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#191: Can Meditation Improve Politics? Chris Ruane and Jamie Bristow

Chris Ruane has been a member of the British Parliament for more than 20 years. As a meditation and mindfulness practitioner, he wanted to share the benefits of these practices with his colleagues in government. In 2013, he set up free mindfulness classes in the UK Parliament. Since then, more than 150 British Members of Parliament and peers have received mindfulness training, along with 250 members of their staff. Jamie Bristow serves as Director of The Mindfulness Initiative, which was founded in 2013 to support British politicians in forming the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness (MAPPG), a cross party group dedicated to developing public policy on mindfulness in health, education, criminal justice and the workplace. Ruane and Bristow have joined forces to bring mindfulness techniques to legislators around the world, hoping it will lead to more thoughtful decision-making and constructive dialogues between opposing political parties. Plug Zone Chris Ruane Bio: http://oxfordmindfulness.org/people/chris-ruane/ Chris Ruane Email Address: ruanec@parliament.uk Chris Ruane Twitter: https://twitter.com/Chris_RuaneMP Jamie Bristow Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamiebristow The Mindfulness Initiative: https://www.themindfulnessinitiative.org/ Ten Percent Happier Meditation - Jeff Warren's Training the Mind: https://10percenthappier.app.link/Sx7HisBOiX ***VOICEMAILS*** Have a question for Dan? Leave us a voicemail: 646-883-8326
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe see the ten percent happier vodka than her again, I think it's safe to say that, even if, as you will observe her of the United States, Congress would likely conclude that the atmosphere, the interpersonal atmosphere there is not all some pretty deeply sub optimal. it seems like the two parties are constantly at each other's throats. The person relationships that reputedly you still exist across the aisle seem to have dissipated if, if not just simply disappear, here it. So this we were to take you inside a really interesting experiment. That's going on across the pond in the british Parliament a hundred feet, the members of parliament there have taken mindfulness training pro. grams many them also sit regularly in private confidential groups where they meet it. Cross party lines and apparently create real friendships and share some pretty deep stuff.
obviously this is not created, some sort of brigadier dune, the whole bricks. Its situation is clearly pretty choppy, to say the least, but This experiment is apparently made a real difference, so we have to guess this week. One of them is Chris rule. and was a member of parliament from Wales he's been serving since nineteen eighty seven. He said then you'll hear him say that he used to be the kind of guy would scream and shout on the floor of parliament, and that he has subsequently post meditation undergone a real personal transformation, so historic, fascinating the other. this Jamie Bristow, who runs a think tank that emerge that that grew out of these efforts to teach mindfulness to parliament. To call them mindfulness initiative and they research. How my this can change public policy in health care, incarceration, etc, etc. So that's coming up. First, a very quick item of business is very quick. I just wanna quickly highlight one of our favorite
detains in the ten percent happier app. It's called the training the mind or more specifically, Jeff Warren straining the mind. Jeff warrant is very good an amazing meditation teacher, if you, if you were a personal, trainer. This meditation session would be kind of his full body work out. He takes you through five mental qualities that he believes are more. Very well rounded meditation practice if you want to check that meditation out you can just click on the link in the show notes. Or if you are subscriber to the app just go in the advanced and unguided section of the singles tab, go check that, now, though hears Chris Ruin and Jimmy Bristow wheat but you can hear talk about how mindfulness can boost positive relationships and communication in high stakes, adversarial situations, how it can reduce unconscious bias. We talk about the difference in this is really from Chris when he gets very poorest.
The difference between living based on intrinsic values, verses, extrinsic values, So when you're living based on what's meaningful to you as opposed to its meaningful to the culture or somebody else, like your parents, you talk about whether this kind of mindfulness experiment could be imported here to the. U S, So here we go. Here's Chris ran in Jamie Bristow nice to see both of you must go to beat it lets you start with some biography. I be curious to hear how each of you got interested in meditation and by the way would get give me gimme the port
how should I address you Chris, whereas it was absolutely up of uprooted ruin the member of parliament for the veil of Cluett, which you seem wonderful whales, Welsh MP in the United Kingdom, Poland and I got into meditation, not mind foolish thirty. Two years ago I was a cheek primary school teacher for fifteen years and then an MP on and off for twenty two years and as a primary school teacher, our school was being inspected by her majesty's inspectorate and the staff that legitimately shaken, so the school principle brought the nurse in and she taught us tension and relaxation throughout the body. and to use the breath and they got so much out of that. I want to use it with children in my car, so I started meditating with forty eight and nine year old children and doing the breath and doing visualization cinder that just work. For me, I work for them.
And you stuck with it over a practice. Do did it for about four or five years with the children, and then I came across mindfulness about twelve years ago, when I was helping my daughter sudden, which is Welsh four STAR, the sky. With her with our homework competitive religions can cause Buddhism and it may lies. Essentially trip and quality of mindful of meditation to pollution? So I downloaded some podcast from Spirit Rock in California. I show me ended up to be about three hundred bought gotcha but he went about twelve years ago and I
to them on their journey on the train down to London to know if I was on the way back from your district from my District in Wales, yet that we should say Spirit Rock is a venerable meditation retreat Centre in Marine County Detroit California and go from school was the Emma they have visit. You noticed on the on the book on the port gospel bill from still was weakened, the kind of uncommon who I listen super for six years and a practice meditations, and I got so much of it, the two in two thousand and thirteen I thought or two thousand and twelve. In fact, I feel that parliament could benefit with this. We just come through the expenses issue worth expenses scandal.
