Soh Wei Yu
    It's very important after the I AM realization not to strengthen the illusion of a background but to penetrate deeply into anatta and dissolve that illusion of a background subject or witnessing.
    After that, clear light sleep and dream takes a very different form than maintaining witnessing background into sleep. The latter will cause insomnia and other problems and energy imbalances. And it will not liberate.
    Therefore one should not look into any sleep practices during the I AM phase, and even after anatta one can just let wisdom enter sleep naturally. But especially in the I AM phase, it will be very dangerous and will strengthen one's karmic propensities and cause other energy imbalances instead of progress.
    I have seen so many famous masters and practitioners who have completely mistaken that remaining conscious into deep sleep is a form of achievement. Many masters in various traditions, such as Advaita, Tibetan, Zen, Thai Forest and so on may see being conscious in sleep as an ultimate achievement, the prized ‘Turiya’ (fourth state) transcending and underlying the transient states of waking, dreaming and sleep. In actuality, not being able to fall asleep completely and being always conscious even when sleeping (what Ramana calls sleepless sleep, wakeful sleep) is an energy imbalance, and it is harmful to one’s health. As John Tan warned, “You realize everyone that claims this ended up having serious health issues.’”, “just don't mistaken all these energy imbalances as achievement. Look at all these issues directly and know how to deal with it.”
    In 2007, John Tan translated a paragraph from English to Chinese. It was a passage he wrote about I AMness as the changeless ground of being, ending it with an additional comment, “Due to the strong karmic propensities to grasp at a substance of awareness, the practitioner may have difficulties falling asleep, and in serious cases may obtain insomnia, being unable to fall asleep for many years.” He wrote that and told me to send it along with the Thusness (John Tan) Stages of Enlightenment to a dharma teacher as that dharma teacher was suffering from insomnia due to energy imbalance after I AMness. To truly solve this issue, one must be able to relinquish one’s grasping at Awareness (reified as a Self) and give rise to John Tan Stage 5 insight of anatta.
    “As long as she knows where she is and aim for stage 5.5, she will be able to cure her sleeping problem. :)” - John Tan, 2007
    “(11:46 PM) Thusness: X has not experienced non dual. that is why there is a sleeping problem. 😛 and she must take it as a misunderstanding of consciousness. this latent sleeping problem can only be solved by stage 5 and 6. this also means that she has not experienced wu wei fa also. contrary to what she wrote. but not to talk about stage. She misunderstood it as I AMness and 4th stage. when [one is] at [stage] 5.5, her problem will be solved. her yuan [conditions] must be there. 🙂 anyway not to belittle her. 🙂 just that there is a problem of sleeplessness. it is good to tell her when the yuan is there. and the lacking [point] in the teaching must be patched. :)” - John Tan, 2007
    John Tan speaks from experience because the insomnia he experienced for over a decade after energy imbalance induced after I AMness was only resolved after anatta. Realization of anatta was crucial to that resolution, hence the comment ‘when [one is] at [stage] 5.5, her problem will be solved’.
    “(10:09 PM) John: yes it is still if we want to call it, the 'Self' but when emptiness comes into picture...Presence takes another role... look at buddhism closely...there is no need for emptiness and non-inherent existence if it is merely 'Self'. it is all about the clarity of our true nature. if we call our true nature the true 'Self', it is alright...but what is the relationship of emptiness? it is more like God. that does not require conditions, just the source will do. 🙂 "I AMness" lead to that sort of presence....anatta even worse...greater clarity. kundalini awakening the serpent also will lead to this cosmic consciousness experience, but the emptiness nature isn't seen.
    (10:14 PM) AEN: kundalini awakening how come also can
    (10:14 PM) AEN: isnt it some kind of chakra thing?
    (10:14 PM) John: because of the release of energy that cause a sudden drop out of all barriers
    (10:14 PM) AEN: btw j krishnamurti attain enlightenment through kundalini i tink.. he mention
    (10:15 PM) John: yes...every chakra is a release and melting away, and the release till a free and pure sense of energetic sense of awareness. union with cosmic consciousness, so called. the presence can be so intense that you don't know how to deal with it. 🙂 it penetrate to the sleeping phase” – Conversation with John Tan, 2006
    "To find one that can completely surrender and totally be is extremely rare. Not even one in millions. Yet in deep sleep, all has to let go. How can one be denied such a precious state of beingness.
    For a person that has experienced no-self (non-duality), deep sleep is even more important. It is the completion of a full cycle of non-duality and natural beingness.
    But this may not be the case for one that clings to the "Eternal Witnessing". There is a very subtle holding in them for maintaining this witnessing subconsciously thereby denying them from naturally going into deep sleep. If it reaches a point that presents itself as a problem, it is a signal to the practitioner that it is time to let go and dissolve the holding of the Witness, the center. It will be tough to simply try just "let go" of the center and if this is the case, an insight into our "emptiness nature" may help.
    Only after going through a full cycle of natural non-duality and beingness in all three states (waking, dreaming and deep sleep) will a practitioner sleep be shortened. I called this the second cycle of non-duality." - John Tan, 2007
    “There is no need to maintain anything during deep sleep. It is non-dual by itself. More pure than anything. :)” - John Tan, 2007
    "The deep dreamless sleep is a very precious state of being, a natural samadhi of its own, a measure of accomplishment in the first complete cycle of non-dual. If conditions are understood along with our pristine nature, all 3 states flow as a single whole." - John Tan, 2007
    Because we're too busy identifying with thoughts and feelings in the mind and body.
    John Tan:
    And also busy identifying with the "I Am". The worry has now come to it. Dissolve and passaway, fade out of existence! So be it!
    Why can't we fully appreciate our perfection?
    John Tan:
    Fade away and appreciate "no where". Sleep well!" - Jan 2007

