Spiritual Intelligence

I recently got acquainted with what is for me a new (and fascinating) concept called spiritual intelligence (SQ) as an additional (and more important) type of human intelligence after(/than) cognitive intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ). This concept is said to be proposed by Danah Zohar. She elaborates on it academically in a book entitled SQ - Spiritual Intelligence, which she co-authored with Ian Marshall.

In her, more practical, book entitled SQ21 Cindy Wigglesworth defines SQ as "[t]he ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation" and writes the following as what the essence of SQ allows us to do:

We can mature the ego, gently shift it out of the driver's seat and over into the passenger's seat, and allow our Higher Self to drive the car of our life. That's when the destination suddenly becomes clear, the process speeds up, and we "self" or develop at maximum speed. All the while we are also at peace in the moment, knowing and trusting that the best part of ourselves is in charge, and therefore we are in the best place we could possibly be, right now.

Having read this, I told myself that this is exactly what I want to develop further in the school for the soul called life! In this practical guidebook she enumerates and elaborate on 21 skills we are supposed to acquire as we become more spiritually intelligent:

  1. Awareness of own worldview
  2. Awareness of life purpose
  3. Awareness of values hierarchy
  4. Complexity of inner thought
  5. Awareness of ego self/Higher Self
  6. Awareness of interconnectedness of life
  7. Awareness of worldviews of others
  8. Breadth of time perception
  9. Awareness of limitations/power of human perception
  10. Awareness of spiritual laws skill
  11. Experience of transcendent oneness
  12. Commitment to spiritual growth
  13. Keeping Higher Self in charge
  14. Living your purpose and values
  15. Sustaining faith
  16. Seeking guidance from Higher Self
  17. Being a wise and effective teacher/mentor of spiritual principles
  18. Being a wise and effective leader/change agent
  19. Making compassionate and wise decisions
  20. Being a calming, healing presence
  21. Being aligned with the ebb and flow of life

Skills 5, 13 and 16 especially resonate with me as I've sent the task of taming my ego as the most important way to attain my life (= soul) purpose. It must be a chutzpah to say this, but I feel I've become very much aware that two sets of opposing forces that derive from my ego and soul, which is synonymous to higher self to the best of my understanding, are struggling with each other inside me like Esau and Jacob inside the womb of Rebecca. I also recall that I and my life, or to be more precise, my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, were totally hijacked and controlled by my ego until I completely stopped drinking alcohol a little more than half a year ago after almost 37 years of continued drinking, which deteriorated into addiction and cognitive-behavioral disorder in all the major areas of my daily life, especially my (bygone) married life.

So I can say that I've already acquired Skill 5, but learning to keep my soul in charge and seek guidance from it still remains very relevant to me. I can use the following five attainment levels the author lists in this book to measure my progress in my task of taming my ego (I still seem to be on the third level in this spiritual journey of mine):

  1. I can occasionally identify when I am acting from ego and I understand that acting on ego will not get me long-term satisfaction.
  2. I am unhappy with how ego handles things. I want my Higher Self to be in charge.
  3. I understand and can occasionally remember to use the skills to activate Higher Self and have it take over from the ego self.
  4. I am consistently able to activate Higher Self and interrupt "ego moments." I am successful in keeping Higher Self "in the driver's seat" most of the time.
  5. My Higher Self "muscle" has been developed by consistent daily practice for a long time - it is now a habit. Higher Self is in charge, even in profoundly trying times or under pressure from "group think".

What the author gives as the advice to acquire Skill 16 is to develop our openness to intuition and our sensitivity to its messages. I've started to pay more conscious attention to my intuition and even experience more and more cases of synchronicity in my daily life. Actually, it's this newly discovered voice of my intuition that has made me decide several months ago to gather the courage to get out of my comfort zone in one important domain of my life and finally set out on my "hero's journey".


Soul Lessons

Sonia Choquette enumerates 22 soul lessons as follows and elaborates on them in her truly inspiring book entitled Soul Lessons and Soul Purpose:

  1. You are a divine immortal being
  2. You are a co-creator with the divine
  3. Creation begins with thought
  4. Engage your feelings
  5. You create in pictures
  6. Live in the present
  7. Divine energy flows through you, not from you
  8. Refine your reason
  9. Follow your inner voice
  10. Open your heart
  11. Detach
  12. All is in divine order
  13. Reverse your perceptions
  14. Accept death
  15. Embrace life's tests
  16. Temper your ego
  17. Address your mistakes
  18. Actively meditate
  19. Love your body
  20. Regenerate your soul
  21. Shatter negative patterns
  22. Waste no time

The lessons that resonate especially strongly with my soul are the first, sixth, and 15th ones as well as the 16th, on which I already dedicated a separate blog entry three weeks ago, and the first and sixth can be also be the why and how for learning the 16th. The author elaborates on the 15th soul lessons as follows, among others:

Your soul progresses toward mastery by facing tests. These help you temper your human reactions and develop your higher spiritual ones. They appear in the form of challenges, disappointments, betrayals, upsets, trials, losses, and even injuries and sickness.

