Charles P. Steinmetz, (1865 – 1923) a German-American mathematician and electrical engineer, whose work as a scientist significantly influenced the expansion of the electrical power industry in the United States, was once asked, by the founder of Babson College in Massachusetts, what line of research he thought would see the greatest development during the course of the next 100 years.
Here is what Mr. Steinmetz is reported to have said:
“I think the greatest discovery will be made along spiritual lines. Here is a force which history clearly teaches has been the greatest power in the development of men. Yet we have merely been playing with it and have never seriously studied it as we have the physical forces. Someday, people will learn that material things do not bring happiness and are of little use in the making men and women creative and powerful. Then the scientists of the world will turn their laboratories over to the study of God and prayer and the spiritual forces, which as of yet have hardly been scratched. When this day comes, the world will see more advancement in one generation than it has seen in the past four.”
Unfortunately, as a society, instead of moving toward spiritual topics, we have moved away from them. Sadly, the major pursuits of the last 30 years have been largely focused on the acquisition of material wealth. We are now feeling the pain of those pursuits. As predicted we are discovering that the material conquests of life do not bring us much happiness.
Yet for some reason, the topic of spirituality is often considered taboo. It is now a divisive topic and extreme measures are often taken to avoid it.
I want to break that taboo and speak openly about spirituality. Because it can be a very intangible topic, it is difficult to define what it really is. That is why we need to study it more. Spirituality is an enlightened focus on who we really are. It helps us understand the purpose of our existence and to see things as they really are. When we develop spiritual intelligence we enjoy an increased ability to pick out the actions, experiences, beliefs, and values that create greater meaning and purpose in our individual lives. This power of discernment expands our ability to understand our eternal natures. As we come to know who we really are, the great questions of life come into focus and we find ourselves aligned with divine purpose and legacy.
There Is Something More Than Achievement
The shiny prizes of the world, including its pleasures, power, praise, money, and fame, have always been and always will be attractive, but they are not enough. Those that reach the top of Mount Achievement, often find a dull world devoid of meaning. The sacrifice to gain what the material world has to offer, proves time and time again to be too steep a price to pay. Most of us now realize that the pursuit of doing at the expense of being does not deliver happiness.
The question of what is this human life experience really all about is answered best, by and through the development of spiritual intelligence. The pursuit of Spiritual Intelligence focuses us on personal meaning making experiences. It ensures that individuals know what they want, and more importantly, that they know who they are. This enables the spiritually intelligent individual to clearly express what his or her impact will be in the world.
A person who possesses high levels of spiritual intelligence easily identifies with his or her Higher Self or Spirit rather than with the ego. They have less need to seek after their own interests. This fosters the capacity to serve and develop others.
Nearly every organization I work with is concerned about developing higher levels of accountability. A spiritually intelligent person is empowered with a greater capacity for problem solving. It is natural for them to cope better with stressful situations because they know that what they are doing is only what they do and not who they are. As a result they are freer to act and to be, which results in greater productivity and engagement.
Thinking, Feeling, Being
We cannot solely rely on the development of cognitive and emotional intelligence to make us whole. By themselves, they are not enough. As long as the development of spiritual intelligence is considered unimportant or old-fashioned, we will continue to feel like we are missing something. We cannot be complete without developing greater levels of individual and collective spiritual intelligence.
It is worth noting that the words “health,” “wholeness,” “holiness” and “healing” all come from the same root. All of these come about because of who we are and not because of what we do.
The French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin once said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” This quote inspires me. It gives me great hope and purpose. It generates meaning in a world where meaning is sometimes difficult to make.
To be spiritually intelligent is to be fully engaged in becoming the best you – because it facilitates your ability to know exactly who the best you is.
What does the idea of Spiritual Intelligence mean to you? Why do you think that as a society we are so afraid to discuss it? What do you think must happen before we can become comfortable with this topic? How much time do you spend making quality spiritual discoveries? I hope you will spend some time pondering these questions. I look forward to your thoughts.
- Dr. Andrew Thorn is the founder of Telios Corporation and creator of The Telios Experience™. He holds a PhD in Consulting Psychology, a Masters in Personal and Executive Coaching, and a Masters in Business Administration from Pepperdine University. Dr. Thorn is also the author of U-wun-ge-lay-ma: A Guide to Next-level Living and the upcoming book Who Do You Want To Be When You Grow Whole? The Future of Meaning and Purpose.