On a trip to the mountains, this realization dawned on me, to walk from my cottage to the nearby village of Satoli, I had to ask directions and so too, to get to some nice hiking trails in the surrounding hills. Once up on the hill, looking down upon the heavenly, sun kissed and wind swept vista that lay before me, it was another world altogether.
The trail from the cottages down to the village, and even the road, all were visible clearly. The path to a nearby lake, a tea shop and the local temple were all visible clearly to the eye, not needing any enquiry. It was simply there.
It was then that this perspective dawned on me, quite literally; to see the paths that we need to take from one point to another, we have to gain perspective from a ‘higher ground’. This term should not be taken to imply a morally exalted view, but simply a high enough view, including an abundant amount of space in the matrix for us to decipher the path or the answer to our questions.
Godel’s second ‘Incompleteness Theorem’ basically stated that from within any system, we cannot prove that the system itself is consistent, and in a way external reference points are required. Put another way, its quite easy to design a problem that can be solved only by external assumptions or axioms. This has profound implications not only for Physics and Mathematics, but also for Philosophy and Metaphysics. In common, everyday parlance we could simply state that problems cannot be solved from the same level at which they exist. What is needed, therefore, is ‘higher ground’ from which a ‘problem’ can be viewed and examined, and then maybe the solution may simply look at us in the face!
Our mind is designed for analysis, and hence, pursues the typical approach of dissecting and dividing a problem to glean the solution. Many times this approach at best, helps in defining and describing the problem. This approach may not work for arriving at answers to deeper problems that are more complex and cannot be answered from the cloistered milieu we often find our mindscape to be. In fact, in situations where there is no ‘problem’ to be solved, but we are seeking answers to an important question or trying to determine the path forward, the analytical approach may frequently fail in providing a complete answer.
The practical question this begs is, how to reach this metaphysical higher ground?
In the literal example, the answer would be simply to hike up the mountain!
To reach higher ground, the first step would be to psychologically extricate ourselves from the problem, or the set of circumstances, including the angst, emotional baggage, past memories, the seeming urgency of it all, etc. If we carry all these with us, the view from any corner of the world would remain the same! It would be akin to carrying our already present point of view along with us, a fruitless activity.
One of the signs of having succeeded in this is when you don’t see the problem any longer as very ‘personal’ or very ‘immediate’, or even unfortunate or detrimental.
Second would be to remain open to and embark upon gaining a fresh perspective, which is akin to beginning the hike up, with a breath of fresh mountain air. This ‘fresh’ look at the situation could come from within, or from friends, family, a mentor or a peer. This could also come from existing wisdom, such as from a book. Being open itself relieves us of the angst, and also puts us in touch with the intelligence of the world around us. Taking the first step needs a lot of ‘letting go’ of our angst, preconceived notions and thought patterns.
Finally, what helps us to choose our approach, or our path forward is deep and calm reflection. Out of several possible paths and alternatives, there is typically one that is seen clearly in the absence of background mental noise. In doing so, its possible that we engage with the universal field of intelligence, where answers may exist spontaneously, immediately and intuitively. This in fact would constitute not only the veritable higher ground, but in fact the highest ground! Once we find our answer, there we can find palpable peace and contentment. At times, the answer contains self evident wisdom, beauty and intelligence. We may discover forgiveness, compassion and true creativity as our treasures, as we pass this dimension.
The final wisdom then is to act, at an appropriate time with what we arrived at as the best answer. Without this act, which converts knowledge to wisdom, and changes situations in our lives, all the prior actions become useless. We remain static, literally stuck, and lose the opportunities that life is replete with at every moment.
So lets be mindful of the value of higher ground, with its promise of providing perspective and many important answers. In fact, at times of a flood, the higher ground can be a lifesaver!