It came on me like a flash. I was meditating, and having a very sleepy session. I don't begrudge those. I just call it "putting in the time" and keep on, keeping on. Meditation is not about doing it right. It's about doing it. Some sessions are just going to be snoozy.
On this occasion I had resolved myself to that quite nicely and was enjoying my time. Then, whoosh! Suddenly I was full on focused, the room shook like a bomb had gone off (nothing actually moved, it's just that everything in my perception kind of jumped and wiggled like crazy for a few moments) and I was suddenly thrust into a very deep state of concentration. There was no "I" left as a referent, just all that was present in my awareness, doing it's own thing. No distance.
Into that space shined two crystal clear insights.
One was, "there is nothing to get."
The other was, "fighting against how reality is showing up sucks."
I guess these are my versions of, "you are already what you seek", and "the root of suffering is grasping and clinging."
There is nothing new in that, except for how it shot into my consciousness like a battering ram being driven by a herd of flaming unicorns. Of course, being in my version of those words is also novel.
The "nothing to get" part seems to be pretty standard fare in the seeking realm. There are plenty of stories of awakening moments floating around of people for whom awakening came as an, "oh... duh!" moment. Some get downright angry at the simplicity of seeing that after decades of arduous seeking. Some just laugh. It's a common enough occurrence. It's said that one of the first things that the Buddha realized after his awakening was that he was already living in a world of only enlightened people. I find that to be a beautiful way of capturing the simplicity, ordinariness, and irony of the moment.
Does this end spiritual seeking? Certainly not.
This calls to mind the difficulty with the word, "spiritual." There are a bunch of very different things and endeavors people mean when they use the word, "spiritual."
There are always skillful means to learn, develop, and master. There are the further reaches of consciousness to explore. There are the heights of skills to achieve. There are the "higher" emotions to encourage and foster. Deeper and wider forms of connection and communication to investigate and call into being. These are only some of the things people mean when they use the word "spiritual." Reality is ever evolving and unfolding. There is no end to it. There is no end to you. There will always be further to go.
"Nothing to get" does not change any of that. I would say it allows all of that to be encountered in a more immediate and clean way. Once there is nothing you must achieve to be worthy of the full richness of being, you are able to go for it.
As for, "fighting against how reality is showing up sucks", this certainly does not mean you cannot have goals, make plans, or change situations that are threatening or unwanted. If one of your plants is dying of dehydration, taking the time to water it is not fighting against how reality is showing up. That's an example of going along with how reality is showing up. Fighting against the reality would be clinging to the idea that it should not be that way, and getting angry when the plant doesn't stop dying.
Going along with reality does not mean you don't jump out of the way of an oncoming bus. Instead it means not standing their frozen in fear screaming, "No!" at the bus as if that would make it stop.
In an ironic twist then, one of the greatest causes of suffering is trying to change a thing you can't change (namely you being you), and trying to get a thing you already have (namely what you already are.) That's the silliness of the spiritual seeking gig. In that sense, the sage-curmudgeon U.G. Krishnamurti was right when he said that the biggest source of suffering for the seeker are "those bastards" who go on about enlightenment being such a precious and rare thing.
On the other hand, perhaps that's part of the whole point. Maybe in order to get to the root of suffering, as a personal realization, one takes on the ultimate act of futility; striving to achieve a thing already achieved. That puts the seeker in the position of constantly stirring up personal suffering and frustration by insisting that reality open up it's ultimate secret to them, which is a secret they already have. Eventually they would run right up against the utter impossibility of this endeavor. With that realization the seeking would dissolve and they would be left with the reason for the suffering it has caused all along, the basic mechanic of suffering in human lives.
This would explain all of the "facepalm" moments that are floating out there in the wilds of the seeking game. The sudden coming to terms with there never having really been a quest in the first place. An absorption into what has always, already been the case; the felt moment of present experience.
This idea also makes room for all of the stories of people who spontaneously awaken with a resolution of their own suffering, and often with a method, or practice, for others to deal with their suffering. In these cases they don't go through the scenario of frustrated seeking in order to mire themselves in suffering. Rather they get mired in deep suffering through other means, like depression, or deep loss. The end result is the same though; they glimpse the basic source of suffering in human life, and see through it.
So, perhaps the seeker's path, while ultimately futile is not altogether fruitless.