You’ve heard of IQ, right? Then people started talking about Emotional Intelligence. Now, finally, people are valuing Spiritual Intelligence. Here I’ll explain what this is and why it’s so important you develop it.
IQ is intelligence quotient, which measures people’s intelligence in their capacity to process forms, numbers, facts, and words. It measures people’s ability and speed in processing information. It’s like comparing your brain to a computer. The faster the processing power, the better. The focus of IQ is the mind.
But we’re not robots. Being a walking encyclopedia or a computational genius is very nice, but not so useful if the person can’t deal with his or her emotions, nor deal with the emotions of others. Such a person becomes unhappy and even unproductive. Seeing the importance of this, the topic of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) arose in the 1990’s. The world began to value the concept of dealing well with our own personality. The focus of EQ is the heart.
For some years now the academic world has recognized and identified a third type of intelligence, placing our acts and experiences in a broader context of meaning and values: Spiritual Intelligence (SQ). The focus of SQ is the soul.
Researcher Danah Zohar introduced this concept and she identified ten qualities common to spiritually intelligent people. According to her, people who have Spiritual Intelligence has the following characteristics:
- They practice self-awareness. I always say this is the very first step to a better life. You have to look inside. To use Patanjali’s term expressed in the classic Yoga Sutras, you have to become a witness to your mind.
- They are motivated by principles and values. More and more research is showing that to be happy we have to go deep and find meaning in all that we do. We’re fooling ourselves if we think we can be happy chasing after superficial things like money, status and sense pleasure only.
- They can transform adversity into growth. Let’s face it, life’s an endless set of challenges. From the insignificant to the epic, we face adversity pretty much on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Basically, you have three choices when facing adversity. First, you can become despondent and depressed. Secondly, you can become numb and lifeless. And lastly, and obviously, the only way to go, you can grow from it. Yoga will tell you that’s why we’re here: to learn and grow.
- They take a holistic approach, by seeing things from multiple angles. Problems that seem unsurpassable become easily overcome when seen from a different angle. It’s what they call thinking outside the box. A spiritually intelligent person sees things on multiple levels simultaneously: practical, emotional, experiential and existential. A great example is that of Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita, who was morose and utterly at a loss as the book begins, but then, having become enlightened in yoga, clearly saw it from a different angle. As a result, he embraced his mission, with enthusiasm and iron-clad determination.
- They celebrate diversity with a sense of belonging and a tendency to see a connection between diverse things. Yoga means seeing the oneness in all. A spiritually intelligent person will appreciate the need for variety while seeing what unites us all.
- They are independent and can go against convention. A spiritually intelligent person is being guided by his or her own deeper values and clear vision. Such a person will not care for the uneducated opinion of others nor what the masses are doing.
- They have a tendency to ask why. In the search for meaning and truth, the spiritually intelligent person first asks “why?”. Not “what?”. Not “how much?”. Is what I’m doing aligned with my purpose, my dharma? That has to be the guiding principle of life.
- The see the big picture. Nothing is insignificant. Every act is a portion of your life, the expression of your soul. Every moment, the only reality there is.
- They have compassion and a reluctance to cause unnecessary harm. Because a spiritually intelligent person sees the connection with all others, he or she naturally cannot cause undue harm to any person or creature. If you’re guided by principles, by meaning, there is no room for senseless violence. Therefore, veganism and ecology are natural consequences of becoming spiritually intelligent.
- They’re spontaneous, knowing how to live in the moment and be present. Being in the here and now is the doorway to all other higher states of consciousness. This is step one for a great life, a great day, or even just a great moment. If you’re not flowing with life, you’re stuck in your head, lamenting the past or yearning for the unreal. It all happens now.
In the book, The 3T Path (http://3tpath.com/books/) you can see in detail how to develop your spiritual intelligence and then experience how this will transform your life.
Watch my video on this topic here, where I explain more deeply each one of these traits of spiritual intelligence.
Look what they’re saying about The 3T Path book: “I’ve been practicing The 3T Path and it’s completely transforming my life. After I started listening and reading your precious teachings, I have lived the happiest days of my life, and, as a result, have emanated joy and good consciousness to others.” Ivanildo Viana