As we seek to work with, control, and enjoy the big world outside, hardly ever take time into introspect and see a bigger world within; fiefdom of deceptively simple but deviously complex entity called mind. All attempts to reach towards self realization that I know of are attempt to go even beyond the mind, principal perpetrator of the great illusion.
My initial attempt, in all its childish innocence, towards self realization started at a very early stage of pre-teens with a fascination for Sanyasayoga, a path of renunciation. Years of guidance from my friends and mentors influenced me to agree that path of renunciation is tricky. That is, dividing line between escapism and true renunciation is very thin. I accepted that it is probably inappropriate to detach even before attaching!
Since then, my experimentation revolved around Karma yoga, Jnana yoga and Bhakti yoga. Common experience across my various attempts is a realization that the force that stops me from the realization is myself.
On the path of Karma yoga, what I found as deceptive is the pride about my possessions, and about ownership of action and achievements, works deep within me as motivator for further action. It continues till it reaches a point of trivializing my actions and achievements; it comes to a point none of it, by itself, is of any consequence! Hard lesson that I learned over a period of time!! Not exactly a new learning but surely a realization in itself!
On the path of Jnana yoga, what I found as deceptive is the pride about my knowledge! It works deep within me till it reaches a point of trivializing the very knowledge that I struggled hard to attain; knowledge, by now, has become a commodity or rather I made it a commodity! Possession like any other possession!! Another hard lesson that I learned over a period of time!! Not exactly a new learning but surely a realization in itself!
On the path of Bhakti yoga, what I found as deceptive is the pride about my devotion, with and without rituals; Bhakti yoga inexplicably taking shades of Jnana yoga! I am yet to seek out as did on Karma yoga and Jnana yoga but I can foresee the patterns of entrapment and I am almost back to Karma yoga on the lines of Zen
Caution: These notes are written from the perspective of curious, perpetual learner that I am rather than from the perspective of a practitioner or Guru; I have no claims of being either