My Highest Ground
The distracted driver didn’t notice the flatbed truck in front of him. In the blink of an eye, his windshield was shattered, and he was covered in broken glass.
Considering the massive force of the collision, John Wesley Harrison was fortunate to have suffered only a few minor cuts on his thigh, and pieces of glass in his fingertips. His cousin, in the passenger seat, was far less fortunate. He was struck in the head by the back of the flatbed, and knocked unconscious.
Days later, he remained in a coma. His friends and family tried unsuccessfully, to communicate with him. They became increasingly pessimistic with every failed attempt.
His friend, Ira Tucker, decided to try a different strategy. He sang to him. Loudly. ” GONNA KEEP ON TRYING ‘TILL I REACH MY HIGHEST GROUND!”
His strategy worked. Tucker noticed right away that his friend began to move his fingers. He soon regained consciousness, and made a full recovery.
Tucker’s song selection was not at all random. He choose to sing ‘Higher Ground,’ because his friend in the coma was none other than the composer and performer of the song: Stevie Wonder.
Higher Ground was released as a single, just days before the accident, which took place on August 6, 1973, in North Carolina. The song’s subject matter was reincarnation and getting a second chance at life. This striking bit of synchronicity was not lost on the pop icon. He told The New York Times, ” I would like to believe in reincarnation. I would like to believe that there is another life. I think that sometimes your consciousness can happen on earth a second time around. For me, I wrote Higher Ground even before the accident. But something must have been telling me that something was going to happen, to make me aware of a lot of things, and to get myself together. This is like my second chance for life, to do something, or to do more, and value the fact that I am alive.”
In his very first interview after regaining consciousness, Stevie revealed what he experienced while he was in a coma. “The only thing I know is that I was definitely in a much better spiritual place that made me aware of a lot of things that concern my life and my future, and what I have to do to reach another higher ground.”
When I was reminded recently about Stevie’s experience, I started to hear the song a lot differently. It really made me think about the concept of a higher ground. In prayer, I asked the question, “What is my highest ground?” During meditation, the answer was revealed to me.
My highest ground is available to me in the present moment. By choosing to be mindful, and to live fully in the moment, I am choosing my highest ground.
Stress and anxiety are a result of dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future. This is the opposite of peace.
Peace is in the present. Peace is in the knowledge that I have the ability to honor my creator by being the best version of myself, moment by moment.
Every second of my life is a new opportunity. Every time I choose to be grateful, courageous, and kind, I am living on my highest ground.
My highest ground is here, my highest ground is now. It is not a final destination. It is a perpetual state of growth. It is a field of infinite possibilities. And more than anything, it is home.