The ascetic path can become overwhelming because, as far as you can tell, the people around you don’t struggle within, but mainly care what others think of them. It’s far easier to adjust to what someone else wants you to do if you expect that someone to give you something in return (whether they do so or not is another matter). But an ascetic does what is right regardless, and expects nothing in return. This is hard, because if you expect nothing, you shouldn’t be surprised when nothing (tangible and immediate) comes your way.
On this path, it’s easy to feel despair, and lose sight of the goal, which is not perfection but minimizing impulse and controlling instinct. If you want perfection, you’re lost in mythology, and you will suffer in kind. In this context, you will come across those who talk about “the enemy within.” Note that they should backtrack and ask themselves if this “enemy” can be fully actualized, and what they plan to do if it were.
This is not to say perfection in idealism is not an inherent quality. Only experience in sincerely yearning for the ideal will yield the stunning realization that it cannot be attained, and that, ad hoc, passion must be controlled and to some extent nullified. Ignorance is bliss, but bliss is not joy, so those incapable of articulating the ideal must settle for a bland existence devoid of that joy (English as used commonly is a boring language, but every word has unique origin and distinct meaning: homonym is more instructive than synonym).
Objective reality exists independent of yourself, and independent of whether you like it or not. But here you are, conscious and alive beyond all odds, given the chance to discover it fully, and the brains to do so in rich detail, and you take it all for granted like you do breathing in and out. A big reason for this is that you must deal with morons daily, but this is a guarantee, and no excuse to detach from life in the process of detaching from them. There is nowhere to hide from the unpleasant aspects of this reality, so you best face it, and perhaps it’s a paradox to some that over here we do so while eschewing realism.
From this point, who could accuse us of arrogance in search of the higher self? If you sacrifice enough, for long enough, the law of averages will repay you. Life is unfair? So says the mope who can’t get over himself to get to work for the greater good, and muster the courage to metaphorically slay those in the wrong.
This brings us back full-circle to our purveyors of the mysterious “enemy within.” They are, without realizing it, in a volatile position: they want a fight to avoid or bypass suffering, but they turn the fight on themselves and ensure that suffering. It is simply inexperience and nothing to be ashamed of, but there is a certain lack of courage, and this is avoiding true enemies. This is what life is, and you ignore it at your peril. The clueless masses are stuck in the mundane, so they don’t realize it’s the inner motivation for everything they do, big or small, malicious or “innocent,” but if you simply sit by and let them do it, you have no cause for complaint. Use this knowledge, while letting go of your anger, and you will succeed where few do.