Searching for Enlightenment is like looking for your own eyes.
Look around for them. Can you see them? No. Where did they go? They must be gone. So look on the table. Look on the floor, maybe they fell out. Look in your pocket, maybe you put them there for later.
What the Hell happened to them? What happened to my eyes? What do I need to do to find them? Maybe I'll just focus real hard and they will appear. Maybe if I squint and use a lot of effort I'll see them. Maybe if I put on colored glasses I can find them. Maybe I'll just wait for them to appear. Maybe I'll ask about the nature of eyes - the truth of seeing - the reality of looking. Maybe I need a different experience for them to show up.
Maybe I'll ask a guru who has found his own eyes - who has spiritual eyes - who understands the cosmic mystery of eyes.
Maybe they don't exist? Maybe they only exist in a different "plane of existence"? Maybe they require robes and beards? Maybe I need to read a lot of books to find them?
I am looking everywhere for my eyes! I just can't find them. I've looked at everything I know, looked everywhere.
But wait a minute - how can I even look for them if they aren't already there? How can I even know the activity of searching for them, if they aren't already there?
It was always the assumption that they were missing in the first place, which caused the search for them.
I cannot find them but they are obviously there. Seeing is happening. It's not necessary to find them because they were never missing, even though I got all wrapped up in the assumption and search for them.
I assumed that they were not there, then tried everything I knew to find them, when all the while they were the condition necessary for the search to happen.
Can your true Self be absent? Isn't it the very condition necessary for the search to happen? Isn't the search always a denial of your Self in seeking your Self?
Therefore THAT which you are is never absent and always fully known - it's only overlooked in seeking for it.
If we ask "what IS 'I'?" - what IS it? Is it this false image, this construction of thought, this temporary body-mind? Is "I" this changing mess of vague feelings, this fleeting set of concepts about what you are?
No. "I" isn't any of these "things". In fact "I" isn't a thing at all. Right now, in present experience, all these "things" appear but WHAT-YOU-ARE is the space or opening or condition or presence or Self, IN WHICH or BY WHICH or ON WHICH they appear.
Right now, in present experience, the Self is known as the subjective quality that isn't a "subject" - because a "subject" is a thing as opposed to "objects". That subjective quality isn't a "thing" - it's a "NO-THING" - it's a void, an absence of "thingness" which allows all "things" to appear.
Your true Self isn't waiting to come due to spiritual experiences or proper understanding of "advaita". Your true Self isn't yet to be realized. Your true Self, like the eyes, is already the case, already fully known and obvious, only overlooked because there is an assumption that "what-you-are" is that body-mind wandering in a big and apathetic world.
This "NO-THING" is SO OBVIOUS simply because it's SO always a part of every experience. It's ALWAYS there - like a light that's left on therefore not really noticed. Like a loud sound that has been gotten so used to that it's no longer even noticed - until the sound stops. Then that absence is deafening.
This presence of subjective knowing, this principle or condition or "stateless state" isn't difficult to find, isn't in need of finding. Every single experience happens within it. It's already fully present and obvious.
It's not spiritual or mystical - these concepts drive the search down useless paths, yet if there is a combination of earnest openness, a willingness to lay aside all concepts and just look, and a clear pointing out of what all this Advaita business is all about - then what you are is known very clearly and obviously as everything that could possibly arise and the absence of everything. THAT which beyond both coming and going.
If you can't quite put your finger on it, then ask "IN WHAT is this present experience happening?" There is the answer.