What is meant by “in the gift”?
This means that we are not setting a specific price for this retreat. We want everyone who is called to attend to be able to come (this is our gift to you, and to the world), and we do not want money to be an impediment. At the same time, we have real costs associated with offering this program, including paying our teachers a fair wage, buying and cooking food, as well as a host of expenses associated with maintaining Lama’s facilities and staff so that we can offer programs like this. We believe that by offering what we can, and by allowing each person to contribute what they can, that all of our needs will be met. That means that some people will offer more, and others less. We think that’s right.
What do I give then?
We invite you to begin considering what you can afford, as well as what this retreat is worth to you. You might consider what comparable programs cost. It’s important to know that we do rely on your contributions. “In the gift” does not mean free. This is not charity. We rely on our members, retreatants, visitors – that is, our community – to pay the bills. But we want you to determine the value of this event for yourself, and to contribute in accord with your ability.
We understand that this structure can create confusion and even anxiety for some, because we are so accustomed to an advertised price and a flat rate for every person, regardless of our ability to pay. That often makes a decision easy, because the mind and heart are then taken out of the equation. Our hope is to put them right back in.
What if I can only afford very little, or nothing at all?
Undoubtedly, some people just cannot contribute much, at least financially. We acknowledge that, and we also believe that our mere presence and participation is itself a gift, as the diversity and vitality of the event will serve and enrich us all. At the same time, we ask that you look deeply within yourself and not take advantage of our generosity simply because it’s a good deal.
We invite you to begin the conversation today by considering what you can offer as a deposit. It can be anything you wish, even a dollar. We ask for a deposit because we want you to know that this “in the gift” structure does not mean that we’re flaky or careless. We find that people who register for events, but do not make a deposit, tend not to come. And we need people to commit, so that we can plan for meals, housing, and all the events associated with this program.
We hope that this stimulates an inner conversation about generosity, security, greed, peace, and how economies work. And again, know that we will address this in person during the retreat, where we will all have the benefit of each other’s insight, honesty, and integrity.