It is funny how some things get confusing, also in spirituality. In many spiritual traditions it is taught that we are already perfect, and that there is nothing else to do. This idea is prevalent in Vedanta and neo-adavaita for instance. I have also seen many people confused studying Zen Buddhism, when they are told that we already have the Buddha nature, and therefore we are perfect and there is nothing else to do. Lots of words are put behind this.
While at some level this notion is true, in practical terms, it can lead to laziness, leaving no room for development and no eagerness to work on any type of self-transformation. Why bothering to do anything anyway? Why should I study and get wiser? Why should I practice? Why should I meditate?
I do believe that at our core we are all perfect, but it does not imply that there is no work to do to get to that realization in our everyday life. It is of course important to accept things as they are without resistance or fighting, but it does not mean that we should not improve life conditions when they are under our control or that we should not try to progress internally too. It is just not done through struggle or anger. Not even with grasping to certain outcomes. It means that there is nowhere outside to find what we are looking for to feel wholeness and satisfaction. It is already within.
However, the intellectual perspective on this is not enough. And here lies the trick. Reading about it or even knowing it intellectually does not make much of a difference. We have to do a deep work of dismantling the ego’s thought system that stops us from living this truth. It is only by des-identifying with the part that conditions us so profoundly that we can apply it to our life, and experience an amazing change. And that takes a lot of work. The fallacy comes from believing that the transformation can happen automatically.
Also, there is a difference between Absolute Reality where we are all one and everything is love and oneness, and the conventional reality where we are living. Here, we do need a balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement. We know we are not guilty of any original sin. On the contrary, our true nature is pure. However, it is covered by so many layers that without rolling our sleeves and consciously work at uncover it, we will not see it or be able to live aligned with it. Just knowing it will not do magic, I am afraid.