Spiritual Intelligence

Are you spiritually intelligent?

I sit here having planned for this blog to be about multiple intelligences.    I have a swollen black eye with two small cuts, having failed to control the release of a bungee chord that was tying up a bundle of timber in my car.  Blame it on cold fingers as I might, I am very aware that physical intelligence is foundational and feeling physically stupid, actually.

My IQ (Cognitive ability) managed the situation well, fortunately.  I went straight into the house, getting the icepack from the freezer, taking some homeopathic aconite and arnica, and even managing to sit down and give myself some Reiki until Juliana was available to administer more expert levels of energy healing.   The swelling has gone down.

As for Emotional  Intelligence, I guess I give myself half marks, maybe 60%.   I have maintained some perspective and have not made a drama out of the event.   I am at least partly aware of my internal state, breathing deeply, letting the aftershock of adrenaline rush work through.  On the minus side I am beating myself up a little (see para. 1).  Possibly I should still be resting.  I can tell that Juliana thinks so, but I am behind schedule.  So here I am, blogging.  Some habits die harder than others.

But what I really want to talk about is Spiritual Intelligence.    I didn’t even know there was such a thing until a couple of years ago, when I became aware of the work being done by Cindy Wigglesworth (www.deepchange.com).   At first the term seemed like a self-contradiction; surely spirituality is not about thinking, so did intelligence belong there, I wondered?  Now I am convinced.

One of the angles that Cindy starts from is to ask what it is that marks out those people who we would identify as great spiritual leaders?   You will have your own no doubt, and not all will be well known in the way typical first-picks like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or the Dali Lama would be.  But on closer examination, most of us would have a clear intuitive sense of the characteristics such leaders possess.  Typically the list would include compassion, humility, integrity, calmness, courage, acceptance, wisdom.  And then she asks whether such qualities would be beneficial in more mundane areas of leadership.  Would they be valuable in managers and CEO’s?  It’s hard to say “no” to that.

Cindy’s definition of Spiritual Intelligence is “the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace (equanimity) regardless of the situation”.   And since she also presents an image of love as being a bird with two wings these being wisdom and compassion – as above the definition of SQ boils down to the capacity to bring love and peace.  

Now by my way of thinking that is a pretty good start, and something to aspire to.   So I was much taken by Cindy’s perception that SQ is something that can we can be helped with and that she has developed an assessment methodology which allows us to evaluate 21 separate skills, mapped to the four quadrants of an Integral viewpoint, and that this assessment has academically validated.  The perspectives are faith-neutral, and identify competencies in the areas of self-awareness (Q1) universal awareness (Q2), self-mastery (Q3) and in Q4, social mastery and spiritual presence. 

When I discovered that as well as assessing these 21 skills, it is possible to coach people in their self-development along each of these paths, I signed up to train in the methodology.   That is over 18 months ago, during which my esteem for the work has only increased.  And the latest stage in this journey is that we are in the process of launching a UK “branch” of Deep Change, and supporting its outreach into Europe.

It is obvious that SQ is somewhat leading-edge when even emotional intelligence is not that well-known, and even less well-understood.  Howard Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences dates back almost three decades (1983) and Daniel Goleman’s book on emotional intelligence to 1995.  Goleman wasn’t the first in the field, but is the one who made it known.   But while SQ is newer, it blends very well with EQ – can even be thought of as an “advanced EQ” for those who prefer to steer clear of the S-word.  The deepchange.com website gives a lot more information on how all of this comes together.  Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee’s recent book “Resonant Leadership” also takes people across the threshold between IQ and SQ, even if they don’t call it that.   It’s a message whose time has come.

If any of this even slightly catches your interest, I encourage you to hear more listening to Cindy’s free teleseminar from March 16th.     This talk is in preparation for her visit to Europe in May, when she will be talking in Amsterdam and Berlin, prior to a talk and the London Integral Circle on May 25th and a full training for coaches over the bank holiday weekend, May 27-30th.

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