I’m not sure where this came from (if someone knows, please tell me and I’ll attribute appropriately) but it resonated with me immensely:
There is no way around confronting yourself, your unconscious, your fears, your doubts. I myself haven’t found any magical way around this. We each have to confront ourselves. We cannot simply practice a spiritual technique like meditation or prayer, have some deep experience, and expect it to totally transform us. The experience, regardless of how profound, simply cannot erase all the false influences on your consciousness.
If we thoroughly investigate the matter for ourselves, we see that we have to confront ourselves in very powerful and deep ways. Those persons who have arrived at the balanced maturity of humanity have done so in the form of renunciation, discipline, friction with teacher and community, pursuit of practical tasks, following lessons given to them by their teachers, and in so many other ways that the various teachings have developed. In this work we do it through inquiry into our everyday experience.
Becoming a mature human being doesn’t happen easily or instantly. Although there is grace and there is blessing, it is only to help you confront and deal with your situation. Grace won’t do the whole thing for you. It will give you more confidence, more trust, but you will still have to deal with yourself. The help of the school, the teaching, and the teacher are small things compared to what you need to do yourself. This is part of the educational process of the inner path. The path requires the clarification and the transparency of all that determines your experience and perception of yourself and of the world.
Whatever questions you have, whatever you do not understand about yourself, you have to pursue. If you have any dissatisfaction, any discontentment, you need to pursue it. Teachings and teachers provide help, guidance, and orientation so that you don’t spend too much time dealing with the wrong issues. The teacher saves you time, energy, and effort. But the teacher can’t do it for you. The teacher gives you guidelines to help you do the practice and to help you deal with yourself.