Important message for everyone.  

The two stanzas of anatta are linked to this:

[8:40 PM, 6/9/2021] John Tan: 1. Dzogchen has a phrase "spontaneous presence". I do not know it's exact meaning in dzogchen however the phrase is intimately related to the 2 experiences of the 2 stanzas:

1. No doership = spontaneous

2. Mere appearances as Presence

You'll see that I wrote about both aspects in

Without realizing of the second stanza of anatta in , it is not considered genuine anatman (no-self) realisation in AtR. Related: , , ,

I have also remarked that 99% of the time, people who said they realised no-self merely experienced the non-doership aspect and not the genuine nondual anatman realisation. Also see:

Based on my experiences from discussions with thousands of individuals, I've observed that claims of recognizing nonduality—where there's no differentiation between the internal and external, or an absence of self—do not necessarily indicate a true realization of anatman or an authentic nondual experience or insight. Often, there is a chance that the person is simply adopting specific jargon or imitating others, under the impression that they have reached a similar level of understanding. However, in reality, their experience may only encompass a sense of impersonality and non-doership, rather than a genuine nondual experience or insight.

I (Soh) have once asked John Tan if he thinks a certain teacher has realised anatta, to which John replied, “There is no authentication of one's radiance, no recognition of appearances as one's radiance and no clear pointing of how conventional constructs (Soh: are seen through and released).  So what led you to that conclusion?” 

Additionally, commenting on a certain teacher’s writings, John Tan wrote,

“When we say "Mind is the great earth", the first step is to understand and taste what is mind before we go a step further.

If the teaching doesn't teach and taste what mind is, then it is just beautiful talks and grandious speech.

Next one has to point out what is "great earth"?  Where is this "great earth"?  The soil, the ground, the flower, the air or buildings or the conventional world?

Then talk about what is total exertion they have been talking?

Then the integration of the mind and total exertion and that is +A.”

However it does not mean the second stanza of anatta is more important than the first stanza. In fact, after awakening the second stanza of anatta, the pellucid radiance as all appearances beyond the paradigm of subject-action-object, it is vital to penetrate deeply into the first stanza.

Everything self-arises without doer or agent, as natural as breathing and heart beating. Thoroughly penetrating this, be completely spontaneous and effortless and releasing. Natural radiance is completely effortless, 0 effort required at all. Let deep insight into anatman and emptiness carry you into self-liberation and spontaneous perfection and dissolve the disease of effort and subtle overfocusing or clinging to radiance. As John Tan also said before, it is important not to over emphasize on the radiance (lest it causes the unpleasant effects of energy imbalance), and that it must be complemented with the first stanza of non-doership. He added that after non-dual, one's practice must be relaxed and open, insubstantial and free -- be natural and open, light, relaxed and effortless, then contemplate on effortlessness. The openness and relaxation should build up into a momentum in one's practice. Additionally, as John Tan said, we have to understand the relationship between non-doership and total exertion -- allowing the totality of the situations to exert itself. Seen from one side of the coin, it is complete "effortlessness" of radiance, and seen from another side, it is the exertion of the totality of conditions.

Satsang Nathan videos are a good expression of the non-doership aspect of anatta. See: Satsang Nathan Videos

To emphasize: building up the momentum mentioned above in practice is crucial. To paraphrase John Tan, "You must engage in regular practice and refrain from pretentious wisdom until a certain momentum builds. Only then can you hope to overcome challenges associated with x's issues. I am sincere in my advice; you have not yet experienced these issues firsthand, but when you do, you will understand the importance of mastering this art.

If you practice meditation consistently, both in opening up and in your daily life, a momentum will eventually develop. Even when challenges arise, if you can manage to stay calm and allow this momentum to guide you, you will find yourself capable of overcoming them.

It resembles the art of letting go, although it's quite challenging to articulate effectively. Our natural tendency leans towards attachment, regardless of how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise. This is why consistent practice is essential.

You may spend all day discussing the concept of freedom from all elaborations, the natural state, and sounds, and you might even gain some insights. However, when you are confronted with these issues for various reasons, all your attachments will come to the forefront.

Fears about death, health, and personal anomalies will emerge. Your mind will struggle to release these attachments.”

