You’ve heard of IQ, a scale that measures intelligence, and you’ve heard of EQ (Emotional Quotient), developed by Daniel Goleman; but have you ever heard of SQ, the measure of Spiritual Intelligence?
Even if Spiritual Intelligence is new to you, you can probably identify spiritual leaders throughout history and in your personal experience who possess characteristics of wisdom and compassion.
People like Jesus, the Buddha, Mother Teresa, and Ghandi probably instantly come to mind. Many would add modern spiritual leaders to their list, like Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, and even Oprah. Personal spiritual leaders probably make the most impact and are embodied by close relatives, teachers, and mentors. Almost everyone can identify a wise and loving person who embraces life, people, and problems with loving calm and openness.
This is Spiritual Intelligence in action.
Last weekend I attended a workshop guided by Laura Savage-Rains, a women’s ministry coach in Austin. Using concepts culled from the Cindy Wigglesworth’s Spiritual Intelligence training, Laura defined Spiritual Intelligence and helped us describe what it looks like among leaders, regardless of religion or background.
Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) is defined by Wigglesworth as “the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation.”
If you can agree that the world needs leaders who are guided by an awareness of their life purpose and the worldviews of others; and understanding of the complexities of inner thought; a commitment to sustaining his or her faith and seeking guidance from the spirit; an understanding of the interconnectedness of life, and values based on universal spiritual laws; then you may be happy to learn that you can learn these skills with discipline and practice.
Everyone – not just the chosen few – can develop Spiritual Intelligence.
Isn’t that great news? You don’t have to climb to the mountaintop, or meet the right guru. You can read more about these concepts here.
Looking over the list of traits of someone with a high SQ (there are 21 of them), I was able to identify areas where I really have blinders on. I also discovered what I might try to perceive situations and people differently. It was also nice to affirm the spiritual disciplines where I excel.
For example, after attending the short course, I could easily see that the disciplines that come easy to me are Study, Submission, and Worship. On the other hand, in the areas of Fasting, Simplicity, and Guidance I could use some work.
Who needs higher spiritual intelligence?
Everyone who deals with people and who struggles daily to come to grips with a disorienting and complex world. Every day we are bombarded with beauty, pain, diversity, suffering and jaw-dropping abundance, sometimes all at the same time! Can you ever make sense of it all?
The way you navigate life’s complexities are spectacularly unique. While there are similarities, no two people share the exact same cocktail of spiritual traits. In fact, some wouldn’t even see their natural skills as having spiritual capabilities. If that’s you, this Spiritual Intelligence concept may encourage you to look again.
Everyone’s gifts help them to become an individual like no one else in the realm of physical, social, mental, and spiritual planes. My answers are not the way for everyone. I.e. Reading, exercising, enjoying nature, and connecting with others enable me to feel in the flow of life and able to attain my highest potential. But these practices and preferences are not the ideal way for all people attain spiritual intelligence. Others may lean toward solitude, acts of service to others, or teaching.
One thing I know to be true is that the bounty of the planet – particularly essential oils – are here for us to use to develop our personal talents and skills, especially in the areas of spiritual intelligence.
They are specifically useful in the spirit realm because essential oils are the rare substances that can pass the blood brain barrier through to the amygdala, where memory and emotion meet. They help you tap into the spirit… where the streets have no name.
Essential oils were given to us by a loving God to help us penetrate regions of emotion and memory that go so far toward helping us become more empathetic and in tune with perceptions beyond our physical senses. I’m thinking now of David’s plea to God in conjunction with anointing himself with Hyssop, to cleanse himself of impurities before the lord. (Psalm 51: 7) I’m also remembering Mary pouring (what was probably) Myrrh over Jesus a couple of days before his death to bring comfort to him. (John 12:3) Her offering also showed her insight of Jesus as the Savior. It was an appropriate act of worship and gratitude for his coming sacrifice.
In fact, because essential oils are pure manifestations of God’s love for us, they help us bring God honor and glory by purifying our thoughts, intentions, and ultimately our actions.
I will be adding the book SQ21 (as in Spirituality Quotient, 21 Skills) to my library. Further study should prove endlessly fascinating because I plan to pair certain essential oils and prayers or affirmations with each one of the Spiritual characteristics of a wise and compassionate leader. (I’ll share what I learn!)
I can’t wait to dig into this! How might you use this new assessment of Spiritual intelligence? To become a better parent, leader, or student…? Does this seem like a concrete, worthwhile measurement, or does it seem too esoteric and “out there” for your taste? I welcome you to share in the comments below, or contact me directly.