The following is an extract from my book Discover Your Soul Template.
If you want to go the whole hog and set yourself up in business as a spiritual teacher or counselor, then there are some important things to consider.
First, you have to ask yourself why you want to do it. Clarify your intention by listening to what your ego is saying. Chances are the ego will go along for the power trip and the attention. That does not mean, however, that you are not suitable for the calling. All human beings and all spiritual teachers have an ego. Your job is to keep an eye on that part of yourself so that it does not dominate your work. Above all, listen to the voice of Spirit. It will guide you. It will tell you if your ego is starting to party hard, and will often let you know whether you are ready or not, and whether to stop, go, or wait.
Regardless of all other considerations, a spiritual teacher is called upon to serve Spirit. If you are not doing that, if you have no intention to do that, you are not a spiritual teacher, even if you call yourself one. You are a spiritual fraudster.
At a very practical level, you have to decide what it is you are selling. This may not seem very spiritual, but actually there is nothing unspiritual about selling or making money. Remember, in the end it is all an exchange of energy.
I highly recommend that you begin part-time. I have met more than a few naïve wannabe teachers who think the cosmos will reward them for the generous act of offering their grand wisdom to humanity. That’s not how it works. You have to honor the language and the realities of the market place. You have to offer a product that has some kind of business worthiness. Someone out there is going to have to want to buy what you are selling. And then you have to let people know about it.
Another approach is to make your teaching into a pastime, rather than a money-making venture. You might see it as a chance to share your wisdom with humanity. This is a perfectly noble ambition. One point to keep in mind, however, is that people often do not value what they are given for free. Scientific studies have confirmed this. When people are charged more for a service, they tend to report more positively about it, and when it is cheap, they tend to dis it. If you write a book, print off a thousand copies, and give them away on the street, you can bet a lot of people will not value it. If you charge market prices, only people who really want it will buy it. If you overcharge people, they will think you are a crook. There is nothing wrong with doing things for no financial reward. However, just be mindful that your desire to take this approach is not undermined by a belief that money is bad, that you are not worth anything, or that abundance is just too hard to create.
Jessica, the woman who was the original inspiration for my theory of Integrated Intelligence, charged hefty fees. She earned about five times more per hour than I did at the time, and I was an education professional with a university degree (she had no degree). But she was so brilliant that she had no trouble attracting clients. She was also very generous. One time I had a one-on-one session with her and at the end she laughed playfully like a little girl and said that Spirit had told her to give me the session for free. And so she did.
As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, every time you step forward out of your comfort zone in an act of creativity, it will draw out the resisting beliefs and energies from your psyche. As a Sage you will need to work on your consciousness, as well as deal with the day-to-day running of your business. This takes time and discipline. Don’t overestimate how quickly you can set things up, because it usually takes longer than you think. Creating unrealistic expectations places unnecessary stress on yourself.
Money pushes buttons too. If you put yourself under financial pressure, you may, ironically, cut yourself off from Spirit. Think about it. You open your little spiritual center and nobody comes. Suddenly you can’t pay the rent, and you are asking all sorts of questions of Spirit, and demanding some answers. The ego will tend to get scared and angry and then go into blame and judgment. Fear takes you away from presence and away from Integrated Intelligence and the wisdom of the Spirit. This situation can turn into a self-perpetuating cycle of poverty and poverty consciousness. You go into business believing that the cosmos owes you a living. You have a bit of a hard time, and suddenly the negative beliefs within the psyche come forward, and before you know it you are broke, bitter, and screaming, “I told you so!”
This is precisely what happens to a lot of wannabe spiritual teachers. Mostly, we overestimate our level of spiritual development and our faith in the cosmos. Nothing will bring out doubt and fear faster than the rent notice when you haven’t got a penny to your name.
Remember the concept of being a spiritual fraud? I call it frauding, when you believe you have gained a level of spiritual development that you have not. Frauding involves a rejection of certain parts of your psyche that you are not willing to look at, and this usually means that there is some personal pain that you are avoiding. My ego fall at the country retreat, which I mentioned above (not included in this extract), is a classic example. My ego fall came early, as the lie was exposed by perceptive people. In day-to-day life (as opposed to doing spiritual work), a fall also inevitably comes when we fraud. It may just take longer to happen.
An awareness of the trickster and its tendency to fraud, is crucial for your business and for the manifestation of your bliss in general. When your estimation of your attainment exceeds the reality, it creates a metaphysical wake. A critical instability emerges when the delusion becomes too great. Even as you think you are putting forward positive energy into the world, your psyche will be working against you and against your bliss. Once a certain level of delusion is reached, you have to invest more and more energy in maintaining the charade. Inevitably, the whole thing comes crashing down like a house of cards.
Everyone frauds from time to time, because everyone has an ego. It’s just a question of spotting the lies as they pop up, and gently and lovingly correcting them. When you are frauding, Spirit will send you signals. We have to be on the lookout for the signs. Within my own psyche, I have always gotten a particular symbol in my dreams and meditations at such times: Mickey Mouse! To say that something is “Mickey Mouse” is to imply that it is false or simply of poor quality.
For you the symbol you are given or the way Spirit lets you know you are going into delusion will most likely be different. Your life experience is different from mine, and the symbols within your psyche are particular to you. You have to learn that language.
It is also important to remember that, though the Sage is always a teacher of Spirit, she does not necessarily have to become a spiritual teacher. As long as you are living your bliss and in presence you will be serving Spirit. You will be part of the light, pushing holes through the darkness. I trust that this book has shown you that this is not as easy as some popular versions of spiritual development make it out to be.
Keep in mind though, that beyond the price you pay, the reward is the joyful discovery of your soul, and the knowledge that your time here on earth has been of service to all humanity.