The mindful Congressman keeps on keeping on

There’s next to zero chance that the U.S. Congress is going to get anything done anytime soon, so why not try to push through some yogic and Zen legislation, right?

That’s what Rep. Tim Ryan — we’ve covered his mindful exploits before — keeps aiming to, and it may be that his quest is just quixotic enough that he keeps getting media coverage. The latest is New York magazine:

Ryan’s journey to becoming Congress’s crunchiest member began just after his reelection in 2008, when he attended a meditation retreat in the Catskills that ended in 36 hours of total silence. He has always been an overachiever — he was first elected to the House in 2002, at the age of 29, serves on top committees like budget and appropriations, and is seen as one of the bright, young Democrats that will make up the next generation of House leaders. But after six years in Congress, he could feel himself beginning to get burned out. “Lawmakers are so anxious and they need to raise money and there’s all these elections and 24-hour news cycles and Tweeting and blogging and a crisis of every hour,” he says. “There’s no time to contemplate or evaluate and look at what’s happening and why.”

He realized that meditation had an effect on him and in so many segments of society, and it was completely free. “I just made the decision that I don’t care what people think. I believed in this; I saw the science. I met the people it was helping. I knew it helped me,” he says. “And I went for it.”  So he wrote a book, A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit, which details how mindfulness can be used in schools, in the health-care system, and with veterans.

And there’s this ender:

The kids haven’t totally gotten with Dad’s program yet, though. “My young son didn’t get the memo on my meditation practice. He’s 7 months old; I’m just starting to get back into a daily routine,” Ryan says. “Brady threw up on my books.” Ryan seemed pretty Zen about it. “Okay, we’ll text you about yoga,” he says, stepping forward to embrace me in a bro hug. “We’ll definitely do yoga!”

It’s a good read, although I can’t help but notice one of the online tags is “Namaste.” I would not say it leads down the brightest rabbit hole. But it sure seems like Ryan is the real thing.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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