The Theosophical Society in America

The Money Magicians

Printed in the Summer 2014  issue of Quest magazine.
Citation: Gillis, Anne Sermons , "The Money Magicians" Quest  102. 3 (Summer  2014): pg. 106-108.

And as for fortune, and as for fame . . .
They are illusions.
They are not the solutions
They promised to be.
—Andrew Lloyd Webber,
lyrics from Evita


Anne Sermons GillisI live a privileged life, and I recognize that the insights I've had are due to the luxury of living in relative safety. There are no drone strikes in my neighborhood. There's a large selection of food at the grocery store, and I have more than enough money to buy it. We don't have earthquakes, and even though there is flooding in my part of the country, I've never been personally affected, other than having to drive an alternative route.

This article is written for the average Westerner who has the time and ability to ponder the existential dramas of the mind. It is not a one-size-fits-all story. It is a story of something that has gone wrong in our world and the possibility of setting things right.

My childhood was average; dysfunction was the norm, and I was a normal neurotic. Money confusion was not only a family tradition, it was a world condition. Money was worshipped by some while being demonized by others. Money offered pleasure and pain. Motivational speakers promoted career and financial success while spiritual leaders taught that money would steal the soul. Everywhere I looked, the messages were the same. Get more: it will make you happy; money is the answer. Simplify, get rid of, give away; money is the problem.

I explored the alternative spiritual path for years and dragged my precarious money relationship along. I felt alone and different and thought I was the only one living the metaphysical life. I took a Silva Mind Control class in 1978. The training took place in a church. "What kind of place is this?" I asked the instructor. It was a metaphysical church. She gently nudged me to attend. I cried at the first service. I was no longer alone. There were more like me, and they were everywhere.

People in the church didn't chant the axiom money is the root of all evil. They did not see money as the Source; rather, they said there was a principle, a.k.a. God, that provides for our needs. Money was neither glorified nor disparaged. There was a clear message about money: my attitude could either attract or repel it. I could stop being a victim and become a creator. It was my spiritual heritage.

What liberation! I was not powerless. I worked on my relationship with money. My money disease started healing. I learned to manifest material things. I paid off my debts, harmonized relationships, attracted money, and created a wide array of spectacular experiences.

Unfortunately, I linked money and happiness together; my happiness was contingent on circumstances and acquisitions. Even when I did extraordinary things to make a difference to humanity, I always returned to suffering. By that point, I was asking myself that age-old question, "Is that all there is?" Even though I felt safer about money and could attract many things I desired, I was on edge. I found that money had been my target, but suffering was my game. The Law of Attraction could bring more money and possessions, but it did not cure my addiction to suffering.

There is no doubt that manifesting money makes life easier. It's a relief to pay bills, to meet our obligations, and to have funds for discretionary spending. At the same time, manifesting money cannot overcome the emotional experience of lack. One must heal the wounds of abundance abuse. We live in a world of plenty, but we have been taught to believe that there's never enough. We have projected the yearning for ourselves into a belief that money can assuage that yearning. Having enough money starts the healing process, but it's not enough to deliver us to the promised land of abundant living.

Most people don't realize that money is not the problem. They work harder to get more money, spend more than they need, and dream about how much better life will be when they have more. It's a disease. Endless planning, strategizing, and worry about money is the money disease. Unfortunately, this disease is contagious, and it has reached epidemic proportions. The latest form of the disease is money magic. The new money magicians don't defame money; they deify it.

I was happy when Rhonda Byrne's book The Secret came out in 2006. It is nifty for people to learn those old-time laws of attraction. We are creators, not victims. Yet something sticks in my craw over the newfound sorcery that has spread from the supermarket to the stock market. Spiritual people buy the idea that more or better stuff or more and better experiences bring happiness. Yes, I've been there, but I hoped at some point society could stop marketing "more money" as the root of all good. Who needs, deserves, or should have a 10,000-square-foot house or a shiny gas guzzler? Our trees are clear-cut, our rivers run purple, eighty-five percent of all big ocean fish are gone, we have climate refugees, and the money magicians are still teaching how to get more of everything. Our planet and our soul cannot afford this kind of "success." It's time for the moneychangers to get out of the church of the living. It's not morally wrong, it's just spiritually devastating.

