Awesome Daniel commented: “I truly appreciate your suggestions. It makes sense. Practical and intelligent. In fact, your blogs have helped me to believe in LOA. As I said I really love your blogs. But when I saw that you are selling your stuff or trying to make money off it, it does question your credibility that you are just trying to help people. You know this is one of the main complaints of anti-LOA people. Seriously, why do you guys try to sell the stuff? You can just genuinely try to help people (if that is what you’re after) without any monetary motives.”
Dear Awesome Daniel,
Thank you for asking this question publicly as well as respectfully. Usually, when someone addresses this topic, they do so in a way that I can’t publish (i.e. they’re total douchebags about it). I have a lot of light workers and healers in my audience, and I’m certain that many of them struggle with the idea of charging for their services. So I’m more than happy to give you my take on the subject from that perspective.
In my blog post on Charity, I addressed the false belief that doing something good for others is only valuable if it involves sacrifice on the part of the giver. The idea that a gift is only really valuable if it’s caused the person who gives it some kind of pain or suffering is, quite frankly, ridiculous to me. Not only does giving under those circumstances lead to a great deal of guilt for the recipient (who wants to receive gifts that have come at such a price?), but it greatly limits how much can be given (if I am depleted each time I give, I can’t give for long before I run out of energy/money/life.) I think the points I made in that post perfectly tie into this one.
When someone asks me why I charge for my services, they generally hold the belief that I would be better serving humanity if I gave my services away for free. But, it’s that assumption really true? Let’s break it down a bit, shall we?
What if I gave it all away for free?
First of all, I do have to make a living. Until we all agree to live in a resource based economy, I need to have some kind of income stream so I can pay my rent. Could I make money doing something else, something less spiritual, something I’d love less than what I do right now? Of course. I could go back to the corporate world and make a pretty damn good living. Of course, then I wouldn’t be able to dedicate very much time to what I actually want to do.
- I’d be able to coach only a small handful of people, perhaps one or two at a time, instead of the dozens I’m currently able to help.
- I’d be able to write only a couple of blog posts a month. There would not be a library of hundreds of blog posts, articles, audios and videos available for free on this site.
- I wouldn’t be able to spend hours and hours raising my own vibration and reaching higher and higher levels of understanding that I can then share with you. Self-development takes time. The retreats I go on aren’t just for pleasure. These are my continuing education seminars.
- I wouldn’t be authentic. This is who I am. This is what I’m meant to do. I practice what I preach. Forcing myself to do a job I don’t really want to do isn’t in line with any of that.
- I’d be too tired to really connect most of the time. I can’t write unless I’m inspired. When I coach, I enter into an altered state. Not only did it take me quite a few hours of practice to learn how to do that, but I have to be in a high vibration in order to accomplish that. I need time and space and the right environment to make that happen. Exhaustion isn’t conducive to that.
By dedicating myself to this work full time, I’m able to help far more people for free and otherwise, than I could if I had another job. I also wouldn’t be able to work at the level at which I do if I spent a significant portion of my day being distracted by a job that wasn’t aligned with Who I Really Am.
Should all spiritual services be free?
But isn’t it simply wrong to charge for any kind of spiritual service? Shouldn’t all light workers and healers and teachers work for free? Shouldn’t we all be content to live in poverty, subsisting on donations, content with the idea that our sacrifice is worth it so that we can help others?
I don’t believe so, no. Let me tell you why:
Poverty isn’t conducive to helping others. Who do you think can help more people, a billionaire or a pauper? That’s a pretty easy question to answer, isn’t it? The more money someone makes, the more people they can help, period. Living in poverty isn’t conducive to helping others. It simply means that there’s a belief that you can’t be a good person and also have money, which is a false belief. Why would the Universe set it up like that? Why would particularly the best among us be required to have the least? Shouldn’t it be the other way around (it actually is, but we mess it up by believing otherwise).
Money is spiritual. Of course, materialism for the sake of materialism isn’t a good idea and often causes a great deal of damage. But that doesn’t mean that money, in and of itself, is bad or not spiritual. The energy of money is actually deeply spiritual, and an inability to receive it will cause a great imbalance. Think about it: energy has to flow. If energy flows out, it must also flow in. Otherwise, there’s depletion. If you are giving but aren’t able to receive, you will create an imbalance in your life. You can receive the love of the Universe in many different ways. Money is just one, and a convenient one, at that. Why is this one form of energy so unacceptable? Well, it isn’t. Unless you think it is.
