trying to get ahead. And we have you know principles that support that, like one of our principles is we don’t fund raise. And you know, you would think like, oh, when you don’t fund raise like, how the heck, how are you going to survive? And that’s just an untested hypothesis. It’s like, oh, I didn’t have a five-year plan when I was in my mother’s womb. And I’ve survived, you know? And so, like, what are the different factors that are, you know, a different causes and conditions. And I think just that deeper awareness of all of that has seeped into me because I, you know, this is like, I practice this, and I live it. And so now I just feel a lot lighter, I would say, than I was 20 years ago, and I hope to be a lot lighter, even 20 more years later, right?
Rick Archer: Yeah, lay off the gulab jamuns, I guess.
Nipun Mehta: The rest of Gulas.
Rick Archer: Right. But you still haven’t quite told us what Service Space is and what it does?
Nipun Mehta: Yeah. Well, it does a lot of things. Service Space started in 1999. In the heart of the Silicon Valley, I think there were a few of us that came together. And our primary intention was we want it to, we want it to serve, we want it to grow in service, we wanted to change ourselves through these small acts of service, we ended up building a website for a nonprofit. And that became sort of the initial way of service that we were organized around just building websites for other nonprofits at no cost and no branding, nothing. What has emerged over the last 20 years is that it is now a collection of lots of people in lots of places around the world that want to serve that want to do small acts of service with this orientation towards inner transformation. And that kind of a context is really helpful in you know, in our journeys of inner transformation. And so the way it manifests initially, I think, at first, if your first few years, we were doing a lot of different web services and web portals. So we would look at the world and we say, oh, there isn’t enough good news, because everyone’s talking about like, you know, fear driven negative news. So we created a daily good portal,
Rick Archer: I just subscribe to that, by the way, there’s about five different emails you can get that are either daily or weekly, or monthly. And then there’s several other things. And this is I just subscribed to all of them.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, like, like YouTube came about? And we said, well, what would Karma Tube be where you have a little bit of good news, or you have an inspiring video, but you also have three actions you can take around that and then we started a portal, just on kindness, because we said, you know, kindness is so incredible, why don’t we have a portal that shares ideas, and it created a little game of smile cards, where people do acts and leave smile cards behind, and it kind of creates a community. And then we started doing a whole bunch of offline things as well. You know, we started experimenting. One of those experiments was like an awakened circle at my parents place where we, we sit in silence for an hour. In the second hour, we have a circle of sharing and a third hour, my mom said, ‘We’ll feed whoever comes’. And, and then it has now spread to over 100 cities and my in my own parents place. I mean, this is incredible emergence. If you think about it, it’s my Mom probably would have fed, my Mom and Dad probably would have fed more than 50,000 people. It’s just a complete phenomenon every up until the pandemic every single Wednesday for, you know, 20 plus years there in the Bay Area is there in the Bay Area. Yeah, in the heart of the valley. And then it was so simple. It was so small that so many people said hey, this is great. I could do this too. I have space. I have a you know, I can listen. In the second hour, there’s no teachers, you’re learning from each other. And then, you know, I’m willing to serve in this small way by just offering a meal. So that become you know, those kinds of things like you just have so many you know, we started, we took over a restaurant one time
Rick Archer: before you get onto that. I’m just curious when people come and it’s just a, I imagine a kind of a group of people of all different orientations and you know, met probably not the same people every week. How does it go? having them sit in silence for another for an hour? I should think that unless the people are accustomed to meditating or something, a lot of them would get very antsy.
