While I first heard the term “spiritual intelligence” very recently, it was first introduced in 1997 by Danah Zohar in ReWiring the Corporate Brain. Intuitively, I liked the idea of further enlarging the concepts of IQ (raw intellect) and EQ (emotional maturity) to include a spiritual dimension.

Danah Zohar listed 12 characteristics of spiritual intelligence:

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

While the above lists many worthy traits, I found myself preferring the simplicity of Cindy Wigglesworth’s definition: “The ability to act with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the circumstances.” One drawback to the scientific acceptance of SQ is that a valid way to measure it has yet to be found; most measurements rely upon self-reporting with all the inherent bias thereof.

I am indebted to Wikipedia for much of the information above.

Closing Quotes:

“When emotional intelligence merges with spiritual intelligence, human nature is transformed.” Deepak Chopra

“Spiritual intelligence is concerned with the inner life of mind and spirit and its relationship to being in the world.” – Frances Vaughan

“Spiritual intelligence is the central and most fundamental of all the intelligences, because it becomes the source of guidance for the others.” – Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness (Simon and Schuster, 2004, p.53)

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier