It turns out wholeness is a paradox; one that others have written about. On the one hand I have the tools and skills I’ve developed for myself through recognised psychology procedures. Tools to enable the residual developments of my healthy ego that were lacking in my upbringing.
Here, it is my skills and abilities for dealing with the world that are under scrutiny. Noy my ego in the sense of self-identity, although new identifications and attachments do emerge all the time as part of this work.
On the other hand, the task of spiritual wondering is to overcome and transcend the ego; the self with attachments and conditioning. So on the one hand I am doing work to improve the conditioning or conditions of my ego (my, if you like, programmed patterns for dealing with reality) – and on the other hand I am doing work to transcend identification with that ‘new self’ or emerging self and instead recognise self as both that emerging self and also my psychological and physical components that are unchanging, and also my unbounded spiritual self that is beyond definition and overflowing with possibility and potential.
Others have also already said that this appears to be, but is not, a paradox. It is the ego’s need to identify or attach to regular patterns of the conditioned self that gets in the way of spiritual growth; not the patterns of the conditioned self, in and of themselves.
The spiritual growth feeds into the psychological growth and change; it is the increased awareness that sheds light on which conditioned patterns need to change. I’d even say that it is the increased awareness that allows space for that transformation to take place in effect. A sense of greater calm and peace from which better responses always flow.
And the psychological growth feeds into the spiritual growth too; without it I would not be functioning so well, so would have less room and time for spiritual work.
Nobody can become Nirvanic overnight. Moments of ‘Om’ are moments until they are not moments any more. Until then, the conditioned self benefits from work in these two ways.