Is Being Intellectually Ready for Spirituality Enough?

Question

Hi. Is it possible to be 'intellectually' ready to try and achieve spiritual progress before being 'spiritually' ready -- or, once one has decided that they are ready to try, that they are ready? What I am trying to ask is that having 'felt ready' to try spiritual advancement, I don’t feel that my 'emotional progress' matches my understanding of achieving realisation. I’m finding it hard to develop much emotional/spiritual attachment or desire for God or gurus I don’t feel attached to. Please help.

—Andy, New Zealand

Answer

Dear Andy,

What a great question! Thank you. It definitely is one that many, many spiritual seekers have.

The answer depends on your natural temperament. Many people (as it seems you may be) are more intellectually inclined and that’s fine! In yogic terminology, they are called Gyana yogis. Bhakti yogis go more by feelings/devotion and Karma yogis are more inclined toward action/activities. In truth, we have all three qualities at least to some degree, and all three qualities need to be embraced and enhanced (again, at least to some degree) for spiritual progress to happen in the most efficient way. It doesn’t mean that you have to quit being yourself. It just means that some balance is helpful. All three qualities lead to the same goal of spiritual progress and eventual self-realization.

You say that you “feel ready” to try spiritual advancement. That “feeling” is very important! You should pay careful attention to it and follow that inclination in every way available to you!

Emotional progress is not really at the front of the list of the ways in which we need to change ourselves. What IS needed is to open our hearts in a spiritual way, rather than an emotional way. This can and WILL come naturally if you give it a chance to do so.

The primary thing you need now is to learn to meditate in the most effective way and set up a strong, daily meditative practice for yourself. You also need to meet, meditate with, and be with other people who have been meditating longer than you have. That will open your heart in a very natural way — it sort of happens by osmosis. Ananda Sangha Worldwide can help you with all these things if you wish. Just let us know, and we’ll suggest some definite next steps for you to take.