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Spiritual intelligence and how to raise spiritual quotient

Updated on April 25, 2015
Dr Pran Rangan profile image

I am a physician by profession. I like to write on topics related to health, psychology, psychiatry, and spirituality.

Spiritual intelligence is one of several types present in human beings such as IQ (intelligence quotient, EQ (emotional quotient). The word spiritual intelligence first was coined and introduced by Danah Zohar in 1997.

Cindy Wigglesworth, the author of twenty one skills of spiritual intelligence, defines spiritual intelligence as “the ability to act with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the circumstances.” She further says that spiritual intelligence is an essential component of both personal and professional development. With Spiritual quotient (SQ) we access the voice of our noblest self -- our higher self -- and let it drive our lives.

David B King, who has done extensive research on spiritual intelligence, defines it as “a set of adaptive mental capacities based on non-material and transcendent aspects of reality, specifically those that contribute to the awareness, integration, and adaptive application of the non-material and transcendent aspects of one's existence, leading to such outcomes as deep existential reflection, enhancement of meaning, recognition of a transcendent self, and mastery of spiritual states.”

Spiritual intelligence depends upon our ability to integrate the inner life of mind and soul with the outer life of the world. It requires discernment in making different choices, which contribute to psychological well being and spiritual development of a person.

Difference between spirituality and spiritual intelligence –

Spirituality exists in people everywhere whether they belong to religious traditions or not. Spirituality has varying degrees of depth and expression in individuals. Spirituality has evolved as a distinct entity different from religiosity. Spiritual intelligence is having a high degree of conscience, compassion and commitment to human values.

Spirituality means understanding your spiritual qualities and attributes and doing obligatory and non-obligatory acts according to them. Spiritual qualities and attributes connect your inner and outer world through your actions. Spirituality enables us to see every other human being as soul and thereby transcend all the false identities of race, color, gender, nationality, profession and religion.

Spiritual intelligence is to realize who you are and to live life in that awareness. It is the realization that we all possess conscience and have a commitment with us to live up to its dictates. Spiritual intelligence is having a high degree of conscience, compassion and commitment to human values. Therefore, it expands our capacity to understand others at the deepest level and makes us behave towards others with absolute awareness of human values.

Raising spiritual quotient (SQ) -

We are born as spiritual beings having varying levels of spiritual intelligence. Like any other intelligence, if spiritual intelligence is not developed, it will become rudimentary. So, one has to practice the skills to become spiritually intelligent. Spiritual quotient can be raised in the following ways –

Dissolve the ego – One of the main stumbling blocks in the spiritual progress of an individual is his or her ego. Ego, if left uncontrolled, can create many problems in our personal, social and professional life. When the dissolution of one’s ego takes place, one develops tranquility and peace in one’s interaction with the world. Our larger perspective to view things, people and circumstances changes completely. Ego operates with a very powerful force and, so, an individual has to countermand it forcefully and persistently.

Stop judging others – The habit of judging others is deeply ingrained in our psyche and, so, we start automatically measuring others as per our benchmarks, which we begin to form from our childhood. Our ego plays an important role in making us judgmental towards others. Therefore, one has to make genuine efforts persistently to root out this unwholesome habit. By being judgmental an individual creates criticism, condemnation and disapproval of others that can put him or her in many difficult situations.

Be a detached observer – Being a detached observer means observing life as if it is a movie show where I am a participant and part of the audience at the same time. We must strive to do our best while doing our role in the movie of life but, as a part of audience, we should observe the movie without getting unduely involved in the roles of other actors. Our involvement into the roles of others will create concepts about them and their roles. Creation of concepts is the activity of ego. In fact, detached observation represents harmony with everything in the Drama of Life. When there is consciousness of “I” (Ego), there is separation and when there is consciousness of “Real I” (Soul), there is Oneness. To feel “Real I” means to be in oneness with all. This is being a detached observer. When we are entrapped in concepts, we are driven by ego. Creation of concepts creates separation from oneness. When we separate, we build individuality. When that individuality takes over our personality, we become egoist.

Practice acceptance – Acceptance of others as they are is an important step towards raising our spiritual consciousness. It creates oneness with all. It is the beginning of dissolution of ego and creation of Universal consciousness. Acceptance is the first step to recover from any unpleasantness in life. It clears our way to tackling the unpleasant situation effectively, thereby restoring harmony.

Practice gratitude – Gratitude means counting our blessings and acknowledging everything that we receive. Gratitude shifts our focus from what our life lacks to the abundance that is already present. The practice of gratitude raises our “happiness set-point” so we can remain at a higher level of happiness regardless of outside circumstances.

Have few expectations – We all help others in small and big ways in life but we have expectations that they, whom we helped, would return our help in equal measures in due course of time. But, mostly, it is not returned, which makes us unhappy. Most of people don’t express gratitude to others for their help because it is a habit that needs to be cultivated sincerely. Jesus Christ cured ten lepers in a day but only one thanked him. So, if one person out of ten thanked Him for curing their leptosy, why we should expect that others thank us for our help to them. This offers us a timeless teaching that we should not expect any form of expression of gratitude from others for our help howsoever big it may be. It may be difficult for us to do but at least we can minimize our expectations from others.

Do self-reflection – Often we should do some self-reflection on our behavioral conduct with others during the day. We should self-reflect on how our behavior with others was and how to improve upon it if it wasn’t appropriate. We can do this practice often during the day or alternatively we can do it in the night before sleep. Such self-reflections are capable of transmuting our behavior in a positive manner, thus raising our spiritual quotient.

Connect with supreme intelligence regularly – We can connect with supreme intelligence through prayer, meditation, self-reflection and acts of love and compassion. They are the most powerful ways to raise our spiritual quotient. However, we should ensure that we connect with supreme intelligence on regular basis.

Summary –

Spiritual intelligence is an ability to maintain peace in our inner and outer world by acting with wisdom whatever the circumstances may be. It is an essential component of personal, social and professional success. It requires our discernment for various choices that we make for our personal welfare as well as for welfare of others associated with us. Spiritual intelligence is measured with the benchmarks that are constituted as per the dictates of the conscience. We can raise our spiritual intelligence by raising the levels of these benchmarks. We can do so by dissolving our ego, being non-judgmental, being a detached observer, practicing gratitude and acceptance, and having few expectations. Regular self-reflection and communication with supreme intelligence will effectively raise our spiritual quotient.

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    • Dr Pran Rangan profile image
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      Dr Pran Rangan 2 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks for liking my hub.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      An extremely beautiful article, and you've covered some very profound words beginning with Gratitude. They are very meaningful to me for spiritual progress. Much peace.