Nipun Mehta: Oh, yeah, it’s my so many of them have never sat an hour ever in their life, but through some reason, because we don’t advertise it or we don’t push it out. It’s just kind of word of mouth is usually how people wouldn’t find it. And so they’re like, Yeah, you should come to this thing. And there’s so many value points. So you’re like, Okay, you come you sit in silence and, and you know, here you have a usual Wednesday your 50s 60, people sometimes a little bit more, sometimes a little less. And then they’re like crammed like an Indian rickshaw, you know, they’re all kind of crammed in this ordinary, you know, middle class home. And there are people in the hallways, people run to the bathroom, and everyone’s just silent. What does it mean, to first find that silence in yourself, but to actually meet each other in silence, because you don’t know most of the people that are there in the room, and your first time that you are together with somebody is in silence? What actually happens with it? And then in the second hour, when you’re actually doing a circle or sharing, you’re not saying, oh, this person has more wisdom than the other person, you’re actually saying, ‘that when you speak, I’m going to listen ‘ and what have you, you know, initially, you’re thinking, what am I going to say? What am I going to say? What am I going to say? And after a while, you’re like, wait, I 99% of the time in the circle. I was my value added was listening. It wasn’t speaking.
Rick Archer: People speak one at a time and everybody else listens, or is it a little? What do you call them? Little doublets?
Nipun Mehta: No, no, no, it’s just a circle of sharing. So it’s not like a dialogue or it’s not, you know, it’s like, I’m sharing my aha moment of the week, I was driving and somebody cut me off. And in sparked this inner insight, you know, and usually, there’s like a reading from different faces, like, you know, a couple of paragraphs that sort of seeds it, and someone else will like sort of open, but then you’re just listening to everybody. And you’d be amazed that we live in a world where we all just want to speak, we all want to be the center, we think that’s the way to contribute and hear you’re like, you know, wow, like I’m listening, and you’d be amazed how far that goes. And then in the third hour to receive a meal. And in our places, it’s an it’s in silence. You’re just like, wow, like, you know, this, this Indian Mom is trying to expand her heart and says, I have my family. I have my loved ones. And I want to expand in you know, in our tradition, in the Hindu tradition, there’s this phrase called the ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ the whole world,,
Rick Archer: my family.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah. And you’re like, and it’s not just a phrase that somebody says, right? It’s like, they’ve spent the whole day like, they’ve got jobs, and they’ve got all these different things they’ve spent the whole day, like just trying to do this and for nothing, and at the end, when you go and say thank you to them, their responses, you know, nobody, hey, we’re grateful we had the opportunity to serve, and they’re like, can we offer something? and they said, you know, the whole, we try to practice this idea that the whole world is our family, why don’t you pay it forward, however, your heart guides you. And it’s one thing to do that once or twice, it’s another to do it for 21 straight years, every single Wednesday is a practice. And so you look at that, and they don’t, you know, they’re not like going to get a Nobel Prize, or any of that, you know, so you and they don’t want it like there’s no, it’s just a thing you do, it becomes you and you grow through it. And I’ve seen them grow. I’ve seen myself grow through it. And so that becomes, you know, we’re sort of going on a detour with awakened circles, but it was it’s a very compelling sort of archetype. And so we do these experiments, you know, Service Space is full of these kinds of experiments around the world in different ways. Some are small, some end up scaling,
Rick Archer: have you had to suspend some of these things due to the pandemic?
Nipun Mehta: Oh, yeah, all of them. Like in terms, awakened circles, but even like current kitchens, and then different places have opened up in different ways. So we also do a lot of different retreats, which are also on pause. Yeah, pandemic is definitely hopefully we’ll get back to normal
Rick Archer: someday soon.
Nipun Mehta: Right.
