I think you will find spiritual paths to enlightenment or satori are real. Never heard anyone say about a physical path to enlightenment or indeed a mental path to enlightenment or that it has anything to do with intellect.
I'm still not sure what "spirit" is, but due to the inter-connected nature of mind and body I believe whole-heartedly in the potential for physical paths to enlightenement, as well as intellectual ones. Whatever parts we are comprised of, they're all there moving along as we take each step, be they literal or proverbial.
Also, aren't there Gnostic and other Greek views which take the "proper" application of intellect as a gateway to enlightenment? Whatever the case is for others, that seems reasonable to me.