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Letting Go of the “I” in the IQ-Accessing our Spiritual Intelligence

Author: Connie Miller/Monday, January 26, 2009/Categories: Spirituality

To be taught is nothing; everything is inside waiting to be awakened.

“Paracelsus”

Today we seem to search for meaning and purpose in our lives and begin a spiritual journey as we ask ourselves…is this all there is? There is much interest in spirituality as we are trying to reconnect within and to each other.   If we want to become spiritual leaders, is important to continue our own spiritual journey.  Many of us need a safe place to go, to learn a new way to begin this journey with new creative tools that help use our spiritual energy to move past resistance. This enables us to access our spiritual intelligence and to create spiritually intelligent leadership.   We all want to make a difference, to know our life has been worthwhile. However we cannot make a lasting difference at home and in the world unless we do so from a higher level of consciousness than our personalities. This higher level is soul life, our essence. It is here that we can to begin to reconnect to our spiritual intelligence; we reconnect to that element of self that became disconnected and fragmented.

In the early part of the twentieth century IQ or rational intelligence was the big issue. More recently, emotional intelligence (EQ) has been identified as a requirement for the effective use of IQ. Now there exists much scientific data that points to the presence of a spiritual intelligence (SQ), the ultimate intelligence that serves as a necessary foundation for the effective functioning of both IQ and EQ.  I would like to suggest another category of skills that is crucial for wholeness, happiness, and effective living. I call it Spiritual Intelligence. (Miller 2007). Spiritual Intelligence refers to the skills, abilities and behaviors we need to help us balance the expansive love that flows through our hearts and all of creation with the need for discipline and responsibility. When we successfully balance these polarities in our own feelings and in how we treat others and the world, we are able to create forgiveness, healing and connection. It is then that we in fact are co-creating with our Higher Source of Being.

If cognitive intelligence is about thinking and emotional intelligence is about feeling, then spiritual intelligence is about being.  In a holistic view of life, we are creatures with a mind, a body, and a spirit—all interconnected and arranged in a pattern that means that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In the same way we can look at our intelligences. (Miller 2007)

What is spiritual intelligence?

Spiritual intelligence is inherently difficult to define. It is quite separate from organized religion. SQ is about questions more than answers. It lives in stories, poetry and metaphor, uncertainty and paradox. The word ‘religion’ comes from roots which mean to ‘tie together,’ that the spiritual involves not only faith which is vision, a way of seeing and a way of doing life with prayer and values, but also obligations to and support from others. (Miller 2007)

One way of conceptualizing spiritual intelligence is offered by Adams (1995) as a devotion to discovering, exploring, and living in accordance with the depth dimensions of existence. The depth dimensions are ways of being that transcend our usual ways, defenses, identity, and beliefs about self and world.
We all have a Peace, which is the Presence of God within us. We can access this presence by using our conscious, spiritual thinking. We are not seeking the Peace, but the wisdom.  We do not try to get the wisdom to get the peace, but the peace to get the wisdom.   This wisdom is called spiritual intelligence.

Spiritual intelligence does not mean being clever for that implies short sightedness and this is different from true spiritual wisdom.  Many corporate leaders and politicians are clever in order to attain a goal outside of themselves and are motivated by self interest; the gains are short sighted. Spiritual intelligence sees the larger whole and how we are all connected.  Just as cleverness divides, feeding the ego saying “I am better than you”, Spiritual Intelligence includes and unites.  Spiritual intelligence is described as “the intelligence with which we address and solve problems of meaning and value, the intelligence with which we can place our actions and our lives in a wider, richer, meaning-giving context, the intelligence with which we can assess that one course of action or one life-path is more meaningful.”(Zohar and Marshall 2000, pg 7)

Spiritual intelligence and your Career

For many of us, work is a means to an end–to acquire possessions, maintain our sense of identity, and improve our lifestyle. For some people, however, work can also be a means of avoiding distress through channeling their energies into busyness, relationships or addictions.  Our work can be an expression of who we are or it can be a job. We can make a living or a dying. Finding our purpose and expressing our gifts can be a life long journey. Rather than referring to a “career,” we may need to reflect about the meaning of our work at various stages in our lives. More commonly today, it takes a few turns and changes of direction for us to find us fulfillment in life.

