You may be caught up in a highly competitive game, whether in the academic world, when competing for admission into grad school or in preparing to become a software engineer in a company like Google. It may seem that IQ, or cognitive intelligence, is the only kind of smarts that counts in today’s world.
However, if you step back, you will find that rational intellect, while a very valuable skill, is far from the only intelligence. In fact, it is not even the most powerful form. You may meet exceptional people who are profoundly empathetic with keen emotional intelligence, and uncanny people with outstanding intuition, or spiritual intelligence. These people can read your thoughts without even trying, and make accurate predictions about the future.
If you want to change your world, why not go within, and discover a whole new world? Discover a world that you can share with others, opening them up to a whole new universe of possibility.
Most people view intelligence as the ability to use reasoning to manipulate the external world to get just what they want. The tools come down to words and numbers. You learn to manipulate these symbols to change your reality, as if by magic. With outer intelligence, you may score high on an IQ test, or write impressive academic papers. In the process, however, you may not matter in the least to those around you.
Inner intelligence has to do with your feelings, sensations and impressions, no matter how illogical they may strike you. The world of intuition has to do with knowing something without even knowing how or why. Just as a polished public speaker has a keen sense when the audience is with her, and when she has lost them. Intuition has to do with the right brain, your ability to see wholes, rather than parts. You can see the entire train from an aerial view, although far less distinctly the individual cars rolling past you. Your right brain is a floodlight. Your left brain is a spotlight.
Spiritual intelligence is inner intelligence. You go within and get in touch with your very heart and soul. You quickly realize what you are feeling and sensing, and you go with that. You go with your own experience. If scientific materialism tells you this life is ‘IT’, and only what you see before your eyes is real, you don’t buy it. You probe deeper and deeper.
We live in a country where the fastest growing denomination is the spiritual but not religious. The millennials, in particular, shun organized religion. New atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, ridicule religion. However, to trash religion is to get stuck with it. The great religious traditions have a profound influence on us all, whatever our orientation.
Religion is the outer shell. Spirituality is the inner core. Religion talks about God. Spirituality gives you the eyes to see God.
All Great Traditions were started by inspired individuals who were truly enlightened for their time. They started inner revolutions that changed an entire generation of people. However, in the process of transmitting the tradition, their original spark was often lost. A living faith became a belief system.
While the Kingdom of God is within you, subsequent generations institutionalized that Kingdom into a bunch of meaningless rules and empty rituals.
Religious literacy is very much needed in our pluralistic world. Americans, for example, know precious little about Islam. Many Christians would be shocked as to just how similar a Muslim’s faith is to their own. Many people think Hinduism is simply a bunch of sacred cows and stone gods, completely missing the point. India houses the most advanced forms of mysticism the world has ever known. We all need to know the basic facts.
Yet we must go beyond religion!
Spiritual intelligence has stopped judging and has started listening on a very deep level. You open your heart and trace hidden patterns that reveal a striking unity among all people and things. You begin to feel and understand what the Muslim and Hindu feel and understand. You open up to a universal love that is not based upon conditions or circumstances. You have thoughts, but your thoughts no longer have you.
Ken Wilber, America’s greatest living philosopher, pioneered integral thought and opened up a daring new perspective around spirituality. Ken got to the heart of why people are killing each other in senseless wars and acts of vengeance, all in the name of God.
People can wake up to a new reality at any level of consciousness. They can have the magical perspective of a child, the mythical view of an adolescent or the rational view of a young adult. They can go beyond that to the pluralistic perspective of a seasoned environmental activist, like Al Gore, or the integral perspective of a master physician, such as Andrew Weil.
When you have a spiritual experience, a momentary satori, you will interpret your experience strictly from the level of your own growth. If you have an exclusive orientation, such as members of a tribal society, then your truth will be absolutely correct, and everyone else is wrong. If you have a rational view, then you will acknowledge other viewpoints while being convinced they are mistaken.
Only at the integral level can you see the underlying truth behind every stage of development. People have to move through all these perspectives to mature into a genuine Bodhisattva.
Spiritual Intelligence pulls together both waking up and growing up. With spiritual intelligence, you can have the most profound spiritual awakening, even bliss and ecstasy, while interpreting it all from within. You have stopped looking “out there” to find God. You have started to look deeply within, into your heart, your innermost being.
Rather than obsess over the past, Spiritual Intelligence thrives on possibility. You see things not only as they are, but also as they can be. You are not preoccupied with how clever you are, but how magnificent is the person you are about to meet. Over and above his or her sheer beauty, you see her inner power, her potential to move mountains.
When you transcend your mind, even for an instant, you find you have thoughts without being your thoughts. You have feelings without being those feelings. You have perceptions, without being your perceptions.
Thoughts, feeling and perceptions occur within your own space. You are that space out of which everything occurs. Judgments are just judgments; evaluations are just evaluations. Why believe in them?
When your monkey mind calms down, you can simply be with other people without judging them. The walls of separation rapidly crumble. You welcome them, whatever their nationality, race or religion. You find a common humanity, and a common divinity. You not only tell people they are the Light; you help them discover the Light within them.
The world is now facing a leadership crisis of epic proportions. One need think only of the last Presidential election. People respond to individuals who readily take risks with a quiet confidence and a vision of the future. True leaders lead from behind. They are steady influencers. When dealing with a master salesman, you have no idea you are being sold. He is perfectly happy to let you sell yourself.
As you begin to wake up to the possibility that the world isn’t really “out there,” but is rather within the context of your (and our) absolute being, you can enroll people on a level you could only previously dream about. The people you encounter every day ARE YOU. Your boss, coworker, prof and guest is simply another version of you.
When you experientially realize that WE ARE ALL ONE, you can accomplish the impossible. Just think of Gandhi, a professional trained attorney who chose to spend the bulk of his life dressed in the humble clothes of a Hindu peasant. Not only his countrymen, but the whole world came to him. Gandhi literally LOVED THE BRITISH into walking away from their own empire.
What if you are that great, but don’t dare admit it? Time to wake up, grow up and get inner smarts!