The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness
In searching for a domain name for my new website, I sought to find a particular phrase that had the succinctness for a domain name, but was expansive enough to represent my deepest feeling about the freedom endemic to highest forms of spirituality. After much thought and investigation, the appropriate phrase came to me in a meditation session: Heart-Space, which expresses the combination of the essential heart-nature of spirit as well as its spacious and boundless characteristic.
There's a slight danger of using the word 'heart' as it may be assumed to imply the heart organ or the heart chakra. While it is clear that no particular organ of physical location can be the source and ground of Truth, it does appears, based on my investigation and experience, that in the heart area lies the seeds of 'I', the self-knot, and thus the doorway to transcendence. Once this knot is unravel, dissipated, or undermined, the quality of free spaciousness becomes Evident, and there is dawning of wondrous freedom, as if one has been set free from prison. With the heart area playing a key role in this, I've taken license to associate spacious freedom with the heart. Additionally, the heart symbolizes love and compassion, qualities synonymous with spiritual growth and maturity. The heart is also a means to describe something essential, as in 'the heart of the matter', and essentialness of this spacious, open freedom is clear.
Another way of viewing the term 'Heart-Space' is to ascribe the term 'heart' with the blissful radiance of Being, whereas the term 'space' denotes the fundamental wisdom-space that is the nature of all. In Buddhistic terms, 'heart' would be associated with the Samboghakaya and 'space' with the Dharmakaya. But the key point is that truth cannot be limited to a physical or organic area – in fact, the belly is also a profound doorway and realm of openness, but that is another issue (it appears that the heart and belly area are places where there a large concentrations of neuropeptides giving these places designations as pseudo-brains. Books such as The Heart's Code or Hara: The Vital Centre of Man discuss this in detail). Summarily, the word 'heart' as used here is not necessarily associated with the heart organ, heart chakra, and certainly not any notion of romantic love!
Why "Self-Knowing Awareness"?
Self-Knowing Awareness is a termed coined by translators of various Dzogchen and Mahamudra Buddhists texts to accurately describe 'Rigpa' or Awakened Mind in a suitable English phrase that depicts it fundamental aspect (the actual Tibetan phrase is 'rang rig'). Out of all the terms that I've read and heard to describe non-dual consciousness or awareness, this is the most apt and succinct description, in my opinion. It certainly reflects my own understanding and experience.
Note that Heart-Space and Self-Knowing Awareness are not separate or distinct from each other, or that one is the cause or result of the other. They are two descriptions of the ultimate nature of self and world, words that denote and emphasize specific features of the ultimate nature of things. And they themselves are word concepts that do not and cannot point to a 'thing', event or phenomenon the can be found and objectified - if so, they would not have an ultimate import. For example, Dzogchen Buddhism is sometimes described as 'the union of emptiness and awareness' and with these two terms, Heart-Space denotes the empty, open and boundless nature of existence, and Self-Knowing Awareness is a self-describing phrase pointing to non-dual awareness.
Why a New Set of Terms?
I am not trying to generate a new teaching or point of view, nor do I confess that I am a living example of the contents here 100% of the time or a mature representative of the more 'advanced' axioms below. Simply stated, we're all individuals with a unique aspect or point of view. My experience is that as we grow spiritually, our uniqueness blossoms and our expression of what we know to be True will be slightly different from anyone else, even if we share the same general spiritual/religious training. So basically, this form of writing is my unique expression and contribution to make, and this contribution, as they say in Mad Magazine, 'is suitable for framing or wrapping fish' (that jokes doesn't work so well on non-paper media). Therefore stating what I know to be True in my own terms may resonate with people with like-minded temperaments, or be just the thing someone needs to ingest at a particular time to aid in clarity. Or it may be validation for someone in his or her own process.
The following are a set of aphorisms or axioms that lend description to these two aspects of the nature of self and the world. I have used italics to gently emphasize these words in hopes that it helps to communicate directly to the reader's native intuition.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is the path, the vehicle upon which progress is made on the path, and the end result of the path. It is as if one is simultaneously Home and coming Home simultaneously, racing for the end zone and standing in celebration.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is made Evident through recognition of one's native condition, which may occur dramatically or slowly, and certainly not through one's strategic effort.
