Spirituality does not mean any particular practice. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves and it usually involves a search for meaning in life.
Spirituality and religion are not the same things, nor are they entirely distinct from one another.
Spiritual intelligence (SQ) is a term used by some psychologists, philosophers, and developmental theorists to indicate spiritual parallels with EQ (emotional intelligence) and IQ (intelligence quotient).
Frances Vaughan, a doctor in psychology with 30 years of experience as a psychotherapist and the author of several books about spiritual growth, former President of the American Association for Transpersonal Psychology said:
„As a psychotherapist, my conviction is that the SQ opens the heart, lightens the mind and inspires the soul, as it connects the individual psyche to the very basic ground of the being.
The SQ can be developed by practice and may help someone differ reality from illusion. It is expressed in any culture as love, wisdom, and devotion to the others”.
In her book – ”ReWiring the Corporate Brain” – Danah Zohar defined 12 principles underlying spiritual intelligence:
- Being vision and value-led: acting from principles and deep beliefs, and living accordingly.
- Self-awareness: knowing what I believe in and value, and what deeply motivates me.
- Spontaneity: living in and being responsive to the moment.
- A celebration of diversity: valuing other people for their differences, not despite them.
- Holism: seeing larger patterns, relationships, and connections; having a sense of belonging.
- Compassion: having the quality of “feeling-with” and deep empathy.
- A tendency to ask fundamental “Why?” questions: needing to understand things and get to the bottom of them.
- Field independence: standing against the crowd and having one’s own convictions.
- Humility: having the sense of being a player in a larger drama, of one’s true place in the world.
- A sense of vocation: feeling called upon to serve, to give something back.
- Ability to re-frame: standing back from a situation or problem and seeing the bigger picture or wider context.
- Positive use of adversity: learning and growing from mistakes, setbacks, and suffering.
Signs of Spiritual Intelligence Development
This concept, as defined in transpersonal psychology, is quite close to that of spiritual maturity. Currently, there is no generally accepted definition for the SQ.
However, Frances Vaughan succeeded to shape a few aspects that should be taken into account in this respect. Here they are:
- Contemplative knowledge propensity.
- The ability to consider facts from several perspectives; refinement of perceptions.
- Spiritual pursuit and practice.
- Thinking freedom, reconsidering one’s own beliefs and conception upon reality.
- The ability to love – giving and receiving love.
- Holistic approach.
- Respect for all beings, approval of differences.
- Devoting oneself to the others under no pretense: kindness, generosity.
- The power to forgive.
- Aesthetic sensitivity and taste for beauty.
- Integrity, living one’s life according to spiritual values and showing constancy in observing them.
- Cultivating authenticity and consciousness
- Inner peace.
Ways To Develop Your Spiritual Intelligence:
#1 Read spiritual books
Use “spiritual books” to extract some pointers, however, then as soon as you are hooked, drop the book and start looking directly into your actual reality.
#2 Practice meditation/pray
A meditation practice gives you the benefit of turning inward to your spirituality for answers, instead of looking to others. Aim for at least 20 minutes per day.
#3 Study with a real-life spiritual teacher
A spiritual teacher’s role is unique in that the goal is not to transmit understanding or knowledge as much as it is to somehow bring about a recognition in the student of the student’s own pre-existing nature.
#4 Spend time in nature
Make it a habit to spend more time in nature: have lunch outdoors; exercise outside instead of going to the gym; and spend as much of your weekends as you can out in nature.
#5 Help and support people you care about
It also includes being kind to strangers and learning to replace envy and anger with understanding and empathy.
#6 Practice ahimsa
Ahims means non-violence, and it applies to all living beings – including all animals.
The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike;” hiṃsā” is ”harm” or ”injury, whereas ”a-hiṃsā” is the opposite of this, i.e. do no harm, cause no injury.
„With regard to intelligence: a really intelligent person is a person who is not deceived, that is, who does not deceive himself. The great Cosmic Forces which constitute the link, let us say, between the Logos and the Cosmos as it exists at present, are never described as Cosmic Intellects or Spiritual Intellects, they are always described as Spiritual Intelligences. Physical intelligence is the masked expression of spiritual intelligence. We may imagine the SQ as shining with a certain fight, but when the fight is fading so that it hides the Truth, some kind of a film, which is not altogether translucent, intervenes, and in that light, you see only certain things.” – Helena Blavatsky’s quote.