Psychologists defined «the spiritual intelligence». Again the value of spirituality was confirmed

By Angela Anghel

The spiritual intelligence, as psychologists state it, is highly connected to a deep necessity of the human being that must be put across. Namely, the need to see everything makes sense. Carrying this out is the very guarantee for the psychic health, as psychologists say. However, this is just a way to bring in a scientific frame the concepts that Yoga has attained and developed for ages.

These days most of the people do know their intelligence quotient, the well-known IQ. There is a specific IQ required when applying for specific jobs. We shall be presently able also to assess our spiritual quotient SQ, which is supposed to point out the spiritual qualities we must enhance.

Psychologists state there are several types of intelligence…

At the beginning of the 20th century psychologists discovered how to measure intelligence. Having one’s IQ assessed has turned into a real trend. At that time intelligence was only considered a mere cognitive function of the human being. Later on the perspective was enlarged as the speaking ability was taken into account. Eventually intelligence was regularly defined by psychologists as “the ability of understanding the connections between the elements of a situation and of timing oneself to it so that one’s own goals should be attained” (1). Which is a rather poor vision we dare say.

In 1993, William Gardner explained that intelligence is much more. He stressed out the multiple aspects of intelligence, stating that it’s not only the cognitive intelligence at stake, but also:

         the kinesthesic intelligence – concerning the awareness of the physical body and the proper control over the body functions, as well as the different use of it;

         the musical intelligence – concerning the awareness of the sounds and consonance;

         the inner personal intelligence – getting aware of one’s own things and emotions and taking control of them;

         the interpersonal intelligence – which implies the way one interfere with the others and the social success.

In 1995, Daniel Goleman acknowledged his searching in respect of the emotional intelligence, which engendered a new trend for the psychologists and also a new obsession, which replaced the IQ  by the EQ assessing (i.e. the emotional intelligence quotient). This is an average of the inner personal and interpersonal intelligence and consists of some qualities such as: the ability of communication and particularly of listening to the others, the ability of getting their feed-back, the empathy and agreeing to some different points of view.

But there was something more, which the transpersonal psychology stated in terms of spiritual intelligence. Therefore, psychology as a science began to recognise and study things aspects which are known and directly experienced in the Yoga practice for ages.     

Frances Vaughn, a doctor in psychology and 30 years experience psychotherapist, former President of the American Association for Transpersonal Psychology said: “ As a psychotherapist, my convinction is that the spiritual intelligence opens the heart, lightens the mind nd inspires the soul, as it connects the individual psyche to the very basic ground of the being. The spiritual intelligence can be developed by practice and may help someone differ reality from illusion. It is expressed in any culture as love, wisdom and devotion to the others”.

Spiritual intelligence is also referred to in following terms: “if the cognitive intelligence implies thinking, emotional intelligence implies feeling, spiritual intelligence instead means to be.” (3)

The signs of the spiritual intelligence development

The concept of spiritual intelligence, as defined in the transpersonal psychology is quite close to that of spiritual maturity.

“The spiritual maturity as an expression of the spiritual intelligence includes a certain emotional and moral maturity and an ethic behaviour. The spiritual maturity means wisdom and the compassionate action. The way see it, the spiritual maturity implies wisdom and compassion showed to the others no matter their belief, sex, ethnic origin, age, as a sign of respect for any form of life. It also requires a sense of introspection and understanding due to the wish of knowing the illusion and the ephemeral, grasping the issues of the existential freedom and death. This means getting the inner life connected to the outer life, to the actions and the services to the others. Getting aware of oneself is a basic thing in developing spiritual maturity”. (2)

There currently is no generally accepted definition for the spiritual intelligence. However Frances Vaughn succeeded to shape a few aspects that should be taken into account in this respect. In short, here they are:

1) Intuition
2) Contemplative knowledge propensity
3) The ability of considering facts from several perspectives; refinement of perceptions
4) Thinking freedom, reconsidering one’s own beliefs and conception upon reality
5) Spiritual pursuit and practice
6) Discrimination
7) Holistic approach   
8) Respect for all beings, approval of differences
9) The ability to love – receiving and giving love
10) Devoting oneself to the others under no pretence: kindness, generosity 
11) Compassion
12) The power to forgive
13) Aesthetic sensitivity and taste for beauty
14) Humility
15) Integrity, living one’s life according to the spiritual values and showing constancy in observing them
16) Wisdom
17) Cultivating authenticity and consciousness
18) Courage
19) Inner peace
20) Self confidence.

The conclusion of the transpersonal psychologists is the same: living a spiritual life and being constantly into a spiritual practice on a genuine way, these are the guarantees of the psychological health and of the being accomplishment. “the spiritual experiences such asinspiration are connected to feelings like accuracy, connection, opening and energysing. Somebody who feels inspired actually feels regenerated, refreshed, refurbished”. (2)


(1)    Norbet Sillam -, Psychology Dictionay  Larousse, “Univers enciclopedic” The Publishing House, 1996,  page 161.
(2)    Frances Vaughn – What is spiritual intelligence,
(3)    McMullen B.  – Cognitive Intelligence, the  StudentBMJ, 2002 magazine.


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