Does using your practice as a scalpel for perfectionism prevent you from knowing that you are already perfect? Well, of course it does. Everyone knows this. Stupid perfectionism.
But in the same way, is using your practice as a tool for awakening so much self-flagellation? Does it actually prevent us from realizing we are already awake?
If we see practice as a tool for getting someplace instead of a way of being awake, maybe we become attached to the tool. Attached to this idea of working out some noble process.
And we become identified with our history–everything I’ve been through, all the dedication I’ve shown, all the openings I’ve experienced! You should have seen my hamstrings that first year, I’m telling you. Like the vipassana practitioner who wants you to know she’s been at it faithfully for twenty years! To console herself about the fact that all that has really deepened in that time is her awareness of her own suffering.
I’m not saying I can vaporize my unconscious by dint of will. It’s active whenever I go in to the world, so I may as well process that shit out the best I can. Many Integralists say you have to repair the ego before you can transcend it. These people say we do have shadows raging behind our eyes… but also that this does not prevent us from experiencing higher states of consciousness from time to time. You nondualists won’t like this contradiction, but that’s just because you’ve gone to sleep again and are busy wallowing in distinctions.
The possibility that even if we are already perfect the second we shake ourselves awake, we still have issues.