I have written several posts on this topic, as with so many other recurrent topics, but it still comes up for me…
Awake emptiness when identified with content: in the background
When I identify with the content of awareness, this sense of a separate self is usually placed on this human individual, and its thoughts, sensations, views of itself, tastes, and behaviors.
The ground of awake emptiness typically goes far in the background, if it is noticed at all. And its two aspects of awakeness and emptiness seems to be filtered in two different ways.
Awakeness, in its direct experience of it, is filtered to only belong to this individual. But even here, it is partly within and outside of the regions of the separate self, coming and going on its own. (I am this individual, this human being, and awareness comes and goes, sometimes stronger and sometimes less strong, sometimes here – when I am awake, and sometimes not – when I am asleep.)
And the emptiness aspect is usually not noticed at all. It is at most intuited, and then often associated with fear and discomfort. (If I am an object in the world, then emptiness – nonexistence – is not something I want to be connected with.)
Awake emptiness when absence of identification with content: in foreground
When the identification goes out of the content of awareness, and back into the ground of awake emptiness, the content of awareness – including this individual – arises as the awake emptiness itself.
The awake emptiness goes into the foreground, and form arises as nothing other than the awake emptiness itself. There is a field of awake emptiness arising as form, as this individual and the wider world, and there is no center and no separate self inherent anywhere.
The awakeness is no more or less associated with this individual than with the wider world. It belongs to the field of awake emptiness that everything – the thin surface of form – arises within, to and as.
And the emptiness is the void all forms arises from, as, and goes back into. Within the timeless present, all forms arises as the void. Within time, all forms comes out of and goes back into the void. It is a continuous stream of form emerging from and going into void, a stream with a hidden source and destination.
A lot of work
A lot of work goes into filtering all this through a sense of a separate self. The emptiness has to be ignored. The awakeness has to be placed on this individual human being. The world of form has to be split into I here and Other there, and from this split comes a great deal of struggle and friction (which is essential for exploring the world of form, but also takes a lot of work.)
No wonder it is experienced as such a relief when identification goes out of the content of awareness, and there is just the resting as the ground of awake emptiness – within, to and as all content and form arises. It is much easier.
It is what already and always is, even if it sometimes filters itself through a sense of a separate self and appears – to itself – differently.