John Tan also told X before, “You got good karma...just relax and understand that essencelessness also implies effortlessness, don't focus, don't concentrate.  Simply refine the view and understanding after anatta insight that appearances are one's radiance.”

John also wrote to X, a friend of ours, “Can be overcomed. I used to have very intense energy disruptions of energy imbalance post I AM due to over focusing. 

Currently I think it is better to let the body and mind calm down first through distractions, shifting attentions...the body and mind at the very subtle level is very sensitive, the hidden fear will just sway ur entire balance.

Medicines do help and I think you should.

We must be very careful, there is relaxation of mind that lead to more alertness and there is the relaxation that calms the mind into peace via overcoming afflictions (eg fear).

When we are in a state of later, then we can rest and response to conditions in balance.”

John also wrote to me before, “ Focus on "effortlessness" first, then later you release you can let go of ur thoughts and let what happen happens as happening...but you may later feel you are unable to concentrate, it's ok...slowly and gently recall that appearances are one's own radiance, then radiance is by nature beyond effort...get use to it first.

Whatever appears by nature self liberates.”

If insight and practice is not mature in this aspect and radiance becomes strong, and one subtly overfocuses on the radiance, one runs the risk of encountering painful energy imbalances leading to stuck energy in the brow chakra, serious tension, headaches, insomnia (literally 0 sleep at night, super consciousness throughout night which some mistakes as accomplishment), waves of energy that feels like panic attacks (I said feels like because it was more of a bodily than a mental fear, it was a very tense and “nervous” bodily sensation running through the body), and worse symptoms than that. I've had such unpleasant encounters in 2019 for seven days, as detailed in This leads to what is known as 'zen sickness' which doctors will not be able to cure, and I have dedicated a whole chapter to this topic in the original AtR guide. I've been fortunate to have not re-trigger such episodes through a shift in practice but have seen others experience something similar. So, it is my heartfelt wish that people don't go in the wrong direction in practice. Please take care and practice well.

Perhaps if you are interested in Dzogchen, receive transmission and teachings from  Dzogchen teacher Acarya Malcolm Smith (who also likewise stressed on this crucial aspect of non-doership and effortlessness of radiance appearances in anatta, and the integration of the 2 stanzas of anatta -- it is not in his public writings but in his online teachings to subscribers which I attended) and get the book 'The Supreme Source' which elucidates clearly the total effortlessness of spontaneously perfect and self-arising nature of total presence. But please do not DIY Dzogchen as that will be extremely misleading, but rather find good teachers (e.g. Acarya Malcolm) in that tradition. You can watch this YouTube video (highly recommended) for an introduction to Acarya Malcolm’s Dzogchen teachings that was recommended by Sim Pern Chong on the AtR group: . Also, some of Malcolm’s writings can be found here . To practice that book "The Supreme Source", empowerment, direct introduction and guidance from a qualified Dzogchen teacher is necessary, and it is certainly not to be mistaken as lazing around without practice nor the nihilism of neo-Advaita. Case in point:

Here’s a good video shared by John Tan:

David Mcdonald wrote,

"I think if trauma work/emotional work was integrated into the stages of ATR it would drastically improve the stages impact overall.   I just don't think no self/emptiness teachings reach the area that people think they do. Scott Kiloby has a great saying, "everything arises in awareness accept everything that doesn't". How is dharma insight going to improve certain areas of suffering if you are not even aware of it?

Is it possible that you're using no self and emptiness teachings against your emotions, in an attempt to make them go away, or for you to no longer feel them anymore? Is is possible that your energy imbalances are not caused by the intensity of luminosity but rather the trauma that has gone unresolved in your nervous system? I have been doing Internal family systems for the past month, and all energy imbalances evened out when certain traumas and buried emotions were brought out into the light with love and compassion, it had nothing do to with luminosity. Rather, there was emotional suppression there, and no amount of "in seeing only the seen" was going to resolve that. 

I have found that bypassing is even subtler than I first thought. But as I have gone down into the body with compassion through IFS, the realization of no self and emptiness becomes clearer and clearer, those insights are reaching down into areas I had buried. I know not everyone is doing this, but check in with yourself, are you at war with your inner world in an extremely subtle way? Using dharma teachings to submit your emotional turmoil? Your buried traumas don't need that, they need your love and compassion, they need a voice so they can transform! The want to be felt without the slightest effort to empty them out or get rid of them. This has has such a huge impact in such a short time! I recommend IFS to all dharma practitioners no matter what stage your at!

