Ever wondered if it is possible to be happy and contented most of the time?

Statistics from mental health charity MIND show one in four people in the UK will suffer from mental health problems each year.

Tuesday, 20th September 2016, 3:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:50 pm
Kelsang Chodor at the Heart Jewel Centre

And while its true that the usual worries about money, jobs and relationships can never entirely be silenced, having a method of controlling them can be a big help in day-to-day life.

But its probably worth saying that while some might say the best way to forget your problems is a few pints down the pub, there may be more healthy and sustainable ways of finding a more peaceful existence.

One such method can be found in the heart of the dales at Matlock Bath’s Heart Jewel Kadampa Buddhist Meditation Centre.

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The centre was established in November 2007 by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche - an ordained Buddhist monk, born in Tibet, who has devoted his life to establishing centres throughout the world in order make meditation and Buddhist teachings accessible to others.

Its resident teacher, ordained monk Gen Kelsang Chodor, said many of the people who he meets at Heart Jewel have come to address problems with anxiety or depression.

But he added: “In the main people are everyday ones who feel something is missing in life and are looking for a better meaning.

“Everybody has some kind of stress in their mind which can leave them exhausted by the end of the day and people are looking for a way to stop the stress happening.

“We try and help people so that they can be in a busy job without getting stressed out - it is about being able to keep a peaceful mind wherever you happen to be.”

Chodor, a former environmental services professional who decided to change direction some 20 years ago, said a common mistake many people made was to believe they could find happiness by changing something external.

He added: “We are always looking to find contentment by getting the right job or more money but often when we get those things we still want more - meditation gives you real contentment.

“You get some degree of relief by changing such things but sooner or later the same old problems come back. Meditation is about finding a permanent solution, a meaningful happiness.

“People eventually realise that worldly possessions are not that meaningful after a while and that happiness comes from relationships and things like that.”

But if this is all starting to sound a bit airy-fairy then don’t worry as Chodor promises not to shove Buddhism down people’s throats.

He said: “You don’t have to be a Buddhist to come along - I try and keep it as open as possible.

“Everybody should be able to come and feel comfortable - whether they work in banking or any other kind of job. It’s about teaching people to be meditators rather than Buddhists. “

So, if you think you may benefit from a visit to Heart Jewel the centre holds weekly meditation classes which are suitable for beginners.

And for those who find they like it, the centre holds regular half-day courses at weekends, study programmes on Sunday mornings and meditation retreats throughout the year as well as daily prayers at the centre.

Heart Jewel Kadampa Buddhist Meditation Centre is a registered charity and is run entirely by its hardworking volunteers.

For more information visit www.heartjewel.org.uk.