A painful path
A few weeks ago I told a few friends that I’d decided to give up teaching meditation. Things just hadn’t been working out financially. In particular it’d been impossible to attract enough people to my online courses. The plan was to substantially wind down Wildmind and get a regular job. So I started creating a résumé (my first since 1993) and scoping out employment opportunities.
Naturally, I had very mixed feelings about my decision, which had been painful to arrive at. I was sad to be giving up on something I love doing, and that I find immensely satisfying. I was nervous about re-entering the job market. I was excited about the benefits of having a steady paycheck and freedom from financial instability. On the whole, I felt a sense of acceptance. I was even relieved about giving up on something that I just hadn’t been able to make work financially.
A change of heart
I even wrote a long blog post explaining why I was doing what I was doing. But I never published it, because a few days later I had a complete reversal. I realized that Wildmind’s supporters have always rallied around. And I realized that we could turn Wildmind into a Community-Supported Meditation Initiative.
A few people helped me refine the key concepts. It would be community-supported. I’d ask people to sponsor shares in order to provide enough income that I could keep Wildmind alive. Instead of asking for donations for my courses (I’d never felt comfortable “selling” meditation courses) we could make them freely available to everyone. And to thank my sponsors I’d develop new courses that would nourish their practice.
Progress so far
Two weeks ago I launched the initiative, asking the Wildmind community to sponsor 1,500 shares at $4 each [2020 Note: Shares are now $8 each].
Why contribute, and what are the benefits?
One reason for sponsoring shares is that you’ll feel good knowing that you’re supporting a website that has literally reached millions of people since it first started in November, 2000. We project that the website will have over 800,000 unique visitors this year. And I’ll be making the 30 or so courses that I’ve already developed freely available as well. That should give you a warm glow.
But as a sponsor you’ll also get access to:
- Any new courses I develop, which will be exclusively for our community of sponsors. I expect there to be a new course every two months or so.
- An online forum for sponsors, where you can connect with each other and with me.
- A monthly newsletter that’s just for sponsors, containing an exclusive article and a free meditation download.
We’ll be phasing in these benefits as we make progress to being fully funded.
How do you become a sponsor?
Shares are just $8 each. Every sponsor gets the same benefits, however many shares they sponsor. So far:
- The range is from 1 to 15 shares per sponsor.
- The most common number of shares sponsored is 8.
- The highest number of shares sponsored by one person is 15.
If you want to give more support and can afford to do so, then that obviously helps us more.
Your support is enormously appreciated. Already I’m feeling buoyed up by the contributions that have come in and the love that’s been expressed. I’m looking forward to being fully freed up from focusing on making money so that I can focus more on sharing my practice with you, my community of sponsors, and so that we can bring the benefits of meditation to more people.