Emptiness – in this case refering to insubstantiality – can be explored through the sense fields…
When I explore the mental field, I notice images, verbal thought, and in general mimicking of each of the other sense fields. (Sensations, sound, smell, taste, sight.) What is a thought made up of? How long does it last? Where does it come from? Where does it go? I may notice that thoughts are insubstantial and ephemeral. They appear, quite literally, as no thing appearing as something. They are similar to a hologram: form without substance.
And as I explore appearances in each of the other sense fields, I can ask myself the same questions. What is it made of? Where does it come from? Where does it go? How long does it last? Again, I may find that whatever appears in each of the sense fields appears insubstantial and ephemeral. As no thing appearing as something.
I can then explore the gestalts created from an overlay of the mental field on top of the other fields. I can close my eyes and visualize my body and the room I am in, then open the eyes and notice that the mental field overlay is still there even with my eyes open. Or I may notice an image coming up as an overlay of sound, with a suggestion of what created that sound. Or memories from tastes and smells. Or a sense of a separate I, an I with an Other, a center with periphery, a doer, observer, overlaid on sensations in the head area.
And here too, I can notice that in immediate experience it is insubstantial and ephemeral. A no thing appearing as something.
In immediate experience, it is all as insubstantial as a thought. Sometimes I notice and there is a sense of lightness about whatever is happening. It is all recognized – more easily – as awakeness itself. And sometimes I don’t, and it all appears very substantial and real.
As a belief, this can get weird. (Disregarding consensus reality.) As a story, it can be a pointer. And as exploration, it leads quite easily – at least to some extent – to a noticing of it. It is here already. The question is, what do I find when I explore for myself? And what happens when I explore it over and over, innocently?
- as insubstantial as a thought
- explore thoughts… insubstantial, ephemeral, awakeness itself
- any other sense field, the same