If thought is paused, do you disappear? No, that self-shining nature of present knowing remains, untouched, unaffected.
What-you-are is being sought AFTER. Yet what-you-are is not missing. It is the search itself which says it is. The search is dependent on what-you-are being absent. But how could it be?
You ARE and you know you ARE. WHAT you are is mistakenly taken to be the body-mind. But if the thought is paused, you do not disappear. If the body goes away (deep sleep) - you still ARE. When Consciousness reappears, memory must come rushing in to fill the void of I-AM-ness, before you can once again identify.
Before Consciousness appeared, you ARE.
So let's take a close look at the search itself. I am a body-mind-person - I am suffering and I want to be free of suffering - I want enlightenment.
This assumption automatically creates the gap of craving - because of the identification WITH the body-mind, there is apparent suffering, a constant self-reference. Yet FROM that platform, which is already false, the gap is seen to be "this body-mind wants to be free of suffering".
It is the assumption itself that "I am the body-mind-person", which CREATES the apparent gap. But that root assumption is false.
There is no body-mind-person which can suffer or be free of suffering.
Therefore, spiritual seeking is self-perpetuating, in the most literal sense. If we say - "I want to be free from suffering" or "I want enlightenment" - we are automatically binding the assumption of individual self AS reality, and FROM THERE the seeking goes on.
It is the assumption that something is lacking, which propels the search to find something. And that "something" is really vague - we cannot know what it is, until we apparently "find it". That, my friends, is complete bullshit.
Nothing is lacking. You ARE. You are not the body-mind mechanism which suffers, seeks and then "later" finds enlightenment. That's a bullshit story. That keeps the mind spinning forever. That story CREATES suffering, because it's a story of lack, a story of needing to find something which is presently missing, a story of looking for a state or experience, which are always impermanent, and trying to forcibly make them permanent.
The search requires that an assumption be made, an assumption that what-you-are NEEDS to be found. That what-you-are isn't already here. And that is read over and over and over and ignored. There is nothing to seek - no search will ever FIND it. The search itself is the veil - and the false ME is part and parcel of that veil.
WHAT you are cannot be described. THAT you are is undeniable. Stay with that undeniable sense of being - it cannot be captured in a word or a concept yet it cannot ever be denied. It is present when thoughts pause, when the body comes and goes, when the world is happy or sad.
You ARE - a lifetime of experience has come and gone. Instead of looking for MORE experience in which to "find yourself", realize right here and now that what-you-are has ALWAYS been present and undeniable, inescapable - the very basis for every experience, no matter what it is.