Gray Alert for U. S. Quakers: Help Find The Missing White House Meditation Room!

[NOTE: No wonder D. C. is in such a terrible mess!  This is clearly a job for the spotlight-shunning Friendly Homeland Security Emergency Rescue Team. Sound the Silent Alarms!]
{UPDATE: The following article is not a spoof; as far as we know.]

“Friend Biden, we’re here to bring light to the White House Meditation Room. Which way, please?”

Welcome to POLITICO’s West Wing Playbook , your guide to the people and power centers in the Biden administration . . . .

The White House has a bunch of perks that come with working in it: the bowling alley , the mess , ostentatious holiday parties and ceremonies where dignitaries mingle.

It also has a meditation room, the type of office addition befitting a generation of employees trying to find better work-life balance.

But no one seems to use it.

In fact, no one even seems to know where it is (somewhere in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, they assume). Some staffers even posed a more metaphysical question: If there is no meditation happening in the meditation room, is it simply just a … room?

“When I first started it was a thing that people would say. Like ‘Oh, we have a meditation room here,’” said one White House staffer. “Please tell me if you find out where it is.”

Former chief of staff RON KLAIN said he “didn’t know it existed until now.” Even current chief of staff JEFF ZIENTS , a Transcendental Meditation aficionado, hasn’t stepped foot in the meditation room, according to a person familiar with his schedule. He prefers to practice at home at 4:30 a.m. before going into work.

“I’ve never known anyone to use it and couldn’t tell you where it is,” said another staffer.

“No, this is the Orthodox Meditation room. The Hicksites is the one with pizza.”

West Wing Playbook reached out to the White House to see if this SCHRÖDINGER meditation room does, in fact, exist. An official confirmed it does, but did not provide more details, including the room’s location. At this point, we’d like some photographic evidence before confidently reporting its existence.

White House staffers said that they appreciated the spirit of the mysterious room. And while they liked the idea of devoting a few minutes in their work day to reset, the reality is that, even if they knew where the room was, they probably wouldn’t schedule a midday meditation break into their daily routine. Their jobs are too busy, according to the ones who talked to us. It’s a good day when they can break away to grab lunch at a reasonable hour.

Meditation has become much more popular in recent years, with a seemingly endless supply of guided apps and wellness articles touting its health benefits. But it’s unclear under which administration the meditation room was first established.

A 1976 New York Times report describes how “meditation clubs have sprung up from the Capitol to the Pentagon and White House” as a way to “dissolve stress and fatigue,” but makes no mention of a dedicated room on campus. JEN PSAKI told TIME that during the Obama administration she would find a moment to meditate while walking the colonnade that connects the West Wing to the East Wing. When asked by West Wing Playbook whether she ever used the actual meditation room during her White House career, Psaki responded: “Nope not tracking.”

Some type of mediation room, however, does appear to date back at least to the Trump administration. POLITICO’s NAHAL TOOSI wrote in a 2019 piece that Trump’s National Security Council staffers would huddle “atop” EEOB in a “small informal ‘meditation room’” to quietly share information that they wanted to keep from career NSC staff.

To the Biden staffers still in search of your zen, we recommend you start by checking out the top floor of EEOB. Send us a pic if you find it. Invite us to the next on-campus session.

MESSAGE US — Are you someone who has actually used the White House meditation room ? We want to hear from you. And we’ll keep you anonymous! Email us at .


5 thoughts on “Gray Alert for U. S. Quakers: Help Find The Missing White House Meditation Room!”

  1. “If there is no meditation happening in the meditation room, is it simply just a … room?”

    This reminds me of a quandary that may have some answer on Quaker history: What is the proper name for the room in a meetinghouse designed to house Quaker worship, and in which Friends typically gather for worship?

    Since Friends books that no place is more sacred than another, “sanctuary” would be improper. But Friends likewise worship anywhere (at least in principle), so calling it the “worship room” rings into a similar scruple, right?

    I’ve heard First Day School teachers refer to it as “the quiet room” when talking to kids. I’ve sometimes called it “the listening room” instead. But if it’s loud (as it sometimes may be) or no one is listening, those monikers fail to describe it too. The question above rings true: Is it just another room indeed?

    What did the Quaker ancients call it? Have the yearly meetings meet to consider this? Where is the Richmond Declaration of Architectural Nomenclature when you need it?

  2. Meeting houses have Meeting rooms, I guess.
    On another topic, can anyone inform this bemused Brit why House Democrats apparently voted against a Speaker with whom they had just concluded an agreement on the Ukraine, albeit an informal agreement? Surely they had an interest in keeping him as Speaker? Was this just scorpion-and-frog politics, or was there something else in play?

  3. It sounds like they agreed they don’t trust him. I hope they have some idea what/who might reasonably be.better.

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