A simple story of lights in the office where I work is a good example of ignorance.
Most mornings when I get to the office the lights in my area are on. Some mornings, they are not. It turns out that a few people know how to turn the lights on and the rest are ignorant of it. Until that person comes in, and I don't know who they are, we sit in the dark.
Typically, when the lights are out, we wait for someone to come in who knows how to turn the lights on. Usually it's just a few minutes, then miraculously, the lights come on.
One morning, I sat in the dark for a long time. I could see my monitor, but not the keyboard. I happened to go by the desk of someone close by, also sitting in the dark. I asked him, "Do you know who knows how to turn on the lights?"
"Sure," He answered, "I know how to do it." As he got up to go do it, I said, "Perhaps I should follow you and see how you do it?" I followed him around the corner and a few feet down the hall where there was a light switch. He flicked the switch, and on came the lights.
"Funny," I said, "I have passed by that switch hundreds of times and never noticed it. Knowledge is power, isn't it?" He answered, "Yes," with a big grin.
Enlightenment is a lot like this. Awareness is familiar, it is close, we live and breathe within it, but we don't know it is there. Meister Eckhart gave us a clue when he said, "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me."
Awareness is staring us in the face, 24/7, and staring back at us as well, 24/7. We just don't notice it. We don't even know to look!
Assuming that the darkness is noticed, and that there is earnestness to find the light, all we need is correct knowledge and the willingness to look. Knowledge opens the door to the fact that Awareness is what we are, not something we have. The right pointers and an open mind bring understanding.
Years can be spent looking with Awareness at Awareness, for enlightenment, without knowing that we are what we are looking for. Without recognition, we can be it, and not know it. Knowledge awakens us to what we have always been, but overlooked.
Thank God for the teacher that can point at the knowledge, because he knows where it is.