Last night, I watched a wonderful documentary called Touching the Void based on a book of the same name by Joe Simpson. The story follows two young climbers’ attempt to reach the summit of Siula Grande in Peru. In the meantime, their new friend, Richard, a non-mountaineer, is back at base camp looking after their stuff.
After a hard climb, Joe and Simon reach the top. During their descent, Joe breaks his leg. Although they are both aware this means possible death for Joe, Simon tries to help Joe descend. He lowers Joe on a rope to each level. Things seem to be going well until Joe falls over an overhang and can’t climb back up. His weight starts pulling Simon down. Simon has no idea what’s going on with Joe, whether he is alive or not. Eventually, Simon decides to cut the rope tying him to his friend. While Simon tries to come to terms with his friend’s supposed demise, he makes his way back to base camp.
In the meantime, Joe is left on his own trying to stay alive. He manages to drag himself back to camp. During this time, Joe realises he has two voices within him. There is a voice, that is very detached, which gives him instructions; and another voice consisting of memories. Days later, Joe arrives at base camp just in time before Simon and Richard leave the camp.
I see this story as a demonstration of surrender to higher will. What do I mean by higher will? Higher will means being true to oneself, no matter what others think. Higher will reaches everyone where they are at. Higher will connects with individuals not collective.
Before the accident, both men had been struggling. In the documentary, Joe said he was so exhausted he couldn’t be bothered to stand at the peak of Siula Grande, but he did. They had also run out of gas so they weren’t able to melt ice, which left both of them dehydrated. Neither of them were in the right frame of mind to make the descent. Here again, we see a struggle against higher will. They could have rested until they felt good about making the descent.
When Joe broke his leg, Joe knew for sure he was facing certain death. He was even surprised when his partner, Simon, stayed with him and offered to help him. But this was a huge task for the dehydrated Simon to take on. At the time, Joe was feeling vulnerable and helpless. He was putting all his trust in another human being. Simon did his best until it got to a point when his best was no longer good enough. Simon made the decision to surrender to higher will, to honour his truth and look after himself; he cut the rope. Simon’s surrender forced Joe to surrender to his higher will. The struggle was over.
How did higher will manifest within Joe’s experience? First of all, when Simon cut him loose, Joe thought he was falling to his death but he fell onto a ledge on the crevice. Joe had to make a decision: he could either take a leap of faith and trust in the unknown or sit still and wait to die. Either way, a choice had to be made. Joe used the rope he had with him to lower himself, hoping he would land on solid ground, which he did. Joe described how he noticed the sun’s rays, as if it was pointing him the way out. Then there was the inner voice which told Joe what to do, how much time he had etc. Finally, when Joe arrived at base camp, his two friends were still there. They could very easily have left Joe behind because, as far as they were concerned, Joe was dead. But something kept them there until Joe arrived.
I believe when you put your faith in another person, you’re likely to be influenced by the other’s expectation or beliefs. It is possible both of their fears influenced their descent. In a way, they were better off on their own. Joe was forced to touch the Void within him – to trust in his own resources – which manifested as the inner voice that gave him guidance; the sun’s rays; the creative way he manoeuvred himself around with a broken leg; water to drink; the will to go on; his friends’ support; and the help he received at the hospital.
Each of us is already connected to the Void within. We are the Void. You can either trust in someone else to interpret reality for you, be it government, spiritual teacher or Masters; or you can surrender to the higher will and know you are already peace, love, truth, source. Surrender to higher will doesn’t mean you end up struggling alone. Being true to yourself means you’re united in the one will where every one’s needs are being met according to one’s expectations.
Remember, after Joe and Simon had surrendered to the higher will, events brought them back together where they were able to support each other. In the documentary, the first thing Joe said to Simon when he saw him was he didn’t blame Simon. Joe said he would have done the same thing, he would have cut the rope.
I trust in no one to define for me what reality is. I know I am already the Void/Source/Spirit/Love. I know that when I am true to myself, I am living an authentic life. I know Love takes care of everyone’s needs right where they are. However, each of us has to take the first step – cutting the ties of beliefs and other people’s idea of reality, albeit well-meaning; and take a free fall into our real Self. In that Self is where we are all One in Love.
See you in the Void.
I am the Void,
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