lots of people were burnt out a scanner. We should just such a sailor. Verve, though there are members of parliament who were basically busted spending government dollars for personal stuff. Yes, as if some of it Lee illegally through full members upon, went to jail and some of it legally, but people felt he was model, so that was all review of expenses, and people are still stress like three or four years later to stretch now. So I thought I should have introduced at the time, but sir about two three years afterwards I'll take it upon it. I contacted Professor Richard lay out who wrote a wonderful book happiness in your site
The good childhood Richard is a professor at the London School of Economics and the labour laws, and I knew he was well connected in the air and the wellbeing world, so approached him and he put his in contact with the Oxford. Mindful a sensor, Professor Mark Williams, a mock came down with a wonderful teacher Chris Color, and we introduced our lessons in January, two thousand and thirty, and over the past six years, two hundred and fifty parliamentarians and three hundred and fifty members of their staff have had my fullest training. Deepen adapt. But first let me just Jamie in the making your background real quick. So am I came into the story anyway, when I was working ahead, space in two thousand
twelve zero little known, meditated, half Haitian, that, while they when it learn lacking today, anyway, you're not little known now, where all any all of us in the medication game are standing on your shoulders, figuratively, because you with it, you guys were the first meditation up. Yet back in those days there was about nine people in the organization and five desks in small businesses. Turn North London and now, of course, they have hundreds of staffing in California somewhere as so. I was SAM, let me let me remind you, took talk about where I got into the right, mindfulness meditation. First off, so I was lucky enough to come across it. When I was in university there a meditation society sayin, I join the ultimate club club in the football club meditation by football soccer elements fourth profit profitable, ran. An answer is one of those things I picked up and tried in United it for a few months in
came and went in and have just another experience. And then I am I graduated I got into. I am like a big creative agency advertising agency in London, the global work. I was working too hard working long hours also, there was like drinking every night and then drinking too much coffee the next day to go over the night before and surprise surprise I couldn't, I couldn't concentrate for the whoever is crazy? Ten twelve hour days as I was trying to do- and I came back to two meditation in order to be a better advertiser in order to focus focused better, but with that self regulation benefit that a lot of people come into the stuff. For my also and then move on to self expiration realise there was gonna mortar to mean and to the world then am I originally thought there wasn't that and that led me to really question what I was doing there. Whether advertising was right for me with advertising. It was right for the world
I changed my life and ended up in a climate change campaign. Like someone went from setting Miss ends, me sounds as if you make me sending for by force and then see you later in talking about how we desperately need to attempt to reduce carbon emissions to the survival of our society. So that just yet little fire me really me was that was I realized that the mindfulness was what's changed, my perspective on things, and so I thought well, maybe if more people knew about this, then than they would also be more sensitive to the information. That's out there and change their perspective also, so that led me to ram yes try to get a job ahead. Space turned up and said: hey do you want to
gonna. Take me on that lead to being a volunteer with the parliamentary initiative. The kicked off in two thousand and fourteen said the politicians have been already been practicing for a year or so on this eight wheat mind from his course. I may start to become interested in science, behind what they'd been learning and the policy implications in health and education, criminal justice system, and so I was one of fifteen to twenty volunteers and experts who showed up to help them to create it. Cross Party group an all party parliamentary group on mindfulness, which is, I can come like a student society actually for back Bench Mps. So those who are in government and to help them come too on an issue of mutual interest to inquire into that the area in and make recommendations for government. So It was SAM. I was that she understood
on the criminal justice stranded, that inquiry and we had them. Eight events in in parliament hearings over twelve months and then pull together the yeah, the mindful nation, UK report, and so I was just one person on the team there, but then I was asked to take over this directive. So I've been running the charity and education Charity Policy Institute, which supports this group of politicians, helping them do what they do. My foolish initiative, the mindfulness finished with a great deal to it, unto Jamie's will so look. Let's go back to the beginning of this mindfulness initiative, the? U provoked,
Chris. What was the reaction from your colleagues, the other Mps, the other members of parliament we ve had on this, show before TIM Ryan Democrat from Ohio, whose now running for president up- and he is very public, meditate her and he started, which called the quiet I am cautious in the United States Congress and to my knowledge, he's gotten zero actual members of Congress to meditate allowed a member a lot of staffers, but no last time I spoke welcome. No members of Congress were publicly Talkin about about this least. I think maybe
Someone there talked about a bet: they weren't doing it with him, so they re not a huge buying. What did you do? People smirk at you when you started talking about meditation within a political context, yet there? Well? Initially, yes, but we had twenty two members of parliament and members of the House of Lords peace on the first class in January, two thousand and thirteen. So there was some buying and I was the recruiting sergeant. I would pitch it differently to different Mps and Pisa. I knew was struggling. I would sit down in the House of Commons Tearoom CUP of tea and sit down and talk to them butler, issued and say: listen! A nice intervention called my foolish come along and see. How were you feel other and peace that the wet props, offering our being very fortunate that I haven't suffered with mental health in her ill health in my life? So for I pitched as if a flourishing activity, other Mps, who perhaps shadow ministers I would
education is part of your portfolio pop. Your brief health is criminal justice. Why don't you come along and see? What's her marvellous could offer you as a shadow minister, so it was definitely quickly if I want to share a shadowy. Well, you don't have that you have a government ministers for twenty two different departments of states that a cabinet member and then you'll have ministers underneath a cabinet member departments and there will be a shadow of doubt for the opposition, so the opposition, efficient, education's secretary of State for educational, be a shadow six touristic frederick they should gotcha, so the shadow each other. So I wanna hardier you and I'm a labour labour and pay and waiting. were you only recruiting from your own party? No,
not not not at all, were we took a cross party approach left and right times of extreme left, extreme light, extreme centre and peace and peace would come together. They leave the politics at the door and which it and meditate, sometimes in silence, and sometimes guided and we'd, have discussions, after which we express our vulnerability in those her oak, panelled Select Committee rooms were? We delivered our oh, my foolish practice and nobody was leaking. Informality was weakened. We ve had no leak of four six and a half years in some people have spoken about the alcoholism than the galactic children, the fallen vulnerable in front of others from different political parties.
