human being, Intelligence, natural, spiritual health, Uncategorized

Spiritual Health

The other day, while talking with Frank, my friend in Franconia (yes, it’s true!), I mentioned the term “spiritual fitness”. I realised immediately that I had never used this phrase before. As it happens, it has helped me rewrite the chapter on spiritual intelligence in the new edition of full Spectrum Intelligence.

It is a comprehensive rewrite. I decided to redefine spiritual intelligence, and base the new definition on the “intelligence process”. As you will know, if you have read the original edition of the book, this is the process through which all our actions seem to go through. It has three stages – awareness, understanding, response. First, we become aware of something, then we understand what it is (or we don’t), and then we respond appropriately. The higher the quality of our awareness, our understanding, and our response, the more intelligent we are likely to be. If we want to be more intelligent, we should work on the quality of these three stages.

In any event, I redefined spiritual intelligence as “the ability to go beyond normal awareness, normal understanding, and normal responses”. Much of the chapter is devoted to explaining what this means, and how to do it.

I have also added short sections on spiritual health, spiritual fitness, spiritual nutrition, and spiritual wealth. What follows here is simply a concise summary of these concepts.

I have long thought of “health” as our natural state. It is how we are, naturally, before anything interferes with, or damages that state. We call the negative consequences of any deviation from our natural state “illness” and “disease”. As you can imagine, there are many ways we can deviate. They include poor diet, pollution, lack of exercise, excess (e.g. alcohol), accident, stress in all its many forms, as well as all the psychosomatic illnesses caused by damaging emotional patterns and behaviours. The list is very long, and the modern world knows all of them only too well.

This suggests that spiritual health is our natural state, spiritually. This is a complex topic, and I do not want to say much about it here (read the new book for details), except to suggest that we all recognise spiritually healthy people when we meet them. They are outstanding in some significant ways. And we can be reasonably sure that they have been getting good, regular spiritual nutrition. This comes in many forms. In my own case, it takes the form of a regular intake of beauty, kindness, silence, good music, good poetry, as well the physical components of spiritual nutrition, such as Qigong.

There is more. Spiritual health is not the same as spiritual fitness, but the two do go well together. Just as physical fitness means that your body is in good shape, especially your heart, lungs and muscles, spiritual fitness is its equivalent. It means that your “spiritual organs” and your “spiritual muscles” are in good shape, and fit for purpose – the purpose no doubt being that you will express your fully and well in the world. I will leave you to think about what all this means.

I cannot end this without saying a few words about spiritual wealth. If material wealth is having your basic material needs met (see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), then spiritual wealth is having your basic spiritual needs met. I count myself lucky. Living here in the Pyrenees with Ana, I am wealthy in all senses. However, I do need to attend to both my spiritual fitness and my physical fitness!

christhomson1000@gmail.com

 

 

 

consciousness, human being, Intelligence, Uncategorized

Spiritual Intelligence

I published Full Spectrum Intelligence exactly five years ago. Yesterday I purchased the rights to my book from the publishers. The plan is to substantially revise it, give it a new title, and publish it more widely. One of the main changes will be the chapter on spiritual intelligence.

This is the intelligence that stands apart from all the others, partly because it includes all the others, but also because there is no consensus on what spiritual intelligence is. After ranging across the literature, I found some work by Robert Emmon. He suggests that spiritual intelligence consists in four abilities:

The ability to transcend the physical and the material

The ability to experience heightened states of consciousness

The ability to sanctify everyday experience

The ability to utilise spiritual resources to solve problems

I like this very much, and will take the liberty of trying to capture its essence. I have found it helpful to view spiritual intelligence in terms of the “intelligence process”. As you may recall, this is the process all our behaviour seems to go through. First, we sense something – we become aware of it. Second, we make sense of it – we understand what it is. And third, we respond to what we have sensed and understood. We do something or say something. Thus, the three stages of the process are:

Awareness – or consciousness, if you prefer

Understanding – knowing what it is we have sensed

Response – doing or saying the appropriate thing (sometimes no response is the best response!)

With this in mind, I like to define spiritual intelligence as “the ability to go well beyond normal consciousness, well beyond normal understanding, and well beyond normal action”. The key, of course, is to know what it means to “go well beyond”. The new chapter in the revised book will go into some detail on this. Today I will simply give you a broad sense of what it means.

 

Beyond Normal Awareness

This is the ability to achieve unusual forms, and degrees, of consciousness, without the aid of drugs or other substances. Although this some times happens quickly, almost miraculously, that is extremely rare. In most cases, it involves work, over a long period. I don’t think that I am oversimplifying when I claim that unusual forms of consciousness fall into three broad categories – experience of bliss; experience of the paranormal; and experience of the non-physical. In my own experience, there can be considerable overlap between the three forms. More specifically, I noticed that when I was beginning to experience the non-physical aspects of the world, I felt much more peaceful and happier than ever before, and I also started to become telepathic (considered to be paranormal).

 

Beyond Normal Understanding

Although it is true that you get some deeper understanding of the nature of the world and the human being by reading carefully selected books, a much fuller understanding comes from direct experience. In other words, I think it best to go beyond normal consciousness before you venture too far into deeper understanding. That said, some of the books do help.

 

Beyond Normal Action

Just as the third stage of the intelligence process – response – follows from the first two stages, so the third component of spiritual intelligence flows naturally from the other two. It is only when you go well beyond normal consciousness and normal understanding that you are well placed to act accordingly. Your actions will reflect your deeper consciousness and deeper understanding.

 

Although it should be self-evident, perhaps it is worth stating that if you want to be spiritually intelligent, you first need to become intelligent in all other senses – physically, emotionally, intuitively, mentally, and socially.