The Observer - a photo journal

53/52: 2012 | 2012-12-31 |

More pictures: IMAGE_171
Taken w/: iPhone4, ShakeItPhoto, Photosynth
Location: Big Sur

This past year the single most important event was my trip to Big Sur at the end of July. I bored so many people talking about that trip since then, but I couldn't help talking to them about it. Quite simply I couldn't stop talking because that trip changed my life. I found pre-mature enlightenment. I found myself. I found serenity and a chance to reflect upon what my life was and what it can be. I spent the most time alone that I have spent in the last five years. And I spent it in the most beautiful place in California. Something so life altering isn't something that I can simply keep quiet about.

I noticed that a lot of the people I spoke to about my trips to Big Sur would glaze over and kinda wonder why I was still talking about my trip. It's because it wasn't JUST a vacation. I found myself up in Big Sur. That is as significant an event as being born. To find that last puzzle piece that allows you to make that next step towards enlightenment is something that you would think you would speak to everyone about. To those who listened, but didn't really listen, I know that you're just not ready to hear what I'm saying. I also know that what I was saying wasn't always as articulate as what I felt in my heart. It's hard to convey the idea of enlightenment to someone who doesn't even understand the concept. They may know what the word means, but the concept of being released from all wants and desire, and from all the suffering that comes with those wants, isn't something most people can actually grasp. Because it's counterintuitive to their world view, where salvation is sought from an outside source rather than from within.

Big Sur is a lovely place, to be sure. The beauty of that place opened my eyes in a way no other thing, or place, or idea, has. I've quieted down about Big Sur, but inside I still well up from the emotion I feel when I think of that place, and how it has changed my life. The power of that trip has not diminished.

Above is a picture of a waterfall. That is where I found premature enlightenment. The journey to that waterfall is the single most significant event of my life in the last five years. The beauty of that place, a waterfall that I now know isn't actually on a prescribed hiking trail, was so overwhelming that I could not stop gasping for air. All I could do was think of how insignificant I was in the enormity of Big Sur and the Universe. Yet, that moment of insignificance also pointed out to me that we best make the most of our time here on Earth. So I'll try my best to live up to that ideal.

I choose this picture from my first trip to Big Sur because it's the moment I found myself. My trip to Big Sur was the most significant event of 2012... perhaps of the last five years. Life altering events don't come along every day. However, I now believe they do come when you're finally ready to handle them. When you're finally ready to face them at your terms. The beauty of Big Sur didn't help me find myself. The beauty helped me see what was there all along. A place like that is neutral, I feel. That neutrality is what I was seeking. The middle ground, you might say.

Big Sur is one of the most unique and stunning places on Earth. It stands in contrast to my everyday life where there is no certitude or help for pain. It is beauty, and perhaps the ultimate truth we will find on this Godless Earth. What overwhelmed me while I traveled Big Sur was the inutterable beauty, and indifference, of the vast ocean on one side of me, and the lush mountains on the other. I say indifference because Big Sur, and the world for that matter, exists in a time scale that dwarfs that of any human. My travels there were insignificant to Big Sur as a living place. It didn't even know I was there. And that goes for the entire Universe. I am a speck on a tiny speck of a planet orbiting an average sun, spinning around in an average galaxy. In the vastness of Big Sur I could feel that insignificance, and it made me happy to be alive. Because despite being some insignificant speck I'm still alive. I can experience the beautiful and the grotesque and assign equal value to both. When I think of my time up in Big Sur I get very emotional because I'm overwhelmed by the memory of the beauty I experienced, the circumstances of me traveling up there alone, and the indifference of the Universe to my plight. All of those things combine cause me to be overwhelmingly happy.

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