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The man behind Def Jam records wants you to relax, and has made a meditation app to help

Russell Simmons is often referred to as the godfather of hip-hop, known for ownership of the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam and as the creator of the clothing fashion line Phat Farm. He’s also the father of two girls, Ming Lee, and Aoki Lee, and therefore a very busy person. It’s no surprise to hear his latest venture is Meditation Made Simple, an app he hopes will introduce many to the benefits of daily meditation.

For more than 20 years, Simmons has been a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation and has been active in promoting veganism and animal rights. In an interview with Digital Trends, Simmons said, “People always assume if you do one thing, you can’t do another. I like being able to promote freedom and being able to move into any direction without being defined. I want to be human. I want to feel things. Not just the things that are being prescribed to you.”

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Simmons had a rough past of struggling with drug abuse. But, through practicing yoga and meditation, Simmons was able to clear his mind and get on the right path to a healthier and much happier lifestyle. Simmons has published several books covering his views on how meditation can improve one’s success, the most recent being Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple, to which the new app is a companion piece.

Freedom from noise

Simmons strongly believes meditation is about giving yourself a chance to be reborn at any moment. He said, “What you want in life is the freedom from the noise. We all have noisy minds, so the quieter the mind, the happier we are. People take drugs, they do everything to quiet their mind. It’s up to you on whether you choose drugs or meditation.”

In the app, Simmons walks us through 10-or 20-minute meditation practice sessions to help destress our mind, refocus it, and hopefully increase productivity. By putting aside 20 minutes a day to focus on meditation, the benefits are said to include less stress, lower blood pressure, lower anxiety levels, and no more tension headaches. It’s also supposed to be a good cure for insomnia, and help improve general mental well-being.

Simmons is a true advocate. He told me that when he’s out on the streets, he bumps into people every day and they tell him how much meditation has changed their lives. Simmons says, “It’s pretty phenomenal to me that it’s changed their life. So, that’s why I’ve taken the meditation path.”

Simple, and effective

Over the past year, Simmons has worked closely with Jason Gerard at Liquid Entertainment, who is the lead developer for Meditation Made Simple, and over the past week I’ve been trying the app out for myself. I have to admit that in general, I’m not one for doing yoga or meditation. It’s hard for me to sit still. However, I found Meditation Made Simple be very easy to use, thanks to a simple intuitive design. Perhaps more importantly, when I did manage to sit down and spend 10 to 20 minutes to practicing, I found that it did help clear my mind. 

How much does all this cost? Nothing at all. “We’re not making a dollar.” Simmons said. “Just like my books, I give away all of the proceeds. The books are gifts to the community to help change people’s lives, not to make money off of. And the app is the same.” Simmons gives away money to a variety of charities including his own charity, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which is dedicated to exposing the youth in New York City to the arts, and supporting emerging artists with various opportunities.

As of right now, Meditation Made Simple app is currently only available for iOS, but Simmons has plans to release an Android version in the near future.You can download Meditation Made Simple from the App Store here.