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    Roger Thisdell
    Soh Wei Yu I agree. I see this technique as a trick and not an end goal achievement. Ultimately consciousness is empty too. Cessation and Nirodha Samapatti can be missed by those who fixate on awareness being a constant underlying ground.

  • Soh Wei Yu
    • Aditya Prasad
    If it makes you feel any better, I've been stuck in "I AM" for over three decades . After reading (parts of) AtR, I recognized another major trap I fell into: trying to continually reconfirm awareness. It's deeply habitual now, and triggers itself when I'm trying to fall asleep, preventing me from getting restful sleep. Really grateful for this group, because even though it's taking a long time to work through this stuff, I don't know of any other resource that explains it.
    3 · 11h
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    Tony Taylor
    Aditya Prasad Yea I’m 44 so 3 decades for me as well
    • · 10h
    • Soh Wei Yu
    Aditya Prasad Due to lack of insight into the nature of awareness, the mind always has the sense that awareness is behind, an unexamined belief that "awareness is not thought, is not sleep, is not this and that experience" and that "awareness is what is BEHIND them", so it always attempts to jump out of that moment of experience to find this 'familiar background' which is a mind made illusion. It is really just a line, a definition, a mind made map that attempts to locate awareness as 'not that but this', 'not there but here', etc.
    When insight into nature of awareness arise, then one is able to overcome the tendency of locating awareness anywhere besides manifestation. Then you will love to just sleep when you sleep, in hearing just sound, in sleeping just sleep, because that's always what's already the case -- never a seer or a seeing besides.
    After that 'confirmation' is always auto confirmation by the ten thousand things and auto release (self liberation) upon arising, in fact non arising in its arising. There is absolutely no effort to reconfirm anything necessary what has no who, no where, no when, non local but ever brilliant and spontaneous, without center, division, location or boundaries, all vivid manifestations as spontaneous presence.
    Joel Agee, 2013:
    Here are two sentences from one of the oldest Dzogchen texts, The All-Creating Monarch (Kunjed Gyalpo) quoted in Longchenpa's Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding (Richard Barron's translation):
    “Seek the location of the heart essence through phenomena that derive from it
    and come to appreciate it through the skillful means of not conceptualizing in any way whatsoever.
    Since the heart essence occurs naturally, dharmakaya is not elsewhere.”
    Coming across these lines had a vividly awakening effect on me.
    Like · · Unfollow Post · September 2, 2012 at 1:29pm
    Dannon Flynn, Steven Monaco, Neony Karby and 6 others like this.
    Joel Agee Simple but profound and ongoing: a deconstruction of an unconscious habit of locating awareness anywhere else than in the moment-to-moment transient phenomena. Whoosh! No observer, no witness. No location!
    David Vardy No location but 'here' in the heart....
    September 2, 2012 at 1:46pm via mobile · Like · 2
    Chris Collins You're finding a deepening clarity in transcient phenomena ? Can you explain any more ?
    September 2, 2012 at 1:48pm via mobile · Like
    Joel Agee David: Yes, definitely. And your putting "here" in quotes feels accurate, because that too is unfindable.
    September 2, 2012 at 1:50pm · Like · 2
    Joel Agee Chris, I'm not sure I can explain exactly. There's a frequent and delightful experience of being "confirmed" by sounds and sights, especially sounds. Greater appreciation of what shows up from moment to moment, a kind of energy of being available for anything. More spontaneous ease in action and speech and thought. But in a way this is all secondary. The recognition of awareness is unobstructed. Sometimes it seems to be obscured by thoughts and feelings, and then it's obvious that those too are the clarity and the emptiness. RIght now there's joy in seeing and saying this.
    Joel Agee: Appearances are Self-Illuminating
    Joel Agee: Appearances are Self-Illuminating
    · 21m
    • · • Soh Wei Yu
    So during my I AM phase I too experience that insomnia thing though to a much lesser degree than John Tan and many others, I remember this constant witnessing into sleep and the tendency to snap out of thoughts back into a constant background and this often wakes me up and disrupts my sleep (both when falling asleep and when asleep). But I will just drop all that and just sleep as much as I can and continue to progress in the 4 aspects and nondual contemplations and bahiya sutta.
    · 12m
    • Soh Wei Yu
    John Tan wrote in May 2007, "Many love Presence, the background, the reality behind all appearances. If we can dedicate the same love towards appearances and to thoughts, I think that will do; for they are one and the same. Forget about self or no-self if it is confusing. My 2 cents. "
    The same goes for sleep too, I might add.
    He also said back then,
    "A person in utter sincerity will realize that whenever he attempts to step out of Isness (although he can't), there is complete confusion. In truth, he cannot know anything in reality.
    If we haven’t had enough confusion and fear, Isness will not be fully appreciated.
    “I am not thoughts, I am not feelings, I am not forms, I am not all these, I am the Ultimate Eternal Witness.” is the ultimate identification.
    The transients that we shunt away are the very Presence we are seeking; it is a matter of living in Beingness or living in constant identification. Beingness flows and identification stays. Identification is any attempt to return to Oneness without knowing its nature is already non-dual.
    “I AM” is not knowing. I AM is Being. Being thoughts, Being feelings, Being Forms…There is no separate I from start.
    Either there is no you or you are all."
    "When we clung too deeply to the luminous presence, to that ‘pure sense of existence’, we fail to see the emptiness nature of that presence. Phenomena dances in and out of existence, arises and subsides according to conditions. When a practitioner does not ‘posit’ an ‘I’ and ‘see’ that there is really no one behind, then popping in and out of existence is not seen as any thing unusual, still the perfect expression of our pristine nature that is empty. Allow Presence to be, no who, no when and no where."- Jan 2007
    Awakening to Reality
    Awakening to Reality
    Awakening to Reality

