[This is one of those posts where the focus changed as I wrote…!]
I have noticed how different traditions relate to the fixing vs. transcending issue.
To simplify it, we can say that our holarchy of being – body, energy, emotions, thoughts, (…), absolute – consists of the personal and the transpersonal. The small self and Big Mind.
If we are stuck in exclusive identification with the small self, we may spend all our days running around trying to rearrange and fix this small self (or just resign to it as it is). There may be some “improvement” according to our standards, but no end to the inherent dissatisfaction in this mode of operating. Dissatisfaction, because we are at odds with Existence (dualistic views in a nondual Existence), and because we are so much more than this.
When we awaken to our nature – to the absolute, to ourselves as space & awareness empty of characteristics – we find a “ground” outside of the small self. From here, we can gradually let go of the exclusive identification with the small self. We gain a new perspective. We can allow all the experiences coming through the small self to arise within space and awareness, to fully experience it and more fully be engaged with the small self in the world. We see the small self and the rest of phenomena as a fluid seamless whole, and the relative and the absolute as aspects of a fluid seamless whole. Our view becomes more transdual, naturally embracing all polarities. Eventually, we awaken to Big Mind – fully embracing the absolute and relative, and living it through the small self.
So with these two basic modes of operating – one exclusively identified with the small self and functioning with a dualistic view, the other embracing the holarchy from body through the absolute and functioning in a more transdual way – there is a spectrum of possibilities that open up.
If we want to move from exclusive identification to a wider experience of themselves, we can…
(a) Allow the small self to be as it is, and focus on shifting the center of gravity to the Witness. Just the act of seeing what is – the body/emotions/thoughts/behaviors – shift the center of gravity to the Witness. It does not matter what is seen, what the content of awareness is. This in itself is healing for the small self, to just be seen (and “accepted”) as it is, and bringing awareness into the areas which needs healing and maturation.
(b) Encourage a gradual process of refining the small self, allowing it to become more healthy and aligned with a transdual view, and following (or parallel with) this encourage a shift into the Witness and then Big Mind.
The first approach is seen in for instance Breema (the conscious focus is on the first approach while the self-Breemas and the bodywork does bring healing on all levels). The second in for instance Tibetan Buddhism (with their very thorough and all-levels approach).
In any case, it seems that both processes has to be present – to some extent – at the same time. The small self can never be fully “healed” and there are always more levels of maturation and development. But awakening to the nature of mind, and eventually to Big Mind, allows this healing and maturing to unfold a little easier and maybe faster as well.
The integral approach would be the both/and approach. We use whatever techniques and approaches available to “heal” the small self and help it mature. And we use whatever techniques and approaches available to awaken to the nature of mind and to Big Mind. One aids and allows for the other.