Do you consider yourself spiritual?  What if I were to tell you that being spiritual is not enough.  We also need to be spiritually intelligent.

Being a spiritual person means you:

  1. Believe that even negative or troubling emotions such as anger, fear, hatred, or shame can be catalysts for transformation;
  2. Recognize your innate need to connect with something larger than yourself;
  3. Embrace both the vertical and horizontal elements of Spirit. The vertical points you to something sacred, divine, or timeless, such as God, Higher Power, Source, Ultimate Consciousness.  The horizontal prompts you to be of service to your fellow humans and to the planet at large.
  4. Find your sources for spirituality in are community relationships, personal study, nature, spiritual practices, and most of all your emotions.

Yet it’s not enough simply to be spiritual.  We are called to be spiritually intelligent.

Let’s first define intelligence: it is to use what you know in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, with the right intention. You achieve a high degree of inner spiritual strength when you let go of the material world, of your possessions, concerns about physical beauty, and striving after earthly achievements.  You draw on this spiritual strength only when you know who and what you are at your core.

Using that strength in the right way, in the right place, and at the right time is spiritual intelligence.

Great spiritual leaders show traits of being loving, kind, forgiving, peaceful, courageous, honest, generous, persistent, faithful, wise, and inspiring. They show spiritual intelligence through these traits. They remind us that spiritual intelligence is the ability to behave with compassion and wisdom while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the circumstances.

Compassion and wisdom together manifest love.

To behave focuses on how well we maintain our center, stay calm, and actually treat others with compassion and wisdom, even when under great stress.  This is what we admire in our spiritual leaders. And all of us fail from time to time to behave ourselves!

There are four essential components of spiritual intelligence.

  1. Critical thinking about the here and now. We contemplate the meaning and purpose of life and relate all human experiences to our own existence.
  2. Expansion of personal meaning. We seek personal meaning and purpose from all physical and mental experiences that feed into our own life purpose.
  3. Transcendental awareness. This is the capacity to identify patterns in our life, in that of others, and in the physical world as having meaning for us.
  4. Expanding consciousness. We have the ability to move into and out of higher spiritual experiences at our own discretion.

What is the relationship between spirituality and spiritual intelligence?
Spirituality is to ‘know’ who you are as spirit/soul, and understand your highest spiritual qualities such as love, peace, purity, and bliss.
Spiritual Intelligence is to make manifest who you are and to live life in that awareness.  It’s that moment when you ‘see it’, when you ‘get it’ and then you ‘be it’.

Without spiritual intelligence we end up wasting our spirituality, our religious connections, our devotional life.  They risk becoming a form of self-pleasuring for its own sake, a sense of having our “ducks in a row” for some future salvation.  Spiritual intelligence rather, is for making authentic connections in the here and now, deepening communication and respect for one another, listening carefully to what we can learn from each other, rather than teach, and recognizing that each of us ultimately is master of our own lives.

© 2017 Michael Parise
Portions excerpted from Michael’s book: Life Interrupted, Taking Charge After Everything Has Changed
Since 1979 Michael has worked with individuals and groups to take full advantage interruptions and changes to balance responsibilities, simplify their lives, and find greater productivity and peace.

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