Spirituality that ignores, denies, or covers up our inevitable undesirable sides is doomed to be bitten and burned by them. Models of realization that involve high ideals of human perfection have caused so much dejection, despair, and misguided effort throughout the ages that I have no qualms about doing my very best to try to smash them to pieces on the sharp rocks of reality. They are not completely useless, and there is some value in keeping the standards to which we aspire high, as we will see in the next chapter, but most of the time they are taken too seriously to be helpful at all.
Those who adhere the most rigidly to the self-perfection models of awakening are also very often those who believe awakening is unattainable and feel the most disempowered in their spiritual practice and life. Not surprisingly, those with the highest standards for what realization will entail often have the lowest standards for their own practice and what they hope to attain in this lifetime. They are the armchair quarterbacks of the spiritual path. Becoming grandiose about aspiring to a high ideal seems to be a common coping mechanism for dealing with a complete lack of confidence and insight. As Christopher Titmuss, one of my best and most honest teachers, said, “We do not come from a self-perfection lineage.” There are those who do explicitly come from self-perfection lineages. I wish them good luck. They’ll need it.