We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Teilhard de Chardin
Forgetting our true nature as a spiritual being and feeling separate from the rest of life is the grand human predicament – and at the heart of so much unnecessary fear, psychological suffering and conflict. Quite simply most of us are experiencing a fraction of our potential and a tiny proportion of the well-being, aliveness and love that is available to us in any moment because we are asleep to the presence of our true nature. The primary purpose of life according to the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle is to wake up from this unconsciousness and to allow presence to flow into our doings. This spiritualisation of our life brings not only deep personal fulfilment, but it is also an integral part the solution to the numerous crises we are facing collectively
Over-consumption and depletion of the earth’s resources, global warming, the population explosion, rapidly approaching peak oil (the time at which global oil supplies reach a peak), the mass extinction of plant and animal species, nuclear threats and increasing inequality are bringing us to a critical juncture in time, in which we must decide – individually and collectively – to start acting as spiritually and emotionally mature adults and custodians of our planet. We need a future that is sustainable. To make that happen we need people who are willing to give their gifts, talents, energy and time to a greater cause than just themselves. We need groups of like-minded, like-hearted people who are willing to co-operate and contribute to causes greater than themselves.
This is the crisis and the invitation of our time. Do we remain asleep and excessively self-focused (and suffer unnecessarily) or we make a commitment to waking up and being vehicles for bringing greater joy and harmony into the world?
Spiritual Intelligence is the Solution
Harnessing the power of Spiritual Intelligence is the master key to your own serenity, happiness and well-being, but also to creating heaven on earth. Man (ego) alone can’t create the more compassionate and sustainable future that is needed. Spiritual Intelligence is the solution. Spiritual Intelligence simply describes the intelligent power that creates, animates and permeates all life. Another word for Spiritual Intelligence is Presence or Life. It is experienced as the powerful urge to evolve and become, to create that which is new.
Spiritual Intelligence is what we fundamentally are – we don’t however always or ever experience ourselves as this evolutionary power source because of our identification with the ego-self. The ego-self is very familiar to us – it’s who we think we are. Put a bit more bluntly it’s our fear-based, confused, neurotic separate sense of self and the source of the inertia and resistance to us evolving. Anytime we are identified with the ego-self we instantly lose awareness of our true nature. Most human beings spend most of their life trapped within the limitations and confounds of the ego-self, without realizing they are trapped. This is called unconsciousness or being ‘asleep’
How Spiritually Intelligent Are You?
A spiritually intelligent person is someone who is evolving beyond their ego, and is more often than not identified with and allowing their true authentic nature to live through them. In my own life I could easily feel connected to the universe for the 15 minutes that I would meditate each day, but then I would easily slip back into the fears and desires of the ego-self and stay their for most of the time! Over a 16 hour waking period, I was identified with my ego-self 95% of the time! As spiritual intelligence increases its presence in our life a tipping point in which we are identified with our true nature greater than 51% of the time. This brings about a fundamental and permanent about a shift in our identity, perspective, worldview, motivation and a shift in our reason for being here on this planet right now. This can happen suddenly and unexpectedly – as in the case of Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle or slowly and progressively. The latter appears to be more common.
The following questionnaire is designed to provide you with a sense of where you are on your journey of awakening. It’s not a case of judging yourself in terms of good or bad, it’s just a case of acknowledging what is. For me the single most important purpose of this questionnaire is to jolt us into wakefulness and a wholehearted commitment to doing the work of waking up.
The Spiritual Intelligence Questionnaire
Below are fifteen statements. Using the scale below, indicate the extent to which you agreement with each item by choosing the appropriate number. Please be as open and honest in your response as possible.
strongly agree = 7, agree = 6, slightly agree = 5 neither agree nor disagree = 4, slightly disagree = 3, disagree = 2, strongly disagree = 1
1. I am only interested in that which is real and true. I crave truth and authenticity
2. I am committed to being free at the deepest level of my being – this commitment is total, ever-present and more important than anything in my life
3. I experience an ever-present compulsion to evolve and to serve the world by being more fully who I am
4. I experience my actions and words being moved by a power and intelligence that seeks to express itself through me
5. I feel a sense of presence and aliveness all of the time
6. In respect of my relationships the way I act and behave reflects my commitment to experiencing the deepest level of intimacy and honesty possible with the people I care about
7. I am proactively facing everything in my life – health, addictions, finances, happiness, work/life balance, career and doing everything I can within my power to bring health and balance to them all. There is no aspect of life that I am not willing to face head on
8. I take total responsibility for the way I am and what I do moment by moment
9. I am actively addressing the consequences of my past experiences (including traumas and emotional wounds) and past behaviours so that I can live life free from the past
10. I am aware of the inherent goodness in life
11. My life reflects my dedication to allowing life to serve the greater good through me
12. I am open to and welcoming all present moment experiences
13. I embrace not knowing
14. I have a constant sense of being whole, connected to all things, but also separate from
15. Living with the knowing that everything is an invitation to move deeper into my true nature
Interpreting Your Scores
A score of 100 or more indicates that you have a high level of Spiritual Intelligence. You are experiencing the joy, love and peace and aliveness of being that arises as you surrender wholeheartedly to life.
A score between 80 and 99 indicates that life is awakening up to itself through you. Most people who fall into this category usually have a spiritual practice and interest in personal development and spiritual growth. Keeping in your spiritual integrity and bringing wakefulness and presence into your relationships and your actions throughout the day is probably one of your challenges.
