How Karma Kitchen Affected A Big Decision

Posted by Neel Iyer on Apr 14, 2018
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I've been to Karma Kitchen Berkeley various times. The first time I heard about it was via an online video, and my wife and I decided to volunteer there.

Karma Kitchen, as many of you may know, fosters an environment of oneness that is rarely seen in today’s times. Kindness and generosity are not zero sum games -- they multiply as we all engage with it. This much becomes clear there, whether as a volunteer or guest. We had a great time serving that day, and engaging in deep discussions with other volunteers. Everyone seems to gel really well, almost as if our upbeat vibe was rubbing off on each other somehow.

After the event, we parted ways and got back to our daily monotony.

To stay connected to that space inside me, I turned again to YouTube. :) Over the next few months, I watched various talks from "Designing for Generosity", "Unlocking Multiple Forms of Wealth", "Can we create social change without money?" The talks provided insight into the power of intrinsic motivations (what actually makes you happy) over chasing external stimuli (what society often prescribes as a path to happiness).

As they say, you never know when seeds inside you start to grow.

Recently, I was put in a tough professional situation -- whether to accept an offer for a higher paying job, or stick to the current role that offered room to learn and diversify my skill set. Perhaps the old me would have picked the more lucrative offer. The new me, more reflective after attending Karma Kitchen, asked myself, "What is it that really makes me happy?" The answer become apparent -- inner growth! To be honest, my decision to stick to the current role to pursue learning opportunities was strongly influenced by Karma Kitchen. Maybe this is the ripple effect? I don't know but I continue to benefit from the values that Karma Kitchen disseminates, and look forward to continuing on the path of self-discovery and generosity.

Two months back, it so happened that my wife and I returned as diners at Karma Kitchen. Looking at the volunteers, I felt so much gratitude. Like me, I figure they might not fully realize what they are actually doing, but at some level, some small shift might be happening.



So we stayed back two hours, just to share our two minute story. After sharing, I concluded, "Thank you, volunteers, for giving yourself this gift of service. You never know just how it might just change the course of your life -- like it has mine."

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Comments (1)

  • Audrey Lin wrote ...

    Thanks so much for writing and sharing, Neel! I'm reminded of an article that mentioned how over 50 percent of millennials will take a pay cut for work that aligns with their values. The inner growth filtering criteria sure puts things in different perspective -- thanks for the insight!