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Meditation has been around for thousands ofyears, starting as a religious practice. Hindu scripturefrom around 1500 BCE describes meditating on thedivine, and art from this time period shows people05sitting cross-legged and solitary in a garden. In Chinaand India around the fifth century BCE, other formsof meditation developed. Several religions, includingTaoism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity, hadmeditative rites. In 20th-century Europe and10America, secular forms of meditation arrived fromIndia. Rather than focusing on spiritual growth,secular meditation emphasizes stress reduction,relaxation, and self-improvement.Although it still isn't exactly mainstream, many15people practice meditation. Mindfulness medit-ation, in particular, has become more popular inrecent years. The practice involves sitting comfort-ably, focusing on one's breathing, and bringing themind's attention to the present. Concerns about20the past or future are let go of. An individual canpicture worries popping like a bubble or flittingaway like a butterfly.Mindfulness is about increasing awareness andpracticing acceptance. To be present is to have25sharpened attention, or to be in a state of height-ened consciousness. Practitioners of mindfulnessreport having a better quality of experience, deeperengagement, and greater measure of fulfillment.There are also health benefits. According to the30Mayo Clinic, "Meditation can give you a senseof calm, peace and balance that benefits youremotional well-being." Among the emotional ben-efits are reducing negative emotions, increasedself-awareness, and stress management skills.35Asthma, depression, and sleep disorders are allconditions worsened by stress. Several studies haveshown that patients with these conditions benefitfrom meditation.Dr. Robert Schneider, director of the Institute40for Natural Medicine and Prevention, says, "I havebeen researching effects of meditation on healthfor thirty years and have found it has compellingbenefits. The benefits of meditation are coming tobe widely accepted by health professionals, business45leaders and the media. It is now time for themedical profession to catch up."
In 2008, hoping to relax from his stressful job,Congressman Tim Ryan took a weekend retreatwhere he first practiced mindfulness meditation.50"I came out of it," he says, "with a whole new way ofrelating with what was going on in the world." NowRyan is an advocate for the benefits of meditationon health, performance, and social awareness. Inthe busy and aggressive world of Washington55politics, he's a voice for calm consideration.Every week Ryan, a Democrat representing the13th congressional district of Ohio, hosts a medita-tion session for his staff and any other members ofCongress who want to join. Because Republicans60value self-reliance in international affairs andDemocrats advocate fiscal responsibility, Ryanbelieves meditation ought to appeal to members ofboth parties. Meditation encourages both, becauseit's a health practice that can be self-sustained and65doesn't require costly memberships or equipment.In 2010, Ryan wrote the book A Mindful Nation:How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress,Improve Performance, and Recapture the AmericanSpirit, in which he advocates increased mindful-70ness in many disciplines and professions. Afterits publication, kindergarten classes in his Ohiodistrict started using deep-breathing techniques;now teachers rave about their students' improvedbehavior. "Mental discipline, focus, self-reliance,75deep listening—these are fundamental skills thatare essential to kids' education," Ryan says. "We yellat kids to pay attention, but we never teach themhow to pay attention."Word seems to be spreading around Capitol Hill.80"I've had members of Congress approach me andsay, 'I want to learn more about this,'" Ryan says."Between the fundraising, being away from family,(and) the environment of hyperpartisanship,Washington is really stressing people out."85Ryan supports legislation that puts meditationto good use for everyone. Among other bills, he hassponsored one to increase the holistic-medicineofferings of the Department of Veterans Affairs."And I haven't met anyone in the country that isn't90feeling a high level of anxiety right now, given theeconomy and what's going on in the world. Somindfulness is for everyone."Mr. Ryan is quick to point out that mindful-ness is not a religious practice, but rather a secular95mental technique that can be effective regardless ofspiritual beliefs. He compares it to his grandparentspraying and to athletes working out until they feel"in the zone.""Your mind and body sync up into a flow state,100without a lot of mental chatter," Mr. Ryan said.
1. The central idea of Passage 1 is that meditation and mindfulness
2. Passage 1 most strongly suggests that which of the following is true?
3. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
4. In Passage 2, what can be inferred about the author's point of view on meditation?
5. Passage 2 most strongly suggests that which of the following is true of Mr. Ryan?
6. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
7. As used in line 42 of Passage 1, "compelling" most nearly means
8. In Passage 2, as used in line 94, "secular" most nearly means
9. In Passage 2, the author's use of the word "chatter" (line 100) implies that
10. Both passages support which generalization about mindfulness meditation?
11. Which claim from the passages is supported by the graphic?
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