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To charge or not to charge?

There is much debate within the spiritual community about whether people should charge for their services; readings, healings, or teaching. When being presented with this topic, people invariably fall into one of two camps; those who believe it’s a gift from God, that it was given freely and shouldn’t be charged for, and other camp is of an economic one, that it’s a transaction, supply and demand if you will, and to charge is only appropriate, given the skill sets, learning, and time involved in the worker offering their service.

There are many elements to the question of whether to make a charge for spiritual service before we can make the individual decision about what right for us. For myself, for the first several years of me doing mediumship readings, I never charged anybody, even though the readings were up to 2 hours in length. Back then, I didn’t feel it was appropriate and it wasn’t about it being a gift from God, or that I should take a vow of poverty either. Back then, I was of the mind that doing readings presented opportunities for me to learn about my mediumship, to hone my skills in expressing it, and to understand my awareness more fully. Making a charge to other people so that I could gain a greater understanding of my own skills didn’t feel right, after all, I was the student learning through experience. That all sounds very altruistic and spiritual doesn’t it, but there were other great benefits to me not charging sitters too. For one, I didn’t feel so much pressure to perform, I didn’t feel the need to get it right so badly, and I certainly wasn’t bothered by the sitters expectations or ‘demands’. If they didn’t get what they wanted, or hear from who they expected to it didn’t ‘cost’ them either other than maybe disappointment. In essence, by not charging them it felt like it got me ‘off the hook’. It took me a while but I eventually realised that not charging was my defence against the fear of judgement and was a reflection of my own self-worth at that time.

As time went by, people WANTED to pay, and would sometimes get quite upset if I refused to accept their payment. It was only many years later when a dear friend of mine suggested that by denying people the chance to pay, I was denying them the opportunity to express gratitude and for those sitters, that could’ve been as much a part of their healing as the sitting itself. This put a whole different slant on the subject for me. It didn’t however stop some people telling me that if I charged “God would take the gift away”. I think the story of Jesus throwing out the sellers in the Temple had filtered down into the consciousness of these people, and so in their mind commerce and spirituality were to be kept separate. Thankfully when I did eventually pluck up the courage to charge, I was not attacked by a thunderbolt or spiritually disconnected either!

Shakespeares quote of “To thine own self be true”, is applicable to this subject of charging. We have to be comfortable with our charges and realise that our attitude towards charging can also be a reflection of how we value our time, effort, energy, and Self. The truth is that whenever money is involved in spiritual endeavours, it will always bring up issues of worthiness and value within you. Taking the ‘spiritual’ aspect out of it for a moment, and your skill set was as a tennis player, an accountant, or a nurse, would you still expect payment for your service?

If you’re finding there is some discomfort around charging, it can be helpful to have a few ‘rules’ around what you charge which are based on your own sense of humanity rather than your own financial situation and needs. For example, explaining to the client that if the sitting doesn’t feel satisfactory within the first 10 minutes, no charge is made. For myself, I made the decision that regardless of my financial situation I would never charge people who’ve lost children. I also decided that if there was ever a situation where I felt that by the sitter/student paying for a sitting or a class it would be financially detrimental to them then no charge was made. I would also never charge for healing either.

The greatest lesson I have learnt around this subject above all else is that, if you do what you love, with love, and for love then the money you need will find you. Striking the balance between giving without NEED for reward, and yet accepting that we HAVE needs is always the path of the spiritual worker. All we can do is to be guided by our own moral compass and be at peace with the decisions we make.

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