Via Transformativa: Practical Magic — Magic of Living from the Inside-Out

By: JUBILEE! Minister Candace Chellew-Hodge

“Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers,” wrote that desert dwelling Hebrew poet so long ago, “but their delight is in the law of the Lord.”

This morning’s reading (Psalm 1:1-3) is one of those passages of scriptures that make more conservative, traditional Christian preachers smile, because it’s their chance to talk about “siiiin …” It’s their chance to point their finger at their congregation and convict them of their shortcomings and how much they need Jeeezus to save them.

Such an interpretation would make the ancient desert mystic who wrote these words hang his head and weep, because that’s not what he was talking about at all. If we take a gander at the Hebrew words used in this passage, the only moral failure he’s pointing to here is the failure to practice justice and compassion.

The “wicked,” “the sinners,” and the “scoffers,” he’s talking about are those who make their way through this world letting their ego be their guide. He’s condemning those who unconsciously go through the world looking out for number one, getting all the toys of this world he can accumulate and turning a blind eye to the suffering and needs of others.

The psalmist is not condemning people for what passes as sin in our modern day world such as gossip, sexual proclivities or, heaven forbid, being poor.

No, he’s condemning people for living from the outside in — looking for the world’s admiration and approval, as well as the world’s idea of wealth and success. This is the grave sin of living from the ego — a form of missing the mark that’s still rampant today.

Instead, he’s saying, those who live from that place within us all where the Kingdom of God resides — that soul where the Holy dwells as our true, divine self — those people “are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.”

And then, we can hear those good old prosperity preachers zero in on the word “prosper” there at the end. But the Hebrew word used here for “prosper” doesn’t mean to take in as much worldly wealth as you possibly can. Instead, that word really means “to flow out” — like water flows.

True prosperity, the psalmist tells us, is not about getting money or worldly success. Instead, being prosperous means that you are full to overflowing. You produce this overflowing when you put your roots deep into that Holy water that flows within each of us. Just as the tree brings its fruits from the inside out, aided by that nourishing water, so, too, we must bring forth the gifts we possess inside and overflow them out into the world.

This, Jubilants, is true prosperity — the careful nourishment and cultivation of the unique gifts you already possess and then allowing them to overflow into the world. This is the magic of living from the inside-out because you are rooted firmly in your true, Holy self.

Those who live from the outside-in do not have those strong roots and are blown away at the first sign of trouble. When we’re conscious, however, when we’re aware of what’s really going on and not stuck in our ego, then we’re rooted in the good soil of God’s inner riverbed, drinking in the Holy water of God that flows freely within us all the time whether we notice or not.

This, Jubilants, is the magic of living from the inside-out.

Breathe deeply.

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