If you are at all familiar with me or my teaching, it’s rare indeed to hear me spend any time on most worldly issues like politics, the economy, and such. Nevertheless, after much deliberation, I feel compelled to share my thoughts about something, namely the huge emphasis over the last year from so-called spiritual teachers and authors for their students and readers to learn to “get more of what they want” from this life—particularly when it comes to money and material possessions.
Abundance or Greed?
I can’t help but notice that Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, and numerous other masters forgot to tell us about this “prerequisite to enlightenment.” How is it that these ancient masters failed to tell us what so many New Thought teachers and authors are now commonly emphasizing? These modern teachers tell you to use the “spiritual power within your mind” to get more stuff. Whereas the masters of the old taught instead that we should get rid of our stuff. This should really make you wonder if the teachers of old were missing something or if today’s teachers have perhaps fallen prey to the lord of this world—GREED. Of course, their greed is disguised as “creating one’s own reality.” But, who do you think is paying for their self-oriented “reality?” It’s you the spiritual student! Don’t get me wrong, I agree that we should all be abundant. In fact, if we do good work AND maintain integrity, we will usually prosper quite well. But why do I (a spiritual teacher) have such a dire need for such material possessions such as multiple cars, houses, and boats, while failing to be equally okay with giving such possessions to others in greater need?
When the movie The Secret (which certainly has a wonderful message) made it big, too many teachers and authors jumped on the bandwagon and wrote books, made movies, and created seminars to tell people how important it is to get more from life. Sadly, it’s rare for any of these same teachers and authors to allow those who have little or no money to attend their events for free—mainly because such folks who have no money can’t supply these teachers with another boat payment. Sadly, it’s generally those people who can least afford it that need our teachings the most. I recently saw an interview with one of these teachers/authors; when he was asked how he was doing, he replied by stating that he had just paid cash for a new house, as though this is the measure of one’s state of being. Now imagine instead, answering such a question (such as, “How are you doing?”) by the measure of how much you are able to give to others. I also recently heard from the coordinator of a popular spiritual conference that she was having difficulty affording speakers for her next event because most have followed the trend of asking for $15,000—$25,000 per hour for their time, which they usually want, paid in advance. This is absurd to me! I have been teaching for over 30 years and have met all the well-known teachers and authors (many of whom are friends and colleagues) but, in my experience, none of them have $25,000 per hour worth of wisdom to offer. In fact, I personally find that even most of my students have more sincerity and wisdom than the most popular of these teachers and authors.
Today’s teachers rarely offer an original word or thought. Instead, they tend to merely rehash their own previous successes or, worse yet, simply rip off each other’s ideas. Do you have any idea how many teachers wrote books in the last couple of years with the word “Secret” in the title? You will especially find nearly every one of the teachers interviewed in that movie wrote books or audio tapes with the word “Secret” in the title in order to draw an audience from the success of the movie. They know full well it will get your attention and sell more products.
A true spiritual teacher or author has only a value proportionate to their Inspiration—which should come from Spirit and not from profit potentials. After all, just because someone wrote a book on Reiki doesn’t mean they are better than any other Reiki practitioner. So why is it that once they publish a book on a particular subject, or appear on Oprah, it suddenly means they deserve to charge more for their services? But they do so nevertheless because there are always people who are ready to believe that these spiritual celebrities have something special to offer. The same goes for psychics. In fact, as is true with everyone ranging from movie stars to athletes and from healers to psychics, when they begin to believe their own PR, it can severely taint their gifts and abilities. So, my advice is to save your money and visit several loving, humble, and affordable readers and/or healers for the price of one who has a great gimmick.
Spiritual Teachers vs. Authors
So let’s learn to discern the difference between true spiritual teachers from popular authors. One is there to teach you, and the other to sell you something. Of course, a spiritual teacher might also sell you something and an author might also teach you something, but the priorities differ from one to the other. A true spiritual teacher exists, teaches, and writes first and foremost to serve God and humanity. Then, in turn, they can attract abundance without sacrificing their higher integrities.
Even students of spirituality seem to find it acceptable to sit around and complain about the profits the government makes on our taxes or the oil tycoons for fuel or large corporations to pad the lives of their CEO’s, but nobody bothers to notice the greed of modern spiritual teachers. Buddha laughed at the likes of these individuals; Jesus rebuked them and referred to them as blind guides and hypocrites. Furthermore, neither Buddha nor Jesus ever charged a dime for their teachings which, by the way, far surpasses the teachings of today’s authors.
