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Amita's Memorial Lecture, Feb 2014, Mumbai

Amita's Memorial Lecture, Feb 2014, Mumbai

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  • Barber story
  • Prasad’s story: welcome home. “I came with expert mind, I leave with beginner’s mind.” When you are beginner, you are open to infinite possibilities.
  • Pilgrimage; udeshi; fruit vendor, barber, grandma (water), barber. Upended a lot of assumptions about generosity.
  • what if things wasn't the most valuable part of giving? What if it was the 'bhaav‘?
  • Story of Shakuben
  • My experience of those pencils; it wasn’t the pencils, it was the bhaav!
  • First component of internal transformation is the bio-chemical process that places. Research has shown that those who volunteer have lesser risk of heart-attacks, and live longer (44% longer!). In a study at the National Institutes of Health, researchers found that when people give, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect.  Further studies have shown that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling that is widely known as the “helper’s high.”  It is, therefore, no surprise that a study by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton and colleagues found that giving money to someone else lifted participants’ happiness more that spending it on themselves (despite participants’ prediction that spending on themselves would make them happier).   Giving has also been shown to increase life-span and have other health benefits;  it also evokes a sense of gratitude and deepens a sense of social connection.  In one study, Robert Emmons showed how college students who “count their blessings” will exercise more, be more optimistic, and feel better about their lives overall.
  • Giving leads to mental stillness, which then leads to a sense of satisfaction that is not rooted in consumerism. So that’s inner transformation.
  • Ragu situation; visiting Masi, I can do this
  • Shift from sympathy to empathy
  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, leading to self actualization
  • We turn to a rickshaw driver for answer that question.
  • If everyone’s generosity gets connected, like Udaybhai’s, we shift.
  • One week, Neil writes that he stopped five people from bullying a kid! "Weren't you afraid they'll turn on you?" "Well, yeah, but I kind of knew one of them and when I told 'em to cut it out, they just realized that what they were doing was wrong." Another week, he saw a developmentally challenged kid that no one was talking to. "He was just so different that most people were just afraid. So my step-it-up act was to go up to me and connect. And because he was wheelchair bound and couldn't speak much, he was great with video -- and he even taught me the best dance moves!" "What if he didn't have any gifts to share with you?" [Pause] "I think everything has gifts. We just have to listen long enough." Wow. That kind of blew us all away. The list of kind acts continued, week after week. When one of them won the jackpot at an arcade: "I came out with all these giant prizes and 200 coupons and things. Then, I noticed a little kid who hadn't won anything so I just went up to him and gave him everything I had. It was the best feeling ever. [Pause] Then I gave a Smile Card to his mom and ran away." :) [Now, white envelope]
  • Madhvi
  • Raju
  • Denis
  • Nanuma
  • Shawl letter.
  • Shawl letter.
  • As you become beginner, you are open to infinite possibilities; you let go and nature takes over. Ragu's flowering story: they flower like crazy; they think its their last chance. How do we learn to live in that state? Monkey-first story. Let go, and see where you land. Sometimes you'll give, sometimes you'll receive, but everytime you'll grow.


  • 1. Spirit of Service, by Nipun Mehta Amita Memorial Lecture
  • 2. Holding a Beginner’s Mind
  • 3. Experiencing Generosity
  • 4. Do we need to have things before we can give? What if “things” wasn’t the most valuable part of giving?
  • 5. Shakuben’s Generosity
  • 6. Small Pencils, Big Heart
  • 7. If we can value what can’t be counted … 1 Inner transformation matters.
  • 8. What exactly IS inner transformation?
  • 9. Giving is Good For Our Body
  • 10. Act of Giving Mental Stillness Interconnection Contentment Giving is Good For Our Mind
  • 11. If we lead with inner transformation … 2 Everyone can give in their own unique way.
  • 12. Ragu Makwana
  • 13. Tulsi to Uplift Families
  • 14. More than 900 Plants!
  • 15. “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”
  • 16. Finding the Right Balance External Impact (Sympathy) vs Inner Transformation (Empathy)
  • 17. We ALL need Vitamin G.
  • 18. What happens when everyone practices generosity?
  • 19. Udaybhai
  • 20. Udaybhai
  • 21. If everyone’s generosity gets connected ... 3 We shift from transaction to trust, and rebuild a gift culture.
  • 22.
  • 23. If we can value what can’t be counted … Inner transformation matters. If we lead with inner transformation … Everyone can give in their own unique way. If everyone’s generosity gets connected ... We can rebuild a gift culture.
  • 24. Can we be the change?
  • 25. Kindness Ripples On
  • 26. Kindness for Animals
  • 27. Kindness for Elders
  • 28. Kindness for Strangers
  • 29. Kindness for Environment
  • 30. Kindness for Environment
  • 31. Kindness for Kids
  • 32. Kindness for Mind
  • 33. Be the Change!
  • 34. What would it look like?
  • 35. Thank you! www.servicespace.org
  • 36. Letting Go