There has been an. I think, it's an expression of the vulnerability that those bonds are strengthened, the bonds of friendship and understand it, and it is beginning to change the dynamic of discourse in parliament. Tim Lawton, whose and the Labour culture, Jim Lawton, impedes the conservative culture and he speaks what's the terminology used when he says that, then there is this: an affinity amongst those who have been on this. My from this course and a rather more considered approach to exchanges of differing views. In other words,
fishing is starting to report, they disagree better, have better dialogue, but it's not all rainbows unicorn to her, like that. No legislation is not the idea of Aquarius absolutely had something called brags wretched had something we ve still got animals suffering for decades. To now, will you bet you can't figure out how to actually do the exit part? No upswing in its life's about ups and downs in political life is about political ups and political downs, and it just feels like we ve had a three political down were always talk about is breaks it. We ve made virtually no pressure and no progress on some of those who in favour of bricks three years ago, when they, when we had the referendum, said this take five minutes to do once we voted for. It will just sign these papers
wretched will be. There will be one of the easiest acts that we ve ever passed, and I haven't been the case and there is. There is massive pressure in parliament, which is as much a massive pressure in the country and even within families of different generations. Generational differences and it's it's David Cameron in giving the british people a referendum, has sown the wind and we are now reaping the whirlwind, and now more than ever, we need a practice and intervention that can help us stay balanced. these turbulent times. Do you think if you didn't have this, that the brakes conversations would be even worse? I think it's still a real minority that people who have been on the divorce, in particular those who have really committed the practice over time. What would you say that managers of of members of parliament who have done the course
members of parliaments in a main house and home and then there's now negotiating this yeah exactly said about a hundred and fifty members of parliament have been on the course of that right. Yes, what about a hundred from the outset and that's how six hundred plus love that's our six hundred and fifty m and seven hundred eight hundred pairs now exact, so the number some big children hears are members of the house. A lorry is that members of the House of Lords, your search, the number some big, repressive children, fifty, but that's out of a total population in parliament, of something like fourteen hundred members of the lords and members of the commons. So we got this small kind of fun. Small group that starting to say one only a few years ago, they started say this could be an impact for on political culture, and then they start to say it has been. I have different relationships. I find I talk differently to people,
different tone to bring other things being more myself into their into the conversations. I have in this in this house and then in the last six months or eight months or so you ve got, she seemed. Instructions about in the chamber itself, So there was never an intervention, and just before Christmas were wet met, him Norton really took the he out of the room. There is people what kind of bang for blood almost in the now infamous exchange during Prime Minister's questions, which is a kind of weekly punch and Judy. Like Christian so with the Prime minister, and he did it amazing spectacle by the way, to avoid another story about TIM Lawton did for those of you. Don't follow british politics, your ear forgiven, except for me
preventative you don't I get out. But, unlike me, you're forgiven there. They do this thing once a week right where the register comes in and just fields, questions from a whole group of the members of parliament and now right there on the floor, thou the commons and it gets its pretty hard cords and press conference. But do you know these from fellow politicians, not not journalists and The screaming, under the design of the chamber in the House of Commons, is its design like a bad. It's not circular, it's not in an arc. It's it's directly that were about the foot for five paces away from each other, so that the bank seats going up five or six rose and it is like a baby and you have them, but a bare pet. A bare fetish rather used a pigeon two birds to fight against each other, and I've got to get the different parties on each sign on these banks bite and I used to be one of the worst offenders.
Really offers our man. Are you a reminder of the other? genes, and I ask the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom a question about mindfulness in February this year. Shooting go get the clip, but I ask the Prime Minister the question she and answered very knowledgeable about Michael US and then the speaker of the House of Commons. He intervened and said the honourable member used to be very active, boisterous and after the chamber, and he has changed his speech. I guess I got up that's on by the speaker of the House of Commons, so it must work together. TIM long again. It conservative co, chair of empty chair mindfulness. Yes, it is this, this practice group in parliament and then there is also the policy initiative. not kind assuming that everyone he practices is interested in how this might be applied across society.
Some of them are, unless we have this all party group, which has two coaches, conservative and labour to inquire into how this is being applied across society, and that's where I come. It ok, under the teaching of people in parliament by do the talking about mindfulness in society, so so yeah back to parliamentary cam questions and there there was a lot of heat in the chamber, and TIM stood up to ask a question and his his car. look I'm like going to me go to so like ramp up, basically, Instead, he just took her, took a pause, took a breath and you said com and I really like in a big way and and holds it of young. The fever pitch dropped a few, a few degrees, and then you know what went on task where you were
to ask about education funding and has only a tiny things by their like baby steps or green shoots, and we shouldn't overstate what we got. What individual mindfulness practice can do on a group level without some kind of group dialogue about how we want to change the culture together towards something that is more more mindful more considerate and more responsive rather than blindly reactive. I hope that will come when more politicians have have got not personal understanding, but we ve had like in the member of the House of lords. There was a debate months or so before that and we had a three different political parties represented where people said, and there should be more mindfulness in our international relations. and was the first intervention cycle almost moment. There should be more mindfulness
in the way that we are with the cabinet and then someone else and that there should be more mindfulness in this house it and give a really good definition of it and said that we should have more of a mindful approach in the House of lords, so so yeah, it's some quite recent developments becoming part of the public record Politicians are calling for different cut type of discourse to do. Can you genuinely forecast a near future where you have a much higher level of buying and where you do see the kind of behaviour all changes on the floor of the house is that you would like to see the What another tipping point where we ve seen recently is around mental health. More broadly, and so in the last four years, the public discourse around meant we'll have mental health. We should
