‘Why do we meditate? This is a question we’d be wise to ask. Why would we even bother to spend time alone with ourselves?
First of all, it is helpful to understand that meditation is not just about feeling good. To think that this is why we meditate is to set ourselves up for failure. We’ll assume we are doing it wrong almost every time we sit down: even the most settled meditator experiences psychological and physical pain. Meditation takes us just as we are, with our confusion and our sanity. This complete acceptance of ourselves is called maitri, a simple, direct relationship with the way we are.
Trying to fix ourselves is not helpful. It implies struggle and self-denigration. Denigrating ourselves is probably the major way that we cover up bodhichitta.
Does not trying to change mean we have to remain angry and addicted until the day we die? This is a reasonable question. Trying to change ourselves doesn’t work in the long run because we're resisting our own energy. Self-improvement can have temporary results, but lasting transformation occurs only when we honor ourselves as the source of wisdom and compassion. We are, as the eighth-century Buddhist master Shantideva pointed out, very much like a blind person who finds a jewel buried in a heap of garbage. Right here in what we’d like to throw away, in what we find repulsive and frightening, we discover the warmth and clarity of bodhicitta.
It is only when we begin to relax with ourselves that meditation becomes a transformative process. Only when we relate with ourselves without moralizing, without harshness, without deception, can we let go of harmful patterns. Without maitri, renunciation of old habits becomes abusive. This is an important point.’
by Pema Chodron, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times.