(Member, United States Congress)
A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit
Tim wrote A Mindful Nation to promote the value and benefits of slowing down, taking care of ourselves, being kind, and helping each other. He believes that if we could embrace these values individually, it would benefit us collectively. And our country will be a little bit better off as a result. The growing interest and support of mindfulness has turned into what he calls a “quiet revolution,” a peaceful movement championed by an amazing group of people who have dedicated their lives to bringing mindfulness to the masses. From teachers to therapists, soldiers to scientists, and from coaches to celebrities, A Mindful Nation chronicles the real-life stories and the life changes people have experienced from practicing mindfulness, something Tim still does every day. As Tim’s journey continues, his book invites people from all walks of life to embrace mindfulness and start changing their own life—one breath at a time.
Tim Ryan’s journey to discovering mindfulness started at a young age. Growing up in his hometown of Niles, Ohio, Tim’s first-generation Italian-American grandparents instilled in him the importance of values like kindness, generosity, warmth, compassion, and loyalty to family, church, community and country. Years later, when a high school teacher revealed that the average human uses just a fraction of their full human potential, it had a profound effect on him. Deep down Tim knew he wasn’t bringing all his energy and capacity into the matters of his own life, and as a result the potential and energy of his body and mind would go undeveloped and wasted. This didn’t follow the lessons of his upbringing and sparked him on a quest to find ways to better himself.
In the years that followed, Tim’s focus and drive for success helped him become an unstoppable force. High school led to college at Bowling Green State University and a degree in political science. He became a congressional aide with the U.S. House of Representatives and even went on to hold a law degree and became a rising star in politics. In 2000, at the age of 27, Tim became one of the youngest state senators in Ohio history. At 29, on January 7th, 2003, Tim Ryan was sworn in as a U.S. Congressman.
In his six terms serving the people of the great state of Ohio, and our nation, Tim had come to be known as a passionate statesman, dutiful public servant and a skilled orator. He’d traveled the world, met presidents and prime ministers, but always felt a million miles away from his accomplishments and didn’t quite know why. He felt as though his mind was always stuck in the past or fixed on the future, and never focused on the present. What he didn’t know was that this journey, one that was founded in compassion, strengthened by the discipline of education, and healed by the practice of yoga, was about to come to an important crossroads.
In November 2008, Tim’s continuing search for the truth would lead him far from Washington, not to mention both of his blackberries, and all the way to a retreat in the mountains of upstate New York. During that five-day silent retreat in the Catskills, Tim had a breakthrough—mindfulness. In his book he describes the moment, “The runaway horses of my mind were pulled to a halt, and I just breathed in and out.” Through meditation and mindfulness, he realized that what we see, hear, and think about in our mind has a direct effect on our bodies and that the connection between the two are important to our health and happiness. Coming down from the mountains five days later, he knew that his world was forever changed. Tim also realized he was in a unique position to share this gift, mindfulness, with other people.