we'll talk about it. We should all fine treatment when we need it and we ve got problems and we should be doing preventative things to bolster our mental health, as in the UK at least shifted. Huge mountain, that's because the royal family, the young royals of, come out campaigned about mental health behaves like now. Grimes does no wrappers. We have sportsmen, we have politicians, tat night, you know Ipod had issues and that so it so I- that's been enormously. Health has just shown us how quickly you can have cultural change, and I think we started to get kind of Chris Critical Mass both in parliament and insist. Betty, because the numbers were saying this is reflected in the. U S, I believe, is that the number of people who have meditated, is getting towards fifteen sixteen percent of the population
The cook the how new technologies and new trends are taken up. That's the kind of point where it jumps into mainstream conversation. Emmi ETA, give two trends in both countries simultaneously improbably interrelated. You ve got a maybe more than to transmit you, ve got a growing embrace of meditation and you ve got record levels of anxiety, depression and suicide, and you ve also got this introduction of technology, which does enable the dissemination of meditation, but it is also a more pernicious level enabling people to be more isolated, cut off stuck in social media, called the sacks where their comparing themselves to other people and feeling we know lesson you're in it said her, etc? So the lot going on these sort of interrelated self, reinforcing trends that some of them negative, but I think the meditation part of it is really riding on some of this and I think, could be of a positive force. I'm not Polly, I'm not sure Pollyanna about this. But
I do think it could be positive and very soon. Army of mental Ill Health is sweeping the world and the western world, especially dream, and I spoke at the United Nations- riding and leave you and all the World Health Organization says it by twenty thirty. The biggest health burden on the whole of the planet will be. Depression, are not mental health per se. Just depression, wait said it again to accept. That's worth the the United at the World Health Organization says that by twenty thirty by twenty twenty depression will be the second biggest health burden on the planet by twenty thirty it'll be the biggest health burden on the planet and at the moment we are dealing with depression primarily through drugs through anti depressants are not important and drugs anti depressants other have area have a role to play. But if you have a look at the consumption,
an anti depressants and I've put down written parliamentary questions to health ministries in the United Kingdom in ninety ninety one. In England alone, there were nine million proscriptions written fancy the presence. Last year it was sixty seven so there's been a massive uptake in the use of anti depressants within the United Kingdom and its assuming the United States, the Australia, New Zealand, especially in the anglo Saxon world, but other countries as well. So, unlike other, although not in all nine times happier than ninety. Ninety one turns agonies now we're not if anything our happiness in our well being is gone down over there, and I think people are looking for something much natural
that's a nice something's human and are finding it increasingly in imitation and Professor Monti Williams, a professor who taught from Oxford University lifeless censor the man who taught us Michael's in the House of Commons. He is the one of three professes, including symbols Eagle from Toronto, universally and John Teasdale from Cambridge University. in two thousand and four they produce the science that was accepted by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom for mindfulness to be used for repeat episode depression. So the science in the United Kingdom has been proven and action and freely available since two thousand and four the take up has been minimal, and we need to look at the reasons for that. The left
the number of Jacob you mean buying from regular people by infinite, regular people, and so much by regular people, as is the health services, are not providing it where they should be, and then there has been again there has been changes there in terms of national health and is trying to address that, but it's more difficult to set up a mine from training programme, with the quality of training and to hand out you know, even in an uphill sit. So just go back to this statistic from the World Health Organisation by the twenty thirty, they think depression will be the biggest health burden. On the plan. Yes, what what did they think is driving then, and what do they think the burden will look like I dont? Have there been any scientific analysis as to what is bringing this about? I've got. My own it is on. This is a wonderful american socialist sociologist Robert Putnam, who now the beloved he wrote a book called battling, holding a lonely, ended Ikey, Chronicle, Dick declining community and the rising,
at a migration and alienation, there is a wonderful british journalist and psychiatry psychologist Guilder, Oliver James, you wrote the book of the ones who maintains that it is advertising. That is that this is the main reason. The purpose of an advert is to make you happy with what you ve got so that your purchase, something else to make. You happy that what this whole slew of fur theories about the impact of social media have computers taken out, Willoughby, algorithm, algorithm, algorithms, every time we go on the computer and we do a search leg,
they can search deeper and deeper inside an individual's brain to know how we are we working cell adverts too, that this new theory is that the impact of fur about got bacteria, fascination field, the I'll get back to our got his actual your second brain, ninety percent of us on its own. It is produced in our got an that got that bacteria has been damaged over the past fifty or sixty years by just food by over use of antibiotics, and even some say by society in sections that that that Micro Micro Biome like biome these hundred That is, my wife is an forget. What we already know that when the baby comes through the birth canal, the baby is given the bullet. I combine so that this many fashioning increase, but I think this is an area that is worthy of further research effort with fish shoe normal, mentally ill health. We need to know the reason
because it's all right, treating the cook the course to treating the symptoms without either depressants or psychological therapies or mindfulness. But we need to get behind causing this as politicians, especially, and that we should be sacrificing our kids on the altar of profitability, as it is an opportunity for my first training to not just to do. Addressed the symptoms, I think am it addresses the causes more deeply and our own lives, but as an opportunity for it to address the systemic societal context as well to survive in saying that that's have a look around this training course about there are nourishing into pleasing things in your life, which is a common component of of mine from this bay, strict stress reduction, which I John comes in and developed and has have most of the evidence based behind it, I'm so
Some teachers have already been including the theme in the context of people's lives within the container of that environment, to bring entering into the enquiry about the causes of distress and happiness in and how we can change things to make move one and thus of the other, but that there are lots of innovators now looking about looking at how we can actually wrap up and as Chris as Chris says. That could be really whether, with the more profound shift comes from longer term stage, and more of our conversation is on the way. After this better help offers licensed professional councillors specialised in a wide array of issues like depression, anxiety and grief.
