FREE….….a word that always catches the eye. It draws us in, we want to find out more, and being a cynical bunch, we want to check the small print to find that all illusive catch.
Free has become a staple, a highly lucrative commodity in today’s society and if something is truly free, or you are given the choice to pay only what you can afford, it becomes a very inciting, welcomed opportunity.
Holistic and non-religious spiritual therapies and practices have escalated in price over the last few years, simply because it has become a recognised industry, with very marketable products. Something that used to cost no more than lunch and a cup of coffee has increased so much that the average person views complementary or spiritual therapy as a high cost luxury they can do without.
However, things are changing. Perhaps the doom casters have directly engineered that change, by creating an urgent need to get spiritual practices out to the masses. It only takes one person in the spiritual community to change their business plan and wallop! A tiny ripple of change soon turns in to a major charitable tidal wave. Now, the “those that have” are being joined by “the have not’s”. People at the opposite ends of the pay scale are developing spiritually, on equal ground and equal footing.
Non-profit organisations, such as the London College of Spirituality, have led the donation field in the UK, by switching from set fees to donation based talks and workshops. Vaz Sriharan from the LCS told me, “The response has been phenomenal and most events are packed out. With our donations, our facilitators can access hundreds of individuals as opposed to a few. Their message reaches a far wider audience, allowing many to be transformed and everyone benefits.” Simply by offering skills, knowledge and expertise on a donation basis, light-workers are actually hitting a demographic that may not have paid full whack.
At the other end of the spectrum, I recently followed a Facebook post written by a well-known spiritual name, announcing the release of a new DVD. What followed was a bombardment of comments such as “does this mean that only those people of a particular wealth level are going to be able to benefit? What happens for everyone else who can’t afford or doesn’t know about it?” and, “….if it was as important as you say then why don’t you do it for free? Spiritual ‘gurus’ make money in other ways……There needs to be more balance within spirituality and asking of money for such things.”
I get their point. Why? Well, the pitch was all wrong. If it had not come from them directly then their social media team need a severe talking to! You really cannot tell people to spread the word and make sure everyone knows about, as it is so important everyone watches it, at a price of X amount for the web link and X amount for the hard copy DVD.
Really? Are you serious? Surely if you feel so passionate about something, and really believe everyone in the world needs the information immediately, then would you not gift that information? Doesn’t spirituality, credibility and compassion go completely out of the window; the very second money becomes the sole focus?
Perhaps I am being a little unfair; perhaps I am missing the whole picture. Yes, in this particular case, there are costs involved in producing a film. But, the internet is a global community and if you do have an urgent message to get out there then YouTube does not cost a penny - and has a far wider reach than a boxed DVD.
Of course a spiritual or holistic “business” needs to provide the facilitator with funds, in order to live and meet day to day life commitments. They really cannot ignore mortgage or rent payments, they cannot live on fresh air and they need to provide themselves and their family with food, heat, clothing and basic essentials.
Yet, there are many opportunities for the sector to give something back, by lowering monetary expectations, which benefits everyone involved - financially and spiritually. And there are many opportunities for everyone out there to experience great services at a fraction of the cost.
So check out your local groups, meet-ups and social networking sites. You may be surprised at what’s out there.
. © Andrea Elliott 2012