HJ: Spiritual intelligence is the next step of evolution beyond normal intelligence. It is a way of approaching life that leads to maximum fulfillment, happiness and joy. In other words, it is practical, embodied wisdom.
When you develop your spiritual intelligence you will be automatically equipped to handle any challenge, situation or circumstance that comes into your life with ease and grace. It lifts you out of the mire of everyday life and allows you to see things from a fresh, enlightened perspective where suddenly the seeming chaos begins to give way to a perfect dance of the cosmos unfolding in an intricate, incredibly complex way, all in perfect timing, in every single moment.
It allows you to see things as they truly are.
What Is Spiritual Intelligence?
Spiritual intelligence is the expression of innate spiritual qualities through your thoughts, actions and attitude, says Brahmakumari Shivani.
What does spiritual intelligence mean?
In order to understand spiritual intelligence it is useful to first be clear on what we mean when we use these two words.
Being Spiritual: To be ‘spiritual’ is to think, act and interact from an awareness of self as spirit not form, soul not body. Most of us are taught to believe we are our physical forms, and so we identify with our body or the labels we give to our bodies such as nationality, race, gender, profession etc. This wrong sense of self is what creates all fear, anger and sadness in life. From a spiritual point of view these emotions are always the result of ego (misidentification), which then blocks access to your true spiritual nature which is peaceful, loving and joyful.
Having intelligence: Intelligence is to use what you know in the right way at the right time in the right place with the right intention. For example if you ‘know’ your self as a spiritual being you will also ‘know’ that you do not own or possess anything. When something in your life is damaged or lost, it does not affect you in any way – you are able to use your spiritual power to accept and move on. If someone praises the clothes you wear, or insults you in any way or comments negatively about your looks, you are NOT affected because you ‘know’ that your real beauty lies within your character, within your nature, which no one can ever take away. In that moment you draw on the inner power of that knowledge and use it to remain stable in the face of others negativity. In effect you are drawing on your spiritual strength which is only released when you know who and what you are, and then using that strength in the right way, in the right place at the right time.
What is the difference between spiritual intelligence and spirituality?
Spirituality is to ‘know’ who you are and Spiritual Intelligence is to ‘realise’ who you are and to live life in that awareness. You have always been who you are and, in truth, you can never be other than who you are, but it requires ‘realisation’ i.e. that moment when you ‘see it’, when you ‘get it’ and then you ‘be it’.
Spirituality is the knowledge of yourself as spirit/soul, and the understanding of your highest spiritual qualities and attributes, which are love, peace, purity and bliss. Spiritual Intelligence is the expression of these innate spiritual qualities through your thoughts, attitudes and behaviours. Being spiritual means the ego has dissolved, virtue has been restored to character and spiritual values connect your inner and outer worlds (thought to action). It is the ability to see every other human being as soul/spirit, and thereby transcend all the false identities of race, colour, gender, nationality, profession and religion. It is in this awareness that we are then able to recognise and connect with the Supreme Power.
When you realise who you really are you will be at peace with yourself not only because peace is your true and original nature but there is no longer any inner division and therefore conflict between the many identities that you had previously created (gender/nationality/profession/possessions etc).
When you realise who you really are you are at peace with others. You no longer have to defend or protect any false image of your self, so you no longer perceive anyone else as a threat to those images.
When you realise who you truly are you are at peace with the world because you will contain the world instead of it containing you. Whereas before you allowed the world to impose itself on you and shape your perceptions and feelings according to your particular sense of identity, now your self-perception is stabilized in the correct identity. In a sense you shape the world as you bring it into your consciousness.
Can you give us some examples of using this spiritual intelligence in practical, day-to-day life?
Spiritual intelligence expands your capacity to understand others at the deepest level. Spiritual understanding allows you to discern both the ‘true cause’ of behaviour without judgement, and serve the ‘true needs’ of others until they themselves learn to meet their own needs. This capacity is developed by first learning to free yourself from attachment and neediness and being able to meet our own inner needs. Attachment and neediness are the opposite of being spiritually intelligent.
Personal Life: Spiritual intelligence frees you from neediness and clinginess in your personal relationships. When you realise you already have within you what you seek from others (love, happiness, peace) you are then free to act and interact without any ‘agenda’. In effect, you act from an authenticity that desires nothing of another, but serves only to give. Paradoxically this frees both parties to ‘be themselves’, which is the deepest foundation for any open, healthy and harmonious relationship built on the twin spiritual values of trust and respect.
