The purpose of the higher awareness of rigpa is to go beyond such concepts as the physical world, time and space in order to reach unity with the universe. In Buddhism, rigpa represents the highest form of meditation -- a constant mindfulness of the inner Self.
When a practitioner reaches the state of rigpa, they gain clarity that is devoid of ignorance about the nature of the mind. To reach such enlightenment, the emotional and cognitive veils that prevent rigpa must be removed -- this includes emotions, attitudes and wrong (ego-driven) knowledge. Practicing yoga and meditation can help shatter these obstacles.
In Dzogchen, the goal is to distinguish rigpa from sems (the mind distorted by thoughts). Rigpa, therefore, is pure awareness that is free from such distortions of the mind. The opposite of rigpa is mariga (unknowing).