I make a distinction between Awareness with a capital A, awareness with a small a, and the meaning of consciousness.I use Awareness in its primordial sense: Primordial Awareness, the totality of all, including yesh (thingness) AND ayin (emptiness). For example, one of my teachers describes ayin-emptiness as "cognizant" emptiness, having a knowing quality. This Knowing quality (capital K) is identical with Awareness capital A (Perhaps we should call it Primordial Knowing--the essence of Knowing itself, or simply: Knowing without a knower).
Next, I use awareness, small a, only in the yesh sense—the idea of thingness, which leads us to the knowing of phenomena. The knowing of phenomena requires sensory perception. Thus you can easily see here that this kind of knowing is dualistic, it is knowing with a subject who knows an object, that which is being known. All this knowing is in the dualistic realm.
Now, on to consciousness. When I use this word, it is identical with knowing with a small k, there is a subject who is conscious, and objects that are known in consciousness. In consciousness there is an ego “I/me” that is the knower. I now know that my fingers are pressing on the keys of a computer. This kind of knowing always has an ego/I attached to it.
Thus consciousness (small a awareness) is built upon perceptions (and misperceptions), while big A Awareness transcends all the limitations of perception—it is Pure, Primordial Knowing out of which consciousness is born. As awareness becomes a source of self-identification, it is “selfing”, splitting into the primary dichotomy of this/that, subj/object, and as such it is called consciousness.
The realization of this leads to the heart of the practice: we can be conscious or aware of our awareness AND our Awareness! We can reflect on the Awareness necessary for consciousness. Indeed, we also have the capability of “letting go" of our consciousness and simply rest in Awareness itself, Knowing pure perceptions as they arise. When we are able to realize for brief periods this pure aspect of Knowing, something phenomenal happens.
While resting in Pure Awareness of any moment, we effortlessly, without practice, drop through the cracks of the universe, so to speak, beyond the limitation of the phenomenal universe. The yesh (thingness) aspect drops away, and we have a momentary taste of the fullness of the Primordial Awareness that is the source of existence.
Another way to say this is that Primordial Awareness is the source of that which perceives, that which is perceived, and perception itself—the Tibetan Buddhists call this: One Taste. In this moment, all inquiry ceases as there are no dichotomies: there is no this and that, no clear distinction between ayin (thingness) and yesh (nothingness), no subject or object, no duality, nothing to ask or respond, and certainly nothing to write about.