Energy Exchange in Spiritual Work

Some people say that they charge money for spiritual work because of the necessity for an energy exchange, and I understand where they are coming from. It is important that one doesn’t end up feeling used and drained. But money isn’t the only answer if we’re really talking about energy. I think people should be up front about their needs and expectations and not refer to energy exchange as an explanation (or dare I say excuse) unless they are willing to accept all forms of good energy in return for their work.

It’s perfectly okay to say you’re charging money because you feel you deserve it, or you need it, or you want it. I’m not debating whether or not people should charge money for spiritual work. I’m just saying that the explanation about an exchange of energy isn’t striking me as authentic most of the time.

Why? Well, I think that energy is exchanged in lots of ways. If you do a spiritual healing for someone and they write you a letter of thanks and gratitude that really brightens your day and makes you feel awesome, then you’ve just received some great energy in exchange for your work. It might not put food on your table, but you didn’t put food on their table either. I find that the energy I get from sincere gratitude is so uplifting that it completely and utterly makes my work worth it. In fact, one letter of sincere gratitude is enough energy to sustain me through a few days of spiritual work (albeit part-time work – I have a full-time office job and lots of hobbies demanding my time).

And when I say sincere gratitude, I don’t mean ego-stroking. I’m talking about a quality of genuine loveliness that comes through in someone’s words. This is real spiritual energy beaming back at me in a beautiful exchange. If someone took the time to write me a haiku about falling leaves I would be completely fulfilled.

Gratitude can be expressed beyond words, of course. A few times I’ve been offered Reiki healings in exchange for readings. I accept these with great thanks and appreciation and have faith that the universe will aid in maintaining an energy balance.

I do have great faith in the universe. My wife and I have stopped actively selling our soaps and moisturizers and have been basically giving them away (admittedly we don’t completely refuse donations towards the cost of ingredients, but we expect nothing). My wife sees this as good karma. We don’t feel drained or used; we trust that the energy will come around. So far we’ve always managed to get through the month and our love is stronger than ever, so I think we’re doing pretty good.

Of course I’m not off in lala land either. I know what it’s like to be broke and I know what it’s like to be energetically drained. In fact, I’ve been struggling the last couple of days after briefly dealing with an energy vampire of sorts. (I’m not talking about you! That person has been told.) But I wouldn’t be feeling any better right now if I’d been paid. In fact, I’d probably feel worse – it’s harder to break off contact with someone who is paying you. Whereas I know my energy will bounce back the next time someone shows off their loveliness with a note or a smile.

Maybe I’ve been blessed with an excess of good energy to share; this is only my experience. But I maintain that money isn’t the only form of energy to exchange for spiritual work. It’s not even the best form of energy. If you want some help paying your bills, be honest and don’t teach a doctrine that equates spiritual energy with monetary gain. I daresay that if you are meant to be a full-time spiritual worker, the universe will oversee your survival.


Just Enough

That’s what we all receive: just enough. No thievery in the world can upset this balance.

If you are giving out good energy to others, you won’t receive back what you feel is identical energy. You will receive just enough to keep on giving. If you give more, authentically, you will receive just enough to continue to give that, too.

So when you don’t feel you are getting back what you’ve given: it’s not about that. You will get just enough.

Thinking you need more is different from really needing more. In reality we need very, very little at all. So be grateful for what comes and have faith that it is enough to keep doing as much as you’re doing. And don’t be jealous of others, dreaming that they have it better. No one has been gifted more freely than you.

The Big Question

So, what do you want?

That’s the big question. You think, if I only had more money, I’d be happy. If I only had a better house, I’d be happy. If I only had a better partner, I’d be happy.

It’s a lie. It’s the most dangerous delusion of all. It’s the lie on everyone’s lips and digital screens. The lie tempts us to believe that better happiness is somewhere out there, and you can achieve it like unlocking a quest in a game.

The trick is to notice how it works. Something new comes along and yeah, you feel really good. Not because of the new thing itself, but because of the hope, excitement, and sense of achievement it gives you. And that wears off pretty fast. It will depend on your circumstances but it may not even last a day.

So where’s the real happiness then? Well, look at kids. They’re instinctively happy. They use their imaginations when they have nothing in their hands to create the whole world. And we teach it out of them. We train it out of them. Maybe you had great parents, but the school system let you down. Or maybe your parents tried their best but they were hurting too and couldn’t give the right attention to you. And it stays with you, it grows in you.

So you have to look in yourself and find that little hurting kid, that spark of connection to life and spirit and natural joy. You have to love her and say to her, what do you want? What can I give you?

Maybe that little girl or boy wants to be “crazy” and dance some crazy dance. Then do it. Forget what people think. It doesn’t matter, they’re all hurting and broken too, and if they judge you, it’s coming from a place of pain and jealousy. So find out what that little child inside you wants, and do it. 

Do you want to believe in faeries? Do you want to run off benches, trying to fly? Do you want to splash in a stream? Do you want to giggle and have someone play with you? Find a way to make it happen.

Maybe you need love, deep unconditional love. I’ll tell you, you can receive and receive and receive love but if you don’t have faith in it, faith that you’re worthy and faith that the love is real, it’s nothing. So it depends on you. You have to start it. You have to keep the faith going.

Maybe you feel all alone and no one cares. That’s really tough. But you have to say to yourself, I have faith in my worth. I have faith in the universe. And when someone smiles at you, be grateful. Get to a place of gratitude, that’s your foundation. You will find people who respect you when you respect yourself.

Gratitude journals are great but it’s really about connecting with gratitude in the moment. Learning to feel gratitude when it’s really happening to you. When the wind makes your skin feel good, be grateful and smile. When someone says hello, be grateful for the contact and connection. 

You’ll lose yourself in the moment when you connect with the moment. Connect with gratitude and grace and spirit. The next step is to give out the emotion. Keep yourself busy giving out the joy that gratitude gave you. Give it out as a symbol of thanks. More will come. 

Life will always challenge you. Or else you wouldn’t know you were alive. But connect with it. Face it. Take your past and give to yourself the freedom to exist as you are. Then connect with gratitude, and you will feel the real joy that makes you really want to give out joy to others, as thanks.