Being poor doesn’t make you more enlightened. Sure, there are many religious organizations that will have you believe that there’s virtue in being poor, while they secretly stuff their pockets with cash. But never mind them. There are a lot of spiritual schools of thought that genuinely believe that solitude and poverty will allow the spirit to rise. And I don’t disagree completely. I do think that if you go live in a monastery and give up all material possessions, it could help you to achieve greater clarity. But, I don’t believe that it’s our mission in life to sit in a dark room and meditate. In fact, I don’t believe that the West has it totally wrong. While our brothers in the East have mastered the discipline of the mind, and our sisters to the south (as in Central and South America) have a deeper connection to nature, we, in the Occidental world have a great understanding of physical pleasure and comfort (yes, I know I’m generalizing. Don’t get too caught up in the geography of this point). Sure, we’ve taken it WAY too far, but imbalances are present in all schools of thought. None of us have it “right”. I believe that the time has come for us to marry all these disciplines and find the balance between the extremes.
We’re here to enjoy the physical, WHILE being attuned to nature AND knowing the power of our own minds. And if we’re to do that, we have to make peace with materialism and learn to work with it in a balanced way, rather than demonize it. It’s ok to make money, it’s just not ok to rape the earth and destroy entire cultures to get it. Nor is it necessary to do so.
Making money in an aligned way sets a great example. If we want to move towards a world where all people allow themselves to choose the path that’s aligned with their hearts and their passions, we have to set some examples. Many people choose not to go down that path because they don’t think they can make any money this way. I’d like to prove them wrong. I think that the more businesses we have that show us that we can make money while being happy and making others happy, the more people will allow themselves to do the same. It will go from being a nice pipe dream to something that’s actually possible in people’s minds. We don’t have to make a choice between having a nice life and being fulfilled. We can do both.
One of the reasons why we have so many unethical and destructive corporations is because of the belief that you have to be a total douchebag to make money. I plan to personally prove that paradigm wrong on a huge scale. And there are many who are already doing so. More and more companies are proving that you can treat your employees and customers like stars, provide a kick ass service AND make a lot of money, while often even setting up foundations to help even more people for free. I applaud those companies and envision a world where there are many, many more of them. In fact, I envision a world where people finally wise up to the fact that being aligned is MORE lucrative than being a douche.
People value things more if they pay for them. This is an argument I’ve heard many times, which is why I’m including it here, although I only partially agree. I do think that a lot of people value things more if they have paid for them. In fact, they seem to value services more if they’ve paid a lot. I’ve certainly seen evidence of this. My paying clients generally take their sessions and homework far more seriously than do those who get my calls for free. They have paid money, and now they expect to get results. They’re willing to work more for them. They also respect my time more. I’ve never had a paying client just stand me up. I have had people whom I was helping for free simply fail to show up for a meeting. Were my services suddenly worth less because I wasn’t charging? They certainly seemed to think so.
This doesn’t apply to everyone of course. Some people pay for services and don’t do the work, and some people receive a free service, do the homework faithfully and get amazing results (and, as I’ve focused more on these types of people, I’ve stopped attracting the non-serious ones). This is why I still give away a lot of services for free, and will continue to do so. But it is worth mentioning that A LOT of people are helped MORE when they’re required to pay for the service. Think about it: Are you more likely to read a book you were given for free or one you paid for, even if it was a small amount? Which car do you treat with more reverence, the $500 one or the $100.000 one?
Spiritual skills are still skills. In our society, we’ve come to value highly skilled labor. We pay a premium for expertise. I don’t see anything wrong with that. In fact, I believe the problems arise when we DON’T pay people for their skills. For example, a really good teacher who inspires her students to excellence, and who has acquired the skill to do so, should be paid a premium. The fact that we don’t value this skill is not only beyond me, but at the heart of much of our educational issues. But when we do reward great skill, we provide an incentive for people to do so. We make it more likely that more people will choose this path, and we make it more possible for them to do so. When someone has spent YEARS and tens of thousands of dollars becoming a powerful healer or teacher, why is that skill set suddenly worth nothing? Why would we value a medical doctor’s skill but not the shaman’s? Why do we have no problem paying the lawyer, but scoff at the idea of paying the energy healer? Why is it ok for a polluting, unethical company to grow big and create tons of horrible jobs, but not ok for a spiritual company to become huge and provide tons of awesome jobs and benefit to the world?
But isn’t it our responsibility as light workers to be accessible to everyone?
And now, for the biggie: If you’ve chosen to dedicate your life to helping others, isn’t it your obligation to make sure you can help as many people as possible by making yourself as accessible as you can to everyone?
Well, that’s not actually possible. Here’s why: You can’t help everyone. And you can’t attract everyone. Oh, and you have no freaking obligation. Ever.
The idea that light workers have an obligation shuts down more healing energy than any other. It certainly kept me from being Who I Really Am for a long, long time. I was born with a strong desire to heal. When, as a child, I felt the unhappiness of those around me, I mistakenly thought that it was my job, my obligation to help them. When I couldn’t, because they weren’t ready to let go of their pain, I felt like I was a failure. That led to a belief that I wasn’t good enough, which I’m still cleaning up. The intense desire to help, coupled with the thought that I wasn’t up to the job, caused a great deal of pain. And so, I shut down my abilities, I hid my light, and I became an angry, depressed, introverted, quiet, desperate teenager and young adult. I allowed people to abuse me. I didn’t think I was worth more. After all, if I couldn’t do what I was meant to do, if I couldn’t make others happy, if I couldn’t do my “job”, then what good was I?
It took years for me to realize that I didn’t have a “job”. It had been an intention, a desire, but never an obligation. And when I finally allowed myself to be happy even when others weren’t, I started truly helping others. My joy inspired their joy. My pain hadn’t been able to do that. I’d felt like a failure as a child because I thought I could/should help everyone. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t up to me to help them. I couldn’t assert good energy into their reality. All I could do was make myself available to those who were ready to receive what I could flow through me. I could volunteer to do this, and then let those who were ready for my particular brand of energy come to me. They had to attract the help, and if I didn’t volunteer, someone else would. Their help was not contingent upon me.
I also realized that I wasn’t here to save the world, because the world doesn’t need saving. The Universe has got this. Each one of us has more guidance than we can comprehend. And we can choose to play along in that game or not. There is no obligation to do so. We can choose to, because it’s fun and it feels good, but we don’t have to.
So, you can’t help everyone. And you can’t make yourself accessible to everyone, since the Law of Attraction can only bring you those who are a match to you. If you’re aligned with helping others, you can only attract those whom you can help. If you’re aligned with suffering and scarcity and frustration, you’re going to attract a bunch of people who continuously ask for help, but can’t really receive it. Nothing will drain you faster.
If it’s not WIN-WIN, there’s an imbalance
The bottom line is this: The Universe works on a win-win basis. Actually, it works on a win-win-win-win-win basis. We’re the ones who came up with the twisted idea that things had to be win/lose. But that doesn’t really work, especially long term. If all parties are enriched by the exchange of energy, then there’s no limit to how much energy can be exchanged and how much benefit can be received. If someone has to lose in order for someone else to win, there will always be a limit.
When the student is ready, the teacher appears. If that teacher charges more for her services than you can afford, you’re either not quite ready, and/or that’s not the perfect teacher. When you are truly ready to manifest the clarity you’re after, you will manifest it in a way that’s totally accessible to you. It’s not the teacher’s responsibility to make sure you’re ready (that’s not possible).
My personal balance
Of course, I’ve had to grapple with this question myself. I have a strong desire to help as many people as possible, and I believe that making this my business instead of just running it as a hobby actually helps me to do that. I also provide a great deal of information for free, not because I think I have to, but because it makes me feel really good to do so. I plan to always provide multiple ways for those who are ready to access my products to do so, with scholarships and sponsorships, for example. I’ve found the balance that works for me – I provide the maximum benefit I can, while making sure I don’t deplete myself, so that I can continue to grow and evolve and give in bigger and bigger ways.
Each of us has to find that balance for ourselves, but I think the biggest mistake we can make as a spiritual community is to think small. If we’re going to change the world, we have to be willing to play on a big stage. We have to be willing to use money and the economy for GOOD, instead of just lamenting that others aren’t.
Don’t tell the douchebag CEO to do it differently. He can’t hear you. Go start your own spiritually aligned company and make a crap load of money while helping others, and show them that it can be done and is, in fact, more lucrative than their destructive way. Show them they don’t have to be afraid. They can be Who They Really Are. They can be enriched, not depleted. They can win, instead of losing. We all can. And that’s actually the way it’s supposed to be. When shall we start? Should we continue to hold on to the idea that spirituality has to come at great sacrifice? Or should we finally bring it into the mainstream? Wouldn’t it be better to find the balance between mind, body and spirit, instead of selectively mastering only one at a time? Shouldn’t we finally start to encourage and compensate those who provide true value? Instead of asking “Isn’t it unethical to charge for spiritual services?”, wouldn’t it better to ask “Is it ethical to charge for services that aren’t spiritually aligned?” Isn’t it time that we chose to win-win-win-win-win? I think it is. And that’s why I charge for my services. 🙂