Money and Spirituality – Can They Coexist?
“Money is evil and it should never come into the domain of spiritual practice!”
“You’re not a REAL spiritual person if you charge money for your spiritual services!”
“You should never want more money if you’re a spiritual person – show gratitude for what you’ve got!”
“Everything that you do should be given to others for free – THAT is the only loving way of doing things.”
“Stop being a peddler!”
Through the years, I’ve heard a lot of passionate – and frankly dogmatic – opinions regarding spirituality and money.
These opinions range from extreme views such as money always taints and corrupts spirituality and spiritual services should never have a price tag, all the way to polar views that we should invest as much money as we have in spiritual practice.
Let me be clear: I’m not a person of extremes. I seek and respect balance, so my perspective falls somewhere in the middle.
I don’t believe charging for spiritual services is wrong nor do I believe that you should invest all the money you have in spiritual materials, courses, and teachers. I’ll explain why below.
But before we proceed I want to be clear: money and spirituality can be a heated topic. I respect everyone’s right to have different opinions so long as they don’t shove them into the faces of others.
Ironically so much unkindness and “unspiritual” behavior can occur when discussing money and spirituality. Let’s keep the comment area civil and mature.
Is Money Evil?
Let’s start off with a super basic question. Is money evil? After all, many of us have been conditioned to believe the religious idea that “money is the root of all evil.”
My simple answer to this question is no, money is not evil.
Money is paper – literally, it’s paper that WE have given value and meaning. By itself, it means nothing.
Saying money is evil is like saying the spoon you used to gouge that guy’s eyes out is evil. No, the spoon itself is not evil – it was your behavior that was the issue.
Do you see what I mean?
Money is a symbolic item we use to give and exchange items. In and of itself it is not evil – the problems stem from our minds and hearts, not from the flimsy piece of paper that we hold in our hands.
Why it Makes Sense to Be Suspicious of Money and Spirituality
I understand the fear surrounding money because, sometimes, I experience it as well. It sounds something like this:
Is that person really genuine?
Is that spiritual message a slick marketing campaign or does it carry genuine truth?
Can I rely on that person if they are charging me money?
Does that person care about me or my money?
Are they going to try and scam me?
What motivates that person – greed or love?
And all these concerns are legitimate.
The reality is that yes, there are sharks out there swimming in the water wanting to make a quick buck. There are deceitful and sly people out there who market themselves as spiritual “gurus” and teachers. There are people who dress up as beings of light but are fueled by dark motives. There are people who will use you for your money – and discard of you when you no longer pay their bills.
It’s not only sensible to feel this way but it is also crucial. Without a little bit of healthy skepticism, we approach the arena of spirituality with wide-eyed naivety and gullibility. Being suspicious and cautious allows us to practice discernment which cuts through the bullshit and protects us from being used and abused.
But there is a big difference between carrying healthy caution and completely rejecting all those who charge money for their services.
I’ll explain why …
Is it Okay to Charge Money For Spiritual Services?
My answer is: it depends.
If you are motivated purely by greed (or the desire to accumulate great wealth and “get rich”), then you need to rethink your motivations. People are not stupid and they can sniff out BS and insincerity ten miles away.
So not only is being motivated by money for money’s sake disrespectful towards those you serve, but it is also a bad idea for your business and damaging to nearly all aspects of your life.
If – on the other hand – you’re motivated by the desire to make a living from doing what you love (which is helping others), then charging for your spiritual services is appropriate and acceptable.
Shouldn’t “a genuinely spiritual person offer all of their help free of charge?” – as I’ve heard numerous people proclaim.
My answer is that sure, if you feel called to offer your spiritual services free of charge, that is wonderful. Sol and I do it here on lonerwolf every single week (as do many other people in the spiritual field).
But expecting that a person should offer all their time and energy for free (in the name of “spirituality”) is unrealistic. I can tell you for a start that this entire website would not exist without the financial support from our readers.
And I’ll go on the explain more below. But first, let’s explore some arguments for and against involving money in the spiritual domain.
Arguments For and Against
Here are a few common arguments against money and spirituality, with my response below each:
- If you’re spiritual you shouldn’t want money – people who want money are greedy and materialistic.
My response: So long as you are motivated by the genuine desire to help others, making money isn’t a problem. It is a gross generalization and misconception to say that those who want money are greedy and materialistic. Perhaps they want money to help support their families? Perhaps they want money to pay the bills? Perhaps they want money to support their sick loved ones? Perhaps they want money to pay for an education that will help them spread knowledge throughout the world?
- You shouldn’t be charging money for a gift you’ve gained freely from the universe!
My response: You ARE the Universe. Free will and personal sovereignty mean that you can share that gift with the world in whatever way you like. It’s time to stop thinking about your gifts like they’re handouts and start owning them as qualities of your own Soul.
