What is the biggest obstacle to Self-Realization?
Impatience or procrastination?
Worldly desires or instinctive impulses?
Monkey-mind or mind-wandering?
Dullness, lack of motivation or too much excitement?
Arrogance, thinking one knows it all or self-doubt?
Spiritual practices that do not lead to enlightenment?
Believing in dogmas or anything without having experienced it directly?
Well, not quite.
The biggest hindrance to Self-Realization is … the ego—the false self—and all its subtle “mechanisms” and “strategies” that prevent you from going further.
All these points mentioned above have the ego as a common source.
Un-conditioning the mind is like a 24/7 task. One has to be ever-lucid because the ego—the false self—is always ready to use its tricks to push one back into the illusion of Maya. Doing sitting practices for a couple of hours per day, then giving the ego a blank check for the rest of the day, is neither the best nor the fastest way to find out our true infinite nature.
However, being present mustn’t be a burdensome task. It cannot be forced.
To make everything more complicated, no Kriya or Kundalini Yoga guru or organization talks about this. Most spirituality ignores this essential process. There are good teachings that help an aspirant go deep into a profound state of consciousness, yet these are not sufficient to achieve Self-Realization. Learning about the ego-survival schemes and maneuvers that usually operate unconsciously, while applying conscious awareness during the day, spontaneously and naturally—that’s the missing link.
As one goes deeper and deeper through formal sitting practices (i.e., Kriya Yoga or Kundalini Yoga), the natural presence-witness state occurs spontaneously throughout the day. It’s like watching a movie or a dream—and not getting caught up on its drama.
Energetic practices -> Witnessing practices -> Self-Awareness -> Self-Realization.
The book The Yoga of Consciousness explains this whole process beautifully.
Realizing the non-existence of the ego, living without it, is truly being enlightened.