Taking some time to recharge
Christmas is almost upon us! It's a time to reflect on the year that's now been and gone, to spend time unwinding and recharging, and perhaps to make some plans for the year ahead.
In my case, that reflection has led to some difficult decisions. I've been running a weekly class for over five years now, and for the last three of those years I've also been publishing an article in this section of the website every week, with the result that there's now over 150 of the things - probably more than anyone will ever want to read!
Teaching and sharing in this way has been hugely rewarding and fun, and the class in particular has introduced me to some wonderful people. But it's also taken a toll on me, and I've become more and more aware of my own limitations in terms of how much I can continue to give week after week. It's reached a point where I need to make a change - I need some time for self-care, to recharge my batteries and nourish my own practice. I also need to build some space into my weekly routine to look after my Mum, who isn't doing so well at the moment - I need to be able to drop everything at short notice to visit her (I live three hours away) without worrying about when my class planning is going to get done. (I'm writing this article at my Mum's house after spending most of the day at a local hospital. She's OK but has a long road of recovery ahead.)
As a result, I've decided to pause Wednesday night class, and thus the articles in this section of the website, for at least six months. I'm hoping that that will give me some time to navigate through my current situation and recover some equilibrium. I'm sorry if this is disappointing for you, but at this point I've tried quite a few ways to mitigate the impact of running the class, and taking a break seems like the right move now.
I'm very grateful to everyone who's attended my class and read these articles over the years, and I hope you feel it's been valuable too. All the material posted here will remain available, including a complete commentary on the koans in the Gateless Barrier, and practice guides for the Satipatthana Sutta and Anapanasati Sutta. I hope that these small contributions to the Dharma world continue to be of value. I may also continue to add new material from time to time as the mood takes me, but the weekly feed of articles will stop for now.
I fully intend to meet all other existing teaching commitments in 2024 - the Silent Illumination day retreat in January, the online Contemplation course with Leigh Brasington in February, and the Jhana retreat with Leigh in November/December. I'm also very open to exploring other vehicles for teaching which aren't quite so draining - perhaps events, short courses, etc. - although I don't have any concrete plans yet. If and when I do, you'll be the first to know!
Thank you again for reading these articles, and I wish you all the best with your practice. As ever, please feel free to get in touch if you have questions.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
Matt teaches early Buddhist and Zen meditation practices for the benefit of all. May you be happy!