Book Review: Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple

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Russell Simmons is a hip-hop mogul, best-selling author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and dedicated family man. So what does he credit with his ability to find such success? The answer is meditation. In his new book Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple, Simmons provides readers with all the information they need to achieve success through the practice of meditation.

Simmons explained the reason he has been a meditator for fifteen years: “It has given me energy, strength, health, wisdom, and access to my inner stillness, inner silence, inner bliss. It is my connection to myself; it is my connection to the universe.” He insists that this practice, which he views as a way to trick the mind to be still, can help almost anyone find great success.

Simmons lays out facts that prove the medical benefits of meditation, which include everything from lower blood pressure to increased posture and flexibility. He further explains that with just 20 minutes of stillness a day, you will become acutely aware of the needs of your body, making it more likely that you will stick to your diet and exercise routines because meditation eliminates the “outside noise” that typically interferes with your plans.

One of the cornerstones of Success Through Stillness is that there is no wrong way to meditate. Simmons promotes meditation by any means possible, whether it means having a dedicated meditation room or finding solace in the solitude of your car. He generously shares his meditation routine to illustrate just how easy it is to increase your happiness levels by committing to daily meditation.

The idea that Simmons has is that true success isn’t found during times of busyness. The goal is to instead be focused on silence. He’s so committed to this idea that he wants to see every kid in America to have time in school every day where all they do is sit in silence. The San Francisco Unified School District has started using a quiet time with their middle school students and the results are outstanding.

Silence and stillness help people face their challenges because it prevents them from running away. It’s so easy to distract one’s attention away from problems that life can bring with modern technology. From TV shows on an iPad to checking email constantly instead of working, it’s incredibly easy to lose the ability to produce every day. Simmons says sometimes you’ve just go to stop, wherever you happen to be, and just let silence reign supreme.

Would you be able to lift a 200-pound set of weights the first time you go to the gym? Just like muscle needs to be developed in order to create strength, Simmons says that meditation must be developed to create results. Instead of struggling to find time to meditate every day, you’ll instead create time automatically once you are in the habit of sitting in stillness and you’ll start reaping its benefits. Once people see the benefits of meditation in their own lives, Simmons has no doubt that it will top their priority list and become part of their daily routine.

Simmons brings his real-life experience to everyone. His perspective is unique and proven, which makes it a very worthwhile read. If you’re struggling with your days, Simmon’s advice to you is simple: sit in silence, let the problem come to you, and then solve it.

Unbroken – a story of the human spirit

I just finished reading a book called Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It is a fascinating biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini. She is also the author of the best-selling book, Seabiscuit.

Unbroken is a true story of an Olympic track star who enlisted in the United States Army Air Force during WWII as a B-24 bombardier. His plane went down in the Pacific Ocean due to mechanical problems. He and two other men survived the wreckage and were adrift at sea for 47 days before being rescued by the Japanese Navy. After being rescued, they became POWs in a Japanese concentration camp. Against all odds, he survived and was finally liberated when Japan surrendered to the United States.

This is a gripping story of courage, faith, hope and forgiveness. It is about overcoming incredible odds for survival in the most hostile conditions imaginable. His amazing story will stay with you long after you finish this book. I salute Louis Zamperini and all of the men and women of the armed forces who served and are currently serving our country.

Here is a link to NPR’s review of the book.

The Last Lecture

I recently read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I know this book came out in 2008 but I just never got around to reading it. I am glad I did because it was very inspiring to read how this man, who died of pancreatic cancer, achieved his childhood dreams.

In the book, Randy Pausch says, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” I completely agreed with that statement.

I am sure some of you have seen his last lecture on Youtube, but just in case you haven’t, here it is in its entirety:

Learning to meditate saved author’s life

After 20 years in a high-pressure career, American writer, Kat Tansey’s active life was derailed by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which reached its peak on a cold, grey, rainy morning in 1993, when she faced an important decision: should she stay to fight another day with suicidal depression or should she take her life? Using meditation, she was able to overcome her depression. She wrote a book about her story called Choosing to Be: Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master. This book is a true account of Kat’s journey from deep depression to emotional wellness, and her story will inspire all those caught on the hamster wheel of life and sufferers of stress and ‘must do’ syndrome.