Flying has never been my favorite mode of transportation. It may have something to do with being 30,000 feet in the air in a metal container. The consequences of a little screw being loose are just too scary for me to fathom. Add turbulence to the equation, and I’m not a happy camper.

Now that the airline industry is picking up in the United States after a slow year due to the global pandemic, I have to face this real fear again when I travel.

It’s not easy.

I remember on a trip a few years ago, the flight was experiencing some turbulence and from the cockpit came a reassuring voice apologizing for the rough ride and letting us know that “we’ll go higher if it gets too bumpy.”

When I heard that, not only did I feel safer, but I recognized that the pilot’s message could be used as a metaphor in regards to the bumps in life that are part of the human experience.

If it’s too turbulent down below, go higher. Raise your elevation.

Life on this planet is full of bumps and rough weather. It gets really turbulent at times—from flight difficulties (that morning of the flight, we had gotten to the airport at 5:30 a.m. just to be told that we weren’t in the system) to the obviously much more serious issues that we are all well aware of.

But if you choose to raise your perspective to a spiritual elevation rather than stay below with the way the physical situation is presenting itself, the ride is smoother.

Just that morning of the trip, there were so many Divine gleanings. Whether we would be able to get out West like we had planned for with a bunch of tired children who had been awoken in the wee hours of the morning from a deep slumber and with 12 suitcases, stuffed to the gills with kosher food, or whether we would have to just pile back in a taxi and return home didn’t seem as disturbing when I considered that the truth and the root of the experience was in the unseen realms.

Having faith that there was a higher reason for the unexpected inconvenience (we had to take a later flight) helped me to feel more accepting (though disappointed) of this twist of fate.

And so it is with everything. There is always a Divine reason for what happens at this lower elevation. But if we raise our eyes to the higher elevation—to the faith and possibilities of the unseen reasons causing the turbulence in this very physical realm, our rides will be smoother.

Volumes of Jewish Kabbalistic writings give glimpses into the unseen realms to give those suffering down here a bit of relief that their difficulties are not in vain, but are actually truly rooted in a higher, though concealed kindness from above. It could be that something from a past lifetime needed a tikkun (a spiritual fixing) or that there was some greater mystical happening from this event that doesn’t look as neat and tidy in this physical realm.

The holy Jewish sage, the Baal Shem Tov, said that we can learn something of our Divine service from everything we see and everything we hear.

From the pilot’s words, I gleaned the message that if it gets too rough down below, I can choose to raise my elevation. Though I’m human and there are disappointments, frustrations and sometimes even fears on a weekly basis, I can allow myself to feel those very normal emotions and then open my mind’s eye to the fact that there is a higher mystical reason for these occurrences.

When I go to this truth, I may not get the answer to the “why?” but I can ask myself the “what?”—what can I learn from this that can make me a more compassionate, kinder person or even a stronger, more insightful person?

Personally, I believe that often challenging experiences have to do with dissolving ego, arrogance and judgement to align more fully with our soul selves. For myself, I see that letting go of attachments to what I thought “should be” and stepping into a more humbled, more compassionate and more enlightened individual is the call of the hour.

Each one of us has the answers within and the understanding of what lesson is being asked of us. At times, we may need the help of a “pilot”—a friend, a mentor, a coach—to access those answers, but the first step is to go higher and raise our elevation.