That discourse is really interesting and informative, thank you. I struggle with navigating that one. There has to be a balance for me, as the weight of earnestly investigating freeing myself of suffering is almost too much for me to bear without the buoyancy and encouragement of more ‘live life to the full’ energy. That is the energy that makes my heart sing. The Vipassana retreat last year really highlighted that for me but I couldn’t work out if it was my aversion to investigating the way things are/I am, if I was just in a place where I could only take so much without going spoing because of the amount of ignorance there and my mental confusion, or if my nature is just more akin to that way of being.
In reference to you point about offering more ardent teachings to younger peeps; when I was younger and did ‘live life to the full’ more, without understanding what I was doing, I got myself into a right pickle. So, personally, I feel that it is important to offer the more refining and insightful practices to younger ones and they will take them onboard as and when is right. If they come across them and are intrigued, they will investigate them further and if it is not for them at that point, they will ignore them or perhaps return later. At least they will have the opportunity if they’re offered.
Also, I’m finding more and more that living life to the full is less and less to do with an adventure and more to do with ordinary moments and although I’ve always known that in my heart (as you mention, most children know it effortlessly) I didn’t know how to get back there so maybe I would have welcomed the more ardent teachings at a younger age if they clear enough to cut through the clutter.
And you’re right, things are changing so rapidly that communication needs to change rapidly to keep up with it or alternatively, go back to roots and stay there, strong. One of the upsides of the rapid change is that there are now lots of people who introduce basic benefits of virtue, mindfulness and such like (albeit sometimes in a bland form) into peoples’ awareness so it does seem like good time to let that basic introduction be given elsewhere and you can focus on teaching as you did previously (which I am guessing was a more authentic to how you would like to have been / were taught).
I also get the impression (but could be completely wrong 😉 ) that people find the teacher of the teachings that are right for them and the more authentic the teacher is, the more the teachings will resonate i.e. the more you do what feels right to you, in your unique manner, the clearer the channel for the teaching. You might attract a slightly different student but those that are in a place for something other than the style you offer can easily find support elsewhere. You could always recommend other routes too via your website etc so that people always have somewhere to turn to if that’s what your hesitation is and with such a strong and committed team at AOM, I’m sure you’d become aware if your track was so off-piste that it was totally inaccessible to others.
I hope that’s some useful feedback anyway.
PS – Out of interest, what’s the difference between teaching ‘Living Dharma’, the ‘Path Itself’, ‘Meditation’ and ‘Dharma the way I used to teach it’?