TJ Reeves

Maslow's Sixth Step In The Hierarchy Of Needs

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Abraham Maslow died before he could get a lot of people focused on the sixth step of the hierarchy of needs: the need for transcendence.

For a few months I thought a lot about what that step would look like practically, but nothing stood out.

Then I read a book about the relationship between vulnerability and attracting hot women called Models.  

The next morning I woke up with the realization that transcendence would be the entire hierarchy flipped upon itself, wherein one does the opposite of what they did to climb up the hierarchy.

What you end up with is a roadmap to personal liberation. 

Essentially we find that people climb up the hierarchy, strengthening the ego and strengthening their external influence. At every step, it seems like that step is the most important thing in the world. At the top of what we typically think of as the hierarchy, one may realize that there is no where else to go unless one looks for something other than the self. The process of becoming more vulnerable and loving then takes place. By the end, one goes as far as even giving one's life fully to the world through action (Be careful: I'm not necessarily talking about martyring oneself!)

Which answers what had confused me about transcendence: it's not like you totally stop doing whatever it is that you do in every day life -- its more about letting go of the attachment to perfection, outcomes, and the neediness for which you take actions. "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood carry water."

I made sure to include a special note about how enlightenment (a.k.a. non-dual awareness) is always available from the very beginning, although our concerns with other needs may cloud that fact. Even if one were to become enlightened at a 'lower' level on the hierarchy, one could still proceed forward in the dream-known-as-reality by learning how to work through each level and make a big impact.

For example, Eckhart Tolle was pretty depressed before he had his enlightenment, but once he was enlightened he still had to figure out how to write millions of best-selling books -- and that takes a lot of courage.  

If you are wondering where you are on the map, ask yourself what you struggle with. Be honest about it. Look at what you get pissed off at. Look at what you judge others for.   

Finally, be careful not to confuse the map with the territory. It's not like you can stare at this and recognize your godly nature. There is a ton of experience to gain. 

I hope this helps you on your Hero's journey!

Road to Transcendence.jpg

Edited by TJ Reeves

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Always interesting Maslow's hierarchy of needs. 

Not sure that 15% of the people reaches self-actualization. I think that percentage is lower. 

Also it's very easy to deceive oneself when placing oneself on the pyramid. Typically people have a need for a positive self image and will rationalize to themselves that they are higher on the pyramid then they really are. 

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Was enlightenment included in the original hierarchy of needs?

I always thought it was added on by others..


“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few” 
― Shunryu Suzuki

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@TJ Reeves Beautiful insight!! Thanks so much for the good work, sir!


I am a deluded fool                                              I want women, gold, fame                                I fear death

I am                                                                         I want                                                                   I fear

I                                                                                I                                                                             I

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@The White Belt Maslow himself criticized his work as incomplete and expanded his work to include transcendence. He discussed things such as altruism and enlightenment as needs, but he died before the idea could catch on. 

Heres a neat article about this final step: http://pages.stolaf.edu/psych-391-spring15/files/2014/02/Koltko-RIvera.pdf

Edited by TJ Reeves

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@TJ Reeves Thanks a lot. Only had a flick through but this paragraph definitely stood out. "We have much to learn in terms of what separates the founder of a soup kitchen or a home for lepers from a suicide bomber; however, the uncomfortable truth is that there is a dimension in which they are similar: devotion to a cause or purpose beyond the self" o.O


“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few” 
― Shunryu Suzuki

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