Difference between Personal Development & Spiritual Development

Spirituality is a sea where each Person has to swim in solitude – not in hordes. 

You may attend a hundred different workshops and take umpteen extensive courses, yet at the end of the day you may still be spiritually-undeveloped as you were before you enrolled, in short, if you do not livespirituality from moment to moment all is futile. 

You must understand that spirituality is an internal job. It is about living in the precincts of your own energy, and not internalisingthe discordant energies of the people around you. Too much of socialisingleaves you drained; moreover, your energy-field becomes a mélange of discordant energies emitted by people with whom you associate, and which you unwittingly internalize. These energies which are not altogether of the purer kind lower your vibrations and cause a lot of discomfort to your spirit.


People Attending Self Help Therapy Group Meeting In Community Center

Self-help does not expand your mind with the in-depth Teaching of the Cosmic Laws or deepen your awareness of the things of the spirit and the unseen reality. It is more focussed on refining the self for better control over your thoughts and emotions, to ease the inner restlessness and to regain your lost self-esteem. It helps to refine your personality, and makes you more productive in your day to day life. While all this is good for your personality, it does not necessarily make you spiritual, but paves the way towards your personal spiritual goal.  

Some people look upon spirituality as a trend and not as an inside job. Big fancy titles and terminologies are nothing but names which the practitioners use to lure people into believing that the more elaborate the techniques and rituals the faster you can become spiritual. At the end of the day the energy employed in every one of these courses is the same Universal Energy.

Unconditional Love

One of the major lessons in spirituality is the subject of Unconditional Love, which is obligatory to master in your journey towards your spiritual goal. Spirituality demands that you live, breathe and BE Love, per se in your daily life. This is the only thing that can virtually send you zooming up to the great heights of spirituality.

If you find that you are quick to react to injustices at the personal or global level, or take offense if someone says something nasty to you, then you know that you still have a long way to go before professing to be spiritual. You may not react on the person’s face but you will allow it to rankle within your heart and then start to whine, complain and pour out your grievances to the first person you meet who has a sympathetic ear for your tales of woe regarding your offender. Moreover, you will allow your hurt to overshadow the sunshine of joy and peace in your life. This is definitely not what spirituality is all about. 

Basic Principals

Spirituality is about forgiving and loving. Forgive your enemies. You do not need to cow down before them and beg them to love you. They will continue to resent you, anyway. Yours is to keep your distance from them without any rancor in your heart; accept them the way they are and radiate out the energy of unconditional love relentlessly to them, instead of slandering them through malicious gossip and harbouring ill-will towards them.

Some of the salient differences between self-help and spirituality are as follows: 

  • Self-development helps prepare your body, mind and soul to walk the Path of spirituality. It helps do away with your cumbersome baggage and makes you aware of your mental and emotional states. Whereas, spirituality helps to synchroniseyour mind with the Higher Cosmic Mind.
  • Self-help is more about following social norms and grooming your outer personality, while spirituality is about building up strong, positive vibrations that serve as an impregnable shield against the negative forces of the outside world. 
  • Self-help is about raising your social status and being under the harsh scrutiny of the public eye, whereas spirituality is about strengthening your spirit; and being under the scrutiny of your own higher Self and raising your consciousness. 
  • Self-development ties you down to the rigid limitations of the standards of society, which are largely pretentious and oppressive. Spirituality is freeing – your actions are accountable not to the world but to your spirit. Spiritual development promotes peace and joy where you learn to live with the innocence and simplicity of a small child.
  • Spirituality helps you come to terms with your true identity as a soul. It brings to your realisationthat you are not your body; you are a soul, and your body is your vehicle which helps you to function effectively in this physical world. Self-help focuses on social graces which go towards building up of an impressive personality perceivable to the outer world.

Self-discipline and sacrifice

Self-discipline and sacrifice are the pre-requisites of Spirituality. It is the steep Path which leads straight to your Destination. It is a way of life which must be lived with acute awareness of every moment of the day in order that your thoughts, emotions and speech are always in harmony with each other. Spirituality demands mindfulness in everything you do.  

Spirituality is about catering to the needs of your soul – doing that which is conducive to your inner peace and happiness. It is about deviating from the outer world and focussing within. It is the opposite of materialism and obsessions with materialism. It is about empowerment – empowering not just yourself but every aspect of your life. It is about living in conformity with the Universal Principles every moment of the day.

You cannot become spiritual through books and lectures. The outside aids are only the guidelines of spirituality. The therapists, authors and teachers do not walk the Path for you; they are only here to introduce you to the charted route towards a higher life.

However, they do help to awaken the desire for a higher and more meaningful life, and like the guidelines they are merely informative and theoretical. It is eventually you who has to walk the walk and talk the talk of the Great Christed Beings who had once walked the Earth, and Who are the living examples of a higher degree of spirituality. 

Reading books, attending various work-shops and discourses are only the means which help you realisethat there is something beyond your physical world; they are like the pointers which show you the right Path to spirituality. These things are complementary to practical spirituality. 

For example, you cannot become a sportsman by simply reading about it or attending matches as a spectator or watching sports on television. This will probably help you gain some knowledge about the technique and maybe even inspire you to take up sports. But to actually become a sportsman in order to participate as a player, you need to get into your sports gear, go out there in the field and sweat it outuntil you are perfect enough to fulfill your ambition.

Spirituality is nothing but living in a perpetual state of unconditional love. The importance of unconditional love cannot be stressed enough. It is spirituality in itself. In the light of unconditional Love is greater bliss and joy. When you reach the stage where you become oblivious to all the pettiness of the outside world, and identify yourself in oneness with all life-streams, you will then have merged into the sea of the Universal Consciousness in all perfection and purity of your spirit.