Does Self-Improvement Prevent Spiritual Awakening?

Words and design by Brian thompson.

What's wrong with self-improvement? What's wrong with introspection?

Nothing is wrong with either... if you're trying to learn a certain new skill or task.

But, if you're on a spiritual quest to awaken to your original true nature, then these concepts and activities are not your allies. They serve only to distract, and will confuse you more than you already are.

Who are you actually trying to improve through these activities of "self-help" and "personal development"?

Believing that you need self-improvement only strengthens the ego.

It sustains the delusion that you're not good enough. It makes you believe YOU should be better than what you presently are, that YOU need to improve, and that YOU are lacking.

The Self-Help industry typically focusses on the acquisition of outer goals, achievements, and experiences, while completely ignoring the quality of consciousness in which they appear. They focus only on material success and on improving one’s so-called position in life, rather than on simply understanding one’s true, underlying self-nature.

Self-improvement reinforces the false belief that happiness is something to be attained outside of you, rather than realizing it within, here and now—regardless of life's position or material success.

It perpetuates the delusion that you need to fit into the world better, rather than waking up to the fact that the entire world exists within you, as you.

In other words, be careful.

Personal Development is certainly well-intending, but it's a genre that unknowingly reinforces the delusion of duality, rather than helping one to awaken to their already-perfect presence of awareness.

In short, these practices create a conceptual barrier that blocks spiritual awakening by strengthening one's belief in their falsely imagined self-concept and identity.

The ego hides under the guise of it being personal developed, making you believe you’re improving yourself, but in truth, you’re only strengthening the delusion that is the sole cause of all unhappiness, unease, and dissatisfaction—the ego.

For example, practicing introspection is to become immersed in self-centered thoughts of needing to "improve" oneself. This is a dead-end path. It only perpetuates a person's suffering because, in truth, there is no self to improve!

The ego is the very thing spiritual seekers are trying to transcend, not strengthen.

Introspection is the very activity-of-mind that sustains the false self.

It does nothing but create additional concepts, ones which will ultimately need to be discarded in order to awaken.

If you continue to think about your sense of a personal self, then you become focussed on the wrong thing. Your attention is distracted by the false ideas of "I am this" or "I am that", rather than on the bliss of simply realizing the purity of I Am, which is empty of any additional concepts.

To abide in awareness, however, as an ongoing practice, is to realize one's true Self, which is that spacious presence-of-being that is beyond any experience, but which all experiences appear within.

This is the direct path. The ending of all concepts. The dissolution of the egoic self. The final truth.

To focus one's full attention onto awareness itself and not onto anything that appears within it is to awaken to pure consciousness—not as an individual or a personal self—but as a pure presence of Absolute Reality.

This awareness of awareness should be supplemented with a practice of self-inquiry, which is the opposite of introspection. It is to investigate the source of each and every thought, rather than focussing on the conceptual image of their imagined self.

From where did this thought appear? To whom does it appear to? Who am I?

This isn't introspection. It's a process of turning the mind back onto itself, of silencing its conceptual chatter and connecting the dots between awareness and consciousness itself.

This is the wisdom of silent understanding.

When you inquire into the very source of each and ever thought, as it appears, the mind becomes quiet, revealing an undiluted presence of I Am—empty of concepts—beautiful, peaceful, loving, compassionate, and free.