Filed in Zen (Chan)

Breaking Through

How to recognize and overcome three universal obstacles to practiceEzra Bayda

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Detours and obstacles are a fact of practice life. Some arise out of our own psychology and conditioning: patterns of self-judgment and perfectionism, a tendency to procrastinate or seek diversions, addiction to control, and the like. Other obstacles seem to be more universal, and these are the ones that nearly every practitioner faces at one time or another. These obstacles are at the heart of practice, yet they are seldom given the emphasis they deserve. But until we can see them clearly—see how they manifest in our lives—it will be difficult, if not impossible, for our practice to move forward.

There are three obstacles in particular that we need to address.

Misunderstanding the depth of waking sleep

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