Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, false perception, failure to reach firm ground and slipping from the ground gained – these distractions of the mind-stuff are the obstacles.
Nine kinds of distractions come that are obstacles naturally encountered on the path, and are physical illness, tendency of the mind to not work efficiently, doubt or indecision, lack of attention to pursuing the means of samadhi, laziness in mind and body, failure to regulate the desire for worldly objects, incorrect assumptions or thinking, failing to attain stages of the practice, and instability in maintaining a level of practice once attained.
Sri Swami Satchidananda says that these obstacles are like a chain, one leading on to the next. For example, physical disease leads on to a dull mind, which then leads on to doubt and carelessness, and so on and so on.
On reflection, I have experienced many of these obstacles on my journey, particularly ‘slipping from ground maintained’. It is good to know that these are common obstacles that many people face on their spiritual journey, and Satchidananda says that once we know this, we won’t get disheartened. If we were not aware of these obstacles, we might just give up altogether. Part of the practice is experiencing the highs and the lows, and always returning to it.