Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dissolving the Intellectual Ego

Dissolving the Intellectual Ego

The greatest enemy of an intellectual is his own intelligence. The moment he recognizes himself as an "intellectual", he has already formed a barrier that impedes his further development. Intelligence is a great tool to dispell ignorance. But it is only a tool and all tools have their limitations.

The intellectual has a tendency to develop a very strong ego because of his great confidence and belief in his own mental capabilities. This ego is a mental construct that is very difficult to dissolve because it results directly from his well-honed thinking ability. He thinks out an image of who he believes he is, and this mental image over time begins to take a life of its own--his intellectual ego--which then becomes a major obstacle in his spiritual development.

The intellectual develops pride very easily and never misses an opportunity to deride lesser beings, often calling them "stupid". This is nothing but an indirect way of reenforcing his need to be recognized as "smart". He craves for such recognition and everytime this craving is satisfied either directly (through praise by others) or indirecty (by labelling other people "stupid"), the intellectual ego grows bigger.

When the intellectual ego has solidified into such an intractable mass, it begins to hamper his spiritual progress. He can still develop intellectually because intelligence can alway grow laterally, infinitely. He can learn all the intricate details about every obscure subject in the world, analyze the causes and effects of things, the interrelationships beteween ideas and even synthesize new ideas but he will not gain any further insight into the higher realms of existence.

Spiritual insight can only come from breaking the barrier of the intellectual ego. This cannot be done through further analysis or thinking. The intellectual has to learn how to "unthink" himself. And the best way to do it is by cultivating a devotional heart.

But this is such a difficult thing to do because he has grown to belief in the superiority of the head over the heart. But how wrong he is! The heart knows things that the head can never every dream of comprehending. The heart possesses wisdom that puts the smartest head to shame.

The first thing for the intellectual to learn is humility. Humility dissolves the ego. Once dissolved, he unleases all the latent forces within his spiritual being which propel him on to the next level of evolution. And only then will he realize how limiting intelligence is, how "stupid" his old intellectual self was, and most importantly, how much more he still has to learn.

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