Nimo Patel

Hip-hop musician, humanitarian, Part 3—God and Music

By Marjorie F. Eddington

Categories: Arts, Community Service, Golden Rule, Jesus' Commandment - To Love as He Loved

We’ve learned how Nimo changed careers to serve others, sharing his hip-hop music with the world and giving underprivileged children new opportunities through the performing arts. In this last installment of our interview, Nimo talks about reflecting the light of God, his music, the message of kindness, and what we can do to help make a difference.

You have a song called “Dear God,” which my young son loves to sing as he listens to you sing, “I found my way home.” What does that mean to you?
That song is really a conversation with God, which I wrote in 2006. The song was about my life journey with God and religion. Through childhood, I would pray, but didn’t know who I was really praying to. I prayed because my parents prayed. Then in college, I began questioning—learning more about God and wondering why people who use God’s name are also harming others or being negative. To me, it was quite ironic. So in the song, I express that confusion to God—questioning, are you listening, can you prove to me you exist? And the third verse is finally meeting God and realizing the spirit of God—Love and kindness—and seeing that the inner truth exists in all of us—to do and to be good. That was what the journey was about for me. And learning how to reflect the light of God.

How would you say you, or we, can best reflect the light of God?
When I think of God, I think of someone so forgiving, so compassionate, and so non-judgmental, all-embracing, and peaceful amidst all the turbulence. How do I reflect that? It’s a lot of work. So let me take one of those God-like values and spend time on that. For instance, let’s say I want to practice being a little more tolerant: right when I’m feeling judgment is when I need to take a step back and send love to the person who I’m judging. When I am embracing that spirit of tolerance, and I’m awake and aware of that, I am able to notice when judgment is coming up in me, to see it for what it is, and then to reflect the Love. That’s the moment of God in me, in a sense, which then is reflected in my day-to-day life at a very practical level. So reflecting the light of God is work and effort we do everyday, but it can become more and more a part of our natural state of being as our hearts and minds are purified.

Reflecting Love is reminding me of the Golden Rule, which is pretty universal—doing good to others.
And we can start by asking the questions: Can we do good with whatever we have? Can we do a little more good, or at least a little less harm? Yes. Now, what a little more good means to us we have to identify. Humanity’s intention to seek grace, humility, and love is beautiful. We each have our own grace, and we get inspiration from a greater source. There are values to live by, and in this life, we have the opportunity to practice those values.

How did you come up with the name Empty Hands?
There was a song by Karsh Kale called "Empty Hands," but it was in Hindi, the national language of India. The lyrics were: “We come empty handed, we go empty handed.” That message continued to stay with me long after I heard the song. These are the moments, this brief moment, we have in life, so how do we want to live in between that coming and going? The messages in my songs are from that inspiration.

Are there any songs of yours that have particular meaning to you?
"Planting Seeds" is a song that’s very special to me. It was my first song in my new journey. The original song was an inspirational folk song written by Daniel Nahmod, a contemporary spiritual singer. Through a series of beautiful synchronicities, we became close friends, and I asked him if we could do a remix of this beautiful song of his. He had never done a hip-hop song, but was very open to it. So we created it together, keeping the message at heart—the message of planting seeds of love and kindness but not expecting something in return for it. It’s not easy to do, but it’s a beautiful intention that I love to strive for.

What message would you like to people to take away from your music?
Well….while the world is a challenging place, it is also a beautiful place. While we’re alive, we have a choice as to how to use our time. To help others and to do acts of love—that’s what counts. It’s not to say we have to shift our lives around. How can we help—how can we be more loving and kind with what we have, with our strengths, capacities, whomever we are, where ever we may be, with whatever we have.

And if we’re all asking ourselves the question, “How can I be a little different so that someone else gains and benefits from my acts?,” then we’re making a positive change. And it’s not about big change, but about small change. As we grow, we impact the communities around us. And then, if we take on that responsibility, we’re not relying on a world leader or spiritual organization. Instead, it’s about us reflecting the light of God. When we do that in our own thoughts and actions, that’s the revolution of the world; that will bring God here on earth with all of us.