This Week's Goods...

Issue 18, Week of February 4th

Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan

Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan


This Week's Goods

Bringing Zen to Congress. "In 2008, Tim Ryan signed up for a mindfulness retreat, hoping to get a break from his exhausting schedule as a three-term congressman in Ohio." Now he's hooked and has brought the practice to Congress." Ryan realized that a space for contemplative practice was missing, not just on Capitol Hill, but also in his community. So he set out to change that. Now there is a Quiet Time Caucus every Monday that he often leads before Congress votes, and he has raised over $3.6 million in funding for mindfulness research and programs." Ryan, a possible Presidential candidate, is also author of the book Mindful NationBusiness Insider

The New Opiate?  Is mindfulness the new opiate of the masses?  According to this piece in the Guardian it is - or at least of the workplace masses. "Yes, mindfulness might encourage colleagues to be nice to each other, and help bosses make better decisions (in the interest of the bottom line, of course) and we might all work faster. But removing the negative thoughts from our minds also makes us more accepting of our lot. Even for people who are inclined to challenge the status quo, a course of mindfulness will make them less likely to question why they aren’t getting extra holiday, longer lunch breaks or reduced working hours to reward improved productivity." That's one take, or perhaps more compassion in the workplace might actually lead to better working conditions.  The Guardian

Pain is in the Brain. And speaking of opiates, or rather opioids (which are the synthetic version.) Some practitioners are turning to mindfulness to help patients manage pain, and use the highly addictive prescription drugs more mindfully. One teacher "instructs patients to reframe their discomfort with terms like tightness, heat and tingling. Then he asks them to think about that pain sensation differently. Perhaps a tightness can become a tingling or a tingling can become a warmth. Perhaps the intensity is changing," he says. KUER Public Radio

How Young is Too Young? A skeptical mother ended up seeing the plus side of taking her 3 year old to mindfulness classes in LA. "For those located outside our L.A. bubble, I’d imagine that taking your child to a mindfulness class sounds like a rather indulgent extra curricular activity. After all, isn't it my job to teach my kids how to behave and be present? Sure, but sometimes, even parents need a reminder to stop, take a deep breath, and look around them before reacting." Red Book Magazine

Om and the Elite.  You hardly hear about the World Economic Forum in Davos without some reference to the "global elite." The great thing about meditation, on one hand, is how utterly democratic it is. On the other hand, the number of CEOs that have embraced the practice probably outpaces the rest of the population. "Ten years ago, doing morning meditation sessions at Davos would have been unthinkable. Now it has become fashionable,' said Matthieu Ricard, a French Buddhist monk who took part in the summit." The Strait Times

With a Side of 'Shrooms. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, combining meditation with the key ingredient in magic mushrooms (psilocybin) seems to have long-term beneficial effects. "'The present study showed generally large significant effects of psilocybin across a range of longitudinal measures including attitudes about life, attitudes about self, mood, altruism/positive social effects, behavior, and increased spirituality."  Big Think

Here Comes Another Bus. Meditating on a bus seems to be a thing.  Mobile meditators in NYC now have two options, while a new bus is making the rounds in San Fran. Maybe your city is next! SF Chronicle


Something to take forward... 

"Through the sacred art of pausing, we develop the capacity to stop hiding, to stop running away from our experience. We begin to trust in our natural intelligence, in our naturally wise heart, in our capacity to open to whatever arises. Like awakening from a dream, in the moment of pausing our trance recedes and Radical Acceptance becomes possible." Tara Brach