How far do you need to go, to find yourself? Are you in a cave? In some blue spiritual light yet to come? Are you to be found in a new spiritual experience?
Wouldn't you already be here, now? If so, then we must try to understand what it is about NOW that is YOU, and what is NOT you.
You aren't anything you can see, taste, touch, hear, smell... those are all objective items. You are the seer, the taster, the touch-er, the hearer, the smeller. You are the know-er. So then what is known?
The world is known - the content of the world is known. This body is part of that world - the body is content in that world. You know the hands, the feet, the legs, the torso. You know the face, you know the thoughts going on, the emotions... you know the sensations. So we may say that "what" you are, really, isn't any of that. Really WHAT you are is only the knowing OF those things, yes? While all of those things, those sensations, those sensory experiences change, that pure and present knowing is always there and doesn't change.
That knowing isn't objective - you cannot describe it, you cannot quantify it - it has no borders, no color, no weight, no height. It has no depth, no sound, no smell. It has no sensory objectivity to it - we might say it is pure subjectivity. It IS the subjectivity while all else is objective. The body is part of the objective, NOT part of the subjective. The body appears to you in various ways - you the subjectivity.
So really, we can find ourselves in this immediacy - clear as day. You are that window, that opening of pure boundless subjectivity, that space of unblemished knowing which is always here. Anything can happen in the objectivity - and it would not modify the subjectivity of it. It is a boundless, indescribable IS-ness - a pure presence of knowing - prior to any arising descriptions or concepts. It simply IS.
Once we recognize this, now see if there is really a difference between that objectivity and that pure subjectivity. Are they two different things? Is there an objectivity there, and a subjectivity here? Or is the difference between them merely a concept, an idea, a mistaken perception?
Aren't the sensations, the feelings, the thoughts, the cups and walls and faces and clouds and mountains - aren't all these "things" and the subjectivity of those "things" exactly the same "thing"?
If we strip away all thought, all concepts, all ideas, all presuppositions - and just look dead at the world. Isn't the world and the knowing of the world the same "thing"? Aren't those hands in front of you and the knowing of those hands, the same "thing"? The same "substance"? The same IS-ness? Is there a line where the hands stop and the knowing starts?
Isn't the moving picture we call world, and the idea "knowing", the same essence?
Did this just start when we noticed it, or has it always been this way, just unnoticed, just overlooked due to our unconscious insistence on our idea of subject-object?
When you find yourself, will you find some little nugget of a soul somehow embedded in the brain? Or will you realize that this Self is shining right this very moment, as the subject-object, as the world-and-knowing-of-world, as the very IS-ness of reality itself?
Gold discovers it is both Gold-the-essence and Gold-appearing-as-chain. At that point the word "Gold" no longer has any meaning. Being is the closet word we can use to describe - knowing is the word we use to describe this manifesting of Being. But Being is never split up in this - never divided into knower and known, seer and seen, smeller and smelt, feeler and felt. Being is all there is - undivided - whole - ever-present and self-shining - aware of itself in this amazing and beautiful game of hide and seek. Illusion, concept and belief are the tools of the game.
But pure Being is never hidden from view. We didn't have to peel back any hidden layers to discover the truth. The veil which creates a world separate from yourself is a veil made up of concept and belief alone. Once the veil is removed, the world doesn't look any different - only we can no longer call it a world. You can only call it your Self.
Why do you think the Buddha was laughing?