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The Power of Meditation
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The Power of Meditation

Hip Hop Mogul and New York Times Best Selling author Russell Simmons adds to his long list of achievements with his latest book called “Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple”. The book is a guide to the benefits of meditation, it makes a compelling, thoroughly researched case, and offers readers guidance on how to get started. The Def Jam founder attributes most of his success to mediation and declares in the book’s introduction, “Let me say without any reservation that I consider meditation to be the most effective tool you can use to build a similar success in your own life.”

Simmons, who has built a net worth estimated at more than $340 million, says he was skeptical at first that 40 minutes of daily meditation could do anything to stem the anxiety he was feeling.
“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.”

Below are some benefits to meditating in your daily life.

Meditation enhances focus and creativity

Two separate studies demonstrated that regular meditation can bring about positive physical changes in the brain. The first, conducted by UCLA’s Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, looked at the fibers connecting the two sides of the brain. The right side of the brain handles the creative, emotional stuff, and the left side takes care of the logical, linear stuff. Most career paths are pursued using one of the two sides; the graphic designer uses the right side and the engineer relies on the left side. Being able to tap into both sides, and to use a part of the cerebral toolkit that your professional peers can’t access, would offer a pretty clear professional advantage. And the UCLA study showed that regular meditation can do just that — by enhancing the connectivity between the two sides of the brain. One of its chief conclusions was that “meditation might be a powerful tool to change the physical structure of the brain.”

The second study, led by the Massachusetts General Hospital, also revealed physical brain changes brought about by meditation. As the study’s participants practiced meditation for eight weeks, the gray matter in their brains became denser. Denser gray matter is associated with increased memory and focus — two things that you definitely want more of at work.

Meditation helps you make decisions for the right reasons

Throughout his book, Simmons refers to the state brought about by regular meditation as being “in the moment,” or “present.” In this state, the meditator successfully separates himself from the past and the future — two places that tend to be loaded with emotion and anxiety, and thus two places that you don’t want to be making professional decisions from. As Simmons phrased it in our interview with him, “You don’t work in the future or the past, so the more you focus your awareness on the present, the more effective you will be. A lot of my career has been in music. And I’ve learned that when you’re writing a song, you can’t worry about who’s going to buy it in the future; you have to be in the present to feel the melody. That’s the awakened state that I’m referring to.”

How can this sense of presence benefit you in your professional life? It can allow you make decisions about a project that aren’t influenced by the past (your biases generated by similar projects) or the future (your fears about how successful this one will be). “The anxiety of rethinking things over and over again is not helpful,” Simmons emphasized. “What makes a decision better is a calm state of mind — where you can look inside for the answer instead of being pushed around by noise on the outside. Meditation allows you to not make decisions due to fear or anxiety, but rather because of clarity. Increased clarity is key if you want to be a better businessman.”

“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” 

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