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Obstacles & Barriers


I’ve frequently referenced the quote “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” I find it interesting that this saying is usually attributed to the poet Rumi, but supporting sources of attribution are not to be found. Identical words do appear in A Course in Miracles, however, and they continue: “It is not necessary to seek for what is true but it is necessary to seek for what is false.”

So, what are these barriers? Some see them as obstacles to be overcome; others refer to veils that conceal Truth. Indian sages use the sanskrit word samskara to represent any false impression or influence that must be overcome to know one’s True Self as Love, or Reality or God. Samskaras are seen as either inborn, imposed and acquired. Inborn are samskaras carried from one's past life (lives) and into the present life. Imposed are samskaras that are brought upon through a young age from one's parents and surroundings. Acquired samskaras are created from experiences and actions taken by one throughout his/her life. 

When I refer to ordinary human action and reaction as being the product of genetics and conditioning, I’m pointing to the barriers or samskaras that are the determinants of such behavior. The importance of overcoming these influences is supported by the following quotes.










If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.
~ William Blake

The child is the spiritual builder of mankind, and obstacles to his free development are the stones in the wall by which the soul of man has become imprisoned.
~ Maria Montessori

Spiritual evolution occurs as the result of removing obstacles and not actually acquiring anything new. Devotion enables surrender of the mind’s vanities and cherished illusions so that it progressively becomes more free and more open to the light of Truth.
~ David R. Hawkins

When we are caught in notions, rituals, and the outer forms of the practice, not only can we not receive and embody the spirit of our tradition, we become an obstacle for the true values of the tradition to be transmitted. 
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Meditation is nothing but withdrawing all the barriers, 
thoughts, emotions, sentiments, 
which create a wall between you and existence. 
The moment they drop, you suddenly find yourself in tune with 
the whole; not only in tune, you really find you are the whole.
When a dewdrop slips from a lotus leaf into the ocean 
it does not find that it is part of the ocean, it finds it is the ocean. 
And to find it is the ultimate goal, the ultimate realization, 
there is nothing beyond it.
~ Osho

Papaji said that Ramana said that the last obstacle to full self realization is self doubt. Papaji said it even better, he said that the last obstacle was believing that there is an obstacle.
~ Gangaji


To hold grudges, to hold malice, to hold those things that create or bring contention, only builds the barrier to prevent thy own inner self enjoying peace and contentment. 

~ Edgar Cayce


We must be willing to be completely ordinary people, which means accepting ourselves as we are without trying to become greater, purer, more spiritual, more insightful. If we can accept our imperfections as they are, quite ordinarily, then we can use them as part of the path. But if we try to get rid of our imperfections, then they will be enemies, obstacles on the road to our 'self-improvement'.

~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

You yourself are your own obstacle, rise above yourself.

~ Hafiz

The only obstacles are your own beliefs. 
For example, you believe that you are limited. 
That is an obstacle. 
You believe that you are a named form. 
That is an obstacle. 
You believe in a God separate from yourself. 
That too is an obstacle.
These keep you from experiencing your true nature. 
The destination is the end of discomforting uncertainty. 
The way of Wu Hsin is to cast aside all beliefs and 
make the trip with neither carry-on nor check-in baggage.
~ Wu Hsin

Self is always Present, Bliss is always Present.
You are not to work at attaining it,
just remove the obstacles by which you can't see it.
The hindrance is only one: Attachment to the past.
~ Papaji

The final obstacle in meditation is ecstasy; you feel great bliss and
happiness and want to stay in that ecstasy. Do not yield to it but
pass on to the next stage which is great calm. The calm is higher
than ecstasy and it merges into samadhi.
~ Ramana Maharshi

The experience [of self-realization] is unique and unmistakable. It will dawn on you suddenly, when the obstacles are removed to some extent. It is like a frayed rope snapping. Yours is the work at the strands. The break is bound to happen. It can be delayed, but not prevented. 
~ Nisargadatta 

If there is a personal 'i' wanting to feel or experience true being then this is just desire and can be dropped. The personal 'i' is blocking the seeing of what you are; it is the obstacle and can never 'experience' truth. Let there be an acceptance of this point and the related desire will fall away.
~ Jac O’Keeffe

The biggest barrier to awakening is the belief that it is something rare.
~ Adyashanti

The sense of duality, which is a barrier to true love, must prevail so
long as the apperception of Truth has not occurred. Once individuality
is surrendered, there is only total Love.
~ Ramesh Balsekar

Realize you're dealing with the personal-'I', 
and all the anger, all the frustration, all the karma, 
all the samskaras are all attached to that personal-'I'.
Consequently, when you get rid of the personal-'I', 
everything else will go with it.
So don't try to solve your problems.
Do not try to become a better person.
Do not try to run away from your life.
Simply see who it is who is running, 
who it is who needs to be a better person?
Who has all these problems?
'I', 'I', always 'I'.
Hold onto that 'I' with all of your might, 
but do not concentrate on the 'I'.
You concentrate on the source which is consciousness, God.
~ Robert Adams

. . . the factors (i.e. barriers to liberation) already known and generally accepted, include the influence of the environment, society, the economy, childhood conditioning, and the paucity of real teachers.
~ A.H. Almaas

Do understand that you are destined for enlightenment. Co-operate with your destiny, don't go against it, don't thwart it. Allow it to fulfill itself. All you have to do is to give attention to the obstacles created by the foolish mind.

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness. People normally cut reality into compartments, and so are unable to see the interdependence of all phenomena. To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality. 

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Self is always Present, Bliss is always Present.

You are not to work at attaining it,

just remove the obstacles by which you can't see it.

The hindrance is only one: Attachment to the past.

~ Papaji

Peace is not some arduous journey but the instantaneous realization that there is nothing to get, nothing to change, nowhere at all to go. You are already there and the seeking of it is the obstacle. 

~ Randall Friend


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