From the Basement to the Penthouse
Today we conclude our theme of April Showers -- showers of blessing, when we learn not to get in the way of expressing God's full abundance.
Today's title is "From the Basement to the Penthouse." Now what can basements and penthouses have to do with blessings? Well, everything -- if we think of basements and penthouses as metaphors for where we hang out in our minds.
So, where do we live in our minds? In the basement or in the penthouse? Because wherever we live -- predominately, most of the time -- this is the place from which we are creating our world. Wherever we live -- predominately, most of the time -- this is a place of blessing or not.
Charles Fillmore wrote in Keep a True Lent: "We can see the power of ideas to bless or to curse. We see that he who uses his mind to curse gets the curse in return, while the mind that blesses receives blessings in return."a
That's what the Buddha meant when he said: "All we are is the result of what we have thought."b
That's what Jesus meant when he said: "It is done unto you as you believe."c
In The Anatomy of Peace it says: "We began, with an understanding that changing our thinking changes our life, that it is our our beliefs which guide our thoughts, our feelings and our actions and which ultimately lead to a successful life."d
More than just thinking. It's really the sum total of our consciousness. And what is consciousness?: A combination of our THOUGHTS, ATTITUDES, BELIEFS, VALUES, FEELINGS, AND ACTIONS. And whatever is in our consciousness, we experience in our lives.
Eric Butterworth in an essay on Abundant Living wrote: "As you think and speak your words, know full well that your subconscious mind is seizing these words and forming them into patterns of thought that will point the way to welcome changes in your life and to personal control over your destiny."e
So what does the basement of consciousness symbolize? Pretty obvious.
What are some basement qualities? How about negative emotions dominate awareness; fear, intimidation, instant perceptions of hostility, easily takes offense, sense of separation, victimhood.
Do we feel very blessed hanging around in basement consciousness?
How about penthouse consciousness qualities? Understanding of ourselves as spiritual beings living with feelings of well-being, faith, love, compassion. Oneness with the whole. Understand the ability of Spirit to do all for us by working through us. Belief in the inherent goodness of Life. Awake to who and what we are in Spirit.
We feel a bit more blessed here, don't we?
And how do we move from basement consciousness to the penthouse consciousness and thereby experience a blessed life?
Well, Wayne Dyer once said: "The elevator to success [we could change this to "a blessed life"] is closed today. You have to take the stairs, one step at a time."f
So what are some of the steps on the stairway up from the basement to the penthouse we could take this morning? I want to give you three flights of stairs.
1. FIRST FLIGHT OF STAIRS
1 First Flight of Stairs: Resist Not The "What Is"
It is what it is. Think about that for a moment. "It is what it is."
May seem simplistic but think about Steven Covey's Circle of Influence idea (from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People). "Look at what is within and without your circle of influence."g
When you say, "I accept what is -- for now," you let go of resistance, which allows you to begin to move out of the basement of consciousness.
Mother Theresa was approached by war protesters. They wanted her to join them. She said, "No I won't march with you against war, but when you march FOR something I'll be there."h
Jesus said it: "Resist not evil."i
And from the standpoint of creation, I am really getting why we don't want to resist the "what is" -- we'll just get more of it because of all the energy, emotion, feelings we are giving it!
So, say with me, will you: I accept what is -- for now!
These stairs from the basement to the penthouse are really more like a pyramid, rather than a staircase. Each step is the foundation on which the next one is built.
2. SECOND FLIGHT OF STAIRS
2. Second Flight of Stairs: Adopt the Attitude that "The Universe is Conspiring for Your Good."
Say that with me, please. "The Universe is Conspiring for My Good!"
Imelda Shanklin writes in What Are You: "The essence of nonresistance is unity. You are not isolated from the rest of the universe. You are an indispensable part of the universe, and as such the universe loves, protects, and cherishes you. In so caring for you the universe is self-preserving. You are safe. You are inconceivably valuable. Nothing opposes you. You are in the midst of friends."j
Moving up to penthouse consciousness means that no matter what is going on around us, we continue to know that the Universal Good desires to be expressed as our individual good -- no matter what others say or do; no matter what else is going on around us.
A man lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs. He was hard of hearing, so he had no radio. He had trouble with his eyes, so he read no newspaper, nor did he watch TV But he was happy selling great hot dogs.
He put a sign up on the highway telling how great they were. He stood by the side of the road and cried, "Hey, you, want to buy a great hot dog?" And people came and they bought. So, he increased his meat and bun order. He bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade.
Then one day his son came home from college to help him. His well-meaning son said, "Dad, haven't you heard the news about the recession? The economy is really bad. The unemployment situation is terrible. The energy situation is worse."
Whereupon the hot dog man thought, "Well, my son's been to college. He reads the newspapers and listens to the radio, he ought to know." So the father cut down on his meat and bun order. He took down his advertising signs. He no longer bothered to stand by the side of the road and yell, "Wanna buy my hot dogs?" And his hot dog sales fell almost over night.
"You're right son." The hot dog man said to his boy. "We certainly are in the middle of a bad recession!"
Don't let naysayers, even if they are well meaning, draw you down to the basement -- remember the Universe is conspiring for your good!
Sometimes we go in the opposite direction. When things start changing for the better, start going well, we self-sabotage. We think it's too good to last! We're afraid we will jinx it or we don't know how to handle our good!
Say with me: Nothing is too good to last; nothing is too wonderful to happen! And I deserve it!
3. THIRD FLIGHT OF STAIRS
3. Third Flight of Stairs: Choosing to Have A Spiritual Experience with Life!
We may need some help with this.
So far today, I've done all right. I have not gossiped at all today, I have not lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or overindulgent, I am thankful for that. But I am going to get out of bed in a moment and I will really need some help after that!
Emilie Cady in Lessons In Truth writes, "The very Spirit of Truth which has come to abide with you forever,-in your consciousness-takes of the deep things of God and reveals them unto you. You no longer feel like running to and fro to teachers or healers however efficient and good they may be. You know that the Living Light, the Living Word within you will guide you into all truth."
For Emilie Cady, being born again metaphysically is a "consciousness of oneness with the Father." Without a consciousness of oneness with God we do not pass go and we do not collect $200."k
I want to conclude with a parable of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' - or - whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. . . .
Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back...a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back...HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow. "Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!
It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.
THAT'S LIFE! If we face our lives from a penthouse consciousness, then whatever comes along won't bury us, instead it will bless us! So remember how to "SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP" by . . . .
1 Accepting what is and establishing the foundation/the base. This is what we must do first and all the time.
2. Next, by Choosing to Believe that the Universe is conspiring for my good, we lift up out of the basement! We look at life a new way; we see the "what is" differently,
3. Finally, By Making A Conscious Choice to Have a Spiritual Experience with all that we do we reach the point of the pyramid. Remember, this point can't exist without the two foundational levels.
But the view from the top is pretty spectacular -- we might even say from this viewpoint WE ARE ABSOLUTELY, COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY BLESSED! And so it is.
aCharles Fillmore Keep a True Lent
dThe Anatomy of Peace
eEric Butterworth essay on Abundant Living
gSteven Covey Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
jImelda Shanklin What Are You
kEmilie Cady Lessons In Truth