The late Korean Zen master Seung Sahn said:
If you want enlightenment, this enlightenment is far, far away. If you don’t want enlightenment, you can see, you can hear, you can smell, everything is enlightenment. So put it all down—“I want something.” If you keep I-me-my mind and do zen in this way, for infinite time you cannot get enlightenment. If you make I-me mind disappear, then already you have enlightenment. O.K.?
Only go straight—don’t know. Don’t check your mind; don’t check your feelings; don’t check your understanding; don’t check something. Only go straight— don’t know; for 10,000 years try, try, try. That is very important.
This is much too simplistic (notice I didn’t say simple). It can easily be read, incorrectly. Some beginner might think, “I should practice not wanting enlightenment since everything is enlightenment!”
The problem is not our wanting enlightenment. The deeper problem is that we want a 'conditioned enlightenment'; something that fits with our various concepts of what enlightenment should be for us. In other words, we want enlightenment to fit with our needs which, of course, fall under the rubric of conditionality which is really all about the samsaric life.
But truth be told, enlightenment is awakening to the unconditioned—not the conditioned which even includes our concepts which are just very subtle images. Only the unconditioned can pass through Zen’s gateless barrier 無門關 which even bars concepts of the unconditioned.
The best Zen teacher can only help us to unload, all at once, our vast hoard of concepts about enlightenment in which our always-stirring-concept-laden-mind stops for a split second! The unloading process might consist of a will timed shout or a well timed smack across our face when we are in the middle of conceptualizing about the unconditioned Mind.
To “go straight” means to seek enlightenment but to see that all concepts about enlightenment are conditioned. They are the work of our imagination. We must leave them behind and move on to authentic enlightenment which is awakening to the unconditioned. It is somewhat like walking out of a deadly jungle. There is nothing in this jungle except harm. Tarry here and you will be devoured by some kind of wild beast.