- Spirituality is about personal sacrifice, it’s not about personal profit!
My response: Spirituality is not solely about personal sacrifice – although that forms a part of it. Spirituality is also about personal fulfillment, helping others, and spreading your message through the world – all of which are supported and furthered by money.
- As soon as you make a business out of spirituality you’ve stopped being spiritual because you’re motivated by money now.
My response: Just because you have a spiritual business that generates profit doesn’t mean you are driven exclusively by getting rich. Authentic spiritual businesses use money as a way to further their message to help others.
Here are some other reasons why I believe money and spirituality can coexist harmoniously (in the right hands):
- Money helps to spread and propagate a message throughout the world – websites, books, videos, and workshops don’t just materialize out of thin air, they require money to make, edit, product, and spread
- Money allows you to do what you love for a living and feel a sense of self-fulfillment
- Money allows you to pay the bills while also helping others
- Money is an equal exchange of energy – it allows others to give something for receiving something
- Charging money for your services is a sign of self-respect – it signifies that you believe in and trust what you do enough to place value on it
- Money is an investment of time and energy – basic psychology shows that people value what they pay for way more than what they receive for free
Do I think those that all spiritual services should have a price tag? No, of course not. Not everyone has the privilege of being able to afford premium services. Not everyone has money to spare or a wealthy cultural background, and that’s okay. This is where balance is needed. I believe that heart-centered spiritual businesses need to offer both free and paid content.
We don’t have to be self-sacrificing martyrs who give away all of our time and energy, nor do we need to be gluttons who focus on making big bucks. We can walk the middle path, respect what we have to offer, use money to spread our message and pay our bills, while also helping those who can’t afford premium services with free content or products.
As a heart-centered business owner, I can tell you that lonerwolf would have died long ago if it wasn’t for the help of advertisements and products. Furthermore, without generating some kind of profit, I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills and do what I love for a living – instead, I’d be dutifully working in some mediocre job not fulfilling my potential.
I have money to thank for the propagation of this website and its ability to spread the messages here worldwide to millions of people. Thanks to money I’ve been able to make my dream a reality and create a ripple effect of positive change in the world.
What about Money, Spirituality, and Manifesting?
Manifesting is a popular topic that is spoken about a lot in the spiritual community.
Essentially, manifesting is the art of creating what you want. It works on the principles of like attracts like. For example, if you think, feel, and believe that you will receive something, the law of the Universe dictates that eventually, you will receive that thing.
However, there’s a lot of woo-woo BS connected with manifesting. You can read more about that in our Law of Attraction article.
For the purposes of this article we’re talking specifically about manifesting and money. So the question is: Is it okay to try and manifest money?
Let’s face it, money is what makes our capitalist societies turn around – we need it to pay our bills, get healthcare, move from A to B, eat, drink, and support our families. If you are lacking money, there is nothing wrong with asking the Universe (or whatever higher power you believe in) for help.
But there is a difference between asking for help and giving the Universe a shopping list. Trying to “manifest more money” simply for the purposes of being wealthier verges on spiritual materialism. Spiritual materialism is a term coined by Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and describes the practice of using spirituality as a justification to pursue empty desires and attachments.
As described in my article about why the law of attraction creates so much suffering:
There is nothing wrong with wanting to have more money, find your true love or achieve your goals. But when you believe all of these things will bring you the happiness you want, you’re stuck on another hamster wheel of suffering. The LOA starts to reinforce enslavement and obsession with desires rather than being a valuable tool to use mindfully. The more you try to chase and “manifest” things, the further you get from the truth that true happiness can be found right here, in the present moment, regardless of what you do or don’t have. Even when you DO get what you so desperately wanted, you start fearing that it will be taken away from you! So you start clinging to, protecting, and fighting to keep what you’ve been given. Does this sound like a recipe for peace or well being to you?
So no, it’s not unhealthy to ask the Universe to help you make more money. This is a perfectly normal and healthy drive, especially because making money is a fundamental survival need.
But when your spiritual practice is driven solely by the desire to accumulate more wealth just for the sake of being rich, you have a problem.
Money and Spirituality – It’s All About the Intention
As we’ve seen, money and spirituality can coexist harmoniously.
When you have money, you have the resources to reach thousands, even millions of people with your message.
Money also helps us all to do what we love (while paying the bills), serves as a respectful exchange of energy, and attracts those who are willing to sincerely invest in our work.
Money itself is not evil, it is our intentions that can be tainted with dark motives. In other words, it’s all about the motives we have and what we carry within our hearts.
In order to maintain a healthy relationship with money in your spiritual practice it’s vital to:
- Be conscious of your motivations
- Live in alignment with your values
- Be ethical and transparent
- Be generous
- Be grateful for what you receive
I hope this article has created a bit more clarity surrounding the complex topic of money and spirituality.
About Aletheia Luna