Russell Simmons on success through stillness, his path to yoga and meditation, why the abuse of animals is the destruction of humanity and his new book, the Happy Vegan
Interview: Kaiulani Kimbrell, Cofounder/ Director of the Hollywood Food Guild
Kaiulani Kimbrell: Russell, I’m so happy to be talking with you. What are you most passionate about in your life right now?
Russell Simmons: Right now, I’m passionate that I’m talking to you and I’m passionate and inspired by this drive in the car to work. I am really excited to just be where I am. And that’s the plan, to try to be like this more often.
KK: You have encouraged so many into meditation and yoga. How did that path begin for you? What were some new awarenesses that began to transition you on that path?
RS: Well, I went to yoga because there were so many hot girls there, twenty-some-odd years ago. That’s why I went to yoga. And then after my first class I was so high and that was an awakening. I became addicted to yoga and I have been ever since. There’s nothing in the yoga scripture that we don’t already have etched inside us. Things that promote happiness are really etched inside you. You have to have a path. And life is about connecting to that path, connecting to that kind of awareness. I read, study it, and live it as much as I can. I fuck it up daily, but I find that it helps me evolve towards a happier place. And I think that’s what we are here for, to be happy and to be able to see all these miracles unfolding in front of us. So that’s the work we do. We try to be present and awake and see it, and see our work as prayer. It’s challenging, it’s exciting, and makes our lives meaningful.
KK: I feel like you are somewhat of a modern-day mystic. How do you integrate being a business - man, working in one of the biggest cities in the world, while connecting to that spiritual realm that surpasses understanding?
RS: This yoga science that you’re referring to applies to everything. It always is the basis of happiness and success. It’s always the science of service. We don’t realize that the words of the scriptures are ones that promote a better business. You know, Jesus said good givers are great getters, but then he told his disciples, just give without expectation. He told his disciples to have faith and just do the work and forget results. He taught the masses, good givers are great getters. That’s the basis for our operation. Get up and give. That’s how you get, that’s how you feed your family. That philosophy is one that I try to adopt and [it] is a prayer I try to live up to. That’s what it's about, how often can you remember to remember.
KK: I love that. How often can you remember to remember. That’s beautiful. You’ve written a book called Success Through Stillness. If you could boil the message of the book down into one or two lines, how would you describe it?
RS: Well, just knowing that quiet time is critical for everyone. We all have to have self-reflection in order to dig for the self while we are promoting and living in a noisy world. We have to sometimes withdraw the senses and meditate so we can see our path, our truth, and find our happiness. Meditation is a very helpful way of doing that and the most helpful way known to man to move that process of self-discovery forward.
Photos: Fadil Berisha