Money and the Course, Part I

Every now and then someone drops me an email to tell by that I am wrong to charge money for mentoring students of A Course in Miracles. Often they do this anonymously so I cannot respond to them. But if I can, I always let them know that I do not turn anyone away; that I work with many pro bono or at a reduced rate; that several people get informal mentoring by me through email free of charge; that if they want my booklets I will send it to them for free; and that many of their questions can be answered at the extensive blog archive-by-topic at my free website. They are never interested in my services or booklets or blogs. So why, I wondered, do they care that I charge for services they don’t even want? Why would they go out of their way to contact a stranger to voice their disapproval? Their concern is genuine and I have given it a lot of thought. There are three issues here: Preconceptions of how the Holy Spirit works in the world; fear of money; and ultimately, a lack of faith.

Many of you who read this blog may one day – if you have not already – reach a point where you are ready for the Holy Spirit to work through you and it may turn out to be the way you make a living in the world as well. If you have feelings about money similar to those who disapprove of me it may be an obstacle to you being open to the Holy Spirit. Because there is a lot to say on this subject, I have divided it into two parts. This first part is about my personal experience with the Holy Spirit, mentoring and the relationship between our resources and what we value.

The only real response I have to someone’s concern that I make money using A Course in Miracles is that I live my life in full partnership with the Holy Spirit. My life has not been mine alone since I became a student of the Course in 1984. I knew then that the Course was the whole reason I came into the world and that one day I was going to do something with it. I didn’t know what. For over twenty years I learned to step aside and let the Holy Spirit work in me and through me to prepare me for whatever it was. A fundamental shift came about seven years ago when I realized that my purpose was to maintain my connection to the Holy Spirit and to let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest. The Holy Spirit working through me to write and mentor is what has unfolded from all of this.

On the personal level, I am done with the world. I have everything in this instant and so nothing to seek for. My part is over. I willingly turned my life over to the Holy Spirit to use and the Holy Spirit has done so. Now I stay in the present with the Presence because this is where I want to be. From my view, both the students and the money come from the Holy Spirit. I make no judgment about who pays how much and who doesn’t pay at all. That is between the student and the Holy Spirit. I show up and let go.

The guidance of the Holy Spirit is where it begins and ends for me. But there are practical considerations, too. I was led to form a licensed, tax paying business and it makes sense to me. If I am to mentor a number of students and to write my blogs and booklets, plus to have ample time for communion with God, for reflection and contemplation it makes sense that this would be how I made my living rather than something I squeezed into my spare time while earning a living some other way. The Holy Spirit simplifies, rather than complicates a life.

Some have suggested I should ask for donations rather than charge a fee and trust the Holy Spirit to guide paying students to me. Asking for donations is a way of saying, “I want to be paid for my services but I don’t want to take responsibility for asking for it”. It is deceiving and would also put potential students in an awkward position. They would be left wondering what was too much and foolish to pay me or what was too little and insulting to pay me.

A posted fee gives students a measure that helps them determine how much they value mentoring. My fee is meant to be fair to both me and to students. But if my fee puts a student off, then they didn’t really want mentoring in the first place. And if they truly cannot afford it but don’t have the initiative to call me and say, “Liz, I want to work with you and this is what I can afford…” then they don’t have the initiative to effectively use mentoring. No one needs mentoring. It is useful for some who have reached a deeper level of commitment to their spiritual awakening. That is between them and the Holy Spirit. And trusting that the Holy Spirit to provide them with the means to do what they need to do is also between them and the Holy Spirit.

There are lessons I have learned about money and motivation through my life-coach-training and my mentoring practice. Everyone has limited resources – time, energy, money – and, no matter what we say we value, we naturally spend our resources on what we truly value. Most pro bono students don’t last long. Often, they come late to calls or don’t show up at all. Their unwillingness to give up something else to pay for mentoring and honor appointments indicates they don’t really value it. And when I didn’t charge a fee at all early in my coach-training days I wasn’t taken seriously. No one wants a service that they perceive the person offering it doesn’t value.