(And trauma does not have to be a dramatic life altering event, I do not know of a human being that does not or did not have repression from childhood, even if you were raised in a loving family, that one remark the teacher said to you when you were 8 could be still manifesting as your repulsion and anger for all forms of authority etc etc, trust me, there is material there, for everyone!)"

Soh replied:


I don't know about others, but the only major energy imbalances I ever had, which took place in 2019 was 100% without doubt due to incredibly intense radiance (that although was not in any way chemically induced whatsoever but solely triggered by tuning the mind towards the radiance in anatta, such that it became so incredibly intense it was much more intense than all the psychedelic trips I ever had, the whole world's color saturation and sensorial intensity not just in sight but even in sounds, smells, and so on upped by 10~20 fold into a hyper psychedelic state and this lasted for weeks, months, over a year even after I resolved the energy imbalance) that when overfocused led to a serious tensing pattern, an overexertion of the nervous system that built up into a knot that is palpably felt in the brow chakra. I could discern the cause and effect quite clearly.

Nowadays that doesn't happen because an increased integration of the 2nd stanza of anatta with the 1st stanza into an effortless natural state, light and insubstantial radiance without effort does not lead to this energy imbalance which in truth is a subtle selfing pattern that wasn't known as such when it happened. The non-dual radiance is still there naturally, nondual and intense (but not heavy and solid), but totally relaxed, light, and insubstantial without a single effort, spontaneously arising and perfect always. (And I'm not suggesting I'm at the end of the path)

As for whether emotional issues can cause energy imbalance, I would say, yes that is definitely possible as well, and in your case that probably has been the case, but everyone will have to discern clearly what the causes and conditions for whatever imbalance they have going on. There is no one and single cause for every energy imbalance. Even physical illnesses, flu, etc, is or can cause an energy imbalance, as John Tan pointed out before.

At the same time, for Awareness practitioners, it is incredibly common for brow and heart chakra blockages and imbalances to form, as John Tan pointed out before. Any focusing of mind can lead to an imbalance.. this is why I added these paragraphs to the energy imbalance article days ago:

Mind, attention, energy, focus, body are one. They are only conventionally distinct but when deconstructed are released to be ultimately without a hairbreadth's separation or distinction.

When you practice, especially for awareness practitioners, and those who practice in a focused way will lead to an energy imbalance where energy get stuck in the brow chakra. It is very common for awareness practitioners to face such issues. Either brow or sometimes heart chakra blockages.

However the insights of anatman by itself is very safe, in fact in full actualization of anatman, there cannot be energy imbalances. Energy imbalances are all tied to subtle selfing. This is why complete maturation or actualization of both stanzas of anatta (without skewing to the 2nd) will resolve energy imbalance.

So your practice should bring and base your mind on the Dantien. The energy should flow and not be stuck in the head. Being somatic helps with overcoming energy imbalances. 

See Vase Breathing:

[11:46 AM, 9/5/2020] John Tan: I like his descriptions, quite good but may result in energy imbalances.  Best is to practice breathing exercises and learn to regulate the energy into calmness...

Comments by Soh:

One good way to regulate energy through breathing exercise is to practice the vase breathing.

Here is an excerpt from “Open Mind, Open Heart” by Tsoknyi Rinpoche:

“Vase Breathing

One of the methods that helped this woman and countless others cope with emotions is a practice that helps us draw lung back to its center, or “home.” For this, we use a special breathing technique as a tool, because breath is a physical correlation to the subtle wind energy of lung.

This technique is called vase breathing, and it involves breathing even more deeply than the type of deep diaphragmatic breathing often taught in many yoga and other types of classes with which people may be familiar.

The technique itself is rather simple. First, exhale slowly and completely, collapsing the abdominal muscles as close to the spine as possible. As you slowly breathe in, imagine that you’re drawing your breath down to an area about four finger widths below your navel, just above your pubic bone. This area is shaped a bit like a vase, which is why the technique is called vase breathing. Of course, you’re not really drawing your breath down to that region, but by turning your attention there, you will find yourself inhaling a bit more deeply than usual and will experience a bit more of an expansion in the vase region.

