I published Full Spectrum Intelligence exactly five years ago. Yesterday I purchased the rights to my book from the publishers. The plan is to substantially revise it, give it a new title, and publish it more widely. One of the main changes will be the chapter on spiritual intelligence.
This is the intelligence that stands apart from all the others, partly because it includes all the others, but also because there is no consensus on what spiritual intelligence is. After ranging across the literature, I found some work by Robert Emmon. He suggests that spiritual intelligence consists in four abilities:
The ability to transcend the physical and the material
The ability to experience heightened states of consciousness
The ability to sanctify everyday experience
The ability to utilise spiritual resources to solve problems
I like this very much, and will take the liberty of trying to capture its essence. I have found it helpful to view spiritual intelligence in terms of the “intelligence process”. As you may recall, this is the process all our behaviour seems to go through. First, we sense something – we become aware of it. Second, we make sense of it – we understand what it is. And third, we respond to what we have sensed and understood. We do something or say something. Thus, the three stages of the process are:
Awareness – or consciousness, if you prefer
Understanding – knowing what it is we have sensed
Response – doing or saying the appropriate thing (sometimes no response is the best response!)
With this in mind, I like to define spiritual intelligence as “the ability to go well beyond normal consciousness, well beyond normal understanding, and well beyond normal action”. The key, of course, is to know what it means to “go well beyond”. The new chapter in the revised book will go into some detail on this. Today I will simply give you a broad sense of what it means.
Beyond Normal Awareness
This is the ability to achieve unusual forms, and degrees, of consciousness, without the aid of drugs or other substances. Although this some times happens quickly, almost miraculously, that is extremely rare. In most cases, it involves work, over a long period. I don’t think that I am oversimplifying when I claim that unusual forms of consciousness fall into three broad categories – experience of bliss; experience of the paranormal; and experience of the non-physical. In my own experience, there can be considerable overlap between the three forms. More specifically, I noticed that when I was beginning to experience the non-physical aspects of the world, I felt much more peaceful and happier than ever before, and I also started to become telepathic (considered to be paranormal).
Beyond Normal Understanding
Although it is true that you get some deeper understanding of the nature of the world and the human being by reading carefully selected books, a much fuller understanding comes from direct experience. In other words, I think it best to go beyond normal consciousness before you venture too far into deeper understanding. That said, some of the books do help.
Beyond Normal Action
Just as the third stage of the intelligence process – response – follows from the first two stages, so the third component of spiritual intelligence flows naturally from the other two. It is only when you go well beyond normal consciousness and normal understanding that you are well placed to act accordingly. Your actions will reflect your deeper consciousness and deeper understanding.
Although it should be self-evident, perhaps it is worth stating that if you want to be spiritually intelligent, you first need to become intelligent in all other senses – physically, emotionally, intuitively, mentally, and socially.