Spirituality vs Psychology
Psychology is about being a human individual and the mental problems and phenomena associated with that. Psychological techniques seek to alleviate the suffering, but still within the realm of the human individual - the separate, faulty one who needs to be fixed.
The human individual is fatally flawed, we are all tragics in our own way - if not this year, then next year. The problems just change as the root cause is not sorted out.
Putting it another way, a psychological practice tries to retrain the ego to be less troublesome and better behaved.
Spirituality is a movement from the human condition and the common denominator is to find out who we really are. In other words the focus is on our true nature - consciousness - presence-awareness - which is the true Self, as opposed to the illusion of self, the ego.
That is the major difference.
A lot of so-called 'spiritual activities' are actually psychological and designed to relieve human suffering and there is nothing wrong with that.
Practices can operate completely within the human realm, or they can operate within the human realm and at the same time 'point to' the formless realm beyond that.
The dividing line here is that you cannot do a truly spiritual practice as a 'defective separate individual' who has 'not got it' and 'needs to get it' at 'some time in the future'. Time, ego, etc.
True spiritual practives are done (arise) in the aliveness of the present moment (the Now).
In a true spiritual practice an apparent 'stepping out' occurs from the human condition to the essential nature (which in fact was never left - it just seems like that).
This is a disidentification with thinking and the false sense of self, which is a subset of thinking.
With this disidentification from thought an apparent rise in Consciousness occurs - but both are one and the same thing described in different ways.
More accurately it is a re-cognition of what is already there (with perhaps a re-cognition that it has always been there) , rather than an increase in quantity.
Written by Mike Graham, 19 Jan 2008, last edited 21 Jun 2008