Just some thoughts:
It's pretty hard to get over a belief in Buddhism -- at least for starters. The philosophy or religion of it, the connections and suggestions, can be truly delicious and enticing. We may not exactly understand all of what we read and hear, but we understand enough to be entranced based on past and sometimes painful experience.
Part of that past experience rests on the notion/belief/certainty that things are real -- that they have a material nature. When someone suggests, implicitly or explicitly, that things have no material nature, we may be willing to go along for the ride because the rest of the scenery is so wonderful, but the fact is that the material nature of things is something we still credit in our heart of hearts. We may believe it and when someone says that something called emptiness (expressed one way) is just the other side of the material coin but ... well ... maybe so, but we still haven't got as good a handle on that as we have on the material side of things.
Practice nourishes an actualization of what we have thus far only believed. Actualization means that we become as bedrock-convinced of the emptiness of things as we have been in the past about the material reality of those things. At first, it can seem pretty wowsers, but with continued practice ... well, it's just part of the honest scenery ... sort of like the blue sky: You can believe it or disbelieve it and the sky is still blue. The experience is just an experience -- convincing, but without a need to sell it to anyone.
With such an understanding in hand, one based on experience rather than simple belief, we continue our practice. Over time, as expressed in Zen, we come upon the four propositions:
It is not.
It both is and is not.
It neither is nor is not.
Each begins as a belief and grows into an actualization. Some may praise such things or write poetry about them, but each in its actualization is nothing special ... very special and not special at all. It's just facts we're talking about here ... an the ability to realize/actualize those facts. Speaking of "emptiness" means that someone is taking the trouble to fill that emptiness instead of just enjoying the facts that they couldn't avoid if they tried.
Merit? What merit? What virtue? What wisdom? ... what a nitwit!
Naturally it's more sensible to tune in to what you can't escape anyway -- to understand in your heart and bones -- but that doesn't mean you need to pat yourself on the back because you are six feet tall or have brown hair.
If you don't yet know, practice.
If you already know, practice.
And now and then, take a break. Have a sundae or something.