The Jack Abramoff scandal -- when American lobbyist Jack Abramoff was convicted for defrauding American Indian tribes and corrupting public officials -- became the symbol of everything our government shouldn't be. It represented the corruption of Washington and the lobbying players that had gotten a handle on those that we had elected to embody our values.
Included in the scandal was Ohio Congressman Bob Ney, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the government and making false statements in the scandal -- he admits to accepting bribes -- and was sentenced to jail time. Thirty months later, fresh out of prison, his perspective had changed a great deal. Today, he'd rather talk Buddhist meditation than insider politics.According to an article in The National Journal, as you may have expected, at first Bob Ney found prison extremely stressful. And soon the disgraced lawmaker turned to meditation and the readings of the Dalai Lama for sanity. Sixty pounds thinner and with a new found perspective on life, Ney now lives in India where he studies meditation techniques with exiled Tibetan monks and the Dalai Lama himself.
He's found peace in sobriety and mediation and wants to spread those beliefs to battered women and veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder in his new post as executive director for the Mending Minds Foundation.
Ney discusses the public's hesitancy toward meditation in the article:
They think you're going to levitate off the floor, or you're trying to leave your body and look at yourself. It's nothing on that order. The scientists are starting to go along with this whole meditation ... to say it relieves stress and gives a lot of focus to people. The U.S. government is just starting ... to use meditation instead of just medication.
According to the article:
To him, the practice is but another key to the joy he feels as he rebuilds his life alongside the Tibetan monks and nuns and the international pilgrims who are his daily companions these days.
"My life is good," he said. "I'm a very lucky person, and I'm just very happy--very, very happy. I'm doing what I want to do.
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