Gift-economy Model

What would a hospital/ clinic that provided services without price tags look like?

Usually, this type of endeavor would be funded by grants or the government.

Our “fund” is the universe– the abundant and infinite. We believe in giving our service- as a service. The patient’s cost of the visit was already paid by the prior patient! That’s right- an anonymous gift. The patient can pay-it-forward if s/he wishes to do so.

How much should they pay? Its totally up to them. We require nothing- we gift our services, no strings attached. If a patient chooses to give, it is from their hearts. Our interconnectedness is evident… once upon a time, healers would take care of their community and in turn the community would take care of them. There was no need to “charge” fees to patients or to have “insurance”… the community relationships were strong

We are working towards a community-based health center that is based in the context of ‘gift-economy‘.  At its core, gift economy is a shift from consumption to contribution, transaction to trust, scarcity to abundance and isolation to community.


Commonly Asked Questions:

What is gift-economy?

Gift-economy is an experiment for being in the world that is not based on transactions, but instead on trust. Most times, in such a society, value is decided by somebody other than ourselves. We have become a society in which everything is dependent on how many monetary resources we have. Instead, how about a world in which we are abundant– and we move from that space.  At its core, gift economy is a shift from consumption to contribution, transaction to trust, scarcity to abundance and isolation to community.


How does Karma Clinic sustain itself?

Since we are a grassroots non-profit that believes in the goodness and generosity of all beings- we don’t apply for grants or funding! We are fully sustained by  the gifts of gratitude from the community which we serve.


What about the practitioners?

All practitioners are volunteers- some are sustained from extraneous sources, others are not.  The gifts received go directly to the practitioner that served you- and the practitioner in turn, gifts forward to Karma Clinic in gratitude for the healing space to share their gifts.


Is Karma Clinic part of an organization?

Yes.  Karma Clinic is under the umbrella organization– CharityFocus and is one of the many gift-economy projects.


What are the principles of CharityFocus & Karma Clinic?

  1. Be volunteer run: All practitioners are volunteers
  2. Do small acts: we are not attempting to change the healthcare system. We’re doing our small part, the best way we know how… serving one person at a time. Small is beautiful.
  3. Don’t ask for anything:  We don’t apply for grants, nor do we seek anything for giving our gifts- we just give, no strings attached.


Is giving part of my healing process?

Yes! Giving is an integral part of the healing journey.  Giving and generosity have been linked to overall increase in health and happiness. We recognize that… so, although we don’t expect anything directly, we encourage you to allow the energy of gratitude to move through you. This may manifest in you doing a kind act for an unsuspecting person on the street, listening to a friend talk about their problems, or helping the homeless.  In whatever way you gift-forward, you will empower yourself to heal.  “It is only ourselves we serve and ourselves we heal” (Dr.Venkataswamy, Infinite Vision). Share or read generosity stories by other members of Karma Clinic

What’s the difference between free and gift?

There’s a subtle yet important difference between something handed out to you for free and something offered in the spirit of a gift. A gift celebrates inter-connection and inter-beingness. It’s a simple gesture of both gratitude and appreciation. Karma Clinic is not about giving away “free” healthcare. It’s about sharing an experience of generosity that has the potential to shift both the giver and the recipient.  The gifts offered here are SO valuable, any price tag would be too little– and at the same time, any price would be too much.  So, offering it as gift feels right to us… we are grateful to be of service, and to live in the spirit of gift.


What about gratitude? I want to gift to Karma Clinic!

Sure, we suspect that you hold your practitioner close to your heart and are grateful to them for the space they hold for your healing to arise.  So, we accept your gifts of gratitude with gratitude.  Gratitude is our natural state! You gifting to Karma Clinic is a reminder for us to re-connect with that space within ourselves, and for you to be given the space to express your gratitude in a loving way.


Karma Clinic, gift-economy, and Community:

Giving and receiving are an integral way to create relationship and community.  Gift-economies inherently birth communities because of the easy flow of giving and receiving. “Community” comes from the Latin munus, which means the gift, and cum, which means together, among each other. So community literally means to give among each other” (YES! Magazine).  Feel free to join our online and offline community or stay connected through our quarterly newsletter


I want to give something, can you help me figure out what I should give? How much do such services normally cost?

Yes and no.  It’s pretty easy to look online for general price tags on healing sessions. Depending on the skill and training of your practitioner, a session would cost anywhere from $60-500 per hour.  But really, this is irrelevant.  We want you to reflect on what feels right and light to you.  The gift should be whatever flows from your heart in the spirit of gratitude.

In an attempt to make it easy, in addition to giving cash or checks, you can also use paypal.

How do I make an appointment and what should I expect?

You can make an appointment through our website.  An initial consultation with Dr. Aumatma Binal Shah, is a 2 hour, in-depth process, wherein you will discover together the root of the ailments, as well as, discuss and co-create your plan for healing. This includes exploring your vision of what you want to happen, all the different offerings available to you, what tests might be necessary, as well as herbs and supplements.  This is your journey…  our role is to help you in the best way we know how.  All healing is self-healing… and sometimes, it takes a skilled practitioner to help you awaken to that which is within you.


I don’t live in the Bay Area, can I still receive healing through Karma Clinic?

Yes! I do work with long-distance clients via Skype.  For this, you will need a camera attached to your computer and a Skype account.


3 Responses “Gift-economy Model” →

  1. sheetal

    March 7, 2009

    i am so happy to see this model of working… thanks for doing this!


  2. Charlotte Fuller

    June 30, 2009

    I love this reality happening.

    I’m wondering, would the clinic accept, lets say a $500. grant from a philanthropic foundation, even if it had their name on it. Or does the donation have to be converted into anonymity first?


  3. Rodney Laurence Mansfield

    February 19, 2010

    Your commitment to and philosophy of community is so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes. Helping to create such community on this planet is my ideal of seva. May God bless you always! Thank You!


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