If you pre-judge what the Holy Spirit’s work in the world will look like your mind will be closed to the Holy Spirit. Your part is to let go of ego and the world and to stay centered in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does the rest. (See also,
Overcoming the Appearance of Spirituality).

In the supplement to the Course on psychotherapy we are told that we are all psycho-therapists, or mind-healers. This is what the Course has to say about money and healing:


No one can pay for therapy, for healing is of God and He asks for nothing. It is, however, part of His plan that everything in this world be used by the Holy Spirit to help in carrying out the plan. Even an advanced therapist has some earthly needs while he is here. Should he need money it will be given him, not in payment, but to help him better serve the plan. (P-3.III.1)

But no one here can live with no illusions, for he must yet strive to have the last illusion be accepted by everyone everywhere. He has a mighty part in this one purpose, for which he came. He stays here but for this. And while he stays he will be given what he needs to stay. (P-3.III.1)

There will be those of whom the Holy Spirit asks some payment for His purpose. There will be those from whom He does not ask. It should not be the therapist who makes these decisions. (P-3.III.2)

Perhaps he was sent to give his brother the money he needed. Both will be blessed thereby. Perhaps he was sent to teach the therapist how much he needs forgiveness, and how valueless is money in comparison. Again will both be blessed. (P-3.III.6)

One rule should always be observed: No one should be turned away because he cannot pay. No one is sent by accident to anyone. Relationships are always purposeful. (P-3.III.6)

This view of payment may well seem impractical, and in the eyes of the world it would be so. Yet not one worldly thought is really practical. (P-3.III.7).

This subject will be continued in my next blog, where I will discuss the fears at the heart of the belief it is wrong for me to charge for my services.

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One-on-one study, support and guidance are available for students of A Course in Miracles who want inner peace, harmonious relationships and a deep sense of purpose faster and easier. Visit
www.acimmentor.com. There you will also find an archive-by-topic for this blog and booklets to deepen your understanding of the Course.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I have paid work with people with developmental disabilities- perhaps some may think it should be offered as charity. But I think that charity is not what is needed for these people, and would not be showing any dignity for them. Empowerment rather than charity.
Anonymous said…
Hello,
You are the first person I know who charges to help someone understand the ACIM. Although it's your perogative to charge people as you see fit. However, I am not just questioning you, but others who use spirituality to earn money. But how righteous am I to question or judge anyone. If I could, I'd probably let someone let you mentor me. But I also believe that if the Holy Spirit is in you to understand the ACIM, then it must be in me as well to understand since we are all perfect children of God.

Continue to receive the blessings of the universe.

Angela
Liz Cronkhite said…
Thank you for your feedback, Angela.

I do not charge anyone to help them understand A Course in Miracles. My website has extensive answers-by-topic for anyone looking to understand the Course better. My weekly newsletter is free and so is the telephone study group I lead on Wednesdays. I also respond to many emails a week from people looking to understand the Course or who need guidance and support. Occasionally, I also get calls from people looking for guidance and support. I charge for none of this. If someone wants either of my booklets and cannot afford them I will send it to them for free.

What I do charge for is for more intensive one-on-one guidance and support in a mentoring relationship, either ongoing or on an occasional basis. No one is turned away. I've worked with many on a pro bono basis or at a reduced fee. What I do look for is students who truly want the mentoring and who have the initiative to let me know they cannot afford my fee. If someone wants mentoring but does not have the initiative to ask if I will mentor them at a reduced rate or for free, in my experience they do not have the initiative to use mentoring.

Actually, I doubt I'm the first person you've heard of who charges others to help them understand the Course better. For example, many books, tapes, classes and seminars are sold for this purpose. As with everything else in the world, money is nothing. If someone is called by the Holy Spirit to teach the Course and to charge for it then money is serving the Holy Spirit's purpose. To not charge when the Holy Spirit leads you to do so is to give money a power it does not have just as much as charging where the Holy Spirit asks you not to. Really, in the end, to give money any thought is to not let the Holy Spirit lead you.

