No Shutting Down for Congressional Meditation Sessions
The Hill blog reports that the government shutdown has not stopped Congressman Tim Ryan from keeping his weekly meditation sessions open. The Ohio Democrat, and author of "A Mindful Nation", invited his colleagues and congressional staffers to a Monday afternoon meditation session at the Rayburn House Office Building. The mindfulness meditation gathering was hosted by John Ives, the senior director of the "Center for Brain, Mind, and Healing at the Samueli Institute", who’s also a tai chi and meditation practitioner.
“Staffers are being asked to do more with less. At times like these it is especially important that staffers have the opportunity to take a few moments once a week to reduce stress,” Ryan said in an email. "These bipartisan sessions get Democrats and Republicans in the same room and offer staffers the same opportunity that major corporations, the military, schools, veterans, hospitals, and winning professional sports teams offer their own organizations to make better decisions, reduce stress, and increase performance … why would we not want to use every method available to improve the success and productivity of the United States government at a time like this?"
The meditation sessions typically draw between 25-30 each week, although this week, they expect reduced attendance based on the number of people who are not at work and who are furloughed. No congressional funds are used for the sitting sessions, with rooms provided free of charge and the hosts volunteering their time to lead meditation.
Congressman Ryan has been an advocate for implementing mindfulness programs in public schools and incorporating such practice into our health care system. You can hear him discuss how he came to meditation, and how he would like to see it become part of our mainstream culture, in this Speakeasy video from Wanderlust Colorado 2012: