For a man nicknamed Rush, and whose latest entrepreneurial venture All Def Digital shortens to A.D.D., Russell Simmons says only thing has calmed him: meditation.
“The idea of being still and operating from a calm place is one that I never would've thought would've suited my lifestyle or my goals or the way that I pursue life, 'cause I pursue everything with a vigor,” said Simmons.
After co-founding Def Jam Records, Simmons has had his hand in industries spanning film, television, fashion, digital media, video games and financial services. Simmons said before taking up twice-daily meditations about two decades ago, he was “frantic,” anxious and constantly worrying about what was going to happen the next day. Meditation allowed him to engage in the moment and let go of a feeling of neediness.
And now he hopes to share the benefits and demystify the practice of meditation through his new book Success Through Stillness.
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“I used to think that the anxiety drove me, that just always worrying about what's tomorrow was part of the process,” said Simmons. “But letting go of that kind of anxiety is the process. ‘Cause when you're making a record, you're not counting your money. You're engaged. And when you're fully engaged in working a melody, or when you're reading a book and the world stops, you even forget to breathe, or you're in a car accident and the world moves slowly, that kind of consciousness is what we're looking for always. Everything we can do to gain that kind of consciousness is a plus.”
Among the many different forms, Simmons said he teaches mantra-based meditation in which someone sits quietly and repeats a single word – in his case, “Rum” – for a period of 20 minutes. He has one meditation session in the morning at his Los Angeles home, then drives over to his ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons’ home for another session from 6:45 a.m. to 7:05 a.m. with his two daughters, Aoki Lee, 11, and Ming Lee, 14. They’ve been meditating together for three years.
Simmons said meditation’s primary purpose is to promote happiness: “I come out of meditation, and sometimes I just start giggling, I feel so happy, right in the mornings.”
In his book he includes scientific research which has studied the benefits of meditation. He also includes accounts from celebrities who practice meditation, including Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Russell Brand. Simmons said he has even sent a meditation teacher to celebrities who are going through difficult -- and very public -- times.
“Meditation helps young people and adults to get control of the noise,” explained Simmons. “The noise is the cause of almost all sickness and sadness. If we can calm the noise, our relationship with the world benefits tremendously.”
He continued, “There's nothing greater than being present. Presence is pure bliss. And if we want greater happiness, then we should take the time to look inside for that happiness.”
ABC News' Brian Fudge contributed to this episode.
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