What is Spiritual Intelligence (SQ)?

‘Spiritual intelligence is the expression of innate spiritual qualities through your thoughts, actions and attitude’ – Brahmakumari Shivani

In the last few years the concept of spirituality and spiritual intelligence has come more forth into the public dominion. Spirituality has become more and more important, but, as the Dalai Lama says, in a way that does not seem to be paired with religion.

foto[2]‘I believe there is an important distinction to be made between religion and spirituality. Religion I take to be concerned with belief in the claims of salvation of one faith tradition or another — an aspect of which is acceptance of some form of metaphysical or philosophical reality, including perhaps an idea of heaven or hell. Connected with this are religious teachings or dogma, ritual, prayers and so on. Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit — such as love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony, which brings happiness to both self and others. While ritual and prayer, along with questions of nirvana and salvation are directly connected with religious faith, these inner qualities need not be, however. There is thus no reason why the individual should not develop them, even to a high degree, without recourse to any religious or metaphysical belief system. This is why I sometimes say religion is something we can perhaps do without. What we cannot do without are these basic spiritual qualities.’

From The Pocket Dalai Lama by the Dalai Lama, compiled and edited by Mary Craig

When we talk about being ‘spiritual’, we mean the possibility we offer to ourselves to think, act and interact from an awareness of self that comes from a different space within us, from our spirit and our soul, not from the form and the body. As we were born, we have been taught to believe that what is real lies in our physical forms, and so we identify with our body and everything that is appearance, but in the last few years new discoveries have come to confirm that there is more to what we know and see.

aristoteleAt the beginning of the scientific study of intelligence in the early 20th century, due to Aristotle affirmation of a man as ‘a rational animal’, intelligence was restricted to be defined only as Intellectual Intelligence (IQ) until the mid 1980′s, when Daniel Goleman identified the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as another important aspect of our brain.

In 1997 new discoveries in psychology and neuroscience made Danah Zohar, in her book ReWiring the Corporate Brain, coin and introduce the term “Spiritual Intelligence (SQ)” to define a further and more significant dimension of our intelligence as we knew it.

These new advances reveal that the SQ is a senior dimension of intelligence, which governs both the IQ and the EQ. Neurologically SQ is distinct from IQ and EQ. The IQ is located in the left brain, EQ is located in the right brain, while “the SQ is associated with hemispheric synchronisation and whole-brain activation at the same frequency” (from http://sqi.co). La SQ has the capacity to combine the part-brain functions of the two hemispheres and bring them together into the integrated field of the whole brain, making us experience the same brain state that we achieve in meditation and in the state of presence.

Danah Zohar defined 12 main underlying principles of Spiritual Intelligence as below:

  • IMG_0594– Self-awareness: Knowing what I believe in and value, and what deeply motivates me.
  • – Spontaneity: Living in and being responsive to the moment.
  • – Being vision- and value-led: Acting from principles and deep beliefs, and living accordingly.
  • – Holism: Seeing larger patterns, relationships, and connections; having a sense of belonging.
  • – Compassion: Having the quality of “feeling-with” and deep empathy.
  • – Celebration of diversity: Valuing other people for their differences, not despite them.
  • – Field independence: Standing against the crowd and having one’s own convictions.
  • – Humility: Having the sense of being a player in a larger drama, of one’s true place in the world.
  • – Tendency to ask fundamental “Why?” questions: Needing to understand things and get to the bottom of them.
  • – Ability to reframe: Standing back from a situation or problem and seeing the bigger picture or wider context.
  • – Positive use of adversity: Learning and growing from mistakes, setbacks, and suffering.
  • – Sense of vocation: Feeling called upon to serve, to give something back.

(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_intelligence)

Spiritual intelligence can be experienced spontaneously sometimes even it is not easy to occur. We can learn how to develop our spiritual intelligence by working actively on ourselves, connecting with our intuition and our soul through spiritual practices.

We can learn how to activate it consciously and re-awaken our most powerful personal resource. Numerology, the Tarot, the Kabbalah, the study of colour as consciousness and of the ancient maps of wisdom are all valuable tools to guide us in that direction.

“Spirituality is to ‘know’ who you are and Spiritual Intelligence is to ‘realise’ who you are and to live life in that awareness.”

Anuradha Varma


On 9th-10th May Danah Zohar will be in Italy to teach the seminar: Activating the Spiritual intelligence. The course will be held at the Hotel President in Correggio (Reggio Emilia). For any information or enquiries, please fill up the form below.

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