Which one of these three do you think is most important? Mental Intelligence; Emotional Intelligence, or Spiritual Intelligence? I’ll give you the answer at the end of this blog:
I bet you know your IQ, don’t you? If not you ought to. That is unless you’re like me and really don’t want to know in case it is a lot lower than you would like to think.
In England, when I was just a boy we all sat what was known as the 11+ exam. This was done to sort out which pupils would go on to the grammar schools to get a classical education or go to the less prestigious ‘secondary modern’ school where one was prepared for the job market. Since I failed my 11+, I made up my mind then and there that I would forever avoid taking intelligence tests and have, so far, succeeded in doing so. I still don’t know.
IQ is a measure of one’s mental intelligence. It covers all cognitive activity of the rational mind – thoughts, ideas, concepts, paradigms, and theories. It has enabled us to go to the moon and back, develop amazing medical procedures to cure disease and to develop sophisticated models of the world through science and mathematics, among a million other wonderful achievements that have benefited mankind. I used it to write my book about Radical Forgiveness and develop my theory around it, but it doesn’t do Radical Forgiveness. For that, we need our Spiritual Intelligence.
Even if you do know your IQ, I bet you have no idea what your EQ is, do you? EQ is your emotional intelligence. Is there even a way to measure it? Emotional intelligence is the intelligence of the heart.
Our Emotional Intelligence guides our emotional responses to life, whether fear-driven, love-driven, guilt driven, pleasure driven, etc. It tells us when we are in denial, lying and out of integrity. It enables us to relate to each other at the heart level with compassion, empathy, tolerance, humility, forgiveness, etc. Without emotional intelligence, we would either be like robots – machines that can think but can’t feel, or sociopaths unable to control our emotions. Because people are taught to value Mental Intelligence more and to deny their feelings, Emotional Intelligence is quite underdeveloped in humans.
In spite of this, our lives are driven far more by unconscious emotional responses than by rational thought. We allow our emotions to override our thoughts. That leads to the formation of mental structures like bigotry, prejudice, unreasonable attitudes, inflexibility of mind, false beliefs, denial, and so on. We often believe what we want to believe; not what makes sense.
Our Spiritual Intelligence is the intelligence of the Soul. It is the most subtle of the three and operates below our level of awareness. It knows the truth of who we are, and it connects us to the world of Spirit and Universal Intelligence (God). Our body is the antennae for our Spiritual Intelligence. Our Spiritual Intelligence guides us on our spiritual journey, always moving us in the direction of growth and healing. It is our internal spiritual compass. It keeps us on track with our Divine Plan.
It finds its outer expression in our everyday lives as spiritual practice, the search for meaning beyond this reality, contemplation and meditation, prayer, etc. It is not bound by time and space. It comes into play when we ask for help and open up to receiving help from the spiritual realm. Religious dogma hardly qualifies since that is mostly mental.
The tools and processes of Radical Forgiveness provide a perfect way to ask, even if we are skeptical about the whole idea. Without Spiritual Intelligence, Radical Forgiveness would not be achieved for it is that faculty we call upon the most when we do the Radical Forgiveness work.
The tools depend utterly on our connecting with our Spiritual Intelligence. That’s why we need to use the tools. If we don’t use them, we default to trying to do it in our heads using Mental Intelligence instead, and that doesn’t work. Mental Intelligence is useless for spiritual work. It is not designed for that.
Now let me address the question I asked at the beginning. Which of the three is most important? The answer is none of them. Just as we say that mind, body, and spirit are integrated as a whole, and no one is more special than the other, the truth is that all three forms of intelligence are equally important and need to be given equal standing.
The problem arises when we imagine that one is more important than the other. Unfortunately, for at least the last 300 years or so, Mental Intelligence has been elevated so far above the other two, in fact almost to the exclusion of them, that we have become terribly out of balance. This probably accounts for many of our current world problems. Descartes relegated the soul to being the pineal gland and scoffed at the idea that the heart has its own brain, which science now proves it has.
On the other hand, if we allow our emotions to constantly over-ride our thoughts, this leads to the formation of mental structures like bigotry, prejudice, unreasonable attitudes, inflexibility of mind, false beliefs, denial, and so on. Then we start to believe what we want to believe, not what makes sense.
Then again, if we allow ourselves to become overly spiritual to the point where we are out of body most of the time and forever needing to consult our guides, psychics, astrologers, etc., constantly meditating as a way to avoid being in the world, we will be just as out of balance. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. To live it fully, we must let it be an in-body experience, not an out-of-body experience. If we deny the body, we shut off our access to our feelings. That makes no sense when you consider that we came here to experience life as an emotional experience. That is precisely why we have a body. So be in the world though not of it.