Psychology understands the person as being the product of biology and the forces that shape the personality, with “spirituality” taking place inside the body and mind.
Mysticism understand the person as being a concretization of a movement of a Beingness transcending time, space, and form (including the “Archetypes”). This formless/boundless Beingness is actually the creative matrix of all time/space/form and can be communed-with in direct experience. This movement isn’t just “alive,” it is the very life itself, and is continually existentiating and acting-upon the person to carry-out a purpose that is mostly beyond comprehension but is totally trustworthy.
The spiritual adepts are consciously surrendered to this movement, letting it have its way with them. Most people unconsciously resist it until they are checkmate by a life crisis or the rare gratuitous breakthrough of Spirit that perforates their egoic compensatory structure.
sultan, saint, pickpocket —
love has everyone by the ear, dragging us to God by secret ways.
Spiritual practice is often treated as a kind of “psychotherapy renamed,” a self-improvement add-on to an existing identity. This impression is partly from psychotherapists appropriating and technique-ifying traditional practices, deforming them into the “Procrustes’ bed” of a psychodynamic view. Just as often, unready and self-appointed teachers who cannot draw upon pure Presence in a transmissible way find that psychodynamic techniques are more accessible both for themselves and their audience. This has led to a commoditizing and dumbing-down of “mindfulness,” traditional teaching stories, and the poetry of historical masters such as Rumi.
The actual overlap between spiritual practice and psychotherapy is really only about 15% — with the bulk of spiritual practice inexpressible to those who have not had certain supra-egoic or supra-conscious experience. Psychodynamic insight is not the same as spiritual realization — though it is most desirable & necessary, especially in our time — nor is spiritual perception reached through psychodynamic processes, because the identification with our psychological processes is one of the things standing in the way of authentic inner freedom.
And when that breakthrough comes, it changes literally everything.