Monday, September 9, 2013

About money and why I like to offer spiritual services for donations only

Nothing gets people more defensive than a discussion about spirituality and money. Last week I followed yet another one of these on Facebook and read some amazingly askew arguments (from my point of view that is )
This made me realize that it might be a good idea to explain why  I prefer to work for donations. Because I learned that it can cause a lot of confusion for people who have a quite different outlook on life.

Let me start with saying that I understand perfectly well that people who give workshops etc, have to pay the rent for a venue and make other costs. And I also understand that money is a very handy medium of exchange and is needed in this society, to buy all the stuff you need to live.  So I have absolutely nothing against people who give spiritual workshops and ask money for it. As long as prices are reasonable and there are no initiations involved.

But I make different choices in life and I have a strong objection against the idea that value can only be expressed in money. To me there are things that are way more important. I feel this focus on money has made the western society sickening, unnecessarely harsh and unnatural . And I think it's a shame that the spiritual community is also contaminated with the virus of marketing and profits. Are these not the people who should know better and who could show a different, better way of living with each other? If they don’t, who will?

The next thing I want to make clear is that I do not ask just for donations, because I feel that what I have to offer isn't worth much. On the contrary! I think there is no price tag that fits my work :-)
A set price means nothing in terms of value. For some  €50,- means very little, they can spend it in half an hour, on lunch. For others it’s the budget they are struggling with for a whole week. So at times €5,- can be much more valuable than €20,- or even €100,-

My spirituality is not about money, I want to keep the two separate for several reasons.
The moment people make themselves dependant on the income coming from their spiritual activities, they will have to face some difficult choices, one day or the other.
For example: Who will you, and will you not, accept as student?
Tough choice when you have to pay the rent and this person with psychological problems will bring two more students...
Or there are not enough subscriptions for your advanced class ....

Money shows its real dark side when it comes to initiation. If your students have already paid for the package, how can you refuse to give what is paid for? No matter if someone is ready for it or not, you will have to deliver this initiation. Which makes it drop in value rapidly.
Now money has become a medium of power and the power is with the one who paid.

The power of money can also be on the side of the teacher of course. When students have paid in advance,  you can be (more or less) sure they won't cancel for just any reason. That way you can force people not to change their mind.
Oh yes, I hate it too when people cancel last minute, or worse: stay away without notice. But at least I know that the people who are there, really want to be there at that moment and did not come just because they didn't want to lose their money.

So I choose not to have to make tough choices. I choose to keep my spirituality as pure as possible.
And I can afford to work this way, because I don't have to rent a venue. My temple is at home.

But I admit, I too do need some money to keep things going. Candles, incense, sage, tea, cookies, cushions, folding chairs, etc don't grow on my balcony.
The donations provide for this, there is always just enough money to buy what is needed. That's the way the universe works.

And yes of course it also happens that people take advantage sometimes. Some people simply can't resist a bargain, while they don't need one. They don't realize they are just lowering their own value as a person, when they force a real bargain on someone, who wasn't offering it in the first place. This is just a symptom of this sick society.
Luckily this is balanced with people who give a little more than necessary.
All in all I'm really blessed with the people around me! :-)

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