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.