Act with your professional councillor in a safe private, online environment. It's a truly affordable option and listeners can get ten percent off your first month by going to better help dot com, slash happier fill out a questionnaire to help them assess your needs and get matched with a councillor. You'll love you ve been looking for someone your materials before we talked in and one of the things you ve got a publication coming up. I hope I have this right is called living on purpose and it's about which you know, I just said My lizard may sound like a little vague. What what? What is? Actually, maybe your actually talking about in this your term a crisis of values which I think goes at this whole Putnam theory of bowling alone community has dissipated. We are kind of Adam Individuals stuck in our curated Instagram feeds looking at other people's curated in
and feeds feeling inferior, not having mirror neurons activated by actual face to face communications with other members of homo sapiens and a deeper part of this upright. A previous guest on this package has referred to cynical junk values. It were taught this myth of western individualism that its we need to build up ourselves all the time and that, if we're stuck in this case, self thing mode at than an end, its aggravated through its what has been referred to his ego, itching powder of of is not my term integrate term of again opera previous guessed that we're we're going to be unhappy and its because we ve been taught these junk. Values like junk food and that it appears to me that you're working on will you call a crisis are you, you are we talking about the same thing here- thinks that Jamie's terminology to your speech, not answer me
he's gonna clears throw before her upside. Are you ready, yes to we em I might mention other part of the story here in terms of them, my first in politics, so two thousand thirteen teaching started him in the UK parliament. It also started in a couple of other parliaments like in Sweden. Then Christians, colleagues helped launch in some other places like the Netherlands, and since then we ve helped politicians to start my most training about. So ten other national legislatures France and Ireland, and I still haven't crack the members that you haven't you, and I want to talk about that. But when I agree and separate programmes of yes, it's a hard case. So you need is a special I think this sum this up changes at state level. If we get invited to come to speak to the site legislators
then maybe maybe have your shoe and in California, yes, Over the years we ve been visiting these different places last year of seven seven parliaments alone, in two thousand seventeen. We pull together this some National Congress on international com. ever mindful politicians or for politicians in practice, and then we had forty from fourteen countries and we headed dana- have led by John cabins and then in Westminster, I was really interesting in that session. How politicians are talking about the role of this in their lives, One italian MP said that a member parliament said that one of the issues we do things but could discuss this pressure and we We do things that are out of alignment with with what we really want to achieve our custom them meant him in and fairness, if that environment,
and another Dutch MP as to our hands, said that till she finds that my first helps us to stay more in touch with was most important to her her values and act in line with that, and so on. Chris has been talking about this as well. I'm sure TIM the Rhine has for years. So it was really these anecdotes that made us think like what is, what is going on here. This is drill into this a little bit more more deeply and say: yes, we ve them a year or so? At this sir? Your position I run wishes. I kept the policy institute, think tank researching into doing people I'm putting together. What we think is is them a case. For my from is not as an isolated. like asylum intervention for four addiction or for depression, no for an anxiety, but instead a fundamental capacity that could help us in society
be more in tune with what is more, it most important to us wise guy. I'm Service act in line with that and critically comes back to the same, responding creatively, not reacting blindly an answer or reacting air conditioning or habit is so much by the momentum. The stream of of our culture is going in one direction, and many of us are kind of waking up and feeling, and that's not there's not ripe. so difficult to turn against south stream and act in a different way, and so so I am marvellous training people are reporting, helps them to do that and vote on this. Ices values thing you gotta be: what's it what's then download on that. Yes so well as an organisation the UK called common course which looks at how
My motivated by different value sets so roughly speaking as the intrinsic value set and the extrinsic body set to intrinsic his like, and I want to invest in community and love and relationships and meaning and purpose in and generative t building stuff an extreme six values tend to be. There's things a Europe that you are referring to so fame material wealth and am and status, and it looks like from from the research these with each other. So the more we boost one the other goes down and advertising. She's really spent a of dollars a going into boosting extrinsic, Value said, however, if you ask people what is most important to you, what do you try and govern your life? I'm through? Seventy five percent of people will say the intrinsic values are more important me, that's what I want to live in line with. However, they think that everybody else is extrinsically motivated.
less than seventy question: how to other people live their lives. They say well, they're all extrinsic, motivate about sent that same. Seventy five percent for chemical prisoners dilemma is like you, I won't these things, but everyone else it out for themselves becoming a different conversation about what it means human and what we really want, one in life, the challenge is that, It is going in the wrong direction in his life and for my point, we are getting more extrinsically motivated over time. I think we have a habit information about and surface what. What we really want have a conversation about values, make explicit rather than nothing to than the algorithm design dictated from under this, not New Robert Kennedy was talking about
measuring things in monetary terms, back into writing, sixties and the true things with two things in value by connecting cities are now and forever is, is marriage and family and relationship, and we seem to have lost sight of them through pursuing movement materialism and when one of when it, what Mamma I got twenty four year old daughter shudder. Now when she was born, I held it in my hands. I looked at her and I didn't say I think I want you to be a chief executive. I want you to be there prime Minister of my country, I looked answer. I want you to be happy childhood, happy, baby unhappy apple and were far from our natures, initially those to be rich, Odin, Rocher opponent. I think he got a noble price written nineteen. Forty, seven, the age of anxiety. There was a book written color by trees, nothing in nineteen, fifty three cold blue
the lonely crowd Whitworth were far from our natures and it's about reconnecting. And for me, my foolish you you're supposed to say what is your attention? Everytime you going to Michaelmas for me, it's about connection about connection with myself. It's about connection with the people around me, the ones I love the ones on indifferent to under once I dont like and about connection, and they too were to the planet without shown into fluffy to the universe. You know, I'm made of the same stuff is reaches comets stars and I think sometimes they also focused downwards on how to have that gonna get here, we'll get there that we forget to look upwards and realise this big things go in another. We are a speck on a piece of dust in the cosmos
I think that appreciation that there are bigger things and our shelves in our egos needs to be felt by individuals, the seven billion people on this planet and its only women rescuing three things. Kind of I'm listening you tat one is: there is a quote that I think are used in a book: I remember I got it from that if you're always looking around you're, never looking up or if you never looking up, you're, always looking around so and is based on that those who say their recent research that I can't I can't site chapter and verse, but it shows that the feeling of ah a w com, led to better behaviour and happiness so that at the sense of being a speck in the cosmos or there's an incredible pick picture. That's the wallpaper on my home computer. It's called pale blue dot and it's a picture of earth from outer space in all. It is a pale blue dot and really get a sense of all of our. I think it was