Family Life: The culture of family life can easily revolve around too much ‘familiarity’. This results in behaviours which can swing from rejection, resistance and avoidance one moment, to attachment, dependency and clinginess the next. Being spiritually intelligent in a family context allows individuals to find a more mature way to relate, free of emotional dependency, and able to embrace ‘the other’ regardless of their behaviour or their emotional state.
Working Life: When spiritual intelligence is brought into the workplace work ceases to become a daily chore in order to earn money, and becomes a creative process of service and contribution. Others are seen and treated as people and not objects/resources to get a job done, and individuals have an opportunity to learn the inner, invisible and subtle skills of building and sustaining relationships in any area of life. These abilities include building trust, acting with integrity, empathising at a level beyond emotion, and the leadership of others through a consistently proactive attitude and positive vision.
You are able to stay calm and focused in the face of crisis and chaos, a more selfless and altruistic attitude towards others and a more enlightened and relaxed perspective on life.
Does emotional intelligence affect spiritual intelligence in any way?
Being able to recognise, understand and respond to the emotions of others requires a level of emotional literacy that can only be developed by learning to recognise one’s own feelings and emotions (self-awareness again). This falls squarely in the arena of emotional intelligence.
However there is another layer below, which is the cause of the emotions. We tend to learn that the cause of our feelings and emotions are external events and other people’s actions. But they are not. All emotions are caused by the self. Seeing the original cause, and understanding what it means, is the territory of spiritual intelligence.
Rational intelligence manages facts and information, using logic and analysis to make decisions. Emotional intelligence is necessary to understand and control one’s emotions and feelings, while being sensitive to the feelings of others. Spiritual intelligence, on the other hand, is necessary:
* To find and use the deepest inner resources from which comes the capacity to care and the power to tolerate and adapt
* To develop a clear and stable sense of identity as an individual in the context of relationships
* To identify and align personal values with a clear sense of purpose
* To live those values without compromise and thereby demonstrate integrity by example
* To understand where and how each of the above is sabotaged by the ego
Most of us have learned to be motivated by extrinsic or external factors while a few have discovered that the deepest motivators are intrinsic. We can consciously use our values to motivate us. We can use our thoughts to motivate us, and we can even use memories of yesterday to motivate us today. However the deepest motivator for any human being is a clear sense of meaning and purpose. This can only arise when we know who we are, where we are and what we have at the deepest level. This is where emotional intelligence flows into spiritual intelligence. Only in this state of self-awareness are we able to discern the true meaning of things/ events/ circumstances and only then are we able to see our purpose.
What are the key methods to learn and develop Spiritual Intelligence?
There are certain methods to unlearn the illusions and misperceptions which stop you seeing who you are and being true to yourself. The more these methods are practiced the faster the realisation and the deeper the development of the spiritual intelligence.
* Meditation: Meditation is the cultivation of self awareness. In the meditative process you learn about your self. Meditation will also help you restore the ability to control your thoughts and feelings, sharpen your ability to discern truth from illusion, and thereby make more intelligent choices.
* Detached Observation: This is the ability to disengage from the world of action and interaction outside your self, and to disengage from the world of thoughts and feelings within your consciousness. It is not avoidance of either world, but a way to see more clearly and therefore understand more deeply what is actually happening. This practice is also essential in order not to ‘waste’ energy at mental and emotional levels, where much of your tiredness has its origins.
* Reflection: This involves taking time out on a daily basis to review and re-assess past experiences of the interactions with others. This allows the self/soul to build awareness of the connection between inner world of thoughts and feelings and the outer world of action and the consequences of those actions.
* Connecting: There is a higher source of spiritual power and it is possible to connect with that source and empower oneself. This accelerates the developmental process increasing both the depth and breadth of your spiritual intelligence. Energy absorbed from the Supreme Source is essential to clearing the inner clutter and to focus your consciousness.
* Practice: New learning, new insights, new realisations are only theories and have no power to change your life unless they are brought into action, allowed to shape new behaviours, and then perfected in the process of expression. Practical action is essential to sustaining the momentum of developing spiritual intelligence.
* Seeing: Spiritual vision is learning to see only the best in others and by doing so empowering others to develop the best in themselves. From a spiritual point of view seeing is creating – how you see the ‘other’ is how you will create the other within you, which will be both a reflection of how you see yourself at that moment and the quality of the energy you will then give to them.