Entrepreneurs

Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio: Meditation is ‘the single most important reason' for my success

Ray Dalio, founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates
J. Countess | Getty Images
Ray Dalio, founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates

Hedge funds and Transcendental Meditation seem to live in opposite realms. But not for Ray Dalio.

"Transcendental Meditation has probably been the single most important reason for whatever success I've had," says Dalio, the founder, co-chief investment officer and co-chairman of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world with more than $160 billion in assets under management.

"It is certainly the greatest gift I can give anyone," Dalio, 68, writes on Facebook.

Dalio says in his book "Principles" that he learned the practice after the Beatles famously studied Transcendental Meditation in India in 1968. It allows him to think more clearly and creatively, he says.

"It helps slow things down so that I can act calmly, even in the face of chaos, just like a ninja in a street fight," Dalio writes.

In his Facebook post, Dalio, currently worth almost $18 billion according to Forbes, cites author and meditation teacher Bob Roth as "the best expert/teacher on it I know" and recommends Roth's new book, "Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation."

Transcendental meditation is a simple technique of closing the eyes and repeating a mantra in silence to reduce stress and anxiety. It is practiced for 20 minutes two times a day, according to a video introduction (embedded below) by Roth.

"I recommend [the book] to non-meditators so you can get the picture, and I recommend it to meditators so you can enjoy it and pass it to your non-meditator friends to help them get the picture," says Dalio.

Transcendental meditation "wakes up the creative centers in the brain," says the book's author, Roth, in conversation with David Brancaccio, the host and senior editor of Marketplace Morning Report.

It helps Dalio "really discern, he can really make the correct decisions," Roth explains, according to a transcript of the February conversation with Brancaccio.

"It's really important to him. As a matter of fact, he's made it available to 700 of his employees at Bridgewater," adds Roth. (Bridgewater has a corporate reimbursement and training plan, according to SFGate.com.)

Roth, now the CEO of the non-profit meditation organization the David Lynch Foundation, says the process, though simple, is a way of accessing your inner calm.

"I like to use the example of an ocean. Waves on the surface, turbulent waves on the surface, the depth of the ocean naturally silent. Our mind is the same, and we'd all like to have some inner calm or inner equilibrium. But where do you find it? Well, there's the level of the mind deep within; it is already calm," says Roth, speaking to Brancaccio.

"That's the hypothesis. And in transcendental meditation you learn a technique. You get what's called a mantra, which is a word or a sound from a teacher. Nothing mystical here, just a tool. And then you learn how to use it to access that calm, that settledness, that equilibrium. The results are immediate."

In the video, embedded below, Roth gives a brief introduction to transcendental meditation.