Zen and the art of fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity

The Jewish Chronicle - - Life/health - BY SI­MON ROUND

MANY THOU­SANDS of peo­ple around the coun­try are fac­ing re­dun­dancy and the loss of their homes. Un­der­stand­ably, most of them will be try­ing ev­ery­thing they pos­si­bly can to stave off dis­as­ter.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to med­i­ta­tion ex­pert Mark Forstater, what they should be do­ing is… noth­ing at all.

Forstater, who is also a film pro­ducer — Monty Python and The Holy Grail is one of his movies — has re­leased a CD en­ti­tled The Age of Anx­i­ety, which is de­scribed as a guided med­i­ta­tion for the fi­nan­cially stressed in which he aims to help peo­ple with money fears and in­se­cu­rity. Tak­ing a lit­tle time out to lie down and re­lax could ul­ti­mately pro­vide some of the an­swers.

“When peo­ple are stressed about their fi­nances, their minds be­come like tum­ble dry­ers. One of the great things about med­i­ta­tion is that is qui­etens the mind down,” he says.

“Med­i­ta­tion takes all those un­wel­come thoughts and al­lows them to dis- solve and melt away. We all tend to be very goal-ori­en­tated — con­cen­trat­ing hard on try­ing to solve prob­lems, But ac­tu­ally con­cen­trat­ing is not re­quired. By putting your­self in an ex­tremely re­laxed state of be­ing, you will be able to lib­er­ate cer­tain as­pects of your un­con­scious — you might think of it as an in­sight. All you need is one in­sight and you can be on the way to sort­ing your­self out.”

Sixty-five-year-old Forstater, who has been med­i­tat­ing “on and off” for more than 20 years, feels that, as some­one who has worked in the movie world, he knows all about fi­nan­cial stress and feels there is a need for this kind of CD. “I’ve lis­tened to some med­i­ta­tion CDs and tapes and they all seemed very generic, so I thought I could come up with some­thing tar­geted specif­i­cally at peo­ple who are go­ing through fi­nan­cial prob­lems. I thought I could help peo­ple.”

In the CD, Forstater speaks not di­rectly about fi­nance but ad­dresses the kind of is­sues that fi­nan­cial stress can bring about. “I can’t re­lieve money prob­lems, but med­i­ta­tion can help to en­large peo­ple’s con­fi­dence,” he says.

The se­cret, he says, is to re­lax your­self into a state in which you are re­cep­tive to pos­i­tive sug­ges­tion. And breath­ing is key to this.

“I tell peo­ple to adopt what is known as the corpse po­si­tion — ly­ing flat on their backs,” he says. “This is a very open, yield­ing po­si­tion. When you stay like that and breathe cor­rectly for 20 to 30 min­utes, your body gets into an ex­tremely re­laxed state. At this point you may be able to tap into your un­con­scious. Plus, in this kind of re­cep­tive state we can do a lit­tle bit of pos­i­tive brain­wash­ing. There are a num­ber of things on the CD which peo­ple might think of as strange — about float­ing off into the stars, feel­ing at one with the Earth. Th­ese are all very el­e­men­tal things — all part of view­ing your body and mind in a very dif­fer­ent way.”

He also throws in af­fir­ma­tions — for ex­am­ple that the uni­verse is abun­dant. “The Earth can pro­vide for every­one’s needs but the world we live in is based on scarcity and debt. That’s how peo­ple are taught to think. You have to find the right per­spec­tive from which to view things.”

Forstater was born in Philadel­phia and brought up in a Jewish, though not par­tic­u­larly re­li­gious, house­hold be­fore at­tend­ing film school and even­tu­ally com­ing to Bri­tain.

Al­though he is in­ter­ested in Ju­daism he feels that the ac­cess to the more es­o­teric ar­eas of the un­con­scious are not to be found in the re­li­gion, al­though Or­tho­dox Jews do med­i­tate, even thought they might not re­alise it.

“Dav­en­ing is a form of med­i­ta­tion,” he says. “You can see when re­li­gious peo­ple are in­volved in prayer that they are not in this world, but in a dif­fer­ent place. Our cul­ture is a ma­te­ri­al­is­tic one — a re­sults-ori­en­tated place, where we feel guilty if we are not busy do­ing some­thing all the time. But there are times when you need to get into a dif­fer­ent state.”

Al­though he says he is no ma­te­rial- ist, Forstater does not think that the an­swer to fi­nan­cial stress is to take a vow of poverty. “What’s bad is ex­cess. There is al­ways some­one who has a big­ger house or more money than you, but there’s noth­ing wrong with hav­ing nice clothes, a car that runs and a lit­tle money so you can go out to eat once in while.” The CD is avail­able from www.theage­o­fanx­i­ety.com at £14.99

Michael Forstater be­lieves med­i­ta­tion is the key to eas­ing money wor­ries

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