The average person starts her spiritual career totally lost. She knows something is wrong in her life but does not know how to fix it. Sometimes there is just a mysterious pushing in the background, telling her "Something is missing in my life and I don't know what it is."
Thus begins the search for she knows not what.
Some, being of and intellectual bent, look into philosophy, various forms of existentialism, psychoanalysis and insight psychotherapy, or into spiritual movements with complex teachings, such as mystical Christianity with all its symbolism, Sufism with all of its theories, color codes, dream analysis, etc., or the various forms of Buddhism with complex philosophies such as Tibetan Tantra or the many forms of Theravadin and Mahayana Buddhism. Here, her search is for knowledge, believing that her mind can find the "truth" that will satisfy her spiritual itch.
A few intellectuals understand that the search for truth is not found in complex systems and complex teachings even about such an simple subjects as emptiness or love, and gravitate towards the simple, yet extremely deep, teachings of Advaita or Zen and their emphasis on emptiness and no mind.
Others instinctively know that using the mind will never result in a solution that satisfies one's spiritual itch. These people gravitate more towards meditation or the bhakti path of love.
Then again, seekers can be defined by the power of their motivation. Some are merely curious and collect teachings and teachers. They really just collect information so they could talk about it and appear intellectual and intelligent, garnering attention. They dig many "shallow holes" of intellectual understanding and spiritual experiences, of which they let go, almost as soon as they happen. No mind experiences mean little to such a one who longs for intellectual knowing.
Some are driven by an extremely deep and powerful motivation to find their unknown completion. Such a one searches with great strength and to many different teachings and perhaps fix upon a couple of concepts that she chooses to focus her search on, such as the notion of enlightenment, or awakening, or Satori, or finding one's "True Self," or a half dozen other conceived completions.
However, all along during the seeking, hardly anyone places her attention on her true motivation for seeking. Very few know for what they are seeking except as a concept such as enlightenment. She may spend years trying to understand what enlightenment is, or what the fourth state is, or what the I-am is, or consciousness, or the absolute, or one's inner Sat-Guru, but still she has no idea of why or what she is seeking.
A fortunate few after many years of seeking, really drop the notion of finding anything, and instead adopt an attitude of welcoming whatever comes her way as the “finding” she was looking for. The mind no longer seeks truth, a path, or teachings from a teacher, or teachings about love, witchcraft, tantra or the self, and instead the mind is open to allow an uninterpreted experience of whatever is presented in one's awareness, whether of emotion, an external person or event, or thoughts, or dwelling in the void.
More and more time is spent just resting peacefully in her own emptiness, and on a meditation or love-expanded sense of presence, which Nisargadatta calls the ‘I Am’. Once the I am is found, once the sense of presence is found, nothing need be done but abide there, rest their her own sense of presence. Her happiness grows. Joy comes into her life. Rest comes into her life. The end of seeking comes into her life. She just rests in herself, the sense of presence which fills her experience of the void, and she is happy for no particular reason. The search is nearly done. Awakening is nearly achieved. The final rest in peace that passes beyond understanding has almost arrived.
Since the center of her being has shifted from her head and thinking into her sense of presence, unembodied, I call this living from the heart, or living from one’s own emptiness as Nothing. This Nothing wants nothing for herself anymore, just compassion and justice for all. She has become a saint and is realized.
However, the most sensitive seekers at some point turn their attention to the "itch" itself, the pressure to find and seek. Very quickly she finds that it is herself she is seeking, and the focus becomes on the I Am, her sense of presence and existence. No further knowing is required or is helpful. She very quickly can come to the place of just being, of just being open to whatever arises, for it arises in her.