Congressman Tim Ryan: Building a Mindful Nation - Together
By now, you've read it in the Huff Post, the New York Times, and heck, you might even have seen it on the boob tube (presuming you even still turn on the TV). The word is out: meditation has been proven to improve our health. It's widely accepted as truth, so the question is, why isn't this mindfulness practice being integrated more fully into our health care system? That's the question Congressman Tim Ryan is asking, and he is the only elected official publicly advocating for meditation and mindfulness practices to be integrated in our governmental institutions like education and health care.
We've been fortunate enough to have the meditating Congressman attend the Wanderlust for two years in a row, sharing his thoughts on the matter in the Speakeasy Lecture Series. In this very earnest discussion, Ryan elaborates on why he believes in mindfulness, how it's helped him, and why it should be integrated into our health care, education, and military programs.
"There's a general sense that politics and mindfulness can't come together," explains Ryan, "but the there's room for mindfulness everywhere. For me, I knew that when I would meditate that my mind was quieter. I felt less stress, I was more focused - all of the health benefits that we know."
The Congressman, also an avid athlete, explains how a mindfulness retreat led to a waking up moment when he realized that the serenity and peace of practicing mindfulness is accessible to everyone, so long as they know about it.
"In the middle of our walking meditation by the brook, my mind and my body were exactly in the same spot - there was an awareness, a clarity, where I was just in the present moment. It's like when you're in the zone as an athlete, a mind-body synch up. My next thought was: this needs to be available to everyone. It should be in our schools, in our health care system, for our veterans who come back totally damaged from the war."
"If we're not careful about what stress can do to our bodies, it can act as an inflammatory and literally inflame your body, making you sick. Mindfulness acts as a cooling agent, it can reverse those affects of stress and cool the body down. As someone who was working on reforming our healthcare system, I thought we have to integrate this."
Watch the full speakeasy lecture to learn more about mindfulness, why it's a good alternative to Western medicine and pharmaceuticals, and how we can play a part in integrating it into our government institutions. If you'd like to go deeper into the Congressman's research and suggestions for implementing mindfulness at large, be sure to pick up a copy of his book, "A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit". You can follow the Congressman on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his mindfulness initiative.
Wanderlust Festival is indebted to Hay House who helped us realize the entire 2012 Speakeasy Lecture Series across all four festivals (Stratton, VT in June 2012; Copper Mountain, CO in July; Squaw Valley, CA in late July; and Whistler, BC, Canada in August). With Hay House's amazing roster of speakers (which you can witness in person at their incredible "I Can Do It" events), it's no wonder that they helped elevate the conversation at Wanderlust's Speakeasy this past summer. We encourage you to stay tuned to the Hay House FB feed to make sure you know the next time one of their authors is speaking near you.
Stay tuned to our Wanderlust networks (Youtube | Facebook | Twitter) to catch our weekly Speakeasy Video releases from the likes of Dr. Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Congressman Tim Ryan, Shiva Rea, Seane Corn, Irshad Manji, and Waylon Lewis (from Elephant Journal) and so many more.