Posted by: ginalazenby | March 27, 2014

USA Congressman intending on winning the minds of the people


Meeting forward-thinking Congressman Tim Ryan at Wisdom 2.0 Summit in San Francisco

I was thrilled to hear Congressman Tim Ryan speak at Wisdom 2.0 last month in San Francisco. He was one of the speakers who inspired me the most. In his book  A Mindful Nation  he talks about how all across America, people are feeling squeezed and exhausted—running faster and faster yet falling farther behind. The economy struggles, wars rage on, and every week brings news of another environmental disaster. Everything seems broken and people feel helpless.

Despite this bleak outlook, he gives people quiet hope and confidence  by pointing to a movement that is emerging ….. something different is taking root. People are beginning to face challenges in a new way: they are slowing down, paying attention, and becoming aware of their inner resources. He feels this  movement of mindfulness can indeed save the people.

When Congressman Ryan spoke at Wisdom 2.0 it was to an overflowing room about this important role mindfulness can play in countering the stress and slowing down the pace of life that the average American is now facing. Here are a few of the highlights of what he said:

  • He is particularly inspired to work with war veterans, 2 million of them are coming back to the USA in need of support. Every 22 minutes one of them kills themselves. He feels meditation training, successfully taught by him to Vietnam war veterans, is absolutely critically essential for the current wave of veterans.
  • He pointed out that meditation and mindfulness have a role to play in our schools and hospitals, with teachers burned out and healthcare professionals also suffering. Leaders everywhere in society are challenged like they have never been before.
  • His mindfulness manifesto set out in his book, Mindful Nation, includes his belief that stress is optional and it is a burden that we can choose to put down, if we spend a few minutes a day in meditation.
  • There has been much TV coverage of his weekly meditation sessions offered in government particularly prior to voting sessions. People have been very reserved about taking him up on this but he remains committed to providing this quiet space of reflection every week … early days !
  • Tim Ryan spoke about about a quiet revolution being needed, one that will transform the institutions that are running the country. We must break out of the left right dichotomy that we are in. It’s time to shift our politics from being transactional to transformational.
  • There is no longer a left or right in politics, we just need to go deeper and imagine what is possible. In changing into the 21st century, we must stop looking at the problems and look to the possibilities and work out how to build a system to get us there. Include and value everybody.
  • We must build an economy where you can spend quality time with your family.  Mindfulness is key. Sitting quietly for five minutes can have a transformational impact – people are going so fast! Learn to be present. Teach children mindfulness at school. We want our kids to be resilient and have the skills to bounce back and this is how they will get that.

Watch one of Congressman Ryan’s sessions from Wisdom 2.0 on video




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