Rep. Tim Ryan wants fellow lawmakers and congressional staff to stop and think about what they’re doing — even if only for a little while.
The Ohio Democrat, who says life on Capitol Hill has steadily devolved into a toxic mix of “more anxiety, more meetings, more fiscal cliff,” is hoping to speed the healing process by hosting weekly mindful meditation sessions on campus. According to the “Dear Colleague” message Ryan began circulating on Wednesday, the all-are-welcome meetings are scheduled from 9:30 to 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2103 each Wednesday the House is in session. Ryan said about 30 staffers attended the inaugural session on Jan. 23.
“It’s kind of a nice little technique for people in a high-stress environment to learn,” Ryan said of mindful meditation. “It helps to ground yourself in the current moment … and just increase your well-being.”
Although he also incorporates the Christian tradition of centering prayer into his personal routine, Ryan noted that mindfulness is strictly secular. “There’s no belief structure that you need to sign on to,” he asserted, estimating that everyone would benefit from “having a quiet space for 10-15 minutes during a hectic week.”
Ryan began making the case for contemplative reflection in his 2012 book, “A Mindful Nation,” a tome that’s garnered shoutouts from pro-meditation heavies from championship basketball coach Phil Jackson to spiritual guru Deepak Chopra.