Rick Archer: Okay. Karma Kitchen you mentioned now a question came in about that. Somebody Mark Peters from Santa Clara said I was wondering if you could share something about the role of food and feeding others in seva. I have heard some remarkable stories around this topic with regards to your mother while you’re just kind of telling that and wife. Also, if you could share a story from Karma Kitchen, that would be great.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, definitely. So I think the I think was it Neem Karoli Baba, he had this phrase. He says, ‘Love all serve all feed all’
Rick Archer: might have been him.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah. And so this idea of I think it’s just so fundamental. It’s so simple. We all need food, and it can be a great gateway to offering and to practice the heart of offering. So we for it’s a Karma Kitchen was an interesting experiment that we did. So we went over and we said, well, what would happen if we change the rules of a certain, you know, certain interaction that is transaction based, and we change the rules in a way that it turns it into a something a little deeper, right? Something either you have the giver taker or maybe a noble friendship potential down the road. And so you walk into Karma Kitchen, and your check reads zero, it’s zero because someone before you has paid for you, and you are trusted to pay forward for people after you. And so you typically you go in and you say, This is my money, this is my order, this is my food, and you feel a huge sense of entitlement to it. And now you’re going in. And first of all, it’s all run by volunteers. And you’re looking at this whole place, and no one in the restaurant is has paid for themselves. So for everyone is starting off with a gift. And then they are invited to pay forward for people after them. And just out of a heart of gratitude. So you’ll feel gratitude, and then you exercise, you know, that gratitude through whatever you want to leave. And, you know, will people leave enough? Or will they leave less? Or will they leave more? What will happen? And we said, let’s try it, whatever, you know, you’re trying. So we got a bunch of, you know, a bunch of money together to rent this place. So we got all the food and we said, well, let’s see if it exists the next week. And it existed the next week, and then the week after, and then a week after, and for so many years, and now in like I think 23 different places around the world. People have experimented with it, but it’s a very ancient idea. It’s a monastic idea, right? Like monks and nuns have existed like this for millennia. And how is it that they exist because its nature funded, nature funded in the sense that you generosity begets more generosity, right? Like compassion begets more compassion, but we don’t have systems that help us experiment with that. And in our current world, you know, you can’t have your Lexus car dealership run in this way. But UC Berkeley actually did research on this, it was a seminal paper, it’s widely cited. And the title of this paper was ‘paying more when paying for others’. And so there’s, you know, and we have incredible stories of how people are so deeply transformed when you know, they are when they encounter this kind of generosity,
Rick Archer: Does that mean that people might pay more than they ordinarily would for that type of meal or something?
Nipun Mehta: If you have a strong context, a lot of people will say, Well, does this actually work? Can it work? And I and I, does generosity work? And I’m like, it generosity always works. The question is, do you have a strong enough context to compel that. So if you had a buffet line, probably wouldn’t work. But if you had volunteers, and right, as you come in, under the table, there’s a light inspiring quote. And it’s not scheming to get them to donate because nobody actually ever sees how much you’re donating. So no one can correlate. And that’s part of the principle. But at the end of the day, you look at the total amount, and we would always end up with more certainly in the Berkeley location where we had it for, you know, so many years. And so there’s a, if you can create a strong context of which volunteers are a part of which the ambience is a part of which they kind of care, like in Japan, I think they even had a corner, where like, before you make a payment, you actually have a corner in silence, like they call it a prayer corner in the middle of a restaurant, where you go in, and you reflect, and you spend 60 seconds and say, ‘Well, what is this worth to me? And how do I want to pay it forward for to give this experience to somebody else?’
Rick Archer: Have you ever had an experience where somebody tries to take advantage of it, and they just start eating there regularly and not paying?
Nipun Mehta: Oh, sure. I mean, all the time people do I mean, I advantage in the sense that people are always going to be testing this kind of thing out. Right. And so you a at some level, it’s not this kumbaya thing that where you have no boundary. So you know, like, if you if this is not a homeless shelter, right? It’s actually a reframing your audience is a restaurant going people, that where you are helping that population reframe from transaction to a deeper kind of trust and a deeper kind of connection. So you certainly have boundaries. And you know, we’re a bunch of volunteers, like, we’re not trying to solve the food problem in the world. But we are trying, you can actually approach every transaction in this way. And so like a person at an acupuncture clinic, right, she says, I want to learn, I want to do this with my acupuncture clinic. There’s a rickshaw driver in Ahmedabad where your wife has been, who has been running his rickshaw in this same way. And so, you know, I don’t know if you if you’ve been to India recently, but you know, reach out
Rick Archer: not since 86 I think was last time I was there.
Nipun Mehta: Okay, well, I don’t know how it was in 86. But definitely, you know, rickshaw drivers are known to kind of not take you in a single straight path. You know, so you
Rick Archer: run up the tab?
