Sitting, loving, giving

LotusWildmind has been on the receiving end of a lot of love these days. Needless to say, this has been an enjoyable and even inspiring experience.

Not only have a lot of people been writing to express appreciation, but we’ve received many donations, which are all very much appreciated. (If you don’t have time and want to skip to the tl;dr — too long, didn’t read — version, then click here.)

We’ve always tried to self-fund our work (encouraging the practice of meditation), by charging for classes, selling guided meditation CDs and, more recently, selling other meditation supplies. That went well until the recession hit, and we’d been increasingly struggling until the end of last year, when bankruptcy seemed like a very real possibility.

So we started a dana appeal two months ago. (Dana is the Buddhist term for giving, or generosity, or alms.) We did this at the same time as we decided to pull all advertising from our site. The advertising was ugly and the messages sometimes conflicted with what we were trying to do here. Financially it seemed like a crazy thing to do, but from every other angle it seemed absolutely right. We asked for donations — especially regular monthly donations — to help cover the loss in revenue from the ads, and our fans stepped right up and filled the gap, plus a little more. Wow!

We’re starting to feel more financially secure, and although it’s going to be a while until we’re out of our financial hole, we’re no longer having to worry about our future in the same way. Things are more stable. There’s still some slight anxiety, but it’s a huge relief to be able to get on with planning creative work that benefits people rather than worrying about how to stay afloat.

One of the loveliest things about asking for and receiving dana is that we’re realizing more and more that Wildmind is becoming a community. It’s not just a website and a bunch of people reading what appears on the website. It’s a practice community, and this is most clear in the Community that we started on Google+, where about 250 people are sharing what’s going on in their meditation practice, and giving each other support and encouragement.

We’d like to take this further, and eventually make all of our courses available by donation. People will be able to take our courses and then “pay it forward” by making a donation at the end. We hope to make this work by the end of this year.

The “tl;dr”

And for the current phase of our dana appeal, what I’d like to do is this: I have cancelled my teaching activities for April and May so that I can concentrate on some creative work. I’m going to be putting together an audio course on mindfulness, which will be about 2.5 hours long. I think I can do that by the end of April. We’ve received enough contributions to make that happen. And everyone who has donated more than $15 to my creative sabbatical, or set up a recurring donation of any amount, will receive a copy of this program once it’s ready (probably at the end of next month). People who have set up a recurring donation will in fact receive free copies of any creative work that I produce during the time they’re giving to Wildmind.

But there’s May as well. In May I’d like to start work on an audio course on lovingkindness, which will cover areas like self-compassion and developing appreciation. These are topics I’ve written about a lot on Wildmind. We haven’t yet raised enough to cover the lost income for classes for May, and so here’s the deal:

  • If you set up, or have already set up, a recurring donation, you’ll get a copy of both the mindfulness course and the lovingkindness course (and any other audio programs, ebooks, etc., that I develop for as long as you continue to contribute).
  • If you donate more than $15 in a single non-recurring donation you’ll receive the mindfulness course.
  • If you donate more than $30 is a single non-recurring donation you’ll receive downloads of both courses.

You can make a secure donation through Paypal using one of the buttons below. The first is for setting up a recurring donation, while the second is for one-time donations.

Thank you!

Or you can also become a one-time benefactor with a single donation of any amount:

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