“The advantage of this is that it actually doesn’t cost anything,” said Karen May, a vice president at Google, explaining how her company offers “mindfulness” classes to its employees.
Mindfulness is a New Age kind of meditation that focuses on the present moment “non-judgmentally,” tracing its origins to Buddhism. The growing phenomenon was the subject of a 60 Minutes segment on Sunday, for which May and other fans of the practice were interviewed.
“We’re just asking you to sit and know that you’re sitting,” explained Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and author of the book Wherever You Go, There You Are. “When you’re in the shower next time check and see if you’re in the shower,” he advised viewers.
The segment featured Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio), a so-called “rock star among mindfulness evangelists” who earmarked nearly $1 million to teach mindfulness to preschool students in his district. The $982,000 project provided deep breathing exercises, and “Peace Corners” for kids in Youngstown, Ohio.
Ryan said he practices mindfulness on the House Budget Committee and hosts weekly meditation sessions for members and staff. No Republicans attend.
The congressman “really believes it can change America for the better,” as does the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Contrary to May’s assertion, mindfulness has cost taxpayers a fortune. The Washington Free Beacon analyzed 81 active studies on mindfulness that have cost taxpayers more than $100 million. Included in the total were all studies in which mindfulness is used as a central component in the research.