Nipun Mehta: Yeah. So they get a, you know, so you look at that context. And in that context, this guy says, You know what? No, I’m not even going to run my meter. What I’m just going to let you, you I have full faith in you, He even brings food that his wife has cooked. And this is not like a Bill Gates doing his philanthropy. This is a guy who needs all the money from that day to survive. And he is saying, I’m putting all my chips on love, that if I give to you, you will respond to that generosity in a way that serves the greater good. And he wants to he wanted to be in service to that. And everyone asked him, so does it work out? And right, and he says, ‘Oh, I’ve got a ledger’, you know, it’s like in this in this book, like, you can read all, you know, some people paid more, some people paid less, you will have people who try to gain the system. And you will also have people who give more, it evens out. So roughly, he says, I make as much as I used to before. But this is the wrong book. Right? This is the book and he gives him a second book, he says, this is where I asked people how they felt sitting in my rickshaw. And people take vows for life. Because they’re like, ‘Man, this guy has taught me about generosity, about believing in the goodness of people. And I know I can do better in my life, I am going to pick up this practice, I’m going to do this’. And he says, this is actually the value add of my rickshaw. So now your take somebody that like the world might see as ‘Hey, get me from point A to point B,’ and that’s your utility. You see that person is now an agent of incredible compassion. And they were like, who started this who’s funding?, he’s like, nobody is just me. Right? I mean, other people might have inspired him, but he just turned transaction into an experiment in trust. And then you have to find your own boundaries. It’s not to say, it’s not like all of a sudden, there’s utopia, right? You figure it out. And that’s contextual. It’s contextual, to who you are, it’s contextual to what your, you know, staying capacity is its contextual to the culture you’re embedded in. But it becomes a practice. And it’s no longer just a thing you do there. And then I meditate or I pray, or I go to the temple to do that over there. This becomes a kind of prayer. And that’s very, very powerful.
Rick Archer: A minute ago, you mentioned, we’re not going to feed the world with Karma kitchen. And that brought up the thought about the wealth and equity in the world. I’ve heard you and others cite statistics of you know, a handful of people have as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the whole world’s population or whatever. And it seems to be getting worse from what I understand. Recently, I think Elon Musk, who is now the richest guy in the world, he’s worth about 300 billion or something. He has gotten into sort of a pissing match with Bernie Sanders, because Bernie wants to, you know, even things out more and, and you know, and Musk has given him a hard time and I don’t know, what are your thoughts about where the world is going? I mean, I read an article just yesterday, I think, from Ray Dalio, who’s the most successful hedge fund guy, and, you know, super wealthy and all and he’s, he’s worried that we’re going to have civil war because of wealth inequity, and various other problems that, you know, political polarization and everything, he thinks we’re gonna actually have a fighting war. So, I mean, do you think on a global scale like that, and what would you see as kind of more ideal way of arranging society for the betterment of all?