Carl Sagan, toxic rhapsodize is about this picture of all of our dramas. Everything in human history is played out in what is at best a pale blue dot for to most of the rest of the universe, probably invisible to the rest of it really the third thing I want to say, though, is that all of this sounds good in theory, but I just think about my own life. Tv news man you do. I have to have some public footprint. I have to have a social media profile. I have to I write books. I want them to sell, etc are so Europe politician you gotta run for reelection in a democracy you have got to show, you vote should vote for me. I'm a good that guy look over here. I'm here
and are you I raised this issue with worry me for a number of years, with the professor Monti Williams, I sit in a democracy. We have to protect ourselves, you have to say my party's better than that body, I'm a good person in my party that that involves eagle. That involves projecting yourself. He said and always comes down to this, it's about intention. Why are you doing that? And that is just about your ego? It's not about wanting to create a better you, a better community, a better society, a better. Perhaps he goes out of control, so it's about intention. There's nothing wrong with eager eagle, there's nothing wrong with anger, really, if, if it's how we directed the purpose and the intention of our eagle or anger and many other values that we think could be potentially lightning, if you think it's a politician, our I'll go. First
I'll say from me as a public figure. I you know my meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein talks about motivation. Other word for intention. I think that, although the Buddhist Supreme nicotine, but let me give you some different nervous motivation, runs along a spectrum, so you know where this is can be messy, so that's gonna run from the high minded to the crass, and so for me, as I about what I why I do what I do whatever apart ass, my writing more books. By way, you know monopoly go on television where make up and all the other stuff. Why do I do what I give speeches where do other on the high? I didn't, and if it is, you know I do, I do think it met. Journalism in and my my two professional pursuits can be healing forces on the planet, but am I do I also like money and attend yes and that hasn't gone away just cause I've started doing meditation till. I ask you, as a politician, has that stuff has these sort of negative aspects of the Euro, Ghana
Where is your intention purer now, after all this meditation, that that the more imbalance that than spoke of the United Nations, Twelve years old I drew did a project on the United Nations. I drew a lovely picture, the, U N Building- and I started my speech on Friday about that. Did you just look at the United Nations just talk on the United Europe here in New York? Is you just look at the end of Friday, and I spoke I introduced by you, my speech with an it with go had been stroke. Those join this picture forty eight years ago, another forty eight years later, I'm speaking at the United Nations and I did feel something special got lie about that, but it's the purpose for which it was there and that if we can get the United Nations as a representative of a hundred and ninety three countries around the world, so explore my foolish and use it as an intervention to benefit the world than that
these are noble cause I liked dinner, they get a buzz of. It can't be done. That's all the fuss is there and let you jump into second is Jamie. Looks like he's. Gonna clears throat, drops him, or will it set a buzz? Is there a Matthews questions for completely self interested purpose? Confront feel better about my ego, so just get justice be open the boys is there, but it's the end. It doesn't mean you can't. You know want the attention or the votes or whatever it is, but it'll it's it's more imbalance with what really matters this absolute in politics. You can see a most people which we everybody goes into politics, for the right reasons is to improve the world, but you can sometimes
you get taken along by power, is how it works. How a corruption, absolute power corrupts absolutely doesn't load, act and said, but sometimes you can see people of communists, decent people, but they they started trip go ahead by treading on the on the heads of of other colleagues and getting the promotion becomes the great thing, but there's nothing is acts as an ex politician in all end woman. It you can be up, I know cause I lost my seat in there in two thousand fifteen after eighteen years as a member of parliament, I lost my c and you can be a prime minister and then you're gone. Did you when it back? I want it back in the prime of Prime Minister to resume, who had a majority in parliament decided a big majority.
Don't be so she called an election to increase the size of majority. She lost a majority and I got back in so what was that like for you? After It was a major donor. What was it like? The bad part in them, but will jump covers in the two thousand and twelve said to me? If you want my heroes, planet. We should you say who he is constantly most people mostly or no ears is in illicit despite but he's a fall, MIT microbiologists to basically invented which called mindfulness base stress reduction, envious are which allowed meditation get into board rooms and locker rooms and presents all that because he secularized buddhist meditation, I think he is, will face a friend so take lists with a grant of salt
I think he's a historical figure in this development of and be, as are, I think, will be a turning a could be a positive turning point in human relations. Absolutely, and I think it is worthy of the Nobel Prize for the work that is done. The pioneering work is done and interesting. You should say that as a british historian, cool Toynbee, who should when we look back on the twentieth century, the greatest thing that we will see is one eastern wisdom is being met by western science. I think the living at that moment now show that the point was the question of which is that it was worthwhile. I was lying set. Young candidates had suddenly to Social, John Cabbages said to me two thousand and twelve. Thirteen Chris awarded advice. Work on your parachute before you need to open it. I am I happy work are pushing for searches
and when I launched in two thousand and fifteen such a big hearted man, he made me said precisely seal off to see how are you getting on and I e mailed in back Mister John, took your advice. I worked on a parachute, I've opened it and it works, and it worked for me in two thousand and fifteen. I thought I'd be flown completely off balance. I wasn't. I was absolutely amazed acoustics. I took the knock officially bliss nice, but then I got on with my life. I, if anything when I look back on a two year period, when it was out that give me a new life, a new lease of life to visit the australian parliament, the french parliament, three times the irish parliament and so had help spread, mindful
those legislatures around the world. You know with the two year period is one of the highlights of my money. Not up out of published, can good game clearly throw em tracking back of it. Here is one of the two tat car fi the term. I was setting up a binary thing between the intrinsic in the extreme sick motivations. So so it's not like. We have good people about people, though we have suffered People ultra stick people that we have both of these forces in our lives. It's just that some people will select which ones the whole more important a lot. A lot great beautiful things have been done in the name of wanting recognition. Is that that recognition for could be for stuff, which is positive for the community positive for the four that for this for society,
rather than just look at me, I have more stuff than you yet night. While said it's about balance. It's about balance. Let me ask you about the United States. So was I promised to do this earlier, and I really want to do it. I know you're. I assume you both familiar them with the fact that we have a Congress year. Otherwise, We would be a colony of the press and our Congress, and our politics generally is quite nasty right now. I find it very disturbing, personally asthma, as an American, that the cabinet level of discourse both in the in the polity at large, but also specifically in the Congress. As not new, I mean we ve been at each other's throats since seventeen seventy six. But it's a, I would say, another sort of low ebb, and so you you look at our Congress. Do you think there is any way you can get a camels knows under the tent here and get some money
to this end- and is there any way to do better than my friend him Ryan has been able to do? Will TIM rain, but a marvellous book called my information, which I think has been changed now to healing nation in America healing American universities campaign manifesto you're, absolutely right about that lot. Book at the end of each chapter deals with the nine month foolish and education, my foolish and health might force in the prisons. He he lists eight things that the reader could do to promote my foolish. So I would say my foolish doesn't have to come from a chop. It does not come from parliament or a congress it can come from below is well, and I think the very fact that Jimmy said fifty
