THINKING WITH THE SOUL: Activating the Spiritual Intelligence

“If we know how to rely on our SQ we shall become less fearful, more accustomed to relying on ourselves, more willing to face the difficult and the uncomfortable, and more ready to live at the edge“   – Danah Zohar & Ian Marshall

For long a very long time the world gave much importance to the rational, analytical or mathematical part of the human brain, the IQ or “Intelligence Quotient”: the left brain. The IQ, the serial thinking, determines the order among us. This intelligence was initially envisaged to be determinant of success in careers, but time demonstrated that, once a career had been chosen, what actually leaded to success was not associated to it.

Daniel Goleman
Daniel Goleman

In 1995 Daniel Goleman, referring to the latest discoveries in neuroscience and psychology of Belle Labs, published the book “Emotional Intelligence. Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”, where he highlighted the importance of the Emotional Quotient (EQ).

The EQ, the associative thinking, is located in the right hemisphere of the brain and it refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Specifically, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, the foremost researchers in the field, have defined the EQ as, “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions” (1990).

The EQ can be defined as the heart/body thinking, which helps us create associations between things, recognise patterns and learn skills and its way of apprehending is based on trial and error. It occurs in the neural networks as they have the ability to rewire themselves with experience: each time we perceive a pattern, these neural connections recognise it, and consequently, increase their strenght. Due to this specific learning process, the EQ tends to be habit bound: it becomes very hard to relearn an emotional response, as it is strongly connected to neural connections. Furthermore, the EQ is not immediately verbal; therefore, it is hard to talk about emotions and to share associative thinking with others.

These two memory systems – one based on precise neural wiring in the hippocampus, the other based on associative neural networks located throughout the brain – have a different lifecycle. The first one is subject to decay with age, the second isn’t.

The two hemispheres of the brain
The two hemispheres of the brain

Neither IQ nor EQ, in combination or separated, is enough to describe human intelligence and the immense potential of our soul and imagination. Computers have high IQ: they know and follow the rules without errors. EQ is often quite developed in animals giving them a sense of the current situation and the way to act accordingly. Both these intelligences operate within definite boundaries, but they do not question the system they operate with.

In 2001 Danah Zohar and her husband Ian Marshall introduced a new dimension to human intelligence – the Spiritual Quotient (SQ), which they describe as the “intelligence of the soul.” They associated the spiritual state defined in the ancient teachings as “higher consciousness” with quantum physics by referring to the research of neuroscientists R. Llinas and D. Pare, which overturned the conventional view of consciousness. These scientists affirm that consciousness is not dependent on sensory input but to an intrinsic activity of the mind: they identified the presence of 40 HZ neural oscillations in the brain, which form a means by which experience can be bound together and placed in a frame of wider meaning.

Proto-consciousness and brain cell
Proto-consciousness and brain cell

These neural oscillations in the brain appear to have the characteristics of proto-consciousness, a fundamental property pervading the whole universe. The proto-consciousness theory assumes that consciousness is an ever-living fundamental part of the universe. Every living thing is a part of it, but they all have varying levels of self-consciousness.

This discovery strongly related the human SQ directly to the heart of the universe and made it an expression of what we commonly call God.

Danah Zohar and Ian MarshallIn the theory outlined by Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall, the SQ is defined as “unitive” thinking and described as the high frequency oscillatory activity that binds the proto-consciousness in all single-cell life into the “unified whole” of the human brain. While mentioning the neural cells related to conscious experience, the two authors write: “They behave as many individual voices that have become one voice in a choir. No known phenomenon can generate this kind of coherence, but it is the rule in quantum processes.”

Spiritual intelligence or SQ – also known the third ‘Q’ or kind of intelligence – transforms our experience by combining intellectual intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ). According to Dorothy Sisk and E. Paul Torrance, the SQ embraces all the intelligences and its distinctive characteristic is its transformative power: “the IQ primarily purpose is to solve logical problems; the EQ offers us the possibility to judge a situation we are facing and behave suitably; the SQ generates the question about wanting to be in that situation in the first place.” – from Spiritual Intelligence : Developing Higher Consciousness (2001)

Spiritual Intelligence – the meaning-giving, contextualizing, transformative intelligence – has been an ancient innate scientific operating system with the aim of promoting our awareness. It accesses our deepest meaning and values, and awakens a sense of fulfillment and long-lasting purpose in our life.

images-3“High SQ requires us to be deeply honest with ourselves. It requires us to face choices and to realize that sometimes the right choices are difficult ones. High SQ demands the most intense personal integrity. It demands that we become aware of and live out of that deep center of ourselves that transcends all the fragments into which our lives have shattered. It demands that we recollect ourselves, including those parts of ourselves that it has been painful or difficult to own. But most of all, high SQ demands that we stand open to experience, that we recapture our ability to see life and others afresh, as though through the eyes of a child, to learn how to tap into our intuition and visualization, as a powerful means of using our inner knowing to “make a difference. It demands that we cease to seek refuge in what we know and constantly explore and learn from what we do not know. It demands that we live the questions rather than the answers.” – Danah Zohar & Ian Marshall, SQ: Spiritual Intelligence, the Ultimate Intelligence

IMG_0235High SQ is the indicator of happiness, serenity, self-worth and self-esteem, and loving and harmonious relationships.

The mystics of the ancient wisdom traditions have always talked about a place within the self, a light, a feeling of sacredness in ordinary things and daily events, a sense of awe hidden behind the appreciation of the little things, a bliss of understanding something deeply, about the inner wisdom manifesting through centring, about the peace with oneself.

Spiritual intelligence offers us the chance to recall our innate and true potential, and the possibility to overcome the challenges by learning to listen to the inner voice and to truly think with our soul.

Danah Zohar will be in Italy in May 2015 to teach two courses.

DANAH ZOHAR has been described by Financial Times Prentice Hall as one of the world’s top “business minds”. A physicist, philosopher, and management thought leader, she was educated at MIT and Harvard. She is the author of nine books relating the thinking of quantum physics and complex adaptive systems to such diverse topics as psychology, society and organizational leadership. Among these are The Quantum Self, The Quantum Society, Rewiring the Corporate Brain, and Spiritual Capital. She is currently writing a new book with Chris Wray, to be entitled The Quantum Leader. Danah has taught at leading business schools in the UK, Australia, and Eastern Europe. For several years she was on the faculty of Shell’s Challenges for Change leadership program and of Oxford University’s Strategic Leadership Programme. She has delivered presentations, seminars, and training programs for business organizations throughout the world. Among these are Shell, Motorola, BMW, Nokia, McKinsey, Volvo, Astra Pharmaceutical, Coca-Cola, Norwich Union Financial Services, and NASA. She has also worked with the British Cabinet Office, UNESCO, and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

9th -10th May 2015 Thinking with the Soul: Activating the Spiritual Intelligence

13th-14th May 2015 The Quantum Leader: Management in the Quantum Era

Venue: Hotel President Correggio (Reggio Emilia)

For information and enquiries about the courses, please fill up the contact form below.

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