Nipun Mehta: Well, you know, this is something of course, I’ve thought a lot about, and you look at so many causes. And use you ask, you know, in this complex web, in this volatile web, in this deeply interconnected web, what are the sort of acupuncture points where you do a small thing, and it kind of creates a cascading ripple effect? And I, you know, I think one of the big things that I think about I’m an engineer by trade, I still do a lot of coding every single day. And, and one of the things that I think a lot about that service base thinks a lot about. And in fact, in the pandemic, one of the things that has emerged in service base as a learning platform, we call them service-based pods. But you’ll look at what Mark Zuckerberg just kind of recently laid out as his vision of Metaverse, which is essentially you know, we had YouTube algorithms telling us, oh, well, you know, you will also like, and then from there we go to Netflix binging and from Netflix binging now, we’re just going to a whole world where we’re just going to be immersed in this and you say, Well, what are the motivations that are driving people to this? And I think what’s actually happening is The transactional mentality is actually fracturing our social fabric. And that how, you know, to me, that lever of going from me-to-me connections to creating contexts, where you have a more of a we to we connection, like you look at a common kitchen, which are in any restaurant, it can have a mean to me orientation, but you can also reframe it as something much, much deeper. You can go into a home, and you can have a mean to me orientation, but it can also be an awakened circle. And so similarly, I think more even than the offline I think the questions that we now have to ask especially around the inequities and, and not just the inequities, the cascading sort of compounding problems that inequity creates, is you have to ask, like, what are going to be the technological interventions that create a space for that sort of have this through line from, you know, even if I come in as a me, there is a through line for me to go from me to we, and from we to us. And I just don’t think that Facebook or Google or Netflix, they’re, they’re not thinking about that. That’s not in their powerlines. So they’re kind of looking and saying, Oh, this me of me is so dissatisfying. There’s so polarizing is, so there’s so much inequity, there’s the haves and have nots, and so what should we do, let’s escape. And let’s create, you know, let’s create something on Mars, or let’s create something in a virtual world, or let’s create, you know, and that’s one way of shrinking Another way is to sort of say, hey, we have the capacity to take an internal U turn. But and there are many ways to take that internal U turn, expand into a deeper awareness. But I think the core question as designers as service hearted people, is that is not like the recipe, the one recipe that’s going to help everyone take a U turn, right? Like, what is the compassion pill? They’re working on that, by the way. So like, it’s not that but it’s more about what are the spaces offline and online and hybrid spaces in which you create the you architect the interactions in such a way that it allows for a field of transformation to be possible. And I think the way in which we are creating spaces at scale in the world today, especially with technology, is actually going to only deepen the inequity, and you’re like, how can you deepen from eight people? Oh, you know, eight men in the world owning more wealth than the bottom 3.5 billion, right? You’re like, that’s already crazy. But you know, I’m with you all know, Omar Harare who speaks about this. And he says, you know, with the upcoming sort of centralization, and even the pandemic and what it has done, it’s going to actually even deepen the inequity. And so I think, for me, this is a very pressing question. If you are holding, you know, if you’re looking at the world through a lens of service, and you say, well, we’re in this giant field, you know, should I intervene? To me, the question would be, if you can move from transaction, which is one dimensional to something that is a little bit more relational, so that it creates a field of trust. So that transformation may arise like that, by nature’s propensity, not by the propensity of your intervention, that I think that to me feels like a very significant thing. So even if you’re doing this interview, like if you can, if we can make it more relational, to me, it would actually be adding break on to this kind of giant momentum, that is shrinking our awareness, shrinking the depth of our relationships into just, you know, shallower and shallower connections, and then too, more and more of an escape and more and more of a, you know, sort of building layers of delusion on top of delusion. So I feel like we, you know, taking that U turn starts with turning transaction into a relationship and into giver kind of relationships. Yeah, I don’t know if that makes sense. But that’s,
Rick Archer: it does. And, at times, it sounded kind of pessimistic. You know, it’s like, Ooh, you know, this, that and the other thing is, you know, Elon Musk thinks he’s gonna help save us by populating Mars. And, you know, Zuckerberg thinks that meta is going to, but I mean, we’re kind of fiddling while Rome burns in a way and I think that climate change if it goes as it might, you know, could make these migrations of people that are happening right now, which are very difficult to seem like a minor trickle, because it could turn into hundreds of millions of people having to migrate. And in the midst of drought and famine and war and everything else, so, I mean, talking about pessimistic, but I’m, I’m just sort of, I always think about this, and I think about what can I do for one, and, and I’ve always felt, you know, since my 20s, or earlier that the more fundamental level at which we can function, the more leverage we’ll have, and the most fundamental thing is consciousness. And if we can really do something on that level, it could save the day. And, and that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do things on manifest levels is as well, which you’re a beautiful exemplar of, but that foundation has to be there. And that’s kind of what we started this conversation with actually was, you know, the importance of, of grounding ourselves in that deeper dimension. Or, as the Gita says, established in yoga, perform action. And I’m just hoping that what appears to be some kind of spiritual epidemic around the world ends up being the saving grace such that there will indeed be a kind of a global awakening. And somehow all these intractable problems, we’ll, we’ll find solutions.