It is easy to believe that you are a Divine Immortal Soul when everything goes according to your wants and desires. It is more difficult to remember your Inner Being's purpose and power, and to remain connected to your Higher Self and centered, when life becomes demanding. It is only when you confront all situations with grace, patience, and love that you find your strength and ultimate freedom, and graduateto living in harmony with your Greater Consciousness.

As you move through the classroom of life, you encounter an endless stream of tests toexpand your Inner Wisdom. Challenges do not arise to threaten you, although it certainly can feel that way when you are in the middle of one. These trials are only in placeas a neutral aid to help ensure your spiritual progress and advance your purpose. You can then become aware of your soul's weaknesses and strengths and work to develop the areas that require further growth.

Your challenges in life are not Divine payback from a jealous Creator who does not like you or what you have done. They are simply indications that you are advancing along your soul's learning curve. You do not face difficulties as punishment; you attract them because you are moving to the next level of understanding of your sacred nature.

Rather than being resistant, indignant, or fearful when faced with a tough situation, recognize it as an indication that your soul is ready to grow. Meet your challenges with courage and know that you are never given anything that you are not prepared for. Furthermore, you never have to undergo any test alone. Call on your guides, angelic helpers, and Higher Self to help you navigate through any difficulty that comes up. Ask for assistance and be open to receiving it, for it is available for you at any time.

Great and small trials will be laid in your path every day. Some you will pass, and others you will not - at least not the first time. Do not fret, because there will be more spiritual exams and opportunities to grow. They never stop. That is your reason for coming to the Earth plane. There is no better way to master your soul's purpose. It is not the tests that matter; it is the grace with which you accept and address them that is important.

Actually these sentences of hers summarize so eloquently what I've undergone in the past half year and learned the hard way. Next time I encounter another life challenge, I'll hopefully be able to cope with it better and learn more. As a daily preparation for it I don't stop taming my ego, constantly reminding myself that I'm a divine immortal being and telling myself to live in the present.


Personal Ego vs. Collective Ego

"How hard is it to live with yourself? One of the ways in which the ego attempts to escape the unsatisfactoriness of personal selfhood is to enlarge and strengthen its sense of self by identifying with a group – a nation, political party, corporation, institution, sect, club, gang, football team.

In some cases the personal ego seems to dissolve completely as someone dedicates his or her life to the working selflessly for the greater good of the collective without demanding personal rewards, recognition, or aggrandizement. What a sense of relief to be freed of the dreadful burden of personal self. The members of the collective feel happy and fulfilled, no matter how hard they work, how many sacrifices they make. They appear to have gone beyond ego. The question is: Have they truly become free, or has the ego simply shifted from the personal to the collective?

A collective ego manifests the same characteristics as the personal ego, such as the need for conflict and enemies, the need for more, the need to be right against others who are wrong, and so on. Sooner or later, the collective will come into conflict with other collectives, because it unconsciously seeks conflict and it needs opposition to define its boundary and thus its identity. Its members will then experience the suffering that inevitably comes in the wake of any ego-motivated action. At that point, they may wake up and realize that their collective has a strong element of insanity.

It can be painful at first to suddenly wake up and realize that the collective you had identified with and worked for is actually insane. Some people at that point become cynical or bitter and henceforth deny all values, all worth. This means that they quickly adopted another belief system when the previous one was recognized as illusory and therefore collapsed. They didn’t face the death of their ego but ran away and reincarnated into a new one.

A collective ego is usually more unconscious than the individuals that make up that ego. For example, crowds (which are temporary collective egoic entities) are capable of committing atrocities that the individual away from the crowd would not be. Nations not infrequently engage in behavior that would be immediately recognizable as psychopathic in an individual."

- Eckhart Tolle

I've realized suddenly that just as each individual has his or her own personal ego, or false self, each group, be it a nation or a society, has its own collective ego. Now that one important chapter in my life-long task of taming my personal ego ended with the end of my psychotherapy this week, I've made a conscious decision to resume my old-new challenge of coping with the collective ego of the society I live in - Israel.

