You don’t realize that true spirituality is not a matter of understanding, but of being, resting in an area of your awareness “deeper” than the thinking mind.
The absolute first step in any deep exploration of your Consciousness, your first step towards self-realization, is to discover the emptiness within your self, the so called Void nature of the mind and of the world. You do that by cultivating the light of Consciousness, and also by “looking” with your mind’s inner vision, inwards, into the darkness you find within. That inner vision coupled with cultivating the light of Consciousness is the essential first step towards enlightenment, especially towards understanding any aspect of Buddhism or Advaita Vedanta.
The easiest way inwards is to look inwards for the sense of I or I Am, usually eventually located in the heart area of your body. Just do it twice a day for 30 minutes at a time in a formal sitting position with a straight back.
The other practice is to look within for any source of inner light, often first found in the area of the Third eye, behind and slightly above your two physical eyes. This too is an “inner vision,” part of turning your attention inwards rather than outwards towards the world.
Now rest your attention in that spot of light and daily it will get larger. In your imagination you can begin to “push” the boundaries of that inner light and expand it into your inner Void, so that the emptiness of your inner world becomes visible. Gradually expand the light everywhere within until you can “see” the entirety of the Void.
Going inwards is the essential step towards a real spirituality prior to and beyond any understanding of the mind. No effort to look within, even without a method, is ever wasted.
Going inwards reveals the complexity of your inner world, the Void, the Light of Consciousness, and later inner energies, Kundalini, one’s sense of presence or the energy body, the Causal Body of Consciousness without an object, Turiya, where the sense of I originates, and then the place beyond the I, beyond Consciousness, beyond, or better, “prior to” the Manifest Self.
These are also the areas within which you find experiences of the divine within you, of God within, the Atman, of your sense of Self being equivalent to the experience of God.
Here to you acquire the experience of the totality of Consciousness without a sense of I, having no identification of anything, without a sense of separation, of witness versus the world and one’s own body.
It is also the area where you can find bliss washing your body and sense of Self for day after day, month after month performing a kind of inner purification.
Read the stories of the great spiritual figures and their practices and experiences. They tread a long path, but any meaningful path begins with uncovering and becoming aware of both the Void within and the emptiness of phenomena, and also discovering and cultivating the Light of Consciousness which illuminates that Void.
With this step completed you will be able to understand the most essential Suta of Zen Buddhism, the Heart Sutra, which is chanted at least twice a day in all Zen temples and monasteries.
This is why a true teacher is dto discover, because they speak of experiences and understandings entirely beyond the world most people know, an inner world of joy, light, expansion, bliss, and the divine.
You really won’t discover these worlds by reading Robert Adams, Ramana, or Nisargadatta because they spoke from one end state, from a position of having experienced a 50 year path of inner exploration which will be entirely opaque unless you experience similar states in baby steps by looking within.
Almost all that read Ramana, Robert, etc., never discover the necessity of meditation. They do not emphasize it, or may refer to self-inquiry of following or finding the I-thought, from where it comes, and where it goes. But this is just one way of practicing self-inquiry.
Instead, you need to read the books and learn of the experiences pf those who write or speak of their paths and their experiences along the path, such as Muktananda’s book, the Play of Consciousness, and learn about the astral worlds within through Autobiography of a Yogi, and read my book on discovering the Manifest Self of inner energies, bliss, and discovering the divine within in my book, Self-Realization and Other Awakenings.
Do not listen to anyone who says there is nothing to do and nowhere to go; you are already divine and perfect. This understanding will mean nothing to you until you have spent a long time in self-discovery. This is a kind of end-teaching that really is misleading until you better know yourself. But it is this sort of end teaching of doing nothing that is so popular in spirituality, because it frees you supposedly of a life-long path of inner investigation. You find so many of these kinds of teachers on Facebook, or giving Satsang throughout the western world. Beware of these teachings because they are only of the mind, and not even an “inch” deep in terms of your inner world.
RESPONSE TO SOMEONE WHO CLAIMS THE VOID IS THE ABSOLUTE AND IS PRIOR TO CONSCIOUSNESS
There are inner senses and outer senses. When it comes to the inner senses most people are only aware of the usual internal objects such a thoughts, memories, images, and feeling the muscles and organs when they hurt, from the inside.
But the inner light and the Void it exposes is an internal visual sense that all long-term meditators are aware of.
Later, one develops a deeper and more refined "feeling" of one's own subjective world and Void, which reveals a more refined awareness or emotions, moods, internal energies, one's energy body or sense of presence.
These are preliminary to going even deeper. There is a spectrum of one's inner awareness that coexists with one's experience of the world.