Money and the Spiritual Path
"Someone wrote this in the NDE Yahoo group, and I wondered how you might counter this notion - because I get this all the time, too. I don't understand what's wrong with earning a living like everyone else with what we've chosen to do. Just because we're 'spiritual,' we're not suppose to get paid and we should live in poverty? Or, as some in my family have often said to me, 'Why don't you just get a job?'
"It seems that there are many who try to use spirituality as a means to make money. But there are also many, many others that are reaching out to help others with spiritual growth the best way they can. You offered to visit our local IANDS group if we paid your airfare and found someone's house you could stay in. Linda has been doing this message board for years, without making a dime from it as far as I can tell." ....Dana
One of the biggest misunderstandings that exist on the spiritual path concerns the issue of money. There have been many fine books written on this subject, classes taught, speakers who tackle the subject. . . still, superstitution remains. Money is just green energy. That's all it is. Problems come when we let money use us, instead of us using it. Control issues can become enormous problems, to where we become little more than a common addict, tied to a monster that will suck out our spirit. Money should serve, never control. Yet, in that service we forget about the Law of Circulation, a universal Law that still applies, and to all of us. The Law of Circulation says that receiving is just as important as giving. If we give/give/give, always giving, we deny the equal need to receive, and become as if an "overlord" in how our piety becomes simply another way to stiffle the creativity and spirit of others, not to mention their good will and their love. Giving and receiving goes both ways, says the Law, else what we think of as our generosity, our desire to help and uplift, turns into another way our ego can get the best of us.
Since my actions are in question here, allow me to speak on my behalf. Like any near-death experiencer, I gave away or sold almost everything I had within a year of my three episodes in 1977. I moved East (my home was in Idaho) with only $1,000 to my name. Yes, I had a cousin and his family in Reston, Virginia, and, yes, I was able to live in their camper for about a month. But that was it. I was turned out and quite forcefully, when I could not accept all of their narrow beliefs. That I found work in Washington, D.C. and an apartment was truly as act of God - nothing less could have explained the miracle. I began my search of near-death experiencers a month later, never having heard of Raymond Moody nor his book, and having no idea anyone else was researching the phenomenon besides me. I did what I did because of a Voice that spoke to me during my third episode. To date, I have written ten books on my findings (the latest one to be published by Hampton Roads in January, 2011). During these three-plus decades (I began in 1978), I have held to a schedule averaging a six-day week, 8 to 10 hours per day (sometimes longer) each and every year. Terry and I were married in 1980, so his paychecks have helped some. Mostly, though, the money that paid for my work came from first a salaried position, then part-time jobs, then giving readings via visionary abilities that I had and rune-casting sessions I gave using the ancient casting glyphs that trace back to the Crimea, Danube, Ukraine, and Black Sea ("Runes of the Goddess"). In case you haven't guessed, we have lived on the cheap. Like the average near-death experiencer, I was challenged with how to understand, train, redefine, and use my enhanced abilities in ways that would serve the greater good. God/Diety/Source comes first in my life.
It took me a very long time to charge for anything I did. We were brought to our knees (my husband and myself) with disaster after disaster with my books, including a near-bankruptcy. I have often said, and it is true, if I had become a clerk at Wal-Mart instead of a researcher of near-death states, I would be rich today. As of 2007, my total earnings from all that I have done since 1978 in the way of books royalties, engagements, classes, talks, on my near-death work, has been $30,000. That's it. If you've ever read "The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences," you noticed that I gave away 50% of all my royalties on the book to the International Association For Near-Death Studies (IANDS) - that means all Friends of IANDS groups can order the book directly from Hampton Roads, the book's publisher, for half price, sell them themselves, keep the profit to help out their group - until the Spring of 2012. After that time, the ownership of the book passes to IANDS. I'm out. I am very clear about this. Yes, I did all the work, all of it, still, the book belongs to experiencers and those like them who read the book, not to me. IANDS is the perfect custodian of this fact.
In the last several years I have finally learned how to speak up for myself, especially where engagements are concerned. My charge now is a minimum of $500 per talk, all expenses paid. With IANDS groups, I will come and help them out for only the cost of expenses. I do ask that a donation plate be put out to help pay for my time. Whatever is collected, I am grateful to receive. Other researchers AND near-death experiencers (especially those who have made a lot of money with their books) charge in the thousands for each appearance. Now, there's nothing wrong with this, and someday my price may go up too. Depends on what I am guided to do during prayer and meditation. All of my work, though, as a Prayer Chaplain is done without charge.
The question about money has been a source of deep grief for near-death experiencers. We say free and give away what we have or gain without question. We are generous and open-hearted to our core. The result? Years later many suffer from serious poverty issues, confused when comparing the outcome of their piety to what they felt guided to do. Examples: the money did not come to pay for the Centers they were guided to build; the result of their healing work helped many, only to deplete them later-on; their "soul mates" were a mixed bag and relationships suffered. I know of one near-death experiencer, a man by the name of Steve, who went on a spending spree after his near-death experience, to help out his family. This led to serious financial distress and his death by suicide, because he was so ashamed of what he had done to his family - when all he wanted to do was spread love. The last thing Steve requested was that near-death experiencers be taught how to handle money, what it's for, and how to use it. The magic of compound interest was the first thing he forgot. So did I. So do most of us. Even those who were able to ply the waters of spirituality with a good head and some degree of common sense, tussled with the shift in feelings and attitudes they had about money and possessions and ownership afterward. I am grateful there is a movement afoot to assist experiencers with the timely information they need to successfully integrate their near-death states.
Most of the work I do is a labor of love. It always has been so and always will be. Make no mistake about this point, however. I intend to pay off our mortgage and all our bills, and then some. There is nothing unspiritual about paying off your debts and being a good custodian of the gifts you have been given in life. None of us "owns" anything, anyway, so the question of ownership/possessions is moot. ~PMH
---- In case you didn't already know, there was a special TV broadcast to the People's Republic of China and Surrounding Areas, on April 23 (Episode 1) and on April 30 (Episode 2). This broadcast featured a number of near-death experiencers, and centered entirely around the near-death phenomenon. Credits go to Beverly Brodsky, in the San Diego area, as one of the organizers, and New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV). Denis Purcell of IANDS-Los Angeles was also a major organizer, who worked with Qing Ma, the local producer for New Tang Dynasty TV. This cooperative project was successfully launched and carried out. Many credits and pats on the back to all involved.
---- Hospice Nurse Maggie Callanan, the author of "Final Gifts/Final Journeys," will be presenting some programs in North Carolina. The first is in the Winston-Salem area (June 17th, 1 to 4 pm), and the second is in Durham (June 18th, 1 to 4 pm). To register for either or both of these programs, get ahold of IANDS (International Association For Near-Death Studies) at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (919) 383-7940.
---- There are once again excessive claims being made about near-death experiencers and their stories. I understand the need to do this, because of media and publishing pressures, but I want to set the record straight:
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE NDE BOOK OF THE YEAR. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE BEST NDE STORY OF THEM ALL. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE MOST GRIPPING OR UNUSUAL OR MOST LOVING.
Sorry, none of this applies, and no one can make such a statement without exaggeration or lying. There are millions of cases; thousands are now published on the Internet, in various books, or websites. Some of the most evidential cases have never been published, and probably never will. So please keep this in mind as you visit your favorite bookstore, or search online for whatever you can find. ~PMH