A dedicated vegan, the recipient of PETA’s 2011 Person of the Year certainly walks the talk as an ardent animal activist. He has fought farm-animal abuse and dogfighting and tirelessly promotes the vegan lifestyle. (His clothing line Argyleculture is free of fur, leather, and wool.) It’s all a part of his desire to live consciously, in harmony, and enlightened.
In an example of business merging with philanthropy, his Diamond Empowerment Fund focuses on education in diamond-producing African nations and is aided by funding from Simmons Jewelry Co. line’s The Green Initiative (its popular Green Bracelet is often seen on the wrists of Beyoncé, Penelope Cruz, and Jon Voight). Financial service ventures such as the prepaid debit and credit RushCard were designed as a “cheaper alternative to a bank account” to aid those with lower incomes.
Perhaps having a front row seat to both struggle and success has made the cause of philanthropy one that is near and dear to his heart. “It’s all about filling that white space that comes from an empty heart. That to me can’t get any better!” In that vein, when I caught up with Simmons he was leaving for Chicago to promote meditation in schools in conjunction with the David Lynch Foundation, started by the film director and Transcendental Meditation (TM) practitioner. The nonprofit organization has provided more than 200,000 scholarships for students and others to learn to meditate.
A proponent of meditation for the past 15 years himself, Simmons says, “Meditation is all about internal exploration and a critical part of my success. My ideas come to me in stillness. In fact, every flash of happiness comes to me in stillness. It’s all about calming the mind through the noise. It’s a process.” If simply being quiet with a mantra is impossible, he advises, “Different practices of meditation can also include jogging and listening to music, which promote stillness.” Simmons is such an avid supporter of the practice that his next book, Success Through Stillness: The Simplest Path to Meditation (Gotham Books, March 2014), will explore the connection to conscious living, meditation, and success.
Simmons is clearly a man who has inspired millions of listeners, readers, followers, and fans. What inspires him? “Everything. I am inspired by something every single day whether it’s age-old music or something new on the radio. For me, it’s all about the present moment. Every day it changes. Bliss to me comes from being present and awake. I am a yogi at heart!”