Most of us have all the material possessions we could possibly desire.
The majority of people in the UK have plenty of clothes, electronic gadgets, cars and other possessions.
But are we happy?
Material things don’t bring happiness: that has to come from within, says Buddhist nun Gen Nyingpo.
Gen Nyingpo, who has been teaching meditation in Spalding since September, says what creates happiness is a peaceful mind.
“Happiness has to come from inside because it is a feeling, so it is an internal experience,” says Nyingpo – the ‘Gen’ in her name simply means ‘teacher’.
She continues: “We turn to things outside ourselves for happiness and then feel frustrated and disappointed and let down because actually we are still not happy.
“In fact there is so much talk about depression, anxiety and stress, and yet externally, compared to even 20 years ago, we have really good (living) conditions.
“The main benefit of meditation is it enables us to deal directly with where our happiness is, which is on the inside. Meditation gives us a peaceful mind, which is the foundation of happiness.
“If your mind is not peaceful – even if you are just a little bit stressed – even in the best situation, such as a celebration like Christmas, you just remember something that somebody said that upset you a little bit, and that’s enough to take away the happiness and enjoyment.
“With a peaceful mind you can actually experience happiness wherever you are, and it is so much easier to let go of things.”
Meditation also gives people what Nyingpo calls “mental space” to see problems from a new perspective.
She explains: “Often our minds are very cluttered and if we find ourselves in a difficult situation then we just get stuck and can’t see a solution, and the more stressed we are the more cluttered our mind is and it feels like our mind is completely full.
“Meditation gives us the space and clarity and the ability to focus. That space and clarity then gives us a new approach to life’s problems.”
Even if you feel that 2015 has been a bad year, Nyingpo, who is based at the Drolma Buddhist Meditation Centre in Peterborough, believes it’s possible to let go and start the new year with fresh energy and “move forward with a positive mind”.
Her weekly meditation classes at South Holland Centre in Spalding begin with a ticketed event on Thursday, January 14 (7.30-8.30pm), an introduction to meditation called Fresh Start to the New Year. Classes then continue on a weekly basis during term time.
Tickets are £5 from the South Holland Centre box office – 01775 764777.