People use this phrase “good health” all the time. What does this phrase mean to you?
We occupy three spaces simultaneously — physical, emotional, and mental. Good health tends to get framed as physical health, but for me, it is an alignment of all three. For physical health, we have ample ideas, from exercise to good diet. For emotional health, we need to be engaged in deep relationships in our community; this, of course, has to go well beyond social media relationships, and sometimes may even require us to unplug for a bit. And lastly, for mental health, we need to still the mind.This tends to be the most neglected part of ourselves. For me, I arrive at this in two ways — meditation and service. Meditation is internal service and service is external meditation, and in both cases, we shift our minds from a pattern of separation.
With so many distractions in modern life, how do you stay focused on priorities?
We do things that makes us happy. The challenge with that is two fold; first, is when we mis-judge what we think will make us happy and second is when short-term happiness is at odds with long-term happiness. For instance, we may incessantly check our Facebook status to feel connected, when it could actually be propagating our disconnection. So, then, distractions in our life are merely opportunities to broaden and deepen our awareness about cause and effect. As we start to see that clearly, we’ll naturally stay focused on things that genuinely make us happy.
If you could give one tip to people wanting to achieve their goals, what would it be?
Do a small act of kindness. I personally love using Smile Cards for this practice. When you do something small and anonymous from someone else, there is a shift from me-to-we — which immediately reconnect us. In that state of deeper connection, even if it is momentary, our minds quiet and then we can accomplish our goals with far greater ease. A very interesting side effect of this practice is that the nature of our goals itself starts to change, and over time, it alters the entire trajectory of our lives. That’s certainly how it has worked for me.
About Nipun Mehta: At the age of 25, Nipun quit his job to become a “full time volunteer.” He is the founder of ServiceSpace, an all volunteer-run organization using technology to inspire greater volunteerism. What started as an experiment with friends is now a global ecosystem of over 500,000 members who have not only delivered millions of dollars in service for free but are regenerating a gift culture. Their projects range from DailyGoodto KindSpringto KarmaKitchen. Nipun has received the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the President’s Volunteer Service Award and Dalia Lama’s Unsung Hero of Compassion award. He is routinely invited to share his message of “giftivism” with a wide range of audiences and his speech at UPenn commencement was read by millions.
Nipun’s mission statement in life reads: “Bring smiles in the world and stillness in my heart.”
Lead Photo Credit: Photo by Lane Hartwell for YES! Magazine