The practice of The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness requires no effort. Any effort to find, accept or reject some objective phenomenon undermines the essential benefit. However, this does not mean that one is effortlessly standing in Heart-Space simply because one knows about it intellectually. The paradox is that great effort may be needed in order to burn through the obscurations that prevent the possibility of Heart-Space from becoming apparent. All effort moves one away from where one ultimately stands, even (and perhaps in particular) the effort to be still or to be Home. Effort invokes the dualistic mind to create targets and goals, no matter how subtle, and promotes the whole mechanism of an entity looking for release or resolution, thus taking one further into confusion. Effort by its very nature promotes the game of acceptance and rejection. Effort promotes or solidifies duality, by its underlying precept of efforting towards some goal. Solidifying a goal solidifies a self to reach that goal. Effort creates stress by setting up one thing against another, by its underlying assumption of lack. The only true effort is effortless effort, which dawns over time. The emphasis is on requiring “no effort” or 'non-effort'. This, however, is not an invitation or endorsement to laziness or withdrawal.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is not a substrata or underlying state or condition of existence.
The practice of The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is not performed in order to get to some state. You've already recognized the spaciousness that is 'co-existent' with self-knowing awareness. In other words, you've already been called up to the majors leagues, made the cut in pro football, been accepted to the string section of the NY philharmonic orchestra. What is now left is to perfect your craft.
So the term 'practice' may be somewhat misleading - since the dawning of Heart-Space obviates the search to find your source (since you recognize you are now and always have been standing in and as the source), you may sit and 'meditate' as you did before, but you now sit in an altogether different context of being. The practice of sitting is more like 'standing' or 'abiding' in your own nature.
The practice of Self-Knowing Awareness, over time, encompasses bodily, mental, emotional, energetic and ideational stillness and movement. The stability of Self-Knowing Awareness occurs in stages and grows in its capacity to be Evident while being physically and mentally still or in movement. Of course, transcending movement is more difficult, in that the movement of energy can lock one's attention to whatever movement is occurring, and thus brings forth dualistic awareness, and all the insanity that comes with it.
The maturation of Self-Knowing Awareness encompasses all situations at all times. The 'loudness' of the phenomenal world is overshadowed by the innate strength and power of self-knowing awareness and Heart-Space is made all the more Obvious.
Maturation of Self-Knowing Awareness occurs over time, in which our gross and subtle bodies, which exist in time, are purified by the changes that occur when one stands in heart-space, and that heart-space becomes more profound.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness undermines the notion of a self by unlocking or releasing the knot of self that is inherent in the heart. One's assumed self-position is undermined, and at first this may be a terrifying revelation: one's entire assumption about oneself and the world is thrown into the fire of clarity of what is being revealed. But the terror eventual yields to much joy and bliss. One learns that one has always been standing in 'no-place', 'no-where', 'non-where-ness'.
The recognition of Self-Knowing Awareness is not a perception. It is a 'trans-perception', a graceful 'ability' that is not in the realm of perception of objective phenomena, simply because Awareness is never an object. Nor is it an apparently defined subject with bounds and limits. So how is it known then?
To better describe how Self-Knowing Awareness comes about, consider it to be a spontaneous and effortless capacity to recognize itself, as itself in any moment. As the capacity to be still and rest in spaciousness grows, one begins to recognize that the spaciousness has a dynamic, self-knowing quality. And that quality undermines the imputation and assumption of a separate self. There never has been a substantial someone Home. The nature of self becomes crystal clear as Self-Knowing Awareness becomes stably evident over time.
