The process of enlightenment is a very curious one. It’s not something that happens or is done because it’s not something or someone that is waking up. What awakens is already awake. But it has not yet become conscious of it’s awakeness at this point of awareness, in this apparent form. Thus an awakening “happens” when another point wakes up to it’s global nature.
As I noted in The Enlightenment of Yoga, the point value, previously known as the knower, turns out to be the devata, the process of experience. So it is the process that awakens to it’s own nature. The doing that awakens to it’s being.
The Yoga Sutra v4.3 says: The apparent cause of natural change is not the real cause, but rather the removal of an obstacle (is).
In other words, when we see events, we may think this is the cause and that is the effect. But it’s actually not the movement but the release that leads to change. It is inertia shifting to energy, tamas to rajas. Purification allows growth.
The cycle of growth (change) starts with dissolution, then growth, integration and balance. Repeat.
As Patanjali observes, an obstacle falls away allowing the flow to continue. Until the next apparent obstacle.
We say consciousness is waking up to itself but really it is obstacles falling away from what is already here. This points to the value of a practice – not to awaken but to remove obstacles, to purify.
But is an obstacle really an obstacle? When I say “obstacle” do you think of a cement wall? Or do you think or resistance, friction? Flow never really stops, it is just constrained. And that affects its freedom and it’s ability to bring smooth and easy change.
Not so smooth? We call that suffering. Resistance causes suffering, as noted in The End of Suffering.
We can also see resistance as causing a kind of fog, a reduction in clarity. That is tamas or inertia blocking sattva or clarity. It is smooth flow in eddies, causing us to see the surface rather than the depths.
But as Patanjali notes (2v4), the prime source of suffering is ignorance of our true nature. Put simply, obstacles are not objects, they are just an unwillingness. An attitude. A style of doing or energy. A devata.
In India, Ganesh is celebrated as the remover of obstacles. Amusingly for him, there are no actual obstacles, just a process of release. A shift from ignorance to Self knowledge.
PS – yes there has been a wave of Yoga articles as I was closely reviewing The Egenes translation of the Yoga Sutra. (see Books tab) Remarkable what is in that short text.