Intellectualizing About Meditation And Spirituality


Intellectualizing About Meditation And Spirituality


This guest blog article is written by Axel G, a meditator, a traveller and a writer.

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 have 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 will not benefit you. Rather, pay close attention, observe 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 is 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 and feelings.

It is this very awareness that paves the path to deep spiritual wisdom and inner freedom. 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 manifest and transform your being from the very core.

Best of luck!

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About Spencer

Spencer is the Urban Monk. He is a blogger, writer, healer and is a
dedicated and long-term Buddhist Meditator (Theravada tradition).

The Urban Monk lives simply and his life goal is to share his insights with everyone interested in bringing Buddhist meditation to their everyday life. Focusing on experiential approaches, Spencer is a student on the path of 'seeing things as they are.'

Connect with Spencer, the Urban Monk on Google +


  1. Meditation is a way for people to explore their own spirituality. At a time when many people are disillusioned with institutionalised religion, meditation offers us a method to enter our own inner world, and experience spirituality directly.

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