It seems that the word “emptiness” can be understood in a couple of different ways…

One is the nature of mind – the clear, spacious awareness empty of any particular characteristics. The words void and deep silence are sometimes used to describe it. Ultimately, it is distinct from the world of phenomena, so any words – inherently about the world of phenomena – point in the wrong direction. This is the Absolute.

The other is the world of the phenomena. All phenomena are aspects of a seamless fluid whole. It is a holarcy, a set of nested systems – one within another. Whatever we can discern as a whole in itself, is a temporary vortex in the stream. In the world of phenomena, nothing is permanent and nothing exists by itself. There is flux and no absolute boundaries. This small self is empty of any fixed or separate existence. This is the Relative.

In our own experience, it can unfold like this…

Awareness awakens to its own nature – this clear spacious awareness empty of characteristics. It can learn to recognize it and become familiar with it. It sees that it is distinct from any experiences of the inner and outer world that appears within itself. And it learns to come to this experience in more and more situations in our everyday life. It begins to function in a more and more transdual way – embracing its own nature and the world of phenomena, and all polarities within the world of phenomena.

Having found its own “ground” – empty of characteristics and distinct from polarities such as existence/nonexistence – it can allow itself to recognize the world of phenomena as a fluid seamless whole. It is resting in its own “ground” so there is no longer any need to hold onto anything in the world of phenomena. It can allow it to be seamless and flux.

This small self becomes a vehicle, an empty shell through which awareness can function in the world of phenomena. It is recognized as a temporary vortex in the stream.

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