I wish to make a few things clear concerning higher magic. Of course, these points are from my perspective and I respect that you may view things differently.
Simply put, Higher Magic is not about more elaborate rituals, it is the ability to cause events by the power of your thoughts alone, or with some magic, as simply and with as few tools as possible.
Imagine a very accomplished musician. At some point in her/his training, a link between a part of the brain and what the body was able to accomplish took place, and the results were a more fluid expression of music. With practice and usually great effort, this process continued until the musician's mind, body and spirit became one and the same.
It is very much the same way with magic. With training designed to develop skills and knowledge, practitioners can learn to accomplish various feats of higher magic.
How far any particular person can go depends on all the same issues that regulate every other part of our lives. We are simply not created equal and what a boring world it would be it we were.
Like everything else, we will all rise to the level of our own incompetence. Those who grow the most, thoughtfully continue to push their envelope.