Thus, anything perceived, no matter how profound, humongous, earth-shattering, world-shaking, blissful, ecstatic (or its opposite) is not The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness. Perceived phenomena, including spiritual phenomena are still an object, content, result, appearance, etc. Objects, content, results, and appearances are held within the context of The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is a force that generates momentum and power over time, liberating various defining and limiting characteristics of an individual, through purification of the channels that make up the subtler bodies of the human being. However, The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is not in time or bound by time and space. But over time, Self-Knowing Awareness transforms perception. Prior to recognition of one's inherent nature, one assumes or imputes separation because this is the kind of information one is receiving and concluding. But once Self-Knowing Awareness dawns, this information is reversed - the appearance of a separate, solid world 'out there' does not arise, and the clarity of information speaks to 'no-difference', 'non-separate', 'non-substantiveness' a 'naked singularity' that that is the classic non-dual View.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is not different than pure Being or 'Nirguna Brahman' (God without Attributes). Over time, it becomes more evident that this field of Being is the context or matrix of the world and it contents. It pervades the world, it is the basis of it, but is not different from it.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness reveals no-difference: the nature of self, world, and all objective phenomena is not-two, non-dual.
The most effective way to birth the recognition of Self-Knowing Awareness is through the transmission of someone who has become mature in the spiritual process and has the capacity for transmission. The 'mind-to-mind' transmission in which one is 'introduced' to one's own nature is like is like a successful intervention, overcoming the addiction of dualistic assumptions, beliefs, imputations and knots, at the core of the being.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness radically alters the mechanism of identification by undermining any particular focus that the identification mechanism has targeted, and in particular, the solidity of a self-position, exposing the folly of separative belief and worldview. It can be a shock to the system, and if The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is exposed too early in one's evolution, it may have pathological results.
When the Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness becomes evident, it is not liberation, but the initiation of a more radical and mature phase in the spiritual process.
The dawning of Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is the beginning of the funeral procession for the spiritual search. One no longer is in search of the truth of self and world - the whole insanity, confusion, heartache and doubt that revolve around the spiritual search comes to rest. It's not that one is technically a finder instead of a seeker, but rather the whole structure of identity upon which the seeker is founded is undermined, like a rotting floor that gives way, and thus, there is not a substantial one found who must seek to find the truth. The whole sense of an underlying dilemma of a 'me' and its relation to an external world (and the accompanying stress and suffering) comes crashing down.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is like space, but not exactly 3-dimensional Cartesian space. It is more like wisdom-space or fundamental-intuition-space. Space, as we know, it is not an absolute, as Einstein laid out in his general theory of relativity: space bends as part of the gravitation force of spinning bodies in space. He called it 'frame dragging' and is also known as the 'Lense-Thirring effect'. In fact, this bending of space is essentially the force of gravity. Heart-space uses the space analogy to denote what appears to be its open, empty and boundless nature. The context that is Heart-Space is not a thing, measurable, changeable or perceived.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness reveals the 'dream-like' nature of the phenomenal world in ever increasing Obviousness over time. It is not said to be exactly a dream, since this would be an extreme, inaccurate and potentially dangerous point of view. The difference between personal dreams and the dream-like nature of the world is that causes and effects within a personal dreams stay within the personal context - if you kill someone in your dream, only your dream character is affected. Actions played out in the physical world, in contrast, have effects on other individuals than the actor, and even though others may also be devoid of a substantial self, causing suffering to others is obviously inappropriate action. Self-Knowing Awareness is tempered with a respect for the existence of the relative.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is the groundless Ground of Being. The term 'ground' may generate images of solidity or locality or 'place-ness' to stand upon, but this is exactly the opposite of what is revealed. The Ground of Being is not a ground; perhaps a better word would be 'basis', 'fundament' or 'heart'.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness punctures the illusion of distance and a solid and substantial external world 'out there'. There is a subtle (or perhaps not so subtle) veil that is inherent in the structure of dualistic awareness and mind. When this veil or obscuration is lifted, one's view of the world changes - it doesn't seem to be 'out there' and distant as before, and it seems like the phenomenal world has been taken to heart. Once this obscuration is lifted, the underlying assumption, imputation, ascription or belief of a separate based existence is purified from the being, and the non-dual nature of reality becomes apparent.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is like a transcendent womb that holds and embraces the world. It holds the phenomenal world gently, easily, lovingly and without judgment, like a big momma holding her many babies in her arms.
