True To Me

What is Spiritual Intelligence?

Being Touched

Spiritual intelligence requires a certain kind of openness. You receive spiritual knowledge through an intuitive process. It is not a psychic short of intuition but a manor if understanding something where you are actually touched by that understanding.

The intellect does not have this capacity. No matter how much you intellectually analyze a flower, for example, you will never get the essence of its life, or understand why is it beautiful. Once something is labeled and measured we think we know it, and yet we have missed half of the story.

The soul has a different way of working from the intellect. It does not pull reality out of the object; rather, the object calls forth the meaning and experience from the soul. This requires a willingness to be touched. The intellect goes outside itself to be touched. The soul brings what is outside inside so that the soul is touched.

Spiritual intelligenceAn example may help to illustrate this process. Imagine looking at water. The intellect would tell us its chemical make up is H2O, that it is fluid and freezes at a certain temperature. But this misses so much. It tells nothing about why we want to be near water, why it soothes, calms and brings relief. There is something about water that calls forth a response within us. H2O does not move us. Water does, so we pay millions for dwellings with water views.

The participation in the invisible spirit life of the world keeps us healthy. This is why people intuitively go out for excursions and drives into the country; because they know they will return recharged. As indigenous people try to tell us, we are connected to the land and without it, we would die. This is why indigenous people respect the spirit of the land. They allow the land to speak to them and touch them. Westerners stomp over the same terrain measuring and labeling. They touch the land but are not touched by it, so they miss its meaning. It’s only when we are touched that we are fully alive. Without a soul response, we are machine-like; we are empty and the world we create is empty.


Intelligence is actually not the best word to use when referring to spirituality. Wisdom is more appropriate. Wisdom is deeper than intelligence. It looks at the whole picture, beneath and beyond the picture.

For example, many politicians believe that the most important focus for the nation is to have the economy going well. This might seem rational, but is it wise? Does it take deeper issues into account? Similarly, it might make sense to put yourself first, to make sure your needs are met, but is this wise?

The psychologist Abraham Maslow actually discovered that the most highly functioning individuals were those who were working for a cause greater than themselves. They had moved beyond self-expression and self-actualizing into self-transcendence. They understood that in making a contribution to something beyond themselves they were still contributing to themselves anyway.

Wisdom understands paradoxes like this that the intellect cannot fathom. Wisdom reveals that in the midst of suffering there can be something right about it all. Wisdom knows you spend all your time and effort trying to get somewhere only to find you arrive at a place you never left; at your own center, your own spirit-self.

Life is a wonderful ride full of ups and downs, but the cosmic joke is that you actually go nowhere. When you get this, laughter is the only response. In fact, humor is one of the most ‘spiritual’ principles there are. The Dali Lama is a great example of this quality with his easy smile and his capacity to laugh at himself. So if you find you are taking yourself more lightly and are laughing more often, perhaps you’re on your way to having a high spiritual IQ and a greater spiritual intelligence!

About the author

Kim Gronno