Nipun Mehta: Well, there are two things that give me hope, in the sense that are that to me, I, you know, I don’t see it as a pessimistic or an optimistic thing. I see it as a part of a continuum. I have this one slide in one of my talks, where shows an infinity sign, and on one side they’re suffering. And the other side, there’s compassion, is that actually, you know, what Buddhas first Noble Truth was there, there is suffering, but it doesn’t stop there. So I think it’s one is that there is suffering. And the other is that we actually have a wish not only to come out of that suffering, but to help others come out of that suffering. And that’s what compassion is. And so in times of suffering, it’s not to deny that suffering, it’s actually to hold it in a larger context of great compassion. And that, you know, so many stages have come and gone and suffering has existed, but there, there has been an incredible response, like actually even post pandemic. We started a portal called Karunanavirus, it was kind of a play on Corona virus, and it’s like, oh, how is you know, how can you create a contagion of compassion because there was from there’s no denying that and it’s, and it was distributed unequally you know, it’s unfair. And at the same time, there were also so many people just deeply responding with great compassion. People giving up their oxygen masks and people, you know, there were these, I was really touched by this Sikhs story of these two Sikh brothers. Where Sikhs, I don’t know, if you’re familiar, they never shave or cut their hair. And these guys are like, what’s more important serving? And they said, because of the Coronavirus. You can’t be a doctor and go to the front lines, if you have facial hair at that time. And these guys shaved, you know, like breaking one of their precepts because they said service was more important, like, and there were so many examples, and there continued to be. So I think that’s the question that I hold, is, how can I build a bigger heart? How can I respond to the world? With, you know, with more love?
Rick Archer: That’s good? Yeah, okay. It’s like, I don’t know. I think what you’re doing is amazing. And, you know, I guess the thought that just occurred to me then is, if there is some kind of upwelling of consciousness taking place, you’re kind of an avant garde character in a way. I mean, you’re, you’re the, you’re an example of what could possibly become very widespread. And if it did, it would be, you know, vastly the kind of transformations you’ve been seeing in very specific places where you’ve been able to work could become, you know, commonplace throughout the world. And, yeah, so I’m really, really hope so.
Nipun Mehta: Me too. I mean, that’s why you spend, you know, 90% of your waking hours trying to be in service and do those things. But the second thing that inspires me is also to just know that this change is nonlinear, that we are sort of stuck in our linear minds and we think oh, this then this then this then this, right? And so we, you know, that’s usually that’s the kind of thinking that creates the problem. And I think life happens in a very nonlinear way you do something small, and you never know, it creates this incredible ripple effect that ends up having remarkable, you know, change in the world. And you don’t know, maybe I’m the instrument, maybe you’re the instrument, maybe we like create a domino effect that, you know, goes out and does something else. And you have to sort of trust in that deeper guidance. To know that, you know, this is fortunately, it’s, it’s a great thing, that it’s not resting on the, on the shoulders of our ego, right? Like, it’s because if it were up to just us, man, that would be very problematic. And that would be too heavy. And I would think from that, but I think we can all do our little part. And I always say, like, go out and do a small act of love right now, like, and if you can do that you’re contributing to that U turn from the narrow transactional interactions to something that’s much more expansive. And you’re making a statement for that. And even that small ac it matters, it counts. Because in the larger web of things, we are all very, very deeply interconnected. And so I think we can hold, we can hold the suffering in the world with that kind of a heart, which I think brings a certain kind of joy to, despite being in the mud of the world.
Rick Archer: You know, the story of Krishna holding up the mountain and to protect the villagers. And the villagers think, oh, you know, pretty heavy mountain, I better help and they get a stick. And they’re holding, helping him hold the mountain with this with their little sticks. So that’s us, doing our little things, but God is God is really running the show.
