UK Chancellor of the Exchequer turning to Buddhism to bring harmony to the nation's finances
By Lewis Panther, The Mirror, Jun 1, 2014
London, UK -- George Osborne is enlisting a Buddhist monk to bring harmony and enlightenment to the nation’s finances via meditation, the Sunday People reports.
<< Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne
The Chancellor has asked for a phone app designed by Briton Andy Puddicombe, 41, who spent 10 years as an ordained monk in a Tibetan monastery.
Andy gave up a strict life of celibacy, chanted mantras and did 18 hours of meditation a day to create his £3.74-a-month Headspace app, which now has a million users in 150 countries and is said to be worth £35million.
The Tory minister met Andy at a Downing Street party, where he asked both him and mega-rich tycoon Arianna Huffington how he could get the app, which teaches techniques to “feel happier, sleep better and beat stress”.
Featuring soothing voice messages from Andy in his soft Bristol burr, it has been adopted by Hollywood stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Emma Watson, who rave about it as a way to relax.
Olympic athletes, Premier League stars and stressed execs have all turned to it. “We are providing subscriptions to Headspace to some of the biggest multi-nationals,” said Andy.
He first went to a meditation class with his mum at 11, thinking he was going to kung-fu, then bought a one-way ticket to Tibet at 22 after the death of four pals.
He had no contact with the outside world for almost a year and meditation took up most of his waking hours. But he says celibacy was the part he really struggled with.
“That was the real challenge as a young guy,” he recalls.
Andy came back to Britain determined to teach a Buddhist-inspired meditation method called Mindfulness, which has now been accepted by the NHS for treating clinical depression.
His Headspace company first began to take off as the recession began to bite. “I know how badly people were affected,” he said. “I was doing one-to-one counselling in the City and the numbers doubled and quadrupled.”
He developed the app as a way to reach more people and now says he regularly refuses huge sums to sell his stake.
“We have just turned down $10m of venture capitalist money that was there on the table. We get offers all the time,” he said.
“But we are not after that kind of help. We are not interested in flipping the company in five years. It’s a life’s project.”