Tim Ryan, a democratic Congressman from Ohio, is among those pushing to use more federal funds for mindfulness research. Stressed and exhausted, Ryan attended a mindfulness retreat led by Kabat-Zinn in 2008 shortly after the election.
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Ryan turned over his two BlackBerrys and ended the experience with a 36-hour period of silence. "My mind got so quiet, and I had the experience of my mind and my body actually being in the same place at the same time, synchronized," says Ryan. "I went up to Jon and said, 'Oh, man, we need to study this--get it into our schools, our health care system.'"
In the years since, the Congressman has become a rock star among mindfulness evangelists. His book A Mindful Nation was published in 2012, and Mindful, launched in May 2013, put Ryan on the cover of its second issue after he secured a $1 million federal grant to teach mindfulness in schools in his home district. Ryan has hosted meditation sessions and a mindfulness lecture series on Capitol Hill for House members and their staffs. The effort, says Ryan, is all about "little candles getting lit under the Capitol dome.