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    “Yes Longchen,
    Very well said. There never was a gap, it can't be. It is one whole flow and nothing else. When there is one, there is two. When the one subsides, nothing isn't the one Reality.
    Clear transparency of the One Reality also has its problem. An illumination into the non-duality without certain pre-requisite can cause problems. There is always habitual propensities that will again make this experience an object of attachment. It can cause a person to go without sleep as the body is incapable of dealing with this newfound experience. Many have mistaken this to be a heightening of awareness and took it as a natural progression. This is not true. Whenever this happens, know that it is due to attachment. Learn how to let go of everything until a tranquil calmness arise, it has got to do with our thought patterns, there must come this willingness to let go of our body completely, then our thoughts and the experience of presence… completely letting go from moment to moment… the senses and thoughts can be shut by this art of letting go and non-attachment. Total letting go and vivid Presence must fuse into one.
    Practice during the waking state till there is no single trace of doubt that there is absolutely no one there, no inner and no outer, just the incredible realness and vividness of the manifestation. The experience of non-dual in the waking state. Witnessing dreams and there is no witness, just dreams is different. Dealing with the more subtle states and pre-conscious propensities require one to master this art of non-attachment, non-action. There is no conscious way of dealing with the more subtle states, just stabilized the experience and allow the momentum to carry us naturally into the dream and deep sleep. Sleep well. :)” - John Tan, 2006