A score less than 80 indicates that your ego-self is currently in charge most of the time. There is plenty of work for you to be doing. You should find the suggestions below to be of great help.
How to develop your Spiritual Intelligence
I need to let you into a secret here – you can’t actually develop your Spiritual Intelligence directly - how can you when Spiritual Intelligence is your true nature?! All you can actually do is contain your ego-self and embrace certain practices that allow you to open to and surrender to Spiritual Intelligence. There are many paths to truth, what I offer is simply based on my own personal and professional experience. My invitation to you is be open to the following suggestions and to embrace them wholeheartedly for just one week in order to discover for yourself whether they are of value or not.
1. Commit Wholeheartedly to Truth
How serious are you about waking up and being totally free? Is your commitment reflected in your every day actions? A seismic shift in consciousness awaits anyone who switches from paying lip service to spiritual growth and awakening to sincerely making it their primary purpose in life, to living and breathing that one-pointed commitment moment-by-moment.
Suggestion: start your day with gratitude by recognising and honouring all of the blessings you have in your life – really allow yourself to feel that gratitude. Now set a simple intention to know truth and be used by truth for the greater good. Drop your attention into the area of your heart as you do this and say it with sincerity. Allow yourself to experience it as your felt reality. This single ritual – which I encourage you to repeat throughout the day – can be profound. I have taught it to hundred’s of people in the last few years and witnessed the transformation that unfolds when this is taken to heart. If you choose to do only one practice I recommend this one.
2. Practice Allowing What Is
One of the defining characteristics of the ego-self it its compulsive need to resist and fight reality. Reality simply refers to ‘what is’, whatever is arising in this moment – including our thoughts, emotions, life situation and actions of others. A beautiful and elegant way to open up to Presence is to allow each unfolding moment to be as it is without needing to do anything about it and without engaging in any judgments that might arise. Extraordinarily -and this is the gift that gets revealed as you do this - the perfect response to this moment arises spontaneously through you without you – the ego-self – having to do anything! Don’t believe me find out for yourself!
I recommend taking 5 to 10 minutes on most days to practice this. Simply sit down, get yourself comfortable and allow whatever is arising in your awareness to be as it is. What you will probably witness is the compulsive need to do something or to change your experience – if so just allow that compulsion to be. This is not about trying to relax, meditate, connect with our self, become mindful – it’s just simply allowing what is to be as it is. No matter what occurs just allow it to be. A really helpful tip for you when you start this is this. Before you start this practice silently affirm yourself in the following way ‘I am being’. This makes ‘allowing’ so much easier. Once you get the hang of this extend this ‘allowing’ to your emotions and to other people. It’s a truly liberating way of being in the world
3. Stop believing your thoughts
Millions of people suffer unnecessarily because they believe what they are thinking. Anytime we identify with our experience including what we are thinking, we lose sight of ourselves and our ground of being. What’s more the majority of thoughts really aren’t helpful, accurate or reliable. You probably already know that! One of the habits that I have learnt to develop myself and now teach to my patients is that of letting go of my attachment to the thoughts passing through my awareness. By letting go you instantly discover and drop into a deeper level of truth and presence. Here’s a technique called slow thought defusion that can help you with this.
Next time you are feeling stressed or agitated, notice what thoughts are moving through your awareness. Isolate a statement that encapsulates the issue – for example ‘she should treat me with respect’. Notice what happens to your serenity when you believe a thought that imposes a judgment on reality. Now silently say that sentence, but leave a couple of seconds in between each word and as you do so gently focus on the space in between each word. Repeat this once/twice more and notice how you are now feeling. If you have done this successfully a significant shift would have taken place from feeling stressed and tense to calm, present and balanced. You have shifted from ego-self to Presence. I encourage you to use this anytime you get caught up in a stressful story – you can also use it on any self-limiting belief.
4. Dive deep into your soul
Your soul is your unique individual essence that is waiting to be birthed into the world through you. Woven into your soul are all of your gifts, potentials and talents and our job is journey into our depths to retrieve these so that they can be offered in service to our community. This soul work requires a huge amount of courage, patience and persistence, but the rewards are immense. Deep fulfilment, coming home and the experience of true authenticity are just a few of the blessings that await you. The depth psychologist Bill Plotkin has written a truly enlightening guide for soul work called SoulCraft which outlines the tasks that will lead to soul embodiment. I highly recommend his book.
5. Live as though the future depends on you
Imagine a camera crew following you 24/7 recording every action and behaviour and then beaming this into the homes of millions of children worldwide who are watching you because you have been chosen to demonstrate how to live an authentic life. How would this change your life? Now this sounds far fetched and you might think I’m not being serious – but I am, I’m being absolutely serious. Try it for a week and see what’s happens. It’s not about doing things perfectly or pretending to be someone you are not, but simply being authentic and honest. The reality is the universe cant evolve by itself, it evolves in partnership with us – the question is - are you willing to do whatever it takes to consciously co-create the future?
I hope these five pointers will be of use to you – to go deeper into this work I recommend the following:
- True Happiness by Dr Mark Atkinson
- Conscious Evolution by Barbara Marx Hubbard
- Website of Andrew Cohen www.andrewcohen.com
- London EnlightenNext centre www.enlightennext.org.uk
Dr Mark Atkinson is a medical doctor and internationally-renowned expert in well-being, mind-body medicine and emotional health. He is the founder of the Academy of Human Potential and the developer of Human Potential Coaching. His website is www.drmarkatkinson.com
Author: Mark Atkinson