Meet the “mindfulness” caucus: Politicians who meditate!

Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon: “If this can help me, a half-Irish, half-Italian quarterback from Northeast Ohio, it’s for everybody,” Congressman Tim Ryan says of his meditation practice developed from Buddhist traditions. The lawmaker, one of a growing group of prominent politicians incorporating mindfulness into their worldview and approach, leans back in a chair in his Longworth House Office Building suite, which includes meditation cushions and signed footballs — and even a Bud Light on display behind glass (the aluminum bottle is made in his district). “It’s not woo woo!”

Despite not fitting the profile, Ryan has become an evangelist for meditation on Capitol Hill, encouraging his fellow lawmakers to try it, securing federal funding for a pilot meditation program at schools in his district, and even writing a book — A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit — on how he sees mindfulness as a cure to the stress of modern life, and something that can help heal Congress and the world. He’s even landed on the cover of Mindful magazine. And he’s not alone.

This year saw gains for bona fide Buddhists, with Mazie Hirono becoming the first to enter…

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