Why Spiritual Teachings are Not Free
From time to time someone asks me why I charge for my products and services. Their line of reasoning is that spiritual information and help should be free. The question is one that has been asked of me for over four decades so apparently it is on many people’s minds.
The question has always seemed peculiar to me since on this planet, in this day and age, money is a requirement to accomplish anything. Without money one isn’t able to even have a place to live or food to eat, and yet, somehow, some people project the idea that a spiritual teacher should not be paid for their time or service.
This idea is sometimes taken to an extreme where spiritual teachers and aspirants become beggars to survive. Some even quote scriptures such as Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Or, Matthew 10:8: “Give as freely as you have received.” A key insight here is the word “as” in the last quote. You see anything acquired has a cost in time, effort, and often finances. One can only give freely if that person has received freely, and in my case that is far from true. Let me explain what I mean with an analogy…
A large ship’s engine broke down and no one in the crew could repair it, so the captain contacted an engineer with more than 40 years of experience. He inspected the engine very carefully from top to bottom. After seeing everything, he pulled out a small hammer from his tool bag and banged on a particular spot and the engine came to life. The engine was fixed!
Seven days later the engineer sent the bill stating that the total cost of repairing the ship was $10,000.
“What?” said the ship’s owner.
“You did almost nothing. Give us a detailed bill.”
The engineer answered with a simple explanation:
Tap with a hammer: $2
Knowing where to knock and how much to knock: $9,998
The lesson of this story is the importance of appreciating one’s expertise and experience. Quite often when you watch someone perform in their area of expertise they can appear to do it with ease. However, what those observing do not see or realize is the thousands of hours practicing to be able to perform seemingly with little effort. The knowledge, skills, and high levels of performance were the result of struggles, trial and error, and often tears.
If I do my work in 50 minutes it’s because I spent 40 years learning how to do that in 50 minutes. I charge for the years, not the minutes. I am paid for those 40 years, not the 50 minutes.
The issue of what to charge for any service must always take a number of things into account which are probably not obvious to those receiving the product or service, but I ask that you consider there is far more than meets the eye. In addition to my years of experience I have a tech team who maintain my website and outreach programs requiring significant monthly financial remuneration.
I do not want finances to be an obstacle to someone looking to me for what I provide and I have offered some flexibility over the years to those who have expressed the need to me for financial assistance. Should you be in that situation I am certainly and always open to discussing it with you.
Interestingly, there is a woman I worked with this past week who has also attended many of the programs from a well-known and respected spiritual center and she has been quite appreciative of what I am offering, and she also expressed the uniqueness of my skills and experience. By way of comparison she informed me of what they charge for their programs and it became obvious to her that I am more than fair with what I am asking.
As long as our society runs on a monetary system that is what is required to function effectively to deliver products and services. Acquiring expertise and experience is expensive both in time and money. That’s the system in which we operate and most people understand that.