Is It Unethical for Spiritual Practitioners to Charge for Their Services?
"If you truly want to help people, why do you charge for your spiritual services?"
Recently, a friend of mine gifted me an astrological reading from someone she knows. It was one of the most interesting and encouraging things I've done. I place value on it and would recommend this practitioner to anyone.
I don't value the experience just because my friend paid for it. I value it because it meant something to me. It changed my perspective in a good way. It gave me insight into my own life that I may not have found otherwise.
And my friend valued it enough to save her own hard-earned money to gift the reading to me.
It was worth the cost in both of our opinions.
Now, this practitioner spent time before our Zoom meeting to go over my chart and interpret the astrological signs for me. She answered all the questions I had for her and even spent time looking up other dates that I was curious about and talked those over with me as well. And then, she followed up the next week by emailing me a long document detailing everything we talked about.
She took time out of her day, away from her family during the evening to sit with me for over an hour.
I'm certain she spent a lot of time studying all this stuff because it flowed from her effortlessly and with genuine care. I wouldn't have a clue where to begin myself!
Yes, she likes what she does. Yes, she feels good helping people.
But should she do this all for free?
Healers and spiritual teachers (in general) have spent their own time and money to be trained and to learn, to go through their own experiences, figuring things out by trial and error. They've purchased their own tools and supplies, rented space, created websites, and developed methods and products. Much of that costs money. All of it costs energy.
Why should we demand that the fruits of their labor be free?
Nothing in life is "free". We pay for literally EVERYTHING...not always with money, but with time, energy or trade. You can't even live off the land for free, you have to know a lot in many areas, work hard to live that way, and at the cost of many conveniences.
Money is just an easy way of exchanging energy. Simple as that.
When we value someone's time and effort, we give back to them. We value our neighbor for helping us shovel in the winter, so we bake them a pie. We value the company of our friends, so we take them out to lunch. We value our family so we spend time with them.
Giving someone our time, our money, or a gift is telling them that we have, in some way, benefited from them. It's us telling them that we appreciate them. It's telling them that we value their time and energy as well.
Healers and spiritual practitioners don't owe us anything because we need them. We often need doctors as well and they always get paid. Maybe not by us, but by the insurance company or by the state, but money always makes it back to the doctor. They get paid for their time with us and the vast amount of energy and money they spent studying at university so that they can care for us correctly.
You want to see yoga, massage or spiritual healing, herbs, and other alternative health methods be covered by insurance? Then start acting like they are WORTH it. If the world starts valuing these types of things, then maybe the insurance companies, governments, and corporate businesses will start to do the same.
But Not Everyone Can Afford or Has Access to These Things, That's Why It Should Be Free
And not everyone can afford or has access to good doctors and lawyers, not everyone has access to healthy food or clean water...not everyone even has a roof over their head or decent clothing to wear.
All of that is terrible. And it's not right that some people's basic needs are not met. I don't have a solution to that, but making spiritual products and services free is not going to fix those problems.
Our world runs off of a common currency. Money. Until that currency takes a back shelf, it's what we have to work with. People need money to buy food, water, health care, shelter, etc. Those who offer spiritual services are no exception.
They have bills to pay, food to buy, families to raise, vehicles to drive...
If lightworkers and healers have to work 40-60 hours a week at a regular job to cover their basic necessities, how much time do you think they will have to devote to giving away their services for free? Not much. And what kind of quality work will they be able to put out after a full week at their job on top of all the things that go along with family and keeping house?
Supporting those who help you on your path to well-being financially helps them have more freedom to learn and practice.
What About Unethical Practices?
Is it unethical for a doctor or surgeon to charge for their services? Is it unethical for farmers to charge for the food they produce? Is it unethical for therapists to charge for talking to you? How about clothing manufacturers?
Why should professionals of a spiritual nature be any different when it comes to money?
Medical help, food, water, and clothing are all things we absolutely need, and yet, we have to pay for ALL of them. If anything is "unethical" it would be charging us for the basic necessities of life. But we hand over our money without much thought to the insurance companies, to the city we live in, to the grocery store, and to whomever we get our clothing from.
I believe that we all have the ability inside of us to heal and to tap into the infinite field of energy where we can access what we need to create the life we want. It's not always easy and doesn't always show up for us the second we demand it, but it's there.
And it's free.
So, technically speaking, we don't need anyone outside of ourselves to get what we are looking for on our spiritual path. Spiritual practitioners exist to help us on our life journey. They help us make sense of specific things that we don't have the time or desire to explore ourselves. They help us learn how to navigate for ourselves when we feel confused. They help us access that unlimited space within.
And What About Scam Artists?
What about them?
People who take advantage of others by manipulation exist in every single area of life. Swindlers who pawn their fake spiritual insights are no different than doctors, lawyers, bankers, insurance agents, salespeople that also find ways to get more money out of those they claim to want to help.
Sometimes we make mistakes and we get distracted by promises that never deliver. It's just life. But, it's not that hard to spot a charlatan, especially in spiritual circles.
Here are some things to be cautious of:
If a spiritual practitioner tells you that you can't do something on your own, or if they make you afraid for any reason, or if they make you feel pressured, don't use them. If someone tells you that they need money to "fix" something spiritual for you, run. You can heal yourself, fix your problems and change your life ALL ON YOUR OWN.
