The three stages of existence are Ignorance, Awareness and Enlightenment.
There is a raging river before you. You stand on one side. Beside you is all your baggage. To move forward you need to cross that river. You know there is no way that you can walk through it with all your baggage. To get across you need to unpack and take piece by piece, or leave it all behind. Once you decide to unpack and begin to cross, you become aware of having no experience in doing this. You also are aware that this could be life threatening.
Many people would look at the river and feel they don't have what it takes to get across, let alone do it several times. Others would take their bags and walk a different path, one that feels safer and easier. Then there are those who take the challenge. They want whatever it is that is waiting on the other side of the river. With a treasure in one hand, and the other hand for balance, they enter the raging river of Awareness. By the time you have made it half way across, you realize it will wash you away, if you're not smart with your instant choices. You look back to the land of Ignorance. You cannot go back, you know now this treasure is weighing you down. You look to the bank you are heading towards. You make a choice how to reach the bank of Enlightenment.
Do you go down? Do you hold onto that treasure and let the river take you through torment? Alternatively, do you let it go?