Building your SQ may help you when you reassess your work situation. For different reasons, many people around the world are unhappy and this can be an opportunity to look at work as a possible area of change.  Sometimes it takes a crisis or serious illness to get us to make changes.

Gardner (1999) devised the PSI Spirituality Inventory (PSI) to assist people in assessing the focus and pattern of their spirituality. He suggests that seven factors that are necessary for spiritual intelligence and behavior:

  • divinity, the sense of connection to a God figure or Divine Energy Source;
  • mindfulness, an awareness of the interconnection of the mind and body, with an emphasis on practices that enhance that relationship;
  • intellectuality, a cognitive and inquiring approach to spirituality, with a focus on understanding sacred texts;
  • community, the quality of spirituality connecting to the community at large;
  • extrasensory perception, spiritual feelings and perceptions associated with non rational ways of knowing;
  • childhood spirituality, a personal, historical association to spirituality through family tradition and activity;
  • trauma, a stimulus to spiritual awareness through experiencing physical or emotional illness or trauma to the self or a loved one.

Danah Zohar has written a great deal about the types of intelligence that correlate to the three types of capital those truly great spiritual leaders must integrate:  material, social and spiritual.  Danah Zohar (2005) states that great leadership depends primarily on vision that we can appreciate intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.  She goes further and states that vision is the passion and driving force of our enterprise.  What appear to be lacking today are leaders without vision. We all have a vision and purpose.  “One reason that visionary leadership is in short supply today is the value our society places on one particular kind of capital–material capital.  Too often the worth or value of an enterprise is judged by how much money it earns at the end of the day, or how much worldly power it gives us over others. This obsession with material gain has led to short-term thinking and the narrow pursuit of self-interest.  It is true that any kind of enterprise we want to engage in requires some kind of financial wealth if it is to succeed in the short term.  But for leadership to inspire long-term, sustainable enterprises, it needs to pursue two other forms of capital as well: social and spiritual. These three types of capital resemble the layers in a wedding cake. Material capital is the top layer, social capital lies in the middle, and spiritual capital rests on the bottom, supporting all three. IQ, or intelligence quotient, was discovered in the early 20th century and is tested using the Stanford-Binet Intelligence scales.  It refers to our rational, logical, rule-bound, problem-solving intelligence.  It is supposed to make us bright or dim. It is also a style of rational, goal-oriented thinking.  All of us use some IQ, or we wouldn’t be functional.

EQ refers to our emotional intelligence quotient. In the mid-1990s, in Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Daniel Goleman articulated the kind of intelligence that our hearts, or emotions, have.  EQ is manifested in trust, empathy, self-awareness, and self-control, and in the ability to respond appropriately to the emotions of others.  It’s a sense of where people are coming from; for example, if a boss or colleague seems to have had a fight at home before coming into the office that morning, it’s not the best time to ask for a pay raise or put a new idea across.

SQ, our spiritual intelligence quotient, underpins IQ and EQ. Spiritual intelligence is ability to access higher meanings, values, abiding purposes, and unconscious aspects of the self and to embed these meanings, values, and purposes in living a richer and more creative life.  Signs of high SQ include an ability to think out of the box, humility, and an access to energies that come from something beyond the ego, beyond just me and my day-to-day concerns. SQ is the ultimate intelligence of the visionary leader. It was the intelligence that guided men and women like Churchill, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa. The secret of their leadership was their ability to inspire people, to give them a sense of something worth struggling for.”

What is the driving force for our behaviors in today’s highly competitive market conditions? How do we establish a base on which mutual trust and communications in organizations are built in today’s highly competitive market conditions? Here is where we can talk about spiritual capital. Spiritual capital reflects the core values, the person’s value systems and the internal driving force of human beings and these qualities are essential to build lasting relationships among people of different backgrounds.

Spiritual capital serves as the spiritual base to enhance the meaning and beauty of life in the world. Spiritual capital is built by using our spiritual intelligence. Spiritual intelligence gives us access to deep meaning, fundamental values, and a genuine sense of purpose in our lives; makes us look at the role that our meaning, values, and purpose play in our lives; as well as the strategies and our thinking processes. SQ makes people ask why we are doing, what we are doing and makes us seek some fundamentally better way of doing it. Spiritual Intelligence is no less important than our emotional or rational intelligences. It is badly needed in our market economies today. It allows people of different backgrounds to understand each other in friendly terms and to put themselves in their shoes. It allows people to think creatively and change the rules and their roles according to new situations. It allows people to think about all kinds of possibilities and vision in life. SQ has the ability to dissolve old way of thinking of putting too much emphasis on material capital, while neglecting important mental and emotional part of human beings.