sense of Americans meditate. Thirty five percent represented the practice over. There is a yearning out there. A realisation that there were these individuals are, families are disconnected and they want something so that pressure could come from below if people were to read, seems book an upon them and ask the governor if they will come and set an meditate with a class of eight nine year old, who feel some peace, so it doesn't have to come from the top. It could come from state learn at state level. It could come from city level and there are three projects now to create mindfulness Michael cities. in the: U S, so it hasn't gonna come from. Those are the three city while through them on public also does over. That lay. There recently launched the Earthen Michon Michael's Flint Michigan, yet yeah yeah so way, even if even if I'm gathering you're you're telling me, even if the Congress is hopeless,
it can happen in many ways the Canon of maybe, if this is the lack of interest from the right thing in Congress, we can bring over some politicians from others trees. Oh, I should I know people on the right. I can then enough. It's pullup, but I know people on the right or interests in the stuff. I dont know if it's partisan as much as it is just not wanting to be seen as looking weird or just not being interested full stop. Maybe there's an idea that its cannot reduce your age. I dont know what it is, but it hasn't doesn't appear to have taken hold
but but it has in other areas of the globe and in some countries it's been led by the right. It is the first parliament to introduce my fullest practice with the swedish parliament and it was led by wonderful woman cook, a muddy broaden who was on whose on the right in Wales, its being led by a thorough Miller, conservative assembly member and all these, at least these are human human gifts. The ever you Peter across the spectrum didn't there in every wisdom, tradition, that's ever existed in nature, fur and native practices in the Marine corps, the aborigines of native Americans. It's there, it's people can feel they want it. So more time up parties account, we gonna made up a glancing, barbaric partisanship, and that an reminds me of something else. I came across the briefing materials that
we're going to be before I sat down with you guys, which is that in Wales a marvellous course has been developed specifically to help policymakers consider their own objectivity and the ices too. I'm really interested in that because I think a lot of what's going on a lot of what's wrong with our culture here domestically in the? U S, but globally, as well is the other rising of of people based on pigmentation political beliefs, gender Et Cetera. So I think in turn, if we're trying to engender better behaviour, getting people to be ok, understand that they have biases and not so owned by them is a very interesting idea, so how's it going in Wales lesson.
I'd say three: surgical, Rachel Lily from abreast with university and she's been taking chop flight well civil servants on a course using my foolish suit to spot the advice and to compensate for that buy us some open the mind and Heart Michaud teach you make sure that what their delivering in terms of policy terms has been as far as possible to their own individual biases has been taken out of. Those is senior policymakers under I visited the were Rachel Lily myself and back a crane who, from the bunker ox but bungled, my four since it went to see the Prime Minister of Wales about this and he's interested so this is big hope there, and what we hope is that, where best practice emerges, whether it be in Wales with civil servants, whether it be with the Marines
Might force in the Marines in me in America or the american penal system, were my four should be introduced that we can spot this best practice and give it a politicians who practice my four surround the world so that can look at the science, the best practice and roll out in their own country, and I think they're the programme in Wales offers a bit of hope for the: U S Congress as well, because when framing mindfulness training in the context of decision making of a performance- as leaders say rather than coming in his hand his his well being course or his some sort of stillness to help you deal with stuff. It's like he is how we can only better politicians and I'm better leaders. So some of the members of parliament in that in London, talk about how my princes really helpful for public speaking or helpful for getting over into you didn't go so well and of forgiving yourself in getting on with the business of the day
and so there are ways in which we can we can targeted to that. That is the job of governance, to help framed in a way that might might might connect with them some of the other framing sources, the benefits that have emerged. I think from your researcher qualitative research, article Members of parliament is there better at focusing given the sort of the amount of briefing papers tweets and whatever coming their way impulse control, kindness, mega, cognition, meaning you know the perspective aware that they have emotions. Therefore, then I have to be so owned by them. That sounds like the people who are taking this call We are getting a lot out of it exactly and we have this. those stories now you can come and tell people and a Christian and tell his say his his collar In other countries, look, this is having really tangible that impact on
our working lives. What one of things is just ass just really touched me is how did Politicians, jobs were I didn't get into politics and interpose you policy making, because it, Sir a long term ambition found myself here because I've care so much about widening accessed her to my first training. I'm just been meeting so many politicians feeling how how difficult a role that late they have in the UK. Anyway, it's a really sort of toxic relationship between public and in the public and and I'm politicians, and so seeing how my training helps them to deal with just The level of information have two absorbing, or do they do that jobs in order to have that kind of thick skin has said yeah
has just saying that humanity and ends at seeing how tough is has been I've. A really important partners, be the thing amongst their. The monks has benefits. I'd like to pick up on now is decide. Of matter cognition of sea having been a perspective on ah thoughts and emotions. So if we are our ideas, then, if that idea is challenged, the misuse of personal offence in a personal attack, if we can separate ourselves a little bit from from there you and I can critique it from a bit bit bit distance- does not me you're you're talking is it? Is it the other day ideas? So I think that's one of the the longer term. Hopes really is that we have been a maturity around this course and that could The mechanism under underpins this disagreeing better effect, which has been reported.
I'm coverage in no woman one of his many lines. He said the man is homo sapiens Sapien, the man who is aware that is aware. I use that line. all the time. I don't give him any credit, but I use that made it may not have been Johns, acknowledges its each other's. What, when I heard the first I'm a bit of it- and we should recognise that same year in essence- is that these are it's been about being human, about being true to our roots as beautiful place, to leave it Thank you both for doing this. Thank you for behaving. I know you, like the young men delighted at the Kristen is on the table. As we say in parliament before we go just as we do this thing at the end of this year, which is a plug zone, so just can you can you list off?
with it. If you want to get information on either of you individually or on the work you're doing, where can I go so at the mindfulness initiative? Has a website where you can find out about the politicians the party group and about I'm a broader work. and the url for that is the mindfulness initiative, dot, Org and that you can download the mindful nation, UK reports and I what place focused, I don't come in building the case for mindfulness in the workplace, as well as fine links to tee and their academic paper. The reviews under those those benefits that you mentioned, that politicians reporting. Gentlemen. Thank you very much. Players at www nearing Thank you again, big thanks to a Christian Jamie. I do want to say just as a quick little fact here that Chris, he gave out his email address me. He contacted me later today give up the not the exact right ones. here, is the right one. If you ve got a pen will put this into show notes to,
ruined see. So that's all you a an see at parliament dot UK are the way an easy at parliament, DOT Uk always dicey to give your email address out publicly, but I respect him for doing it. That was fun episode. Let's use voicemail Sears number one, probably Darrow CAT got the app while laptops and accurate love a by catch. My question specifically, when I'm meditating and imposing on the Brad a train and they can come back to the breath lots of times, all of which focused too.
