Service, Simplicity & Songwriting part 1
Heartfulness eMagazine|August 2020
With an Ivy league education, this MTV rap/hip hop star was living the American dream and working on Wall Street when the events of 9/11 unfolded in front of his eyes. Giving up the corporate world, NIMO PATEL decided to pursue his passion for music in LA, but a chronic health issue led him to seek Ayurvedic treatment in India. He stayed back for 6 months to volunteer at the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, and continues to this day working with the slum children of the city when he’s not working for his own non-profit organization, Empty Hands Music. VANESSA PATEL caught up with him in June to learn more about his mantra “Service, Simplicity & Songwriting.”
VANESSA PATEL

Q: Hello, Nimo, so happy to have this opportunity to chat with you. How are you doing during this lockdown?

Wonderful! Breathing, and deep breathing, doing good. You know, it’s a time of reflection and introspection, to reflect on the way we live, how we interact with each other, with humanity. It’s really a blessing. There’s so much suffering going on, so this is a gift of transformation. Obviously, we will get through this suffering, but hopefully, we can use it for the betterment of humanity. So, collectively and individually, this is a gift in many ways, although in the short term it’s tough to digest.

How are you doing?

Q: Doing well. As you said, using this time to reflect. And one of the things I realize is that we don’t need a lot of the stuff we’ve accumulated in our lives. You already started this process several years ago when you took up a life dedicated to service. So, when you did a U-turn from your previous lifestyle and did a ‘material’ cleanse, would you say this was a spiritual shift?

For me, the spiritual journey is such a gradual process, so even the word ‘U-turn’ feels a bit abrupt, as though I saw the sign right away and it fixed everything. Instead, I would say, my journey has been ongoing – from the seeds that were planted when I was young, from memories of going to the temple, to being exposed to such a diverse group of friends and community in elementary school, high school, then college. Just the diversity around me was a spiritual teacher, in a sense, to accept and embrace all faiths. Whether I’m in an honors class with people with a certain mindset, or on the sports team playing basketball with people of a different mindset, that for me laid the foundation. It’s hard to capture, and I feel so honored and blessed to have grown up in that diverse community outside Los Angeles, and later on going through college.

I feel one of the major triggers for me happened when I was working on Wall Street when 9/11 happened before my eyes; seeing that happen and then embracing things, the ongoing process of healing and reflection. That was literally the biggest trigger. I was one and a half years out of college, and it hit hard: “What are you actually doing with your life?” You never know, you could have literally been gone today. You don’t know when this is going to end when this magical journey you’re blessed with on planet Earth is going to end. So, that triggered me to say, “I don’t think I’m having a purpose at this company at a deeper level.” I needed to follow my passion and it pushed me to leave New York to pursue music, media and entertainment.

And then, another thing triggered me along the way, which was my health journey. I got this chronic illness in my hand, called carpel tunnel syndrome or repetitive stress injury, which gradually got worse. I was doing a lot of computer work at that time in 2002, as my friends and I had just started an online comic strip that turned into a media company and animation studio. And through that, by 2005 the problem started increasing, and by 2006 it was unbearable. By 2007, it was so bad I couldn’t even brush my teeth or hold a bag.

It was then that my dad suggested getting Ayurvedic treatment, and my parents knew a healer in India. I had tried everything in the allopathic world and alternative medicines, and I had nothing to lose, because it wasn’t getting better.

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