Are you saying that seeking is imaginary?
No, not at all. Seeking is a real experience. What is imaginary is the concept or image the seeker projects as the end of the seeking and spiritual realization — the image of what brings about the end of suffering.
The state of freedom that you say “you had” has produced an image or memory. And there is a desire to recover that experience because of the belief that that experience is somewhere hidden beyond your reach or in the future. That belief is false, nevertheless, the seeker may insist on pursuing that direction. It is the mind trying to find a solution in the mind. It does not work.
But seeking has degrees of intensity like anything else. When it gets to the degree of torment we may become so exhausted that Insight may come about and reveal the Freedom sought. Or we may become so pissed with Advaita and these sages that we go and look for some other teaching or teacher who is, finally, the “real thing”. Or we may gracefully and quietly step out of suffering without a fuss.
The notion that “I” and “That” are two separate things is the crux of the matter no matter if you follow Buddha or Joe down the street. It is a false notion and no amount of talk or thinking can dissolve it. But given the right stimulus, attention may shift from that mental cul-de-sac to What Is.
All there is, is Presence or Consciousness, always and everywhere, and within this “Field of Existence” those images, beliefs, and all experiences appear, including the sense of separation and seeking.
When Presence is realized as being all there is and the belief that we are separate from it ceases, the seeking story is over. Other images and stories remain but the seeking dissolves. Any residual suffering, if it arises, will never “bite” you the same way again. There is nothing wrong anymore. The restlessness of spirit ceases.
The concern with life or death, or over-concern with pain or pleasure ceases. Not because they do not exist, they obviously do, in their relative way; but because the one who was once concerned is no more — never was in actuality. All there is is Consciousness or Presence and that is what we are. “I” is irrelevant.
It is said that Buddha defined Enlightenment as “the end of suffering”. That sounds right to me.
Imagination is the play of life, it is pure impersonal creativity, there is nothing wrong with it. Except when imagination creates the sense of separation and unnecessary suffering, which seeking is based on. In that case, spiritual work and attention can become useful.
So there is nothing wrong but the sense of separation and suffering are "wrong"?
Let’s not split semantic hairs. Psychological suffering is unpleasant and unnecessary. If things are seen from the correct, non-imaginary perspective, the suffering ceases. “The Truth will set You free” regardless of language niceties.
Having said that, from the perspective of What We Are there is nothing wrong even with psychological suffering. The sky does not feel there is anything wrong with dark clouds.
People have made the notion of enlightenment something special, rare and extraordinary. That shows how creative human imagination is when operating based on an imaginary picture of ourselves, and how disconnected from our Essence most people’s experience can feel. Enlightenment means we are normal. There is no projecting or forcing anything or anyone to be other that what we all are.