It's easy to get sucked into the frenzy of Master Minding, group incantations, and positive thinking. People new to the ideas are on a metaphysical honeymoon, and the energy is enticing. But when you are a longtime student of the wisdom teachings and you are still just using them to find parking spaces after twenty years, there's a maturation problem. Unfortunately, many of the Law of Attraction activities focus on spiritual materialism. Even gratitude can be valued as a commodity rather than a state of being.

The light side of learning how to attract money is that one can pay one's bills and be free from financial worry. The shadow side of that knowledge keeps us focused on getting rather than receiving or giving. Receiving is an effortless art, and true giving feeds the soul, but getting more money, things, or spiritual experiences leads back to suffering. Getting and getting more, better, or different acquisitions is the ego's plan to scare the fear away, but it is only a temporary fix.

Metaphysics is based in mind. Spirituality is based in the heart. Trying to get more money gives us a metaphysical to-do list that can never be completed. The ego demands more action, more planning, and more control. It analyzes every situation and buys or rejects ideas based on keeping the body or certain mental constructs safe. It is exhausting to couch everything in positive terms, and trying to control life becomes a heavy burden. Positive words offer relief from the habit of being pessimistic or cynical, but when each thought is policed, our intention to be positive becomes a crushing command for perfection. Spontaneity suffers, and our need to be optimistic turns against us.

Positive thinking is only one component in achieving emotional freedom. Our lives require so much more than one rule to guide behavior. Positive thinking has a place, along with many other forms of authentic expression, but unless it partners with wisdom and authenticity, it becomes the boss, not the servant of our creation.

Our lives are easier when the mind no longer serves as our ruler, decider, and conflict generator. When we immerse ourselves in omnipresent goodness, the need to change, manipulate, dissect, control, or get more dissolves. We enter the kingdom and rest in the peace of being.

Manifest; it's a part of conscious living. Take care in your mind. If you are hungry, eat. If you are thirsty, drink. If you need to pay bills, attract money. The problem arises when the ego drives us to continually get more. With ego at command central, there is a dominating restlessness that keeps us striving toward meaningless acquisitions and goals. When manifesting is the central theme of one's life, it is neurotic. The spirit rises in being, not in doing, getting, or having.

If money magic worked, I would know. It does work for getting more money, but it doesn't work in the arena of spiritual satisfaction. Money magic, when used as an emotional fix, dulls the soul. It takes us from the present to a hope that money will provide the means to power, love, and importance, or that we can buy the spiritual experiences we need to actualize for ourselves.

If we must question or take action, our effort might best be spent finding out who we are rather than what we want. How about practicing the presence rather than milking it for personal gain?

Abundance is our natural state. We heal thoughts and feelings of lack when we live in the ever-present state of abundance. Trying to stamp out our fear about money fuels the fear. As these illusions appear on life's screen, we work hard to fill the void. As we fill one void, another appears on the horizon. When we stop and realize that the void is mental and that lack is the fiend of dualistic thought (the ever-present good/bad, bad/good), we bring forth the wholeness of present reality.

The mind, when not aware of its true nature, stalks reality with an agenda. It is in the decision to stop the mind so that it might surrender and rest in a deeper stillness that we become peaceful. This way of life money-proofs us, so that our moods don't rise and fall over a bank balance. One of the cornerstones of Theosophy is meditation, and meditation is a stepping-stone to self-knowledge and contentment. When we can be still and know the Source, we find a dynamic spiritual rest which refreshes, restores, and renews our lives, and the best thing about it is that this path leads away from suffering.

Anne Sermons Gillis is the president of the Houston Lodge, a political activist, life coach, the author of three books, and a minister. She resides in The Woodlands, Texas.