These teachers and healers are here to ASSIST us, not to control us, and not to take the place of our own intuition and inner guidance. They aren't supposed to do the work for us.
Sometimes we won't like the way someone speaks, the words they use, the clothing they wear, the lifestyle they live...sometimes people just rub us the wrong way and that doesn't mean that they are thieves or manipulators.
It just means that they are not for us.
So, we don't buy their products or pay for their services and we move on to someone else.
Somewhere, someone HAS benefited from the people that we don't particularly like. We all have different needs, wants, and levels of receptive abilities. It's human nature which means that there is always someone for everyone.
And just because you have had a bad experience with someone or believe them to be a charlatan doesn't mean that they are. It could be your perspective, the lens you view them, and life with that is causing you to have biases.
Most healers and teachers I've met WANT to help. They generally aren't doing what they do to be shady or to rip you off.
Hell, even nuns and monks get paid!
Maybe not with actual money, but when they take their vows, they are also welcomed into a situation where they are fed and clothed and have all their basic needs taken care of. In exchange for their services.
Money is nothing other than an easy way to exchange for services. Not everyone has something to trade or service to swap. So, money it is.
In general, people who don't think spiritual teachers and healers should monetize their "gifts" are superstitious and lack a common understanding of how this world goes around. And sometimes, I think people have a hard time or feel guilty charging for their own services and products and so project that unease on to everyone else around them so they don't feel so at odds with themself.
If we demand that certain products and services are unethical to monetize, we have to be willing to look at our own lives and ask where we give back for free. If we do not give our money, time, or energy freely in a decent way, then we have no right to demand that of others.
How many of us volunteer our time to other organizations that we don't directly benefit from? How many of us donate money on a consistent basis to people in need? How often do we share our energy, tools, or expertise without expecting anything in return?
Like most of us, healers and spiritual teachers who have not been able to survive off of their practice alone work jobs for money. They have relationships, raise children, have bills to pay, lawns to mow, houses to clean, laundry to fold...they aren't just sitting at home all day on their asses, waiting for clients to arrive so they can joyfully give from an empty cup because they "should".
How can a person help others if they have no money or energy left to do it? If a healer or teacher has to work a "regular" full-time job so they can eat, be clothed, and have shelter, they will not have much time to dedicate to actually helping people. Because they are working. After a 40-60 hour work week, how much time and energy can someone possibly have left over to spend on others?
Healers and spiritual teachers aren't just magically endowed with healing and wisdom and miracles at any given moment. It takes time to learn. It takes effort and practice and patience.
They may have spent money on schooling and tools and supplies.
THAT deserves compensation.
Especially in the early days, people DO offer their services for free and products for less. Often, they continue to wave fees for certain people and dip into their own resources to help someone. We have no idea what happens behind the scenes. Not everyone brags about their giving.
Why Is Poverty Associated with Spirituality?
Sometimes it feels like there is some sort of secret book for the spiritual aspects of life because there are so many things people say "should" or "shouldn't" be done.
And where is this book?
Who sets the rules?
If there was an absolute truth about this somewhere, wouldn't we all agree? Wouldn't it be obvious to everyone what the rules actually were?
Maybe this idea that spiritual people can't have a lot of money or material possessions comes from the belief that money corrupts people. But can money do that on its own? I think people have corruption already inside of themselves and the money just amplifies it. After all, not all wealthy individuals are stingy assholes.
Perhaps it came from the different religious texts that are adhered to. Many gurus and prophets from the past forsook wealth and possessions in order to better fulfill what they felt called to do on this earth. So many people today look to these leaders as guides for life...of course, they have wonderful things to say and amazing guidance...but does that mean anyone who goes after a spiritual calling should do what they did? And did they not all receive some kind of financial donation in order to function in the world they lived in? Can anyone these days count on that as a way of life, being supplied with everything they need by donation and charity?
Seems to me that most people in our day judge those who take handouts and charity harshly, calling them lazy and worthless. Seems like you just can't win then.
Who knows where this idea came from, but I don't think it's right.
Being poor doesn't make you more enlightened or more trustworthy. In my opinion, believing that the exchange of money is somehow unspiritual is a limiting way to think and unspiritual in itself. If money is that much of a hang-up to us, maybe it's time we checked ourselves.
Money itself is NOT evil. The value placement of money is where the problem lies. I don't care what line of work someone is in, if they value money above honesty, above people, above health, above fairness, their operation is unethical. Seeking after money in a materialistic way is unethical.
Wanting to make a decent living by doing what we love while helping others is NOT unethical.
If we want to see more people follow their dreams and find ways to make a living doing what they love, then we need to encourage them to let go of the guilt associated with taking money.
Until the entire world can operate from a place of abundance, of fairness, and in a system where money isn't even a thing, where people take jobs based on interest instead of intended financial gain, we are stuck needing money to survive.
We are not obligated to help people for free. Ever. And if you disagree with that, why are you reading this instead of finding someone to help. For free.
If you believe that you create your own reality, then you should have no problem believing that if someone needs help for free, it will come to them.
Our energy and time should be compensated. It really is that simple.