Once all the myths surrounding spirituality are played with a bit and then discarded, once the special states and powers of the enlightened are coveted and eventually recognized to be false, a new openness is arrived at.
The material gains and positions in life have lost their shine. No matter what has been achieved, nothing has filled that hole. Nothing has bridged that gap we know and try to cross through spirituality. At some point a seriousness comes in, a new desire which swallows up all these peripheral desires, a fatigue at playing the spiritual games. This desire is the desire for freedom, the desire to know your Self, without the garbage dragged along through a lifetime of seeking.
At once a new earnestness comes in - a willingness to reach beyond the set of issued beliefs, the default assumptions which carve out what we call "existence". No longer is there immediate discarding of these direct pointers but a new appetite for them, using them like a sharp tool which cuts through the amassed knowledge and translations from which we live.
A new freedom comes in, a freedom to question everything, a freedom to seriously question each and every thought. It changes from a general wide floodlight in which we wade to a sharp spotlight shone upon the very root or foundation of our very existence.
We begin to question the very essence of all living and seeking - the idea that I am an individual, that I am a person, a human being, a separate and temporary entity. Although this idea is quite depressing, that I come into existence and wait for the time I will die, it's held onto with all our might, simply because, even though it's a doomed existence, it's all we know. We supplant that fear and anxiety with the generated beliefs in an afterlife, in reincarnation, and from there we get hooked on religious dogma.
We may turn to Vedanta, but it matters not what it is. Anything which makes us seriously question what we have taken on in the form of beliefs will do. Anything which kicks us in the gut, slaps us in the face hard enough, wakes us up to the daydream, the spellbinding nature of imagination, will do.
That's why Vedanta is sometimes called "an occasion for doubt".
We know that something exists. Something IS. Yet we do not know what it is. The mind races and expertly constructs a world, yet to do so requires the existence of separate parts. The existence of those separate parts, this idea of "thingness" is entirely imagination. Nothing exists separately. This computer, this desk, this room, this house, this planet, this universe - all of these things are only mental separations, concepts, divisions in mind only but not in Reality.
Reality is One, one Wholeness, which cannot be divided by the mind. This Wholeness is all there is, and this Wholeness is not found elsewhere - it is only ever THIS, right here and now. Any part, any piece which the mind creates, a chair, a tree, a body, a molecule, a cell - any part is a conceptual creation, not an actual separation.
When we are looking as an individual, there is a necessity for these parts to be real, simply because if they were not real "things", then the very individual who is looking would also not be real. Therefore this idea of "thingness" is critical to the idea of the individual, and vice versa.
The individual person is entirely a creation of imagination and assumption. It cannot be found. It was learned and taken on as true, yet it crumbles the instant it's seriously questioned.
So what changes? In one way, everything. Yet in a very concrete way, nothing at all changes. The very mechanism of this dualistic conceptualization is necessary for Reality to know itself. So I am writing a blog, you are reading it. There is the experience of an individual, yet that experience is known with conviction to be a creation of conceptualization, of imagination. Therefore it can go on doing it - whatever comes is already THAT - whatever arises is simply a matter of the potentiality of Reality, of existence, expressing itself in many ways, yet never once dividing itself.
It's here until it's not. And while it's here, it's perfect. It's a perfect manifestation of Reality - we may say it's Oneness expressing itself as manyness.
We may say the essence is Life - that Intelligence which IS the form AND functioning of the universe - that Intelligence known as the planet and the cell, the quark and the cloud, the tree and the galaxy.
Or we may say nothing at all.
So as we walk outside, look up at the trees, the clouds, the planets - Life is literally looking at itself. ME-seeing becomes Life seeing. ME-seeing becomes Seeing-Oneness, yet that is also too much.
We sometimes just say - what you are is the SEEING itself.
If that earnestness comes - the falseness of imagination will stand no chance, because this reality of separate parts is of flimsy construction, entirely mind-made. The mind will turn upon itself, devour itself, look beyond itself until all it can find is complete stillness and silence - it is that unchanging, indefinable background which is the Absolute Reality, staring back at it.
If that earnestness is strong, if the mind has finally had enough, then it will not retreat. It will at once recognize that it is, after all, finally home.