My hands today as a focal point, for example, and yet to be really concentrating on I get caught the train. Come back my handicap trained back my hand, so my question is just that it is at our aim. Is that without proper meditation form, or should I just continue my switching imitating when I do this way better? For me just to come back to my breath on a fine, no love the apple of everything about it. I'm married Heaven. Having put fifteen year old kid, you're driving me come back to MR driving experience. Neither one of us were very happy and my wife- and you know why you switch meditation- you take your daddy gonna get better and it was funny because the walkway silent myself thinking this must be working a little bit. I must be ten percent better for some movie noticing and suggesting something that we may be even better than what I m right out and regardless. I know that I enjoy, I feel better,
part? My habit every morning- and I thank you for an third party illimitable younger morning- MECCA so once you put together a great big things, lot enjoy figure. Really appreciated him TIM. Thank you very much glad to hear is working for you. So let me get your question. Absolutely it's fine using the if sensations in your hands as an object of meditation, is totally kosher. I have a couple more things to say about it: one is that in this this note comes from Ray, those men who is the chief of our coaching unit and enough I'm giving her the right title. But anyway, that's essentially her function, she's, the boss of our culture, now even many users of the ep- are unaware that we have these coaches, who you can text with through right through Europe, and they will answer your questions. Long as you want these are experienced editors. Not this is not a chat, but experience meditate
love taken questions from our users and they will answer any question. You have said Raise actually gonna help. Me start answering some of these questions and she's brilliant. So that's good for me and for anybody who assist me in. Her point when she heard you asked this question about focusing on the hands is that over time. You may want to extend that beyond the hands to whole body, because that can give you We should have more panoramic awareness of even are less sensitive areas of the body where harder to feel the sensations, at least at first, and this can just boost your ability to pay attention, especially as you move through the day, and suddenly painful things Your body can impact your behavior sometimes subconsciously there, I think I'd like to say, is that I think it makes sense
to do some. Switching in meditation between you know if you're try to stay with a breath, having trouble that and you might want to move to your hand- so you might want to move to an open awareness, but I would add this sum just cribbing from my teacher Joseph Goldstein, who said things like this to me. You might wanna be careful of switching to rapidly because that concrete kind of I don't know sense- of a lack of orderliness in your amended, patient. Should I think when you do it, you wanna be doing it with some kind of in Somewhat state Lee. fashion so that you're not all over the place, but so that's the law. Answer. The short answer is what you're doing its great long answer is that over time you may move beyond the hands and develop aware,
It's all over your body and just keep an eye on how rapidly your switching between the breadth and the hands life body, thanks, aunt em, really pushing. Let's go to the second most now high down. This is easily from Montana. I have a question regarding decision making and types of meditation. If you're really struggling with a big life decision, is there a certain type of meditation way of meditation neck You really helped you going to get in touch with your inner guide or your inner answer. Anything you have to offer would be great thanks. So much for all you do down. I day I'd on these say as usual. This is stolen from somebody else. Let probably makes it better and whenever I would make up, I was talking about this very issue with Joseph Goldstein, whose it obviously with big teacher on the ten percent happier up in a big figure in my life. And he mentioned a process,
I haven't actually tried that much because I'm a horrible student clearly- but I passing along too you isn't it you might try, which is that if you ve got something you're trying to figure out. creative issue, you're working on or a decision in your life, for, if you're, trying to discern my case and has tried to think what what are my real motives for an act action, I'm considering at the beginning of a meditation per Joseph Maybe just see your mind with the question. Why am I about to do this? Should I do this next thing seed your mind with the question, but then- and this is tricky dry The question you are not name and meditate. as you normally would, if you're on your breath, you're watching breath command and go out every time you get distracted start Then you are not. This is not a contemplation exercise. We are sitting in
moling over the decision, you are purely just meditating, but Europe is so you're. Putting your mind in a meditative space, which is all about endeavouring gentle to focus on one thing at a time and then, when you get distracted kind of in a friendly way, Your attention back to whatever it is. You try to focus on your breath the feeling of your hands, whatever whatever So again you are not sitting there. Affirmatively decided to think about the decision. It's just that you have It into your mind stream in a general way You go about your meditation and Joseph theory is I assume this based on his own personal experience that doing this, may put you in the space where you can make connections that wouldn't be able to make if you were assured of pacing around actively thinking about something which, by the way, we're not ruling out you. You can and should do that too but this is another way to kind of put your mind into a gift kind of stone that might allow
for the emergence of new and and different thoughts, the aforementioned Re Housman weight on this waiting on this too, that there's age hurriedly That a real power to now Knowing this, we don't like this feeling of not knowing something we kind of we rush to an answer, but if you can sit with that ambiguity, it can lead to, as she says, a deeper discernment, and I agree with that that if you can, be ok with the tension of not knowing and just sit with it for a little while Sometimes Answer will emerge and may not may not be the answer you want. It made a may not happen on your timetable. It may not work. at all, but these are all things to play with so thankful that question to great questions this. We really appreciate it big thanks to all the folks who make this podcast possible Rhine, Kessler, Samuel Johnson, Grace Livingston likes working the boards,
they might be big things, of course, as always seriously to depart cast insiders. Those are the Pike S listeners who give us feedback every week. I really love that and I am very grateful and that we will be back next Wednesday with another show for it. There's not a person in America who hasn't been impact it in some way by the corona virus pandemic, but it every community there are pockets of people, we're suiting up every day. This is my my day last day of the cylinder stretch of quotas from one of our time, these or America's essential workers, the people who are keeping moving. I turn into a homespun mom and now in a new plants from ABC News. You gonna, hear from damage, I actually went back to my office and saw a crime, because it's not fair hearing here, making sure that our community to sell faintly moraine. This is essentially inside the from the
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