Russel Simmons: Super Rich

I just finished reading Russel Simmons’ most recent book and felt particularly inspired by his writing at the end the book:

“Now that you’re armed with that knowledge, you’re ready to go out into the world and fight.

To fight not for what you can get for yourself, but what you can give to others.

To fight not for your own abundance, but for the abundance of others.

To fight not for your own security, but for the peace and safety of others.

To fight not for your own joy, but for the happiness of others.

To fight not for your own upliftment, but for the enlightenment of others.

When you are devoted to fighting for these things with a smile on your face and love radiating out of your heart, then all these things will be yours.

You will have it all.
You will be Super Rich.”

The visionary entrepreneur and author of the New York Times bestseller Do You! delivers a powerful guide to true abundance.

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”

In straight-talking inspiring chapters, Simmons provides unforgettable true stories from his own road to riches, delving into the principles and practices that have kept him energized and focused. Whether we’re in the boardroom or on a yoga mat, Simmons says, we have to be able to listen to our inner voices. Finding our unique potential, we can make the right moves, ruled not by money but by the joy of conscientious living and giving. With these philosophies and more, Simmons brings us a stimulus package of consciousness that will never run dry, backed by the power of the higher self. Excerpt from at Amazon.

Interview with Geshe Michael Roach

Recently I had the chance to do a short video skype interview with Geshe Michael Roach about Karmabuilders. Please pardon the poor video quality due to a slow internet connection. However I’m convinced that the information Geshe Michael delivers is very relevant and underscores the unique approach of Karma Builders.

About Geshe Michael

Geshe Michael Roach (born December 17, 1952) is the first American to have been awarded the degree of Geshe, or Master of Buddhism, after more than 20 years of study in Tibetan monasteries. He has used this training to become a prominent international teacher, businessman, philanthropist, author, educator, public speaker, textual scholar, and musician. Geshe Michael graduated with honors from Princeton University and has received the Presidential Scholar Medal from the President of the United States at the White House.

In 1981 he helped found Andin International Diamond Corporation and bring it to annual sales of over $100 million, donating his profits to international aid projects. His book about achieving business and personal success through generosity, The Diamond Cutter, has become a global bestseller in 20 languages. He is the founder of the Asian Classics Institute, Diamond Mountain University, the Asian Classics Input Project, Worldview, the Yoga Studies Institute, Star in the East, Global Family Refugee Aid, Three Jewels Community Outreach Centers, and the Diamond Cutter Institute.

Richard Branson: Empolying more ex-offenders

I would like to encourage more companies to proactively recruit ex-offenders. Our experience of this within Virgin has been wholly positive – particularly when working with organisations such as Working Chance, who offer restorative recruitment for women offenders.

I believe our society should do more to support positive initiatives to encourage the rehabilitation of prisoners. We should create more chances for people who have been in jail to make a positive contribution to the workforce.

In Australia, Toll, the transport and logistics group – working with WISE Employment – makes a point of doing exactly this and has employed a number of former prisoners. In the UK, Timpson, the key cutting and shoe repair business, has created a successful programme too.

If many more companies could follow their example then many more ex-offenders would be able to find a purpose in life, worthwhile employment – and everyone would benefit.

Research has shown that most ex-offenders are more committed and willing to do more than just the job. They are grateful for the opportunity to do something worthwhile rather than falling back on their former ways and circumstances.

People often start offending because of an unfortunate upbringing or bad circumstances within their families. Maybe a good employer and the positive influence of work colleagues can, in part, be a replacement for a dysfunctional family.

When I talk to our Virgin CEOs, I do urge them to do more to help. This is not always possible in some sectors such as aviation where security restrictions would make it difficult, but we strive to do our best where we think we can give people another chance. I urge as many other companies around the world as possible to do so too.

link to his blog

Sweet Beginnings

Finding Jobs for Ex-offenders
How Sweet Beginnings offers a second chance to those who need it most.

Read more about Brenda Palms Barber, ‘Chicago’s Queen of Second Chances’, and the amazing organization she founded in Chicago to employ formerly incarcerated people working with bees.

Inc. Magazine

Lineage project

The Lineage Project does very meaningful work supporting young adults in NYC detention centers. I participated at their training a few weeks ago to learn about their method and to possibly adopt it to Karmabuilders. Find out more about this amazing organization and read a blog post written by Ran Baron, who participated at their most recent training.

“The Lineage Project’s mission since its founding in 1998 is to address the high rate of youth incarceration and the disproportionate confinement of racial minorities from low-income neighborhoods. Our programs use awareness-based practices such as yoga and meditation as a positive means of intervention. The Lineage Project has developed an innovative program model and is in the second year of a formal research project to comprehensively evaluate the impact of our programming. Preliminary research through self-report surveys and focus groups has been collected and analyzed, showing distinct improvement in areas such as stress and anger management.

The Lineage Project’s teaching model is unique in its combined use of yoga and meditation practices with class discussions, intentionally built around a theme. Every aspect of our teaching is well-planned and fully considered, and the seven components of our curriculum provide all the key supports for an effective, resiliency-based approach to positive youth development.”

Lineage Project website

SoulBound blog post

that bird has my wings

I’m currently reading this captivating and at times heart-breaking memoir of death row inmate Jarvis Masters, I highly recommend it!

“Jarvis Jay Masters has taken an extraordinary journey of faith. Strangely enough, his moment of enlightenment came behind the bars of San Quentin’s death row. In this compelling memoir, inmate and author Jarvis Jay Masters takes us from the arms of his heroin-addicted mother to an abusive foster home, on his escape to the illusory freedom of the streets and through lonely nights spent in bus stations and juvenile homes, and finally to life inside the walls of San Quentin State Prison. Using the nub and filler from a ballpoint pen (the only writing instrument allowed him in solitary confinement), Masters chronicles the story of a bright boy who turns to a life of crime, and of a penitent man who embraces Buddhism to find hope in this ultimately inspirational story.

Masters has written his remarkable story as a cautionary tale for anyone who might be tempted to follow in his footsteps, and as a plea for under-standing to a world that too often ignores the plight of the forgotten members of society. His personal story dramatically reminds us all that freedom and opportunity are not to be taken for granted, and that no matter what their neighborhood, no matter what their race, every child matters.”
buy at Amazon

Movie trailer: Dhamma brothers

Synopsis: An overcrowded, violent maximum-security prison, the end of the line in Alabama’s prison system, is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program.
The Dhamma Brothers tells a dramatic story of human potential and transformation as it closely follows and documents the stories of a group of prisoners as they enter into this arduous program. It will challenge assumptions about the very nature of prisons as places of punishment rather than rehabilitation.

Academic research findings support behavioral observations that show the positive influence of the Vipassana program. Preliminary findings from pre- and post-tests and 1 year follow up measures administered to both Vipassana and matched control participants include the following findings for the Vipassana participants;

• Increase in mindfulness & emotional intelligence
• Improved physiological & psychological well-being
• Decrease in anger and distress
• A 20% reduction in institutional infractions & segregation time

All of this signifies a shift within the prison culture from one of violence and despair toward one of hope and positive change.”
dhamma brothers website

Viktor Frankl: Why to believe in others

Legendary psychiatrist and Holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl delivers a powerful message about the human search for meaning — and the most important gift we can give others.

Karmabuilders, we’re coming!

Many thanks to Paula Dombrow and her talented team at TRUTH BEAUTY NOW – conscious branding for a world that works for helping us to give our vision a clear voice and strong brand identity.
Our gratitude also reaches out to the leadership and staff of The Osborne Association, who has been supporting the mission of our social enterprise from the beginning.