The Intellectual Path Of A Householder

I’ve been on a quest to discover the core of love and happiness for over a decade and I believe Vipassana is the shortest path to that core. Meditation is slowly dissolving my attachments and day by day I can feel the vibration of pure love growing stronger in my body. Experiencing this has helped me develop a deeper understanding and respect for monks who have given up everything to explore this pure vibration with themselves. One aspect of this journey that has thoroughly confused me is the role of the intellect on this path.

Goenka makes is very clear that this isn’t an intellectual path of high philosophies. I can certainly relate to how intellectual discussions and thoughts can derail the process of purifying the mind. If I allow my mind to roll in thoughts while I’m supposed to be meditating I find and I’m just tying more and more knots. I’ve learned very clearly that my time on the pillow is an opportunity to clear my mind so I can work with the sensations of the body. Since we’re taught to observe our sensations continuously thought the day I started wondering how I could get through my daily life without thinking.

For many month I tried to grow deeper and deeper within my practice and found that I was less motivated to engage the material world of a householder. Then it hit me; one of the benefits of becoming a monk is that you don’t need to think through daily issues which allows more time for the pursuit of liberation. The reverse of that statement is that to be a good householder one must think through daily issues so one can properly contribute to to use the intellect to contribute to society. If I’m trying to observe sensations all the time at the expense of thinking I’m actually neglecting my responsibilities as a householder.

Love has nothing to do with intellect, titles, money, or possessions. Love is a pure vibration that is given unconditionally from an individual to the world. Love does not pay the rent, feed the family, put fuel in the car, or develop a team of people to work on a common goal. All of these tasks require a great deal of understanding, planning, and skill to execute successfully. This is the role of the householder.

Being on this path as a householder is a wonderful opportunity to cultivate more love in my life but I need to be very careful not to lose track of my worldly responsibilities. For some time I wondered if Vipassana was the solution to all of our worldly problems. Now I’m starting to think that it’s the solution for our eternal problems. Todays worldly problems are still our responsibility to address. Vipassana can help give us direction and guidance but it’s our creative ideas and hard work that will make the world a better place. I’m happy that there are monks who are willing to face these eternal challenges and that there is a community of people willing to support them in this pursuit but my current chosen path is no that of a monk. I’m happy to have a meditation practice to help me develop a pure volition and to provide me with guidance but it’s my action that will truly impact todays world.  It’s my responsibility as a householder to face challenges of today to the best of my ability.

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