Intellectualizing About Meditation And Spirituality

Here is a post that addresses a common issue, that is, intellectualizing about meditation and spirituality, as opposed to practicing. If any, what are the fruits of such thought activity?

I've probably told the story before, but since it clearly illustrates a point I'll do it again.

A respected Buddhist meditation master from Thailand, was invited to the West in the late 1970s. At one of the gatherings, a university professor asked a high-brow question about Buddhist cosmology.

Instead of answering the query, the monk told her that when you keep chickens you are supposed to collect the eggs, not the droppings.

What he meant, was that intellectualizing about the Buddha's teachings won't benefit you. Rather, pay close attention to your sense impressions, feelings and thoughts.

Buddhism is not about theorizing or PhDs in Buddhist philosophy. The very heart of the teachings is to observe your sense impressions, feelings and thoughts. It's that simple.

So, what can we learn from all this?

If you endeavor to make progress along the spiritual path, you need to practice. Thinking about meditation and spirituality alone, won't get you anywhere. There is one exception though, that is if you are trying to understand a concept or an idea.

For example, the concept of the ego. What is it? Where is it? Who is it? This kind of reflection is called contemplation, which is a skillful way to internalize spiritual teachings.

Why We Enjoy Intellectualizing

It's important to remember that the human mind loves to process thoughts. That's its nature. Moreover, at school we are trained to think, and we are ignorant enough to believe that thinking is superior to pure awareness of our senses, feelings and thoughts.

It is this very awareness that paves the path to inner freedom and deep spiritual wisdom. Steadfast awareness also makes for a soothing mental state.

Another way of looking at it, is to recognize our lazy nature. Instead of practicing meditation, we rather daydream about enlightenment or the spiritual realms. Do you recognize yourself?

I strongly encourage you to practice, practice, practice. Then, the fruits of spirituality will ripen and transform your being from the very core.

Best of luck!

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