So many people think a spiritual teacher is obligated to teach for free.
Teaching is a process of giving and sharing. For that process to be true. Both the teacher and the student share and support each other in the process. If a teacher only gives, then over time, they will have nothing left to support themselves and no longer be able to teach.
The real truth about spiritual teaching is not to ask for more than what you need to explore and thrive modestly in your life. To ask for too much is to corrupt yourself also. The teacher also should thrive, to teach spirit, but to thrive with MODESTY.
There is a balance in this.
Now often students do not value themselves. If a student doesn’t value themselves, ironically they don’t value their teacher. To not give enough support to either themselves or the teacher means to undercut the whole process.
Sadly some teachers don’t value their students, don’t understand their student teaches them in reflection. A teacher that doesn’t grow with their students doesn’t thrive either.
Often people will ask me where can I find a Taoist teacher near them. Not many Taoist teachers are spread out in the west. Partly because the culture doesn’t value the teaching of freedom, nonjudgment, acceptance. As a result, not many people can survive as a Taoist teacher in Modern culture. My process was over 18 years to handcraft and balanced out my Taoist Teaching practice to both survive and teach others with balance. It’s a long-term and modest lifestyle that many in the west wouldn’t have the patience to craft for their own life. To Teach Taoism in the west is a special path indeed.
If a culture doesn’t value its teachers, value what they teach, then that culture will ensure few teachers exist in that subject.
I am one of the few publicly accessible teachers in this subject precisely because of the way I work. I teach respect and balance up front; I show my students how the process is a mutual process of support and growth in life. My students and I are the best of friends, and we help each other thru good and bad times equally.
Over time I have given freely in many ways, have a decade’s worth of material and a free book here on the site. Look around, and you will find dozens of more sites and forums to begin your learning experience if you want or need a low-cost entry point for learning Taoism.
Unfortunately, all too many people expect a free handout in spiritual teachings. That doesn’t work when asking for help directly from another person: it undercuts the whole process from the beginning.
Many ways exist to help another who helps you. This is why I use my time for time process as my baseline to work with others. It’s about helping each other, but you have to go into the learning process looking for a balance of exchange. The whole world is burning up and destroying itself because the balance has been undercut by everyone trying to profit from another.
The process I have developed resolves this by setting it up in a time for time manner at the very start: helping each other thrive modestly.
Also, I will finally add that yes many free teachers are out there. I learned from the river for decades of time and am still learning lessons from my old and wise teacher. If you look carefully around yourself and also take time to invest and witness life around you: life itself will teach you. However, in return, you have to be willing to live, to push yourself, and take the time to linger in trying to understand what life is teaching you. All too many people are looking only for the shortcuts.
It is acceptable to pay a teacher for the shortcuts they have found in life. Also know the shortcuts from many teachers are not always as much fun as the longer path and to enjoy exploring your path.
Even your own path isn’t free, you have to invest in yourself.
Support yourself with patience, kindness, modesty, and nonjudgement. Understanding these truths supports the initial path of learning Taoism.