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Daily Connection: Thich Nhat Hanh and the Meditating Congressman (Tim Ryan)

Happy Tuesday. Below is one of my favorite quotes on interdependence from Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (published in several places including The Heart of Understanding). Then, as many of us are working to support mindful politicians this November 2, I was turned onto the Congressman from Ohio, Tim Ryan, who is not only a meditator, but is lobbying for federal support of meditation (Jon Kabat-Zinn gets a shout out as a favorite author on Congressman Ryan's facebook page).



Below, he discusses mindfulness based stress reduction as a low cost health care option with Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services. Check the video, and support mindful elected officials however you can. Of course, since IDP is not allowed to endorse candidates, I should also tell you to support mindless elected officials, if that's what you prefer. :~)

(Mindful Politics available from Wisdom Pubs)

Daily Quote:

If you are a poet, you will see clearlythat there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud there will be no water; without water, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, you cannot make paper. So the cloud is in here. The existence of this page is dependent on the existence of a cloud. Paper and cloud are so close. Let us think of other things, like sunshine. Sunshine is very important because the forest cannot grow without sunshine, and we humans cannot grow without sunshine. So the logger needs sunshine in order to cut the tree, and the tree needs sunshine in order to be a tree. Therefore, you can see sunshine in this sheet of paper.  And if you look more deeply, with the eyes of a bodhisattva, with the eyes of those who are awake, you see not only the cloud and the sunshine in it, but that everything is here; the wheat that became the bread for the logger to eat, the logger’s father – everything is in this sheet of paper.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

Daily Video


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TNH's retreat with US Members of Congress

In 2003, Thich Nhat Hanh offered a retreat for U.S. Members of Congress and their staff. See: http://faithandpolitics.org/history?q=thich_nhat . Nine members attended, along with some family members and clergy. I think some staff attended as well, though they are not mentioned in the Faith and Politics Institute article. There is actually a documentary on the event. I'll try to see if I can remember the name of it. Or I'll ask one of the nuns at Plum Village.

In the few years before that retreat, I was a member of the Washington Mindfulness Community, which had a mindful politics committee. Members of WMC went to legislators (this was before the US declared war on Iraq) and said, "What can we do to support you in making conscientious decisions?" Legislators are used to people coming to them with a "big ask." They were surprised when they realized WMC members had no "big ask" and just wanted to support them in their decision-making process. They appreciated it.

Around the time that the Iraq War began, the WMC mindful politics committee organized peace walks around the capital on Wednesdays. The peace walks were opportunities to practice walking meditation. I remember that I invited many staff members, since I was working in public policy at the time. Not many showed up, though people were curious about the peace walks. One security guard even joined in.

So, I am glad to see this video. It is amazing how the mindfulness movement has grown in the past decade!

this is beyond awesome

can you imagine if we had lots of meditating legislators?

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