On the stump for silence: Congressman Tim Ryan

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Five-term Congressman Tim Ryan of Niles, Ohio was raised Catholic and played football in high school.  So what’s he doing in Santa Monica talking about meditation?  It’s his passion and the subject of his new book, “A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice can Reduce Stress, Improve Performance and Recapture the American Spirit.

Tonight at the Broad Stage, the Insight LA meditation center has invited Rep. Ryan to speak about the joy of sitting still–as well as the medical, emotional and physical benefits of the practice.

It has nothing to do with religion or passivity and everything to do with science, Rep. Ryan told us this afternoon when he dropped by KCRW.  After the 2008 elections, feeling stressed by the unending demands of our digital age, he signed up for a 5-day silent meditation retreat with the renowned teacher, Jon Kabat-Zinn (who contributed the forward to the book.)

Now he tries to sit on a cushion for 45 minutes each morning in order to center and focus himself.  He says it’s made him a better listener, and he’s particularly intrigued with how kids and military personnel can benefit from such a practice.

Rep. Ryan also talked about how his fellow Congressmen are reacting to his commitment to meditation. And he told us why Goldie Hawn and Phil Jackson are two people he admires.

At the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, Monday June 4 @ 7:30pm