A Mindful Government

(Note: This post was originally published in 2012. Read the 2016 UPDATE below.)

There is a new book by Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) that is worth a look. This groundbreaking book, called A Mindful Nation, introduces “mindfulness” into the political machinery that is our government. Imagine the possibilities of a nation – a world – where mindfulness is at the heart and soul of our beingness.

What is “mindfulness”? Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are, defines it as, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

In a country where “Stand Your Ground” (carry a weapon and shoot to kill anyone who threatens you) is legal, we could use a bit more mindfulness. Take for example the city of Fairfield, Iowa, which Oprah visited. It’s a community where many of the residents participate in transcendental meditation; it’s also cited as one of the safest and greenest, sustainable and energy-efficient cities in the country.

How would the quality of life transform if our leaders, and our society, cultivated mindfulness? How can “mindful media” help make that difference?

> UPDATE FOLLOWING THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: In the wake of the U.S. election outcome, the Democratic Party is starting to realize this is the dawn of a new era, where the old game doesn’t work any more, and new ways of relating to the electorate are required if Democratic ideals are to be realized.

As the party goes through the difficult process of examining what happened and what changes will need to be made, new Democratic leadership will be required. While it’s early in the process, one such change being proposed would put Congressman Tim Ryan, Ohio Representative and author of A Mindful Nation, as the replacement for Nancy Pelosi as House Minority Speaker.

Maybe this is the catalyst to bring dramatic advances in world cooperation and peace through spirituality. As the late Leonard Cohen has said,

“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”

About the book: In one of the most optimistic books to come out of Washington during these trying times, Congressman Tim Ryan presents us with an inspiring and hopeful view of our country’s future—and a roadmap for how to get there. Across America, people are feeling squeezed, exhausted, and running faster and faster while falling farther behind. The economy continues to struggle, wars rage on, and every week brings news of another environmental disaster. Everything seems broken and people feel helpless to make a difference. Despite this bleak outlook, there are strands of quiet hope and confidence. People are beginning to take action in a new way: they are slowing down, paying attention, and gaining an awareness of the inner resources at their disposal.

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Categories: Books, TV

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