Money is a controversial topic in spiritual circles. On the one hand we all need to pay our rent or mortgage, need food on the table and an internet connection. On the other, when money becomes the main motivation to do something, it can hardly be called spiritual anymore. I guess the main issue is commercial intent…
Add the ideal of poverty to the mix, and things become really complicated.
Personally I feel people make too much of this. We don’t expect a school teacher to work for nothing. We expect her to love her work, love the kids and pay the rent from her salary. The same goes for therapists, doctors and any other service work.
So why is spirituality different?
If a spiritual teacher becomes rich off his work, he should come under special scrutiny about how he is spending that money. Other than that – let’s not expect people to live on air… And let’s recognize that if we want spiritual teachers and meditation trainers to be good at what they do, they need to be able to devote themselves full time to that profession. Which, in the real world, requires money.
In the East, if a person goes into the woods to live off nothing, people will flock with donations. In the West, we let him starve. Think of that before judging how people make ends meet.
Tithing – the other side of the spectrum
Money is a necessity of our lives – individual and collective. Therefore it makes sense to contribute financially to institutions and organisations you sympathize with or make use of.
However, the question is: should that be a mandatory percentage of a person’s income? This is where the tithing debate comes in. It is the norm in Freemasonry as well as some Christian groups. In such cases social pressure can become quite fierce.