My teacher always used to say that if we donated our work then we were selling ourselves short. She had us all begin offering healing work by donation though, as we were learning, then slowly building up to $35 for a session. Back in the mid 1990′s that was not inexpensive. For some people today it is still not inexpensive. For others, a pittance, like giving someone a penny.
Money is something I am with a lot lately. Primarily I have been being with the ways we use it and the ways that it is used. It is strange for me, to spend time being with something so practical. In the worldly ways I am one of the most impractical person’s I have ever met, barely able to really embrace the grounded ways that we do things. Mostly, all that I see or hear is what is in the heart. But lately I cannot separate the heart from the cage it is within. And what I see is that one of the ways that we have externalized a means by which to free our heart is to externalize the sensation of feeling trapped. We do this, primarily with money. Thus, when one has money they feel free…when they have very little they may feel trapped and cornered. But both of these realities occur upon the playing field of money as an externalized inner reality.
I keep being with speed limits. We have speed limit signs and speed limit laws because there are many among us who would not drive at a speed that is safe for all of us. At the heart of all laws is the truth that humanity does not yet endeavor to govern itself. As individuals, there are exceptions. But as a people, as a unit, without laws, without government many people would fly down the roads recklessly. Even with the laws, many do. People want to be free, but what do they do with freedom? I know that if the heart is not free to love one’s self, it is not free to love another in a way that extends care and attention. I know that perceived separation from one another is still the coin of the realm. If murder was legalized, outside of war, what would happen? Law is like religion. And money is a law.
Money is the law that states that a person, object or item has a value that can rise and fall. It is pretend. Inherent value cannot be bestowed nor taken away. Yet, we invented money to do just this task for us. This is one way that we have externalized our grappling with how we feel that we have had our personal value taken…and then given…and then taken. Money is a blueprint for how we got built the way we are. We can learn how our suffering began, from observing what we do with money. Money is a law, that is in place, until we no longer need it to be in place. When we grasp that everything has value that cannot rise and fall, money will cease to matter.
Nothing stops people from donating to me as much as they want. So what purpose does charging people serve but to remind them of the “value” of this work? Do people really need reminding? Yes. I do not remind them on purpose. I like to leave them free. Not charging for my work at all is like a koan that perhaps some pick up on. It challenges things for others as an extension of my work in the world.
People, generally, will take for free what is offered, without giving back. We are on a learning curve as a people. It is where the law comes into effect. We make a law that states, “if you want this, you cannot have it unless you give something back.” Money exists because people will not receive AND give back freely. We use money right where the heart should be. And the trickiest part is how the giving of money DOES help so many people. Philanthropists and NGO give so much…it can appear that money, in those cases helps many people. Things can go well for a small village when supported by wealth from elsewhere. But that is like throwing gasoline on a fire and THEN bringing water in for relief to put it out. Money cannot fix a problem that money did not create. The people do not suffer because of a lack of money. It is from lack of community or caring or prejudice. We can show charity through the money we have, but it is only the start. And the charity can be offered and given freely if money is not the law any longer. True charity would be equalization of resources and people looking out for one another. Sharing. But there it is, the rub…we can give and give of our money and resources, but it is connection that is missing. It is true love and caring and looking out for one another in a connected way that is missing. It should not fall to the NGO’s and Philanthropists, who in a sense, take up the slack for how the majority of us cannot afford to help in one way or another….or that we won’t. Money exists because we operate under the illusion of separation.
None of us has ever paid what something was actually worth. And none of us will ever be paid what we are worth. Money and value are not corollary. When we link money with value it is a lie. And it may be a necessary lie at this point in human evolution, but I feel it is important to recognize.
When I switched over to no longer charging for sessions I went through all the thoughts about how my teacher said that going by donation was undervaluing yourself. I weighed this against my strong sense that money had to be separate from the healing. Only now do I really find the words to illustrate, even to myself, why it felt right. In a way I feel that the stance I have responded to is now recognizable as another aspect of the change I want to see in the world. If you are afraid of a world without money it is worth examining why. When you feel into this, you might find some very surprising fears of losing control. How will this happen? Who would do that job? Who would help me do (blank) if I cannot pay them? Would you stay with your partner if they suddenly had no money whatsoever to support you?
Money is not the bad guy. It is the placeholder. It is the pause button on freedom, because we are not yet ready, as a people to truly be kind to one another, to live in community. The spirit of community is not commerce and trade. It is perhaps a lesson that humanity has never mastered. When we actually desire to give and receive from our hearts and not for gain, money will be seen for what it is…another mind made illusion that we needed to grapple with so we could come to terms with an aspect of ourselves that was underdeveloped. And what is underdeveloped is the insistence, from all of us, that everyone be treated equally. As long as one of has more money than another, and the illusion that money has value is alive, true equality cannot exist among us.
I see us slowly inching our way towards this though. And I am happy to be here as part of it and getting to see it. And yes, I am applying for jobs as well as offering healing work at no charge. Because for now, things are as they are. The change I am talking about is a long way coming. And if I cannot pay for the food and shelter for my children, there will be none. And you…you are in the same boat. We are in the same boat. And it is all from the mind of humanity in the name of creating a stage upon which we ideally will learn what does not bring harmony to any of us.
Please do feel free to share this writing with others…it will cost you nothing.