I haven't met too many people personally who are spiritually awakened enough to be aware of their egos and its incessant tireless effort to control their lives. I've encountered even fewer people who are aware that their thoughts, emotions and behaviors are controlled, at least partially, by the collective ego of the society they live in. And the collective ego is far more difficult to tame than the personal ego as this requires spiritual awakening of a whole collective.

I already know the "forces" behind the most annoying manifestations of the Israeli collective ego in public as well as in private interpersonal communication - self-centeredness and insensitivity as well as lack of self-esteem concerning their first language Hebrew. Now I'm fully aware that fighting against self-centered and insensitive behaviors of one individual after another in this society is a Sisyphean labor doomed to fail.

Unfortunately, my task of consciously taming my own ego has just begun, so I'm still influenced negatively by the Israeli collective ego. Ironically but quite expectedly, the more I think about what is for me the most annoying manifestation of the Israeli collective ego, the more frequently I attract it in my daily life. I still have to find efficient ways to not let my ego awakened by the Israeli collective ego. The simplest solution is to leave Israel, and actually I've been continuing to think about this option, but as of now, this is not so realistic, partly because I have only Israeli citizenship. In the meanwhile I've decided to accept this challenge as a precious opportunity to work on my ego.

Having been awakened to realize the existence of the collective ego in Israeli society (as in all the other societies), I've also started observing the society as a bystander and discovered something quite shocking - one widely held collective belief as a very dangerous fear-based superstitious dogma of this collective ego from which many members of the society, whether religious or secular, suffer.


Soul Purpose

"When you as an eternal soul planned your current life, you were not concerned with what your mind might come to know. Instead, you wanted to experience the feelings that would be generated by life in a physical dimension. Life challenges are a particularly powerful means of creating feelings, which are, in turn, vital to the soul's self-knowing. These feelings cannot truly be comprehended by the mind; in fact, the mind is a barrier. In many ways life is a journey from the head to the heart. We plan life challenges to facilitate this journey, to break open our hearts so we may better know and value them." - Robert Schwartz

"Whether your path has been smooth or rocky, your life gentle or traumatic, of this you may be certain: You are among the most courageous souls in the Universe. Were that not true, you would not be here now. Your decision to incarnate, your willing agreement to embark on the voyage your soul planned, was an act of profound bravery. Your search for the deeper meaning of that journey is another act of great courage. And your decision to heal is yet another. Throughout the Universe you are honored and revered." - Robert Schwartz

My spiritual awakening has been triggered and accelerated, among others, by my systematic and extensive reading of testimonies of near-death experiences, past life soul regressions, and between lives soul regressions collected by Eben Alexander, Brian Weiss, Michael Newton, and Robert Schwartz from their respective numerous clients as well as other, secondary, sources such as those by Bob Olson. I've come to a deep conviction that we live, or to be more precise, we continue to reincarnate for one common general purpose - growth of the soul in multiple physical bodies, especially through challenges.

Many people seem to equate life purpose with the so-called success in major areas of life such as partnership, career, finance, etc. But I've come to understand intellectually and realize spiritually that this worldly success is illusionary and can be a way to attain the true life purpose at best. Besides, success in worldly terms can often be failure in spiritual terms, and vice versa. After such understanding and realization I've come to see my life, or to be more precise, this life of mine as well as those of other people around me from a totally different perspective. What they seem to have set as their respective life purpose in the form of worldly success looks like a vanity of vanities to me as they are struggling to satisfying their insatiable egos instead of aligning their lives to their souls.

Each of us seems to have to undergo a series of what is called hero's journey, which in one of its variations I've found consists of the following for stages: 1) separation, 2) initiation, 3) ordeal, and 4) the journey home. They correspond to what Martha Beck, my most favorite life coach-cum-author, calls as follows in her Finding Your Own North Star: 1) death and rebirth, 2) dreaming and scheming, 3) the hero's saga, and 4) the promised land. In one important life domain I've just finished experienced this whole cycle and started the second phase of a new cycle. In another no less important life domain I'm finishing the second phase and entering the third one in the present cycle.

Each of the challenges we encounter in our incarnations in multiple physical bodies is supposed to have a specific lesson to teach our souls. I still don't know what lessons the challenges I have experienced or am experiencing in these two life domains are meant to teach mine as they are still too fresh. But the more challenges I experience and conquer, the closer I feel I'm aligning my life to my soul purpose.