Liz
Betty Miller said…
There is a principle of giving and receiving. By "charging" a fee, we allow that other person to give. It is the flow of spirit. Spirit is all, a movie, a dinner, etc, we pay for these, why not a spiritual structured time with a mentor?
Brett K. said…
As an energy healer and counselor, I too have been challenged on charging money. I have found that it is easy for some to pay money for doctors, therapists or whoever, all because it is not considered "spiritual". So then, when we follow God to do what is right in our heart, some judge it as not being spiritually correct. In the end, it is all spiritual to me and I am simply grateful for doing God's work. Keep up the great work!
hannah said…
im feeling somewhat guilty and confused right now, but also laughing because the main reason which prompted me to see if there was a heading 'money' in answers by topic was because i was wondering why i simply cant seem to keep enough aside to book sessions with you.. i was particularly wondering is i was simply self sabotaging getting help, if i was needing to look at money issues, or if i was simply needing to turn to myself more, or any combo of these.

ever since my session with you (after which i had the most peaceful day or so that ive had in a long time.. maybe ever) ive been wanting to set up a regular session, but money? has held me back. i keep saying oh, once ive got x or y done ill 'treat myself' to looking at 'whatever' with you. often your next blog deals with 'whatever', directly or indirectly, but i know after speaking with you that its not the same as a discussion one on one. clarity of what acim teaching and what it is not teaching is accelerated (as far as i can tell ;) ) via the blog, but working through my personal blockages, i feel, would happen faster in sessions, though the blog and books are helping greatly on their own of course.

i think your rates are bloody good, and brilliant value for the value of the gifts offered. i do have a reaction to the adding of the extra due to the exchange rate.. i get that every time i spend outside of aus though, and i am kinda ashamed of that reaction, and would super love to move past it.. i have just figured this would pass as my trust grew, and have been using the dynamic as a working point on dropping judgement of myself for the layers of feelings and beliefs that come up.

anyhow, while some things that are coming up simply do need doing, the main thing which is taking all the spare cash i have is my teeth, which have started to fall apart quite badly in the last couple of years. im ashamed that this is taking the number one place money wise, (all the spare cash i have goes to saving to repair my teeth, and ive hardly got any work done yet!) as you know i havent worked for years, so i know my money situation is entirely my own choice, and usually i just kind of roll with it.. but the 'teeth vs peace-valuing' thing has me feeling very shallow and guilty. like.. if i knew i was dying id totally go the sessions with you.. i WANT to want peace more than teeth, (laughing out loud!) and its not even like im getting work done quicker than my teeth are doing what they are doing.. (erm.. im 'scared' to say 'crumbling') so im kinda feeling stuck on this, on the guilt level, and the feeling deprived level!

and because its totally self created, and i KNOW i still wouldnt change my choices (i mean re work.. id certainly choose to brush my teeth growing up.. so hard no to feel hard done by there, despite logic telling me my folks couldnt teach what they werent doing, dear hearts, and to blame the hard adult depression years where all self care was simply incredibly low) i feel guilty for feeling deprived, as well as guilty for prioritising my teeth over my peace. id love some help to see every aspect of this differently... if i can as of yet!

i HAVE been working on trying to let go of caring about my teeth.. i smile big as comes naturally and dont try and hide them.. and its gotten to the point i simply dont think about it often, (unless a stranger at the op shop where i volunteer does a tooth double take, lol..) which is great.. but im still prioritising them.

hannah said…
and no.. not ALL the spare cash i have goes to the savings fund. just most, lol ;) working on the drama language here!
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, teeth are no small matter. Good oral health is part of overall health.