Nipun Mehta: There were there was a great story. I met this kid one time, and I asked him, it was actually a very profound encounter, we are at a retreat, and he like he dips into my plate. And he, like I did a moment of silence. And right as I open my eyes, he dips into my plate, and he feeds me the first bite and I’m like, what? I was shocked. I mean, no one had ever done that. Right? Like, what do you mean? It’s like, I’m gonna eat my own food, right? And so I said, Oh, I took it right. And then he, he said, I kind of looked confused. And he looks at me, he says, he explaining and he says, Well, you were doing a prayer. And I just had this feeling that I want to be a part of that prayer. And what better way than to be of service. So I offered you the first bite. And I was like, wow! I said, I asked him, I said, Who are you? What do you do? And he says, Whenever people asked me who I am and what I do, I tell them, and this is like a teenager, right? Like, this is not like someone who is he says I tell them the story of a little sparrow. And I said, what’s this? What’s the story of the sparrow? He says, Well, there was a sparrow that heard that the world is coming down. And so he turned its back and looked up at the world and somebody, you know, is put his feet up at the sky and somebody looks the same and says, hey, little sparrow, what are you doing? He says, I’m doing my little bit to keep the sky up because I’ve heard it’s falling. And, and there’s something you know, it’s there’s something that’s, you know, about, it’s, it’s about being responsible, but it’s also about being humble. It’s also about like, just a very different space from which you are offering and maybe it does, you know, Ramayana and all of like you have all the Indian scriptures where it’s not just about the mythical characters, it’s also about those little squirrels that help build the bridge for Ram,
Rick Archer: Oh, right
Nipun Mehta: And so, and there’s nothing you know, it’s like in our Superman world, we want to be the Superman, we want to be the front headlines, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being the squirrels in fact, not only nothing wrong, it is absolutely just as sacred as anything else. And so I think even the ordinary, the most smallest, the most mundane, can be a gateway to the absolutely most divine. And so that that to me, it gives brings a smile to my face, even as I hold so much in the world.
Rick Archer: Sweet, one time, my wife and I were seeing Amma and it was our anniversary, we told her it was our anniversary. And so she gave us each a chocolate. And I think we both started to put it in our own mouth. And she said, No, no, put it in each other’s mouth. And then she told us this story about the, the Devas and the Asuras, for some reason had their arms with a splint on them so they couldn’t bend at the elbow. And the I guess the Asuras starved to death because they couldn’t feed themselves. But the Devas fed each other, you know with their arms straight, they were able to just feed each other and so they lived.
Nipun Mehta: That’s a great story. Yeah, exactly.
Rick Archer: Somebody has to question this. We’ll have to wrap it up pretty much after this. But this is from Mark Peters in Santa Clara. And I don’t know what he’s referring to, but presumably you do. “Can you share a story of your encounters with Kanti Kaka, who referred to Death as his noble friend, and whose favorite song asserted that life is a game?”
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, that’s yeah, that’s it. So it’s actually He’s a remarkable sculptor. He passed away a few years ago and he would sing the song called we come in very simple song, you know, ‘we come laughing laughing we go crying, crying, or no, sorry, ‘we come crying crying, we go laughing laughing, life is a game Life is a game’. But I think what for him, he embodied this spirit. So I think even in Times Square, he would make sculptures of like, lots of saints and, and even Gandhi. So one of his sculpture of Gandhi is actually in Time Square. But we asked him a question, you know, we would ask him, we said, Kanti Kaka, how do you know that a painting is complete? Or a piece of art, or in his case, a piece of sculpture? How do you know that it’s complete. And he says when I know I haven’t done it.
Rick Archer: Nice.
Nipun Mehta: And, and so he never actually signed any of his pieces of art. He lived very simply, very humbly, some of the most incredible saints alive during his time, would end up going into his little workshop. We had the honor of you know, interacting with him and Sarah various occasions. And, and yeah, he would, he would just come in, he would sing and he wasn’t a singer, you were there was nothing fancy about it. But there was there was this sense that yeah, we come crying, crying, we go laughing, laughing. Life is a game. And there was this sense of the that I have to do my bit. And I’m going to do it with great love. And I don’t mean to, you know, create schemes on top of that. That’s, that’s enough. That’s my calling. And so I feel there’s a sense of contentment, there’s a sense of peace. And actually, I feel like so many of the deepest revolutionary possibilities that are created in the world are actually those that emanate from this sense of arriving from the sense of deep peace, from the sense of, okay, I embrace all as is, and yet, I will respond with great compassion. There’s a quote, actually, on my desk, you know, Brother David Steindl-Rast, I don’t know if you know him.
