The realization of emptiness can be cultivated directly by reminding ourselves constantly that all appearances are mental elaborations, arising from our accumulated karma, perspectives, tendencies, and desires. Kunchen Dolpopa states in The Supplication: “All phenomena merely arise from conditions, without any self, agent, soul, or creator, and are like a dream, an illusion, a mirage, or an echo”.
A useful metaphor is that of a magic act: although the stage magician sees the rabbit that he pulls out of the hat, just as his public does, he knows exactly how the rabbit got there, and does not for a second believe it is true magic. He is not taken in by the act.
Appearances are the rabbits that we pull out of our minds. Even though we experience them with our senses, we should remember that they are not real, substantial, and permanent. They are only appearances. They are insubstantial and impermanent. They are empty.