“Like that tree . . . or like a tower, the human being is here to connect heaven and earth, to embrace all three selves. But unless the roots of a tree are deep, it can’t blossom; unless the tower has a strong foundation, it will crumble. Clean up the basement . . . before you move into the penthouse!” – Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
The above quoted book was published in 1991 as a sequel to Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior which was also adapted into a film. You can check out Dan Millman’s site here.
I always recommend these two books to anyone who is serious about “cleaning up the basement.” They are written in story format, are easy to understand and contain basic, deep teachings about getting very clear on who we are and how the world really works.
The above quote references the “three selves.” This concept is based on the Hawaiian teachings of the Hunas. The selves in this tradition have an association with the chakras from the Hindu teachings.
The Basic Self is associated with the first three chakras – survival, creativity and power. The Basic Self is not at all interested in any of the other selves.
There is a “Great Leap” between the first three chakras and chakra four – the heart chakra – where we first make contact with our Higher Self. At this level of awareness we rise up out of our personal concerns and begin to feel true compassion and love for ourselves and all beings.
The Conscious Self in this teaching is associated with mind and impersonal, non feeling, cold, detached thinking.
Ultimately the Higher Self is the calling home we all feel at times – the experiences that change our lives radically and yet are almost impossible to describe.
We are often times “a self divided, wavering between the self-centered, childlike needs of the Basic Self, and the cold detachment of the Conscious Self – out of touch with [our] Higher Self.”
So, back to the basement. Any of us who are true seekers on the path know the most difficult part of the journey is first of all to begin and second to work with the issues of the Basic Self – the first three chakras – the stuff in the basement. Fear, sorrow, weakness and anger. Most everyone’s path has some element of working with the following: dealing with old, basic, survival fears and finding the courage to be our authentic selves; letting go of our sorrow and grief and learning to reach out and fully embrace all of life; and, learning to work with anger and find our own personal power.
As we clean out the basement of our lives, we naturally feel the energy of the 4th chakra and begin making the Great Leap. After we fully make the Leap – it’s a relatively quick elevator ride to the penthouse! Many philosophers feel our global community is poised on the brink of the Great Leap – the energy of the 4th chakra is being realized – our hearts are opening.
So many of us want to simply move into the penthouse. We study spiritual texts, say we love, we create, pray, meditate, eat healthy – the list is endless – all in an effort to find true peace, love, joy and happiness. And, there is absolutely nothing wrong with all that. It’s all wonderful stuff. The point is – it is not a substitute for cleaning up the basement.
I’ll leave you with this wisdom from Carl Jung: “Enlightenment consists not merely in the seeing of luminous shapes and visions, but in making the darkness visible. The latter procedure is more difficult and therefore, unpopular.”