If you aren't willing to spend the money on mentoring you aren't ready for the mentoring, whatever you may feel. It is automatic that people spend their limited resources (money, time, energy) on what they value. As ACIM says, if you are not ready to accept the means you are not ready to accept the goal. You cannot force willingness. Just accept that you are not ready now...
hannah said…
ok, so not money but willingness.. ok, you know what, i just saw it clearly. because yes.. it DOES come down to choice. oh yay, man i LOVE dropping victim-hood feelings!! i could easily forgo the coffees with vanessa, the money spent on outings with my niece etc.. coffee at home and visits to the park/beach etc are just as lovely, if i dont bring this deprivation attitude into it.. for a long time i wasnt able to do those things, coffees out etc and have enjoyed the change (i moved out of town, cheaper rent) but i dont need to cling to that, that was nice but didnt say anything about my.. well.. worth as a friend and aunt, as a person, laugh! i have 'poverty' attitudes leftover from childhood.. happy to see it like this.. which is.. unemotionally i think is the difference, cos i already knew i had the attitude! but i felt like i was a victim of my attitude. after reading your response a layer of self pity just rose right up strong but then it just.. dropped, i feel much better.

i dont want to hide my fear behind this old stuff. im kinda scared of the level of self hatred that keeps arising. im feeling grief? and anger in this process of letting go of being a perfect person.. you told me once that would never happen, and i thought i accepted it at the time, but as ive started to bring that into how i related to my whole family, and letting go of trying to heal the rifts there between them, ive really felt a kick back. the acceptance i feel when i do drop into it, is wonderfully soothing and actually your latest blog 'correcting 'this is not real'' was really helpful.. i guess beginning letting go of trying to perfect my self, and my family relationships, is going hand in hand with a deeper acceptance of the fact that there really is only one 'place' where i can find peace. you also told me once that i was looking where it cant be found, in relation to peace, and im getting it. fighting it.. but im fighting it COS im getting it.. and my willingness will shift soon i think. i dont want to sabotage myself.. money is just an excuse. i feel.. flippy between sad and kind of.. eager. ill set up regular sessions soon, as i feel the discipline would also be helpful, the regularity. i just have to work through a bit of fear.. you see me clearly already im sure.. im scared for you to get to know my ego better. (lol.. eyes teared up with self pity as i wrote that..). i do know the fear is silly, ungrounded, you are no longer (if you ever were) stuck in the ego judgement and hatred i feel..) and are not like i still am.. with my helpfulness held back by personal like or dislike.

thank you also cos i no longer feel bad about putting money aside for my teeth. i was thinking like.. hey you shouldnt care if you end up with dentures, dont be so vain. its not one or the other.. its just about choice and value.. yep.. not a victim, han ;)
ACIM Mentor said…
Yes, Hannah, I used to be like you stuck in judgment and self-hatred. And, yes, I no longer am. Also my helpfulness is not dependent on my personal feelings. My personal feelings are irrelevant. Frankly, I don't even think about them.
hannah said…
liz, that sounds totally wonderful. not even thinking about them!! did you stop thinking about them when you no longer felt guilty for them? is your personal dislikes and likes being irrelevant the same as saying that you dont operate from special relationships anymore? im getting after last night that it really is just a simple thing, a simple switch that happens?

i can be such a bully, due to my attachment to my personal likes and dislikes, due to that fear, and yet despite watching it approach in me in the now of a situation, i sometimes simply will not shut up, i go into righteousness and 'being helpful' and can be incredibly nasty and am like a hammer with it. i made my niece cry yesterday, and when i asked holy spirit about it after i had apologised to her, i remembered that what is not love is fear, and saw that what i was reacting to in her and 'telling her all about' was actually the same as what was occurring in me, a reaction of fear to perceived threat to 'self autonomy' and loss of control. though my reaction was nasty and hers was just a bit rude in an 8 year old kind of way. i woke during the night and couldnt sleep again so i listened to a talk by ken wapnick in which he answered someones question by explaining that our brother is our savior in that we can see in them the things which we couldnt see in 'ourselves alone', due to our fear of our self hatred, basically, and the line from one of the reviews clicked into my head, about how this world changes from a prison in our perception to a place where the son of god finds his freedom. i lay there grinning for ages, feeling so grateful and innocent. no loud thoughts, just happy.
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, from the beginning for me my personal feelings about clients were irrelevant. I was with the Holy Spirit and also with the client. It wasn't about my personal feelings.

You can just let go of the self and how it shows up in the world. It has nothing to do with Truth. Truth goes on completely untouched by it.

I'm glad you had a shift in perception!

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