The dawning of The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is the beginning of the meditation of non-meditation. (see The Four Abidings of Mahamudra). The Self-Knowing quality of this Awareness is the empowering force that allows non-meditation by breaking the habitual life-long lock of dualistic attention on objects, subtle or gross. One has the capacity to know Awareness itself, but not as an object, thus arriving at the dawn of non-dualism. Eventually, self and the entire world fall under the spell of clarity of this non-dual awareness. Otherwise, one is always 'meditating', in the form of dualistic focus on objects, the way radar locks on target. Self-Knowing Awareness ends that kind of 'meditation'.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness may immediately or gradually root out incorrect strategies of grasping, holding onto or standing in void-like states, the cave of the heart or self, or any position, view or stance that may reject or not take into consideration the phenomenal world. This prevents the setting up of a subtle but most profound and fundamental sense of duality: awareness or purity in contrast or in distinction to the world. This is maha-duality, but a position that may occur for periods of time. One may swing to various extremes in the spiritual process in order for one to fully grok the import of a particular aspect or stage – but unnecessarily holding on at any point is a stagnant trap.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is about abandonment of any sense of experience, insight, realization or achievement in the past. Memory based spirituality is a form of suffering, as it undermines the basic point that each moment in time is fundamentally fresh and new, and anything prior must die in order for something new to appear. Growth is impossible without letting go of the past, at any stage in the process, and in particular when something big has occurred in the past. The tendency to re-create experiences is one of the lions at the gate that one has to overcome in the process. In order for Heart-Space to occur a significant amount of attachment to experience has to be relinquished. In fact it is in the space of this relinquishing where something 'big' can occur, but if one is trying to relinquish in order to have something big occur, that's very clever and sneaky, but it is ultimately futile. The desire for something big to occur is a fundamental obscuration in the process. Memory is movement and movement tends to make one overlook the obvious, the Open Secret.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is Evident simultaneously with the relative world, as it is in the very nature of the world, equivalent to emptiness. Mature recognition allows for the emergence of a natural and paradoxical view of the empty nature of phenomena equally obvious with the 'normal' experience of the apparent solidity of things. As the Diamond Sutra states, "There are no people or things, yet there are!" This paradoxical view of the simultaneity of the absolute and relative is known as the 'co-emergent' wisdom in Indo-Tibetan Mahamudra Buddhism.
Self-Knowing Awareness is the function of letting go in every moment. Trying to let go still comes from a place of memory, but when Self-Knowing Awareness appears and becomes stable, letting go and giving up are naturally accomplished.
In the practice and stance of the Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness, the fulfillment and perfection of non-violence is possible. The search for truth is a subtle form of violence that implies 'something is imperfect, missing, incomplete, not 'here', painfully setting up the game of attachment and aversion, which are two sides of the same coin. Errant assumptions of one's condition generate a movement of running to or from some objective target and that is a definition of suffering. In contrast to the simple, still rest in and as Heart-Space, the movement to find release, freedom, extinguishment, bliss, clarity, love, etc. appears and feels to be violent. The hardest thing for many is to just let things simply be there.
In the practice of Self-Knowing Awareness, the twin strategies of bonding and rejection, pulling to and pushing away, are pacified. Simple, non-judgmental awareness of whatever phenomena that presents itself (including one's reactions to things) is extant. No experience is sought after or averted. Judgment can be subtle violence, and non-judgmental awareness is profound peace. This capacity may take a long, long time to mature for most of us, and when Heart-Space becomes evident, there is a quantum leap in the capacity to rest in non-judgmental awareness.
The dawning of the Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness has a ring of familiarity to it, as if it was something or someone you always already knew, but somehow, some painful fog had to be lifted. And the reason for that familiarity is that is was always staring you right in the face since birth, but in the movement of dualistic mind, it was overlooked. Being locked in dualistic, discursive mind is the impediment, the handicap, the fog that eventually must lift if any clarity is to occur. Over time, even discursive mind is not an impediment, and in fact reveals the incredibly creative capacity of our fundamental nature.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is identical to the bliss of non-Attachment. Non-attachment is not a strategy of avoiding objective phenomena, but co-arises as the space of self-knowing awareness. The degree of blissfulness felt is a function of the purification of subtle energy channels. This bliss is not from movement, such as the kundalini rising or falling, but simply an aspect of the nature of self and world; it transcends moving or standing still.
