''Everybody is on the treadmill, going faster and faster, steeper and steeper and they feel like they aren't getting ahead,'' said Tim Ryan.
Stress levels are high. Families are struggling to make ends meet, pay the bills, put their children through college, maybe there is a son or daughter in the military and everyone is inundated with information from all kinds of technological devices, Ryan said.
''There is a lot of stress in our society and quite frankly, it is making us very, very sick,'' Ryan said.
So what the congressman, a Democrat from Niles, wants us all to do is slow down, be aware of the moment.
He and I chatted recently about that and his new book, ''A Mindful Nation,'' released a few weeks back by Hay House Publishing.
''The essence is about slowing down and trying to get us to pay attention to what is happening in the present moment,'' Ryan said.
It took him a little more than a year to write in two- and three-day writing retreats, out of his house, out of Washington D.C., away from the daily distractions he's advocating we all try to take a break from.
The practice of being mindful is disciplining the mind to be more in the present moment, mobilizing your attention and being aware, Ryan said.
''I equate it to being in the zone, completely present to what is happening,'' he said.
He practices every day by sitting quietly every morning and tries to limit his own distractions, like TV and cell phones, when possible.
The practice, Ryan said, has ''transformational implications'' on the education system, the health care system to lower costs, how U.S. soldiers are trained and so on. He said large companies like Google, Target, General Mills and even the U.S. military are implementing techniques of being mindful.
He said the practice can help school children to learn to pay attention. Teachers tell students to pay attention, but the children aren't showed how to pay attention, to focus, to concentrate, he said.
Ryan said being mindful is not a silver bullet, but he thinks, ''it can be helpful to those who are experiencing a lot.''
State party bosses
Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern fended off a challenge from Lorain Democratic Party chairman Anthony Giardini. Redfern won a majority of the votes from state central committee members Wednesday.
Redfern backers weren't swayed by Giardini's claims that Redfern running his own campaign for a state house seat will detract from the re-election campaigns of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and President Barack Obama. Nor were they swayed about Giardini questioning Redfern's leadership style.
Meanwhile, the Republican party has a new leader.
Bob Bennet, the longest-serving chairman ever for the Ohio GOP, was elected to the position Friday to replace former chairman Kevin DeWine, who stepped down to avoid a splitting the party.