  • Soh Wei Yu
    Too many good quotes, I'll just paste one more and others can read more in the AtR guide itself:
    “John: That is not the way… because he cannot cope with his experience of consciousness, unable to let go of that experience that created this illusion… it is no good for his health and X too...
    Soh: Oh, I see. But X says she is very awake, lol
    John: Yeah.... I am too... but she must dare to die. totally subsides. nothing at all. it is a problem. she must not misunderstand. The Presence experience requires one to know how to feel the great death then one can understand emptiness. and the subsiding of presence in deep sleep is important because it revitalizes. it is not that nothing is known. it is just it is another form of manifestation. when one say that someone drinks in new york, the one in Singapore get drunk. it is non local… not letting one completely dissolved, one will not experience that. and the understanding is always centered. I told you that I have gone through 10 years of insomnia right?
    Soh: yea, you said it’s due to some Qi practise? that gone wrong. lol
    John: I do not treat that as a stage, I treat that as a problem. I am totally clear throughout, extremely clear. when one enters into meditative stage of presence in dream state. it is not lucid dreaming. it is presence and merging into symbols. like experiencing the sky as you, all those symbols are you. when you meditate for long hours and is able to rest our mind at night, though even sitting. there will come a time that all sorts of symbols appear. children playing. birds flying in the sky. you see faces so clear yet you are aware and sometimes you wonder whether are your eyes open or closed. you are awaring the dreams taking place. but still the same, there is no one awaring but the presence of the dreams. it is not like those described (Soh: descriptions of either lucid dreaming or Witnessing presence in sleep). totally out. see flying over the oceans....images taking places. yet there is awareness.... this is due to the manifestation of conditions. but it is non physical but purely symbolics. there is not much differences though. then the symbols will come to an end. the dreams will, there is no story line, just images after images. Random… but quite clear. but it will come to an end.... then all images subsides… completely nothing
    Soh: I see. then you wake up ?
    John: nope… dreamless. then dunno how long....those symbols arises again. your mind is completely clear. it is difficult to tell you. 🙂 one can be so attached to these stages that it is so difficult to get out. the only medicine is no-self and emptiness. I think only emptiness can save. Lol. that is completely dissolve even the Presence. Then the Presence does not have to localize.
    Soh: emptiness will dissolve Presence?
    John: and we will progress. you see, the awareness in all these stages is still a form of centricity. it is a subtle background. awareness is difficult to understand. 🙂 in fact we can't understand. that is the problem. we can only experience. but most people want to make sense out of this experience therefore they conceptualized. and even with the experience, they subtly fall back to this very fine concept and identify with it instead of just letting the conditions unfold, just it. the unfolding is already it. the entire body become so focused and concentrated… it uses up so much energy that the body and brain already [becomes] numb… one does not realise it. do you know what every practices must have the melting effect?
    Soh: you mean releasing bonds? wat you mean melting
    John: when you focus chakra… when you visualize, these sort of practices must have the melting effect to dissolve into complete nothings… letting everything unfold… you must later learn how to engage yourself into activities and practice from there. completely engaged. it is especially important after the experience of anatta. after the practice of mindfulness, engage into activities. just know the DO (dependent origination) and emptiness, hold on to nothing. there is no need to hold on to presence
    Soh: but isn’t it possible to maintain 'presence' in every moment in life ?
    John: if you think there is a need, use no-self and emptiness, then the Presence will speak in its stillness. it is possible. that is due to wisdom. the loosening of the bond. not as a result of effort. means when your attachment loosen, your capacity to 'see' is naturally there. the 'seeing' is the experiencing is the presence” - 2006 Conversation with John Tan
    “It is not necessary to maintain witnessing at all. A wrong understanding. After non-dual and with right understanding, only manifestation with right condition is necessary. It's holding on to 'witnessing' that is denying the further experience of our pristine nature. :)” - John Tan, 2007

  • Soh Wei Yu
    “He [XYZ Rinpoche] focused more on awareness as background. Without realizing the nature of mind and phenomena, karma continues to be generated.
    When there is a background, one can't liberate actually but generates subtle karma IMO. Only through realizing the nature of mind and phenomena one can self liberates (karma).” – John Tan, 2018
    “There is thinking, no thinker
    There is hearing, no hearer
    There is seeing, no seer
    In thinking, just thoughts
    In hearing, just sounds
    In seeing, just forms, shapes and colors.”
    Depending on the conditions of an individual, it may not be obvious that it is “always thought watching thought rather than a watcher watching thought.” or "the watcher is that thought." Because this is the key insight and a step that cannot afford to be wrong along the path of liberation, I cannot help but with some disrespectful tone say,
    For those masters that taught,
    “Let thoughts arise and subside,
    See the background mirror as perfect and be unaffected.”
    With all due respect, they have just “blah” something nice but deluded.
    See that there is no one behind thoughts.
    First, one thought then another thought.
    With deepening insight it will later be revealed,
    Always just this, One Thought!
    Non-arising, luminous yet empty!
    - John Tan, 2009, the two stanzas of anatta in On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection
    On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection
    On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection
    On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous Perfection

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  • Tyler Jones
    Soh Wei Yu if one keeps a bare mindfulness as one falls asleep but is not reconfirming the I AM do you think it would cause issues? The instructions I've received from various Buddhist and Daoist lineages are to keep mindfulness, not stay in the I AM per se like in Hinduism.

    Richard Cooper
    Tyler Jones does counting sheep count as Mindfulness? 😉😂

  • Soh Wei Yu
    If it is not causing issues then ok.. just be careful.
    Most impt is to give rise to insight.. anatta most impt followed by emptiness after that. Then presence is really spontaneous, without effort and clinging and contrivance.

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