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Lions Roar : July 2012
81 SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2012 better with the intense stress of being deployed in hellish war zones. He makes a strong and earnest plea for mindfulness as a way to bring more compassion and community into economic and social life, and to slow the rampant and unwitting destruction of our environment. Ryan identifies mindfulness as a key for letting go of unskillful habit patterns, and rediscovering the wisdom and bravery that could help us build a kinder, more resilient world. At its heart, his message is that mindfulness is a simple and effective trainable skill, and there’s no good reason for not realizing its potential to foster the values of connectedness, caring, and cour- age that ought to define America. These are values that Ryan himself models in risking such a stand from the vulnerable position of public office. That this now seems possible for an elected politician to do, without it being an act of career hara- kiri, signals another milestone on medita- tion’s journey to respectability. It’s less surprising, perhaps, to find search engine giant Google ahead of the game, having already planted mindful- ness at the center of the company’s people development scheme. The spur for this comes from engineer-turned-executive (and now meditation teacher) Chade- Meng Tan, whose official job title as Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow” seems only a half-joke. Google is famous for its “20 per- cent time,” in which staff are encouraged to spend up to a day a week on projects out- side their usual remit, as a way of enabling out-of-the-box creativity. Meng used some of his 20 percent time to work up Search Inside Yourself, a mindfulness-based emo- tional intelligence course. Inspired by the power of meditation, Meng’s not-so-small intention is to “cre- ate the conditions for world peace,” first by developing and refining the SIY cur- riculum internally at Google, and then offering it out to the wider world with the Google stamp of approval. He’s reached readiness for phase two, so here comes the training manual, Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Profits, Happiness (and World Peace).