5 Questions for the Congressman Who Meditates

5 Questions for the Congressman Who Meditates

Practicing Presence and Compassion

Congressman Tim Ryan has been speaking openly about his daily meditation practice. Rather than judging or sensationalizing, we might see this as an opportunity to better understand each other. Meditation can cultivate qualities like compassion, which may lead to more thoughtful leadership.

An Antidote to Polarization

In an increasingly polarized political climate, Congressman Ryan’s meditation practice sets an example in finding common ground. He speaks about using meditation to let go of anger and resentment. This points to the potential for inner work to heal outer divisions.

Understanding Different Perspectives

One benefit of meditation is that it can help us empathize and see issues from other vantage points, not just our own. Rather than reacting from habitual biases, we can listen to differing voices with open-minded curiosity.

Policies that Promote Wellbeing

Quieting our minds may help leaders consider policies that promote collective wellbeing – like healthcare access, education funding, conservation efforts, among others. While complex policy issues rarely have easy answers, contemplative practices may lead to more creative, compassionate governance.

Bringing Ethics into Politics

The divisive state of politics often stems from a lack of personal ethics and integrity among leaders. By publicly committing to his own inner work, Congressman Ryan models the value of moral self-examination – potentially inspiring other leaders to do the same.


What is Congressman Tim Ryan known for?

Tim Ryan, a Democratic Congressman from Ohio, is known for openly discussing his daily meditation and mindfulness practice – which is highly unusual in the realm of politics. He advocates for the personal and societal benefits of contemplative practices.

How did Congressman Ryan get interested in meditation?

In a life filled with stress and pressure, Ryan turned to mindfulness and meditation practices over a decade ago to improve his health, wellbeing, and ability to fulfill his duties with integrity. He says meditation helps him lead from a place of patience, compassion and discernment.

What effects has meditation had on Ryan’s politics?

Ryan says meditation has made him more creative in policy-making. He’s also willing to collaborate across the aisle on issues like mental health services, rather than sticking to partisan positions. Critics, however, say he doesn’t always live up to his high-minded rhetoric.

What legislation has Ryan sponsored related to mindfulness or meditation?

Some of Congressman Ryan’s recent legislative projects include the Mindfulness Act, which would fund mindfulness and self-care programs for teachers and students, as well as the Relaxation and Stress Reduction Act to provide federal employees with mental health services.

Why do some people disapprove of Ryan’s advocacy for meditation?

While research shows meditation’s benefits, some critics see Ryan’s enthusiasm about mindfulness as veering into excess. Some claim he focuses too much on personal contemplation rather than tackling structural issues. Others say a white Congressman should avoid co-opting Eastern spiritual practices.