Rick Archer: I know of him yes,
Nipun Mehta: He is. He’s a remarkable human being. And he, at one point, he had invited like, six, seven of us a dialogue on compassion. And so it was like, for a week, we were all dialoguing on compassion. And at the end of it, he gave me this beautiful, this beautiful little card. And on it, there’s a quote, you know, and he says, it’s by Arazamas, but others have told me it’s not but it says, whatever happens, whatever what is, is, is what I want, nothing else, but this. And coming from him, because he sat down one time to like meditate and just spontaneously for an unspecified amount of time. And it was 14 years later that he stopped meditating, you know, so this is that kind of a guy.
Rick Archer: He sat in meditation in one single meditation setting for 14 years,
Nipun Mehta: Not one single one, but he basically stayed in silence. He didn’t do anything else. I had asked him a question. I said, Brother David, how do you decide when to stop meditating? And, and so he said, well, sometimes it’s a couple of minutes. Sometimes it’s a couple of hours and sometimes it’s a couple of days. And one time I kind of sat and you know, I just felt like continuing for 14 years.
Rick Archer: That’s great
Nipun Mehta: And so here is that kind of guy and for him to say he was a Benedictine monk. And for him to say, well, whatever happens whatever what is his is what I want. Nothing else. But this. And to me when I see connecting it back to Kanti Kaka and the piece of work a piece of art that he creates in the world, which I think we ultimately we’re all creating a little bit of art through our action. It came from this space of I, this is where I’m at, and I’m gonna, you know, shine my little corner of the world. And there was something there is something very powerful about that which I find to be way more inspiring personally for me, then to read the headlines of people that have done X amount or Y amount of things, you know, like to me, I really bow down in reverence to the everyday heroes that do their small acts with great love. I think that’s the only thing that has ever changed the world.
Rick Archer: Beautiful! Well, it’s tempting to make this a 14-year long interview, but because it’s so much fun talking to you, but we better ended up at this point. So I’ll put a page up on that gap. com that links to as many of these specific little things as possible, because I want to make sure that nobody misses any of them. Also, so many interesting things that you have been involved in, that people can avail themselves of. And I want to give a shout out to James O. De whom I interviewed some years ago, who recommended that we invite you for interview. Really appreciate that, James, and really appreciate everything you’re doing. And I appreciate everybody watching this interview. We’re all in this together as the saying goes, and we’re all each holding up our stick. And, you know, it’s just a joy to, to have met you and to have, you know, interact, and hope we can stay in touch.
Nipun Mehta: Absolutely. Thank you. Thank you for holding, not just this conversation, but so many conversations. I personally know people who have been very touched by, you know, this interviewer that interview and it’s just kind of creates a wonderful ripple effect. And so I feel grateful to have contributed my little bit, you know, with the sparrow looking up and saying, Hey, man, who knows where it kind of leads, but I hope to be a brother in service to, to anyone who wants who wants to engage in this way. And certainly to you, Rick, so thank you for thank you for hosting me here.
Rick Archer: Yeah, thank you. And again, thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. And we will see you for the next one. If you’d like to see what we’ve got scheduled. There’s an upcoming interviews page on bat gap comm where you can see who’s coming up. So I hope to meet you again in person one of these days. If we ever come out of this foxhole that we’re we’ve been living in.
Nipun Mehta: For sure, We used to go out
Rick Archer: We used to go out to the sand conference every year in Santa Rosa, San Jose, but they haven’t had it for a few years because of the pandemic.
Nipun Mehta: Yeah, yeah. No, yeah. That’s very close to where I’m at. I’m in Northern California. Yeah. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Awesome. All right. Thank you very much.
Nipun Mehta: All right. Take care.