Skip to content

Tag: mind versus intellect

Intel(lect) inside

A quick follow up to the Mind versus Intellect post from a few days ago. On the spiritual path, it is said that the intellect is a barrier. But why is that?

Because we are taught in life that we must understand everything before doing anything. Such as “Don’t mug your physics and chemistry formulae, try to understand it.” or “Try to understand your client’s needs before jumping to offer her a solution”. This is good for the real world no doubt.

But on the spiritual path, it is difficult to understand without experiencing. For instance, how can you understand a God that you have never seen? How can you post faith in a Guru if you don’t have a first-hand understanding of his miraculous ways? How can you meditate on chakras and nadis when these are hopelessly intangible? The intellect can indeed be the biggest barrier here. If none of this can be understood, then what is the point, you say?

Valid, but even child has no understanding of what its parents say. This is nature versus nurture. The child will not understand procreation, yet it is alive and here. The child will not understand thermodynamics or gravity or the laws of motion, yet these are the laws that govern the world around it. But what is evident to us today, is that the kid will learn these truths over time.

What must we do? We can park these questions aside for the time being. Our scriptures tell us that we can understand only when our intellect gets purified. Purification happens through implementation of the lessons taught in the scriptures. Living selflessly in service to God and society would be a great place to start. The rest will follow.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Mind versus Intellect

The human brain is an absolute wonder. We all know this. But Tony Buzan, an expert on the brain, said in his research that we use only 1% of our brains. Anyone thinking that we have now learned “too much”, clearly needs to think again.

While the brain is just one physical organ, Vedanta delineates it into four parts: mind, intellect, memory and ego.

Memory we understand, and Ego we have experienced – especially when speaking to someone who threatens our authority šŸ™‚

The mind and the intellect are more important to decipher, as it helps us understand our weaknesses better. The mind is what helps us think, imagine, ideate. The intellect is what helps us evaluate options. The intellect presents the available paths with rationale, and the (monkey) mind gets to make the ultimate choice.

When not ensnared by attachment or desires, the mind and intellect cooperate and collaborate beautifully, as if they are salsa partners. In times of turmoil, the music stops abruptly.

While these are all understandable for the material world, the mind and intellect are less useful (or practically useless, and actually maybe even deterrents) when it comes to spirituality. The intellect helps with scientific rationality – which only slows spiritual progress. For a deeply spiritual seeker, there is nothing to choose between or think about. It is totally experiential.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment