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'Antarayas' or obstacles in spiritual progress - 3

The seventh Antaraya or obstacle is 'Bhranti Darshana' or Erroneous Perception - taking a thing for what it is not. In the path of spiritual practice, one may claim to have 'experiences' that may actually be illusion or fantasy. It's a loss of objectivity.

There's a simple way to find out if it is a true experience. Every time an experience makes one a better human being – less self-centered, less egotistic, more open, serene, friendly, helpful – it is an experience towards spiritual growth. If the experience leaves one negative and confused, then it is not a very high experience.

The eighth great obstacle is 'Alabdhbhumikatva'. It occurs when we feel disheartened about how long the journey is, how much more there is to realise and how much more there is still for us to do. We start ignoring the progress we have made and the next step seems arduous.

Therefore, it is always important to realise that the duration of the practice and experience of the result is different for each yoga practitioner. The patience and perseverance of the path can do wonders. It is imperative to not compare oneself to others, or compare today with yesterday. Instead, surrender to the beautiful journey and don't obsess about the destination.

The ninth Antaraya is Anavasthitatva or Instability. We have all been there. You follow your diet religiously for a week and then break it with a weekend binge. You commit to working out more, hit the gym for two days, and then struggle to get off the couch after a long day of work. You set a vision for your career and get excited by the possibilities, only to get dragged down in everyday responsibilities and not return to your dream until months later.

In yoga, 'Instability' can be even when the state of deep meditation has been reached, the mind’s not continuing steadily therein.

Spiritual practice means to continue to remain focused and maintain progress once achieved. In other words, to keep it going because it is important to our personal development and core integrity.

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