By Cherian P. Tekkeveettil May 2001 IQ and EQ give way to spiritual intelligence, the ultimate intelligence that can add value and meaning to your life EIGHT SIGNS OF HIGH SQ1. Flexibility 2. Self-awareness 3. An ability to face and use suffering 4. The ability to be inspired by a vision 5. An ability to see connections between diverse things (thinking holistically) 6. A desire and capacity to cause as little harm as possible 7. A tendency to probe and ask fundamental questions 8. An ability to work against convention SEVEN TYPES OF INTELLIGENCE With the popularity of EQ and SQ in recent years, it might be worth remembering an older way of conceiving intelligence, which helps cultivate individual aspects of ourselves. This is Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligence. In 1984, in his book Frames of Mind—The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, he offered a critique of IQ testing and suggested that what we possess is not one ‘intelligence’ but seven different intelligences. These are: logical-mathematical, linguistic, musical, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and spatial. Intelligence Type: How To Develop It: Logical-Mathematical IntelligenceThis is what we use to manipulate concepts and arrange them into meaningful patterns. We develop this by constantly confronting objects, assessing them and reordering them. 1. Learn a computer language2. Work on logic puzzles3. Identify scientific principles around the house: pumps, bulbs etc. Linguistic IntelligenceThis is the intelligence that gives us sensitivity to language, an ability to absorb and manipulate it skillfully and to be aware of shades of meaning. 1. Take a writing class2. Record yourself speaking into a tape-recorder3. Memorize passages of poetry Musical IntelligenceThis gives us our sensitivity to sound, our ability to arrange sounds into patterns pleasing to the human ear. 1. Sing in the shower2. Memorize tunes3. Spend time listening to music everyday Bodily-Kinesthetic IntelligenceThis is the intelligence that gives us the ability to perform tasks of great discipline and commitment with our bodies. Dancers, athletes and martial arts practitioners have this. 1. Take up martial arts like tai chi or karate2. Take up a sport3. Learn a craft such as woodworking or crochet Interpersonal IntelligenceThis gives us the ability to relate skillfully with others, to be aware of our feelings and the other person’s, to see where the other person is coming from. 1. Decide to meet one new person a week and stay in touch.2. Join an NGO3. Spend 15 minutes a day listening actively to a friend. Intrapersonal IntelligenceThis is about becoming truly aware of ourselves and having the ability to constantly purify ourselves in order to access higher levels of joy and power. 1. Do a vipassana course and make it a part of your life2. Spend time with yourself everyday, just being quiet3. Read biographies of people with powerful personalities Spatial IntelligenceThis form of intelligence calls upon our ability to create a mental image. It gives us the capacity to perceive the visual world accurately and to perform transformations and modifications upon our initial perceptions. Artists, designers and architects have this intelligence. 1. Take classes in painting, sculpture or photography2. Buy a graphics software program and create designs on the computer3. Watch films with attention to lighting, camera angles, color and other aspects of cinema. For long, the world gave much importance to Intelligence Quotient. ‘My son has an IQ of 210!’ the proud mother would gush. ‘He’s going to be a scientist.’ This attitude is a legacy of the early 20th century when psychologists devised tests to measure intelligence. These tests primarily measured intellectual or rational intelligence (used to solve logical problems). The higher the figure, the belief went, the greater the intelligence. In mid-1990s, Daniel Goleman revealed findings in neuroscience and psychology that stressed the importance of Emotional Quotient (EQ). This makes us aware of our feelings and that of others. It gives empathy, motivation, compassion and an ability to respond skillfully to pleasure and pain. Goleman argued that EQ was a basic requirement for the use of IQ. If the areas of our brain that feel are damaged, our ability to think effectively is diminished. Last year, however, authors Dana Zohar and Ian Marshall introduced a new dimension to human intelligence. Spiritual Quotient (or SQ) is the ultimate intelligence, they claim. This is the intelligence used to solve problems of meaning and value. ‘Is my job giving me the fulfillment I seek?’ ‘Am I relating to the people in my life in a way that contributes to their happiness and mine?’ Answers to these questions determine whether we will find happiness or not. IQ and EQ are inadequate in such issues. ‘Spiritual intelligence,’ explains Ram Mohan, a Vedanta teacher, ‘is about the growth of a human being. It is about moving on in life. About having a direction in life and being able to heal ourselves of all the resentment we carry. It is thinking of ourselves as an expression of a higher reality. It is also about how we look at the resources available to us. We realize that nature is not meant to be exploited. Ultimately, we discover freedom from our sense of limitation as human beings and attain moksha.’ Anand Tendolkar, a workshop leader, says: ‘For me spiritual intelligence is about pondering over my life’s purpose. Just being in touch with that question is fulfilling. Finally I realize that there is an immensity to me. As I move along the path, deeper levels of myself get unfolded, leading to fulfillment.’ Humans are essentially spiritual beings, evolved to ask fundamental questions. ‘Who am I?’ ‘Where am I going?’ ‘What do others mean to me?’ It is an ability to answer questions like these that lead people to personal growth workshops. Spiritual intelligence motivates people to balance their work schedules to spend time with the family. Or an executive with a high SQ might look beyond profit margins and devote time for voluntary work with orphans. Spiritual intelligence also addresses the need to place one’s life in a shared context of value. The transformative power of SQ distinguishes it from IQ and EQ. IQ primarily solves logical problems. EQallows us to judge the situation we are in and behave appropriately. SQ allows us to ask if we want to be in that situation in the first place. It might motivate us to create a new one. SQ has little connection to formal religion. Atheists and humanists may have high SQ while someone actively religious may not. ‘The awakening of our spiritual intelligence may be a time of great joy and meaning,’ says Anita Pandey, who frequents personal growth programs. ‘Suddenly I had a feeling of being in control. Earlier things happened to me. Now I am more aware. Also, I have actually started living those values I had heard about—like acceptance and unconditional love.’ In their book Spiritual Intelligence—The Ultimate Intelligence, Zohar and Marshall discuss the scientific evidence for SQ. In the 1990s, research by neuropsychologist Michael Persinger and neurologist V.S. Ramachandran at the University of California led to an identification of a ‘God-spot‘ in the human brain. This area is located among neural connections in the temporal lobes of the brain. During scans with positron emission topography, these neural areas light up whenever research subjects are exposed to discussion of spiritual topics. Of course, this is culture specific, with Westerners responding to ideas of ‘God’ and Buddhists and Hindus responding to certain symbols. While the God-spot does not prove the existence of ‘God’, it does indicate that the brain is programmed to ask ultimate questions. We use spiritual intelligence to transform ourselves and others, heal relationship, cope with grief, and move beyond conditioned habits of the past. To develop high SQ, each person needs to approach the task according to his/her personality. J.L. Holland divided people into six personality types (take the test) and devised tests to determine one’s type, or the mix. On each personality test we would have scored between zero and 12. This indicates the strength of our interest in that sector of life. An average adult will score 6 or more on perhaps three of the personality types. For example, we might score highest (say nine) on the artistic type, but score seven on the enterprising type and six on the investigative. Naturally, we must allow for some degree of overlap between the different types. Once we know our personality type, we can better choose our particular path to higher SQ. CONVENTIONAL TYPE: THE PATH OF DUTY We follow this path by serving the community. This is done by realizing our life’s purpose and following it with full commitment. We have the interest of humanity in mind and pursue what we truly love for others’ sake. Many of us may want to associate ourselves with a specific organization to fulfill this ambition. Whatever outlet we choose, we must avoid two common mistakes that people on this path make. Avoid becoming narcissistic. It is an easy trap to slip into. At one point we may withdraw completely from relationships and focus only on ourselves. Behaviors associated with such self-absorption include lying in bed late, heavy drinking and smoking and overindulgence in food and sex. A narcissist must address his problems adequately through therapy or spiritual practices before he can progress on the path of duty. Avoid extreme identification with your group and its uncritical championing. We mu
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