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Enlightenment isn’t a sudden revelation but a slow dawning of interconnectedness with the universe.

Walking among the redwoods always felt like stepping into a cathedral, the kind not made by hands but by time and earth, a sanctuary where the whispers of the ancient and the eternal seemed to echo through the air. But it wasn’t until what I call “the change” that I truly understood the silent sermons these trees were preaching.

Before, my life was a constant race. I was perpetually in motion, striving for the next goal, the next thing. But amidst these towering giants, a shift began. It started in the quiet. You see, the forest doesn’t rush. The trees don’t strive. They stand—and in standing, they grow, they reach for the light, and they endure. The change was my descent into this stillness, a transformation so profound that words stumble in its wake.

This enlightenment didn’t come with a flash of light or a thunderclap but as a subtle sunrise that gently unfolds across the horizon of consciousness. It’s the paradox of the profound: the greatest shifts often come not with the roar but the whisper, not in the fire but in the glow of embers at dusk.

In the midst of “the change,” I started to live less as an actor and more as a witness. I became the observer, the consciousness behind the thoughts, the stillness behind the movement. The redwoods taught me about this passive observance. They stand as observers of centuries, passive yet so powerfully present.

Nonduality speaks of this concept, the idea that there is no separation between the observer and the observed, that all is one. And within this forest, such teachings morph from abstract to visceral. I am the trees, and the trees are me. We are not separate from the world we walk through; we are the world, experiencing itself in infinite forms and through countless perspectives.

But to convey this in language, ah, there’s the rub. Language divides what is indivisible. It tries to categorize what is boundless. How can you explain the taste of water to someone who has never drunk? How do you describe the color blue to one who has never seen the sky? My own attempts to share the insights from “the change” are met with well-intentioned nods or dismissive smiles. It’s the frustration of the mystic, knowing that the map is not the territory, that the word is not the thing.

Metaphors become my refuge, the closest I can get to sharing the unspeakable. Like these redwoods, we reach for the light not because we are deficient but because it is our nature to grow. We stand rooted in the rich soil of existence, our canopies intermingling in the unseen dance of life.

Enlightenment is not leaving the world behind but seeing the world as it truly is—a story of vibrant paradoxes, a spectrum of interwoven opposites, a harmony of simultaneous notes. And just as the sunlight dances through these ancient trees, enlightenment dances within the paradoxes of life. It resides not in the light nor in the shadow it casts but in the very capacity to perceive them both.

In my role as the passive observer, I have found an active engagement with the true essence of life. This is the gift of “the change,” the enlightenment that has unfurled within me like the first light of dawn filtering through the redwoods—silent, majestic, and utterly transformative.


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