Spiritual intelligence is a phrase used by many psychologists, philosophers, and developmental theorists to indicate spiritual parallels with Intelligence Quotient, or IQ, and Emotional Quotient, or EQ.

What Is Spiritual Intelligence

Emerging neuroscience reveals that both IQ and EQ make use of separate but related systems in the brain. But according to Danah Zohar, author of Spiritual Intelligence: The Ultimate Intelligence, there is a system in the brain that makes another kind of intelligence possible, what she and others are now calling spiritual intelligence, or SQ. SQ is the intelligence with which we address and solve problems of meaning and value.

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The word ‘spiritual‘ is often associated with the metaphysical — ‘beyond the physical‘, ‘religious‘ and ‘sacred‘. ‘Intelligence‘ has synonyms such as aptitude, intellect, brain power and acumen. All these synonyms for both words have relevance in the definition of spiritual intelligence.

This inquiry into spiritual intelligence suggests that it is one of several types of intelligence and that it can be developed relatively independently. Spiritual intelligence calls for multiple ways of knowing and for the integration of the inner life of mind and spirit with the outer life of work in the world. It can be cultivated through questing, inquiry, and practice. Spiritual experiences may also contribute to its development, depending on the context and means of integration.

Spiritual intelligence (SQ) is our capacity for developing meaning, vision and value. It allows us to dream and to strive. It underlies the things we believe in and the role our beliefs and values play in the actions that we take. The higher our SQ, the more we are truly ourselves, mindful of our being and not hiding behind reactive emotions nor conditioned belief systems.

The question of what is this human life experience really all about is answered best by and through the development of spiritual intelligence. The pursuit of spiritual intelligence focuses us on personal meaning making experiences. It ensures that individuals know what they want, and more importantly, that they know who they are. This enables the spiritually intelligent individual to clearly express what his or her impact will be in the world.

A person who possesses high levels of spiritual intelligence easily identifies with his or her Higher Self or Spirit rather than with the ego. They have less need to seek after their own interests. This fosters the capacity to serve and develop others.

Spiritual insight is obtained by accessing our inner knowing through intuition — separating our heart (loving essential nature connected to higher self or soul) from mind (false based on animal body fears) and cultural conditioning (imprinted from other people’s views imposed).

Without mindful insight, we react instead of respond. We regret the past and worry about what the future may hold, instead of being fully involved and mindful in the present. It is harder to retain emotional intelligence: we suffer from painful feelings, frustration and low self-esteem. We become unconscious of our loving inner self and its natural insights into universal truth.

The shiny prizes of the world, including its pleasures, power, praise, money, and fame, have always been and always will be attractive, but they are not enough. Those that reach the top of Mount Achievement, often find a dull world devoid of meaning. The sacrifice to gain what the material world has to offer, proves time and time again to be too steep a price to pay. Most of us now realize that the pursuit of doing at the expense of being does not deliver happiness.

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How Leaders Use Spiritual Intelligence

Emotional intelligence has gotten significant attention in business for years now, and it has plenty of cousins — cultural intelligence and successful intelligence, for example. But according to executive coach, speaker and yogi Visah Calteraji, who has worked with business leaders for two decades within an East-Meets-West approach, the focus in the office now is shifting to spiritual intelligence or spiritual quotient (SQ).

Having good SQ can make you resilient through challenges and help you adopt a positive, long-term company view. It can improve empathy, relationships and morale, and it can let people reach a deeper place of valuable creativity.

The shift toward SQ is evident first in that companies are seeing an explosion of mindfulness practices, including corporate trainings — these stem from meditation, a spiritual practice. Leaders are tying their company’s mission to personal missions, as well, and they’re encouraging recognition of success beyond the bottom line.

The more we research authentic leadership among us, the more we come to the conclusion that we need to drill down to the root causes of both authentic as well as toxic leadership. These root causes are mostly of a very personal nature and impact on the inner being of a person. Toxic behavior tends to be generated by a person’s allegiance to societal (outer) factors whereas authentic behavior is generated by the inner person’s values and attributes of character.

Spiritual intelligence is the study and mastery of factors that determine the inner peace and confidence of a person. No quest is more important in life. The more we study spiritual intelligence with the intention of supporting the innermost person, the more we find out that such a quest is directly related to understanding of universal principles and laws that apply to all of us. For many of us this quest is but a reflection of a sincere seeking for clarity and faith in our relationship with the Creator of our spirit and our divine potential.

Spirituality is not one size fits all. Every worker on your team can have different beliefs, needs and sensitivities. So give options, test out different approaches and learn for yourself what works for you.

Being “always on” contributes to frustration and burnout in the office. Design your operations and schedule so that you and your team can get quiet and cultivate living with more presence and awareness.

SQ gives clarity about what your personal mission is and how that aligns with your company mission, which can help prioritize high-impact work.

It has become increasingly more difficult for leaders in all areas to get away with wearing masks and living double lives. In the past organizations could get away with contracting a sociopath to run affairs because they got the job done, they were prepared to bleed others dry in order to achieve their objectives. It is getting more and more difficult to do this. The need for far more mature leaders with far more self-knowledge and driven by far more authentic values has escalated all over the world.