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Spiritual Intelligence

It is not difficult to understand that an important prerequisite for successful existence is general intelligence – the ability to learn and recall, think and reason, and adequately respond to our material environment. More recent research has emphasized the importance of “emotional intelligence,” the capacity to adequately respond to our human environment and skillfully handle our interpersonal relationships.

A basic tenet of philosophy that the quality of our life ultimately depends on what can be called “spiritual intelligence.” Spiritual intelligence is the capacity to conduct our life, in such a way that it reflects deep philosophical and metaphysical understanding of reality and of ourselves. Buddhist scriptures refer to this kind of spiritual wisdom as “prajñ para mit.” Unlike the dogmas of organized churches, spiritual intelligence acquired in the process of experiential self-exploration has the power to override the scientistic worldview of materialistic science. At the same time, it is equally effective as a remedy that can counteract the useless dogmas of organized religions.

It is interesting that Socrates gave the advice "Know Thyself" approximately 2400 years ago. The historical Buddha (roughly 2500 years ago) made the study of the mind (profound self-knowledge) such an elevated practice that it became a major world religion.

Spiritual Intelligence can be simply described as:

  1. Self-Awareness … you know who you really are and you know that you are connected with the universe.

  2. Vision & Values Led – or Idealism. Children naturally want to serve, and so do we. Vision and values led is definitive of our humanity.

  3. The Capacity to Face and USE Adversity…owning our mistakes and adversity and using pain and tragedy to learn.

  4. To be Holistic: seeing the connections between things. Being open to and interested in EVERYTHING.

  5. Diversity…thriving in and celebrating diversity. I look at you and see what is different in you and I say "Thank God for that!"

  6. Field Independence (Courage)…a term from psychology that means the courage not to adapt, to be independent

  7. The Tendency to Ask WHY? Questions are infinite. In Quantum Physics questions CREATE reality.

  8. The Ability to Re-Frame…put things into a larger context of meaning.

  9. Spontaneity. This is NOT acting on a whim…it comes from the same Latin roots as RESPONSE and RESPONSIBILITY. It is not conditioned by fear. It is appropriately "responsive to" the world.

Self-awareness and cultivating inner strength has a solid grounding in all of the major spiritual traditions. Jesus went into the wilderness to meditate and to hear the voice of the infinite creator, as did Abraham, Moses and Mohammed. Buddhists and Yogis practice meditation for these purposes, as well.

The implications are clear. High intelligence does not guarantee success. High emotional intelligence has been correlated with success. But, does it alone create greatness? Sustained and recognized greatness is obtained by something deeper. With spiritual intelligence comes the ultimate success.

Obviously, spiritual intelligence is a huge topic and I will be addressing each of the sub-topics, in future thoughts.

Any questions??