One gains greater confidence in The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness over time. Initially, the utter simplicity of the recognition may leave one with doubts as to the profundity of what has been revealed, but this is resolved over time. Confidence grows co-incidentally with the Evidence and Obviousness of the nature of self and world, like an ever-expanding spiral.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness cannot be found. It is by its very nature empty, lacking substantiveness (but is the very foundation, or context of all substance). Thus to objectify it is a mistake. Placing it superior to anything else is a form of objectification and reification, turning it into a symbol of desire and worship, and a target or goal. These kinds of errors are one example what the Buddhists refer to the extreme view of nihilism, the worship of 'not'.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is utter simplicity.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is not arrived at merely by a still mind. Wisdom must arise from the stillness, otherwise all one has done is to mimic the mental activity of animals. Stillness is a basis for transcendent-insight and not an ultimate goal. It has been said that stillness without insight is cause for rebirth in formless or animal realms.
The very open nature of The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness initiates a process whereby one's karma is processed at a more advanced rate. This generates a much greater intensity in life, as if the 'volume' of personal existence is turned up several notches. The dropping of apparent boundaries within Heart-Space creates a more profound vulnerability and sensitivity to one's karmic patterns, as well as the patterns of others. This increased intensity must be met with a grounded maturity to handle the potential eruption of personal karma, subconscious and unconscious material, as well as the heightening of universal and archetypal energetic constellations. This is one reason why it is said of the spiritual process,"Better not to start. Once started, better to finish".
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is utter purity because it is indefinable and unfound. Because it is indefinable and unfound, it has no specific characteristics or attributes in which to be defiled or corrupted.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is identical with inherent wisdom. It doesn't result in wisdom or vice-versa, it is the very force of wisdom.
In the recognition of the Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness, the tendency to grasp for results and effects are dropped. Wisdom arises that knows that the whole issue of results and effects is based upon dualistic thinking, painful grasping and seeking, and the movement from Heart-Space itself, a fundamental characteristic of suffering. Paradoxically speaking, it is in the letting go of the desire for results and effects that lay the groundwork for the dawning of Self-Knowing Awareness, in which profound results and effect may occur! But this dropping of the desire for results and effects must be sincere and real, otherwise trying to get results by trying to let go of the desire for results is futile - it would be like trying to eat your own mouth, look at your own retina, or levitate by pulling on your feet.
The dawning of The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is an evolutionary leap, the initiation to another level of awareness and growth. It is by no means the perfection of the spiritual process, but the beginning of a new stage in one's evolution.
In the evolution of the Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness, a quality of evenness or indifference arises. This indifference, or non-attachment is very different from the cold-hearted distance that normally characterizes the ordinary notion of 'indifference'. This kind of indifference is borne out of the natural recognition of the empty nature of phenomena, which results initially in the gradual easing of personal drama and the wild fluctuations of thoughts and emotion. As Heart-Space stabilizes over time, a sense of detachment or evenness results, which indicates purification in various bodies. The 'world' becomes 'even', a singularity that is more evident that any particular observed - it's as if one becomes aware of the film media when watching a movie.
In the Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness, the contrast between one's freedom and others' imprisonment becomes apparent, and in the midst of this, compassion dawns.