As you continue to draw your breath in and your attention down, your lung will gradually begin to travel down there and begin to rest there. Hold your breath down in the vase region just for a few seconds - don’t wait until the need to exhale becomes urgent - then slowly breathe out again.

Just breathe slowly this way three or four times, exhaling completely and inhaling down into the vase area. After the third or fourth inhalation, try holding a little bit of your breath - maybe 10 percent - in the vase area at the end of the exhalation, focusing very lightly and gently on maintaining a bit of lung in its home place.

Try it now.

Exhale completely and then breathe slowly and gently down to the vase area three or four times, and on the last exhalation, hold a little bit of breath in the vase area. Keep this up for about ten minutes.

How did that feel?

Maybe it was a little uncomfortable. Some people have said that directing their breath in this way is difficult. Others have said that doing so gave them a sense of calmness and centeredness they’d never felt before.

Vase breathing, if practiced ten or even twenty minutes every day, can become a direct means of developing awareness of our feelings and learning how to work with them even while we’re engaged in our daily activities. When our lung is centered in its home place, our bodies, or feelings, and our thoughts gradually find a healthy balance. The horse and rider work together in a very loose and easy way, neither trying to seize control or drive the other crazy. In the process, we find that subtle body patterns associated with fear, pain, anxiety, anger, restlessness, and so on gradually loosen up, that there’s a little bit of space between the mind and the feelings.

Ultimately the goal is to be able to maintain that small bit of breath in the vase area throughout the day, during all our activities - walking, talking, eating, drinking, driving. For some people, this ability becomes automatic after only a short while of practice. For others, it may require a bit more time.

I have to admit that, even after years of practicing, I still find that I sometimes lose my connection to my home base, especially when meeting with people who are very speedy. I’m a bit of a speedy person myself, and meeting other speedy people acts as a kind of subtle body stimulus. I get caught up in their restless and displaced energy and consequently become a bit restless, nervous, and sometimes even anxious. So I take what I call a reminder breath: exhaling completely, breathing down into the vase area, and then exhaling again leaving a little bit of breath in the lung’s home.”

“[10:16 AM, 6/29/2020] John Tan: Frank is very experiential, no need to be too theoretical into emptiness, non-arisen of phenomena for now. 

Rather it is to allow him to move the energy and radiance to his body...entire body...although the background is gone, you may think that all six senses are in equal radiance but it is far from truth in real time and causes all the energy imbalances.

Relax into the natural state and feel the energetic radiance over the entire body.  Not by way of thinking.  Touch anything, touch the toes, they legs, feel them.  It is your you understand that?

[10:23 AM, 6/29/2020] John Tan: The mountain is mind, the grasses are mind, everything is mind.  That is through the vision and mental, feel the body, toes fingers, touch them. They are mind.  So do you understand that in real time?

As for sleep don't worry too much, it will happen and use less thoughts, let whole body be a sense of touch not by thinking, but feel and touch it.  So don't think that when insight of all is mind anatta arise, means you are already into all is mind.  If you can't embrace and feel all as mind, how are you to eliminate the common denominator called mind and into no mind which is the natural state of anatta.”



Note: Serious energy imbalances related to depression and anxiety and traumas should be treated with the expert help of psychiatrists and psychologists, possibly with the medications as support. If you exhibit symptoms that may be related to these, you should be checked out by professionals.

In Soh's case of 7 days of energy imbalances in 2019, it was not related to mental issues as there was no depression, sad mood, or mental anxiety (aside from bodily sensations of tensions), nor was it related to traumas, but instead it was due to extreme intensity of luminosity - an intensity that persists throughout the day and into sleep, and an energy pattern of overfocusing and tenseness that was difficult to dissolve. That said, if you are unsure, it's better to get checked out. Additionally, you can also check out books by Judith Blackstone, which goes deeply into trauma release and relates it with nondual practice (although not exactly based on anatta practice, still it is worth reading).

John Tan also said, “There is a big difference between depressions caused by work or physical appearances or lack of family support...etc and issues for example related to "I AM". All those anxieties that relate to physical appearances or work load or studies etc will gradually release if the respective issues are solved. But there are issues that are like "I AM" that is your first immediate thought, so close and so immediate that are not easy to "rid".”

“Some (energy imbalances) may relate to opening of certain energy gates when body is not ready also.”

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