When we try to figure this out, we have to remember that we are trying to figure it out from within a set of ideas, within a paradigm or template of reality. We have our idea about reality and we try to make sense within this idea. And then we are frustrated when it doesn't make sense.
One way or another, our ideas have to come to a complete stop. Maybe it's through some gigantic effort, maybe we've beat our head against the wall enough times, maybe we've just had enough. We come to a point where we're ready to get to the bottom of it, no matter what. At that point, we are willing to sacrifice our ideas for the knowledge we're seeking. Without this willingness, it's futile.
We come to a point where we truly can question what we think we know, what we've taken reality to be, what we've imagined ourselves to be. We can truly doubt our most cherished beliefs. If we cannot, spiritual seeking is truly useless.
We hear spiritual teachings or pointers, and we are frustrated because we don't understand. We haven't received any confirmation of understanding. We haven't had any confirming spiritual experiences. We haven't lived up to our own expectations. Something is still missing.
That idea is still the operative factor - the idea that I am an individual in a world. We hear the interesting pointers and sit back and try to see what's being talked about. But it's still a passing fancy, a game, a hobby. We still, somewhere subtly, want to hang on to that idea. As this is so, spirituality is always going to be futile. You might as well take up needlepoint.
Only when we have an urge deep down, an urge which is like a tsunami, drowning our subtle need to hang on to that idea of ourselves. then there will be an opening, a willingness, a void.
That urge only comes from truly wanting to get to the bottom of it, more deeply than we want to hang on to our cherished beliefs about ourselves.
You are not a person. You have never been one. That idea is false. It's a story. That story is the closed door. Honestly question that idea, honestly look at that assumption for what it is. IS there such a thing as a person, or is that just a convenient story?
IS there some separate entity abiding in the head? Is that your present experience?
If the idea comes - "I'm not there yet" or "I only have an intellectual understanding." Ask honestly - Who exactly is being referred to? WHO? Either find that WHO or realize that WHO is false.
Watch the creation of the "who" in thought. Then there is no "who" to refer.