Spiritual growth is marked by a balance of compassion and wisdom. If only wisdom is developed compassion will be primarily limited to oneself. As further development is obtained one’s heart becomes less burdened, and compassion extends to others.
As this compassion broadens the weight on the heart can become overwhelming unless there is also a deep insight into emptiness. With the wisdom of emptiness, we realize that there is no actual being at the center of suffering.
Emptiness needs compassion and compassion needs emptiness. Each to balance the other. Each is an oasis within the other.
Although we are acutely aware of some amount of suffering what can be said about emptiness?
Imagine a flashlight beam pointed at the edge of a wall so that half the beam strikes the wall, and the other half keeps going past the wall. When the light beam reaches the wall some of it is reflected back and we see that portion of the wall illuminated by the light. The other half continues on and if nothing is placed in front of it there is a continual flowing outward of the light. It is a continual river of light emanating from the flashlight.
In a similar manner consciousness flows outward from you until it reflects back from an object such as a thought, sensation or emotion. You become aware or conscious of some object when it becomes illuminated by your consciousness. This continues rapidly and another object of consciousness comes into your awareness. The speed of the changing objects moves faster and faster and flows like a river of thought. We seem to stand at the bank of this river and identify as its watcher. However, the watcher has no solidity; it is merely composed of that that is being watched. If there is no object no thoughts, emotion or sensation then there appears to be no consciousness but emptiness. This emptiness without thought, emotion or sensation may be perceived as quiet, calm, stillness, freedom, friendliness, love, God.
With deep insight into emptiness as the innermost experience or point of view the weight of the conventional physical world momentarily disappears. You return to the next moment refreshed and ready to be kinder to both yourself and others.