One begins to intuit the ways and means in which people suffer, how they completely miss the Obvious in the mode of dualistic mind. Freed from subtle stresses, one can sense the individual expression of this stress assumed selfhood in others. Paradoxically, one can also see the basis of freedom, the free nature in all others. Both the veil of suffering mind and the foundation of awakened mind are apparent. This is not only true for human but one recognizes the same paradox in all sentient creatures.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is about dying while alive. It is about letting go, not only of reactive emotions, discursive thoughts, etc., but about letting go of the entirety of previously held assumptions, beliefs, and imputations regarding a separate, solid self observing external and discreet objects. Dying to the old way of viewing the self and world, one is charged with an energy that has nothing to do with the 'person'; it is a transpersonal energy that cannot be grasped or held onto. Any attempt to do so brings into existence the notion of the solidity of the self having something to hold onto, and thus undermines the previously freed position. This dying process must be effortless, happing on its own accord.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is about the jettisoning of a Newtonian world-view of separate and discreet objects floating about in space. The recent emergence this century of quantum physics has destroyed previously held notions of solid and fixed 'things', but this has not bubbled in man to the macro level or the level of personal experience of the world. Even though quantum physics has taken us to a new world view, for the most part we are still living in post-Renaissance rational world view of Descartes and Newton, particularly in the west.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness may become evident when one has exhausted oneself in efforts to find the Truth, or has bottomed out through despairing of one's condition. Initially, spaciousness may seem like a sense of loss or despair before recognition of what has become apparent complete sets hold. Since space has no attributes, an initial assumption may be that one reached a condition of lack. But if Heart-Space has truly been revealed, it is beyond feelings or conditions of lack or satiation.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is not equivalent to void states, which are conditional, requiring the forfeit of the perception of the world, and is an extreme condition. These experiences may occur before and after Heart-Space becomes apparent.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness has no location, it transcends notions of location or where-ness. It is transcendent of and the mother to time and space.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is not caused by effort or some re-arrangement of one's apparent inner or outer landscape. Anything that is the result of cause is an effect that exists as some 'inner' or 'outer' object. But the Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is the context in which causes and results occur.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is pure presence and beyond the concept of the 'present' moment.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is about complete vulnerability and openness to situations. Since there is no fundamental self to be found, the issues of threat and protection of one's self are eased, allowing for the capacity to not withdraw into a protective enclave of one's making.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is about the cessation of discursive mind. Discursive mind goes hand in hand with the assumption of a solid, substantial and separate self, and assuming itself to be the hinge pivot point of reality. Once this false assumption or imputation is cut through, there is a greater capacity for the release of discursive thinking, which is essentially the exclusive bonding of attention with thoughts, ideas emotion, etc. Ever drive a car while caught up in thought, and then realize that you really haven't been attentive in your driving? That's discursive mind.
In the process of stabilization of The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness, it may be forgotten temporarily, but never lost. Once this vision is revealed, you are never the same, no matter how many imperfections remain.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is about really being a human being. The assumption of self and grasping onto objective phenomena, be they subtle or gross is an avalanche of suffering and kicks the human being into all sorts of actions and behaviors that consume one's day and eventually consumes one's life. The capacity for simple being has been lost in the attempted march to ultimate self-protection and improvement. And in the mode of self-protection, all sorts of horrific and painful behaviors have been rationalized throughout human history. Being a human being begins with the relaxation of stress of and identification with so much 'human doing'.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is not a container for the objective world, for that would imply 'inside' and 'outside'. Concepts such as distance, location, size and dimension must be let go of. Heart-Space is not different that the objects in the perceived world. This is most succinctly expressed by that consummately profound uttering of Gautama Buddha, "Form is not different than emptiness, and emptiness is not different than form".
Self-Knowing Awareness is not the same as a psychological 'aware ego'. While any increase of awareness is of great benefit, the growth of the 'aware ego' from a purely psychological standpoint still has the underpinnings of a solid, substantial self or assumption of an internal entity being aware of 'outside' objects. Self-Knowing Awareness arrives at the point in which the notion of a separate self is directly seen through, as well as the notional of 'internal' and 'external'. Self-Knowing Awareness includes the aware ego and transcends it simultaneously.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is the final frontier. Captain Kirk was right, but wrong about the kind of space.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is the ultimate Guru. Though one may have many teachers and gurus in one's life, they are still only secondary 'mediums' for the presence and innate wisdom that is one's very nature. The Guru is a physical manifestation of intrinsic wisdom, for those who are turned externally for wisdom in their search.
The Heart-Space of Self-Knowing Awareness is the ultimate wealth. It transforms one's suffering into a joyful, blissful existence. It quenches desires for object forms by its own bliss. Nothing more is needed for true happiness, nothing at all. When this becomes clear (and grows over time), one can witness the whole neurotic adventure for seeking after one goal or another, and the inherent pain that it causes. It lays the groundwork for the natural generation of compassion. There is nothing greater than this. Nothing.