According to the Zohar and Marshall, there are twelve necessary components (Zohar (leader to leader) recognizes for spiritually intelligent leadership.

Self-Awareness: Knowing what I believe in and value, and what deeply motivates me.

Spontaneity: Living in and being responsive to the moment.

Being Vision- and Value-Led: Acting from principles and deep beliefs, and living accordingly.

Holism: Seeing larger patterns, relationships, and connections; having a sense of belonging.

Compassion: Having the quality of “feeling-with” and deep empathy.

Celebration of Diversity: Valuing other people for their differences, not despite 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.

Tendency to Ask Fundamental “Why?” Questions: Needing to understand things and get to the bottom of them.

Ability to Reframe: Standing back from a situation or problem and seeing the bigger picture; seeing problems in a wider context.

Positive Use of Adversity: Learning and growing from mistakes, setbacks, and suffering.

Sense of Vocation: Feeling called upon to serve, to give something back.

One of the qualities of SQ is wisdom. This includes knowing the limits of your knowledge. Other ingredients that are important are values such as courage, integrity, intuition, and compassion and love. With SQ, more is less; as you learn, the process may involve unlearning what other people have taught you. Spirituality is an essential component of a holistic approach to life and work. It finds expression in creativity and all forms of the arts. We heal because of who we are and not what we do.

The task of this generation is to cut through the illusion that we live in separate worlds.    We are all agents of change. Today, if we want to change systems, we have to change human behavior; however, human behavior is not so easily changed.  The main responsibility of a spiritual leader today is to change the motivations that drive behavior, enabling people to achieve real transformation. The only way the world will be transformed is for individuals to make changes in individual levels of consciousness.  One way to do this is to move from our rational intelligence to our spiritual intelligence.  This involves changing the “I” in the IQ to a more Universal intelligence or “UQ”. It is then that we will be able to awaken our higher purpose and create spiritually intelligent leadership.  Turning on higher intelligence is not only fun and joyous, it is absolutely necessary if we and, our intelligent civilization are to survive the coming decades. By higher intelligence, I mean the whole universal intelligence – not just greater intellect, but greater emotional sanity, love, compassion, creativity, inspiration, and especially, the inspirational experiences.   Long term mental and emotional health requires more than a temporary reduction of symptoms.  What seems to be required is a higher consciousness, or a spiritual intelligence, from which a larger sense of self can be derived.

Adams, W. (1995). Revelatory openness wedded with the clarity of unknowing: Psychoanalytic evenly suspended attention, the phenomenological attitude, and meditative awareness. Psychoanalysis & Contemporary Thought. 18(4), 463-494.

Gardner, H. (1999). Intelligence Reframed. New York: Basic Books.

Miller, C. (2007). Souldrama®: A therapeutic action model to create spiritually intelligent leadership. The Korean Association for Psychodrama & Sociodrama, 10(1), 45-80.

Miller, C. (2004) Souldrama: a journey into the heart of God.  Self published. NJ 3rd edition. 978-1-4116-9652-5 Copyright lulu

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Miller, C. (2000). The technique of Souldrama and its applications. The International Journal of action methods, 52, (no 4), 173-186.

Miller, C. (2007). Psychodrama: Advances in theory and practice. In C. Baim, J. Burmeister, M. Maciel (Eds.), Advancing theory in therapy: Psychodrama, spirituality and Souldrama (pp. 189-200). London: Routledge Press.

Miller, C. (2007) Souldrama: A terapia da alma: Editora Agora; Sao Paulo, Brazil
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Miller, C. (2008) The Journal for Creativity in Mental Health Volume: 3 Issue: 2
ISSN: 1540-1383 Pub Date: 7/31/2008.

Pachter M. Paracelsus: Magic into Science. New York: Schuman, 1951.

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Zohar, D 1992. “Spiritually Intelligent Leadership” Leader to Leader. 38 (Fall 2005): 45-51. Reprinted with permission Wiley & Son Publishers.

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