There is only one obstacle to spiritual growth, fear. I don't tend to wax poetic on the subject but just mention a few things.
The nephesch is the animal soul. Humans suffer, where other species do not, because we have a combination of spiritual and animal soul. The latter only knows personal and species survival. It is fight and flight and reproduction. That is all. Every experience you have is thus classified by this energetic near nightmare as an opportunity to have sex, life threatening or neutral. This is handy in a world full of saber toothed tigers, not so handy in the modern world, except sometimes.
In a modern world, we end up capturing our fear in the animal soul. Many of our actions are then dictated by the power these fears, often unconscious have over us. This is the sort of thing that cause people in happy marriages to have affairs as part of them thinks they must reproduce with a different partner to keep the species going or because it will make them feel young. Thus being further away from death.
This is more subtle. There are all sorts of behaviors we engage in that are secretly pandering to these fears. We drink. We argue. We engage in sex that makes us feel bad. We avoid work. We do too much work. We bond too deeply. We withhold our emotions. We stay unemployed, underemployed, or incorrectly employed. It shows up in many forms.
This fear is often coupled with guilt as we do things we should not and that are harmful to others based on these fears.
Once a spiritual person experiences the Grace of G-d, all these things fade away or are drastically reduced. Stepping past these fears is crucial to making any significant progress in this life. So how do you do that? There are many methods. There is no need for me to mention them hear. I am of the belief that most of them work.
What is needed above method, is attitude. A deep willingness to throw oneself upon the fire again and again until at least, one is freed from the burdens of fear. The desires mentioned below are those that pander to fear in one way or another.
If a man gives way to all his desires, or panders to them, there will be no inner struggle, in him, no 'friction' no fire. But if, for the sake of attaining a definite aim, he struggles with the desires that hinder him -- he will then create a fire which will gradually transform his inner world into a single whole -- Ouspensky, In Search of the Mircaulous
With this, we lose a large part of our negative foolishness. We become wiser and sovereign. But this is just the beginning of another journey, more fires and at length, true Love and Compassion.