by William Frank Diedrich –
What is Spiritual Intelligence and Why Should You Care?
The English word “spirit”
comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning “breath”
. Spirit is both the breather and the breath, the underlying nonphysical substance of all life. Intelligence comes from the Latin, intellegentia. Intellegentia comes from: inter-“between”
plus legere-“choose, pick out, read”
inter-lege-nt-ia. It literally means “choosing between”
Spiritual Intelligence means to choose between the ego and the Higher Self or Spirit at any given moment. That is, we choose to live, to behave and to speak from a higher perspective. Scripturally this means: “Not my will, but thy will”.
In a more generic and modern sense, it is to live from one’s intuition and from inspiration, to listen to and follow the Inner Voice. It is the willingness and the will to tap into the One Mind which many call “God”, “Spirit”, “Oneness” or other names and to follow that guidance. This may come in the form of a hunch, an “Aha” moment, a compelling urge to do or say something constructive or a feeling.
How do I know if my Inner Voice is from my spirit or from my ego?
Spirit is a mindset of abundance, love, and well-beingness. The Inner Voice is compelling but not threatening or judgmental. It is gentle but firm. It is sure of Itself. This Inner Voice seeks the highest good for all concerned and does not seek to do harm.
In a spiritual perspective, rather than judge the behaviors of others, we use discernment. We discern if we will spend time with another person, or not. We discern if someone is a healthy or an unhealthy presence in our organization.
We make decisions that benefit the highest good for all concerned. We discern if our help will be utilized or if our help is futile. This discernment is not based on fear but on wisdom and understanding.
The voice of the ego is fear based and comes from a mindset of scarcity.
Scarcity means that either there isn’t enough or I am not enough so I had better manipulate, fight or flee this situation.
The ego is about separating people–the good from the bad, the saved from the damned, those who know from those who do not. The ego always sees itself as better than or less than others. This kind of separation is a way of justifying one’s positions and behaviors. The ego likes to be special.
Leader; Old English from German laedan–‘to guide’, ‘to conduct’, ‘to take.’We are always leaders because our respective ways of being and our behaviors influence others. We each lead by example every minute of our lives.
The question is:
“What example am I setting at this moment?”
If I hold a leadership position, my example is magnified due to my positional influence. If I am a Senior Executive, my words, my tone and my body language have a stronger effect on an employee because I am in a position of authority. If I am a parent, every word I use and every action I take is watched and learned by my children.
Why should you care?
- Are you leading from your ego or are you leading from your Higher Self (your Spirit)?
- Is your leadership based on fear and conflict and getting the upper hand or is it based on appreciation, discernment and being an example?
- Are you living from your highest values and vision, or are you battling with others to get control? Which do you prefer?
Spiritual Intelligence is developed by asking these questions of ourselves.
We are able to “choose between”
by stepping outside ourselves and seeing who we are being in this situation. Am I being the person I want to be? If I am a Christian, I may ask “What would Jesus do?”
As a Buddhist, I may ask “What would Buddha do?”
If I am not strongly affiliated with a religion: “What would my Higher Self do?”
or “What would I do if I were at my very best? (strong, confident, loving, at peace)”
Reflection, prayer, meditation, contemplation and maintaining an awareness of one’s thoughts and emotions are some of the means by which we practice and develop our spiritual intelligence.
Spiritual Intelligence does not require all the trappings of religion.
At a minimum, it requires that you have a sense that there is something greater than just your personality. Have you ever had a flash of brilliance burst into your mind, a moment when you knew something but you didn’t know how you knew? If you are a person who, at times, intutitively knows what to say or do, then you are practicing your spiritual intelligence. It could be as simple as feeling the urge to praise someone or to listen to someone.
Spiritual intelligence grows when you both listen to intuitive thoughts that flow into your mind and you respond.
you find yourself in a conflict. You step outside yourself briefly, and you do not like the person you are being. In that brief moment that you stepped outside of your drama, an intuitive thought says, “Just listen. Understand.” So, you follow that thought and stop pushing your point of view. You focus on the other person and their needs. Suddenly you get it. You understand where they are coming from and you know what you need to do.
Today you get to choose.
Who or what will run your life? Will it be your fearful and insecure ego that wants to control people and situations? Or, will it be your Higher Self, that wants what is highest and best for all concerned?
Will it be your ego, focused mostly on your own needs to the exclusion of others? Or, will it be your Higher Self, who feels confident, wise, and strong living and leading from your vision and values and from your identity as a spiritual being?
The ego is not the enemy. It is more like a fearful child who wants what it wants. It loses power over you as you give it less attention and focus instead on living and leading from the inside out. If you chose poorly just a minute ago, choose once again right now.
The choice, the opportunity is always right now.