The answer is very simple: to be happy.
Which is the only reason you’re here.
That might sound like a very simple take on the meaning of life, but I believe it with every fiber in my body.
Yes, I’m certain that if we were to strip away our egos, desires, fears, and insecurities, all that would be left is happiness.
There are days where it feels like we can almost touch this truth. Days where when we wake up, the sun seems to be shining a little brighter, the birds are singing a little bit louder, and we walk out into the world with a bounce in our step and a song in our heart.
Yet there are also days when we start out feeling nervous about what lies ahead of us, unsure about the situations we’re about to encounter. Where it could be eighty degrees and sunny out, but we feel like we’re walking through a cold, dark world.
The purpose of this book is to show you that you can control which of those worlds you live in. You can decide that no matter what is happening around you, the sun will always be shining in your world.
Or you can decide that your world is always going to be a cold, dark place.
The point is, the external world doesn’t make that choice.
Obviously most people would prefer to live in the sunshine. The problem is that they just don’t know how to step into it.
I’m here to tell you that meditation can take you there. That sitting in silence for twenty minutes can be a tool to wash away the pain, frustration, and insecurities that have been coloring your existence and allow you to get back to the state of happiness that is your birthright.
The path that I will lay out in this book represents the simplest route between your current state and that happiness. As your guide, I will not lead you on any detours or suggest that we take the more scenic route. No, this is a simple and straightforward guide on how to use the tool of meditation to get the most out of your life—written with the authority of someone who has used that very tool every day for the past fifteen years himself.
I want to keep this book very simple and direct in order to help demystify meditation. To clear up any misconceptions or uneasiness that you might have about this ancient practice and help you see that it’s a valuable and relevant tool in the modern world. Just the fact that you’re reading these words means that at the very least you’re curious about the practice, but maybe there’s still something that’s holding you back from committing fully. Maybe you still have a vague sense that there’s something “foreign” or “mystical” about meditation. Even worse, something “ungodly.” Or maybe you’re still skeptical that it “really” works. Or maybe—and this one always makes me laugh—you believe that it could help you, but you’re just too “busy” to meditate.
I’ll dive into these misconceptions, and several other ones, over the course of the book, but let me say right here that there is nothing “foreign” about meditation. In fact, it’s way more mainstream than you probably realize. Oprah. Jerry Seinfeld. Paul McCartney. Phil Jackson. Ellen DeGeneres. Forest Whitaker. These are all people that you know of and whose success has inspired millions of people. And they all meditate and credit the practice as one of the foundations of their success. I’ll be sharing their thoughts on meditation, and the thoughts of many leaders from the arts, business, education, science, and the spiritual communities, throughout the book, because I want you to realize that when you become a meditator, you are joining a community of successful people. A community of people who move through life on their own terms and maximize their potential.
From Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons with Chris Morrow. Reprinted by arrangement with GOTHAM BOOKS, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © RUSSELL SIMMONS, 2014.