What does it really mean to “take the high road?”
I try really hard to “take the high road” in many situations where I feel like not doing so would result in further conflict and lack of resolution. I’ve challenged my son to do the same – especially when he feels like he’s being picked on by other kids. I tell him to not engage with the banter and simply walk away. But what is that all about anyway?
I think the act of not engaging in negative behavior or feeding that flame of anger is the right thing to do. But on a deeper level, I think it’s more important to know why we are choosing to take that approach.
As I reflect on my own choice to “take the high road” I feel like it has been done to prove to myself that I was a better person than the other person or group I was up against. I don’t like conflict and feel it doesn’t really accomplish much, so it’s easier for me to leave it and not engage in it. But I find that afterward I need to continue to think about what I’ve done and can’t let it go. I somehow need someone to know that I was the better person, that I chose the better path. If I’m doing the “right” thing, then why am I left feeling like I just got the bad end of the deal. I didn’t win anything. Most likely I lost something in the process (probably something material) and feel like the good people always come up short. But at the same time, I’m told that I will feel better about myself because I did the right thing.
When I dive deeper into my conundrum of doing the right thing but ultimately feeling badly about it, I realize that my reasons for choosing that path are misdirected. The need to “do the right thing” comes from my ego. As I’ve stated before, the ego is not something to judge, but to acknowledge and be mindful of. The ego lives off thought and emotion creating a “right” and a “wrong” further supporting separation or a “me” versus “them” mentality. So, in choosing to “take the high road” I have been supporting my ego’s need to be better than the next person, even though the intention seems to be the right action.
When I dive even deeper and take a look at my universal or soul connection – the oneness that connects each and every one of us, I am able to look at “taking the high road” in a much different way. When I see that the person I’m in conflict with is part of my collective consciousness and that it is our egos or rather our individual collection of thoughts and emotions creating a conflict in false identities (we are each identifying with our thoughts and emotions about whatever the situation is and labeling each other based on that identity), then I can see the identity as false and not take it personally or form an attachment to it. Without an attachment, I am neutral. There is no need for me to react as it is not real, just an egoic creation. Based on this perspective, then “taking the high road” isn’t really a choice, it becomes a way of life. I am operating from my collective consciousness at a soul level. I am driven by finding my connection to all that is, not by creating the separation that my ego so madly desires.