Now, you might ask, “Well Michael, don’t you also charge for your services?” The answer is of course, yes. But, in over 30 years of teaching we have NEVER turned away a student who couldn’t afford our workshops or sessions—that is, as long as that student or client was sincere about learning or healing. Yes, we do ask for occasional donations to assist with printing and or the numerous expenses for our retreat, but we share even these donations with others in need. Even at our recent mastery intensive, our attendees were surprised to see that such a large portion of their fee was spent on workshop supplies, guest facilitators, and on beautifying the property for their further enjoyment. In other words, we directly gave back to those who gave to us. We choose this win-win scenario rather than having one person benefiting from what they can take from others.
Say NO to the Spirit of Greed!
All this said, I encourage everyone to speak up on the matter. Say NO to the spirit of greed! Please send a copy of this article and/or your own thoughts to everyone you can—including the most well known spiritual authors—and remind them to get their priorities straight and to put love and service before self and profit. Take a moment to remind them what they seem to have forgotten: “The world needs to be for-giving and not for-getting.”
FEEDBACK FROM READERS REGARDING THIS ARTICLE
The article on Greed really hit home for me, as I am one of the people who has not been able to get to any events this year due to the rising cost of tuition and people’s motivations behind the teaching. Are we serving the people or our need for MORE!!! I give thanks for this like-minded awareness. You hit the nail right on the head when you suggested that Spiritual Teachers need to be held to higher ethical standard.
I could not agree more. I have experienced the disappointment of inaccessibility to authors and lecturers who seem to speak to my heart’s path, simply because of the price of admission. On the other hand, I have always been astounded by the meager ‘love offerings’ suggested by Michael at his events. Therefore, some time ago I made a personal commitment to donate more, as I felt spiritually compelled to do so. Thank you Michael for addressing the elephant in the living room; just because the subject matter is spiritual, it does not make exploitation any more palatable.
Bravo! Thank you for writing this. I agree that the idea that abundance equals ostentatious wealth, such as multiple cars, homes and boats, as well as over-the-top luxury is misguided and a symptom of greed. There must be another meaning for abundance. You are also right-on that hoarded abundance cannot be God’s will. I have always been impressed by your generosity in ways great and small.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for being the voice of truth–I cannot tell you how many times I come across amazing lights that know what workshops they want to experience on their journey toward healing and wholeness, but everything costs soooo much money–It saddens me. I feel their frustration because there is nothing more confusing than experiencing the awareness and having to hit the pause button of your journey because some of our brothers chose to charge so much. You are Brilliant!!!!!!! Wow, I am so deliriously happy that you have spoken your truth and shown us to be more vigilant in uncovering just another place where we have allowed ourselves to embrace someone else’s perception of truth; someone we trust as teachers (that have lost their way consciously or otherwise) to give us God direction, and because we have opened our hearts in abandonment, we don’t see the EGO at its best. I am delirious with Joy that you have addressed this topic. You are the definition of the word Authentic Teacher, and I am Graced to have shared my journey with you. I am impressed by your boldness and for standing by your principles of who you are. While I agree in value and equal energy exchange, I have held back from other opportunities that could possibly bring more growth and awareness due to the high cost associated with them.
I am a counselor/ intuitive healer who has also followed a path of minimal fees, etc. I hear what you are referring to all of the time, and I am saddened to know it is true. I once asked you Michael, “Why do you not charge more for your sessions,” and your answer was quite beautiful. I then felt validated that the 20 years of service I’ve provided for a minimal fee was worth every ounce of sacrifice having heard those words from someone as spiritually elevated as you. It was a clear message of my own truth. You are a true spiritual teacher, and it is appreciated beyond belief.
I like your message. And I confess I DO notice when messages–or messengers–drift into capitalism. Money can obfuscate the message. Thank you for this powerful message, how worthwhile to read something like this for a change!
What they fail to teach is: Seek ye first the kingdom . . . and the rest will be supplied. (Duh!!) However, I guess, “stuff” is a starting point, for newcomers. Anything less than the kingdom will be temporary, though, and unfulfilling! I attended a number of their workshops earlier in my “quest.” Now, it’s “the kingdom” or bust! “Stuff” (for me) is simply the out-picturing of energy. I use it (in part) as a “thermometer” for how I’m doing inside. But, only in part. It contains little clues: what kind of stuff do I have (what spiritual idea does it represent); what useless stuff am I holding onto; in what condition am I maintaining the stuff that is important, etc. There’s no $$ amount that can be put on pure joy, oneness, wholeness!
My advice in regards to the greedy teachers . . . Simply do not feed them : ) Do not attend their events, read their books, watch them on TV, listen to them on the radio. . . do not give them any energy. Remember “by their fruits you will know them.” If you do not know what fruits they are bearing . . . find out before you lose your soul and/or funds to what they are “selling.” Better yet, e-mail these “spiritual” teachers a request to borrow and use one of their yachts or their homes for a few weeks/months, along with their servants and toys, while you process some of their “spiritual” exercises : )