According to Kadam Chris Heyes, resident teacher at Leicester’s Kadampa Meditation Centre, the ancient practice has never been more vital, especially in these busy modern times…
Here he tells us how the practice can help bring peace, clarity and control to your life in 2024 and beyond…
Kadam Chris Heyes has been teaching at Leicester’s Kadampa Meditation Centre since 2010, passing on his passion and wisdom to those who have come along in order to take refuge – away from the neon buzz of the world for a while.
What they seek at his sessions, is a precious island of ‘me time’ – a place where they have permission to be still, and quiet their busy minds. It’s a refreshing reboot which many swear by.
For Kadam Heyes, meditation is a way of life he’s been practicing for over 30 years – one which has taught him patience and helped him through difficult times, including a severe heart attack in his late 40s.
Meditation is also the bridge which brought him together with his beloved wife, Brigette – also a teacher of the practice.
“I hate to think where I’d be now if I hadn’t met with meditation,” says the softly spoken teacher.
“Unless you can control you mind – your thoughts and behaviours, they can easily create many problems for you and the people around you.
“For me, I began in my 30s. I was a struggling artist at the time, who was having a few problems and looking for meaning in my life.
“I wanted to find out what I could do to help myself and found meditation really useful – absolutely fantastic in fact.
“It helps us to calm down our minds – to let go of worry and stress, which in turn improves our physical health. If we can manage to train our minds a little bit each day – maybe 10-15 minutes of breathing meditation to start with, then we will learn to experience some more peace and stillness in our minds…”
At the Kadampa Meditation Centre, weekly sessions are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and regular courses run throughout the year. Here people can learn skills such as how to ‘Silence their Inner Critic,’ ‘Live in the Moment’ and ‘Find Peace and Happiness in Uncertain Times’.
It’s an appealing offer. The teachings of Buddha are needed more than ever right now, says Chris – in the age of smart phones and quick fix technology.
“Just having material wealth isn’t the solution to our problems and suffering. It doesn’t give us the happiness we’re seeking. There’s this insatiable desire for more and more stuff – instant gratification, and yet our problems and miseries aren’t decreasing,” he points out.
“There’s more and more conflict and fighting in the world. Of course we need practical solutions and meditation will help. It can help us to learn patience in the face of provocation and to let go of emotions such as anger and hate, which only hurt us and others around.
“Without inner peace we will never be happy no matter how good our external conditions are – how rich or successful we are, or how good our relationships might be. If internally you’re experiencing a lot of anxiety, stress, depression, fears and so forth, then you’re not happy.
“The purpose of meditation is to give rise to that feeling of happiness and peace and joy. We need to learn to let go of worries and stress because they hold us back from getting the best out of our life.”
Kadam Heyes encourages people to come along to the modern centre, which sits on Guildhall Lane, in order to try out free meditation sessions. After all,“the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” he says.
There is also a free eBook called ‘How to Transform Your Life’, which is available to download. The book by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is described as a ‘practical manual for daily life,’ which shows how we can develop and maintain inner peace.
“Guided by wisdom, we can transform our whole life, and it becomes a very meaningful one,” says Chris. “We need to identify the faults within our own mind – our own selfishness and greed and make our own free conscious decision to change. Only then can we find real happiness and freedom.”
Visit www.meditateinleicester.org to find out more.