Emotional Intelligence and Spirituality: Are They the Same?

Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence

I’m honored to have been writing blogs for Maximize Your Talents for many years now. MYT is an organization dedicated to enhancing emotional intelligence and leadership development.

However, most of my books, blogs, and videos focus on the integration of spirituality into everyday life, which seems not so aligned necessarily with emotional intelligence per se.

I became curious as to why MYT would continue to invite me to write for them when I feel as if I’m out of the emotional intelligence box. So, I decided to ask myself the question: Is there a difference, or is it the same thing, but just at a different, more expanded level of awareness? And, does anyone care?

Well, first of all, I care! I’m writing this because I suspect others may be curious too! Inquiring minds want to know!!

For the purpose of comparing, and to perhaps simplify this a bit, I’m going to use the term Spiritual Intelligence, rather than spiritual integration.

Spiritual Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence:

  • Both grow our capacity to know ourselves beyond limiting perceptions of what others tell us is real, is right and wrong, the should’s and shouldn’t’s of life.

  • Both empower us to choose to see ourselves and the world through our own unique lenses.

  • Both embrace the practice of individuating and living from the knowing that lies within. We become less attached to being approved of by others as we grow both spiritual and emotional intelligence.

  • Both inspire devoting ourselves to the practice of knowing ourselves and aligning ourselves with our highest truths, our highest values, and our desire to be a contribution to the world we live in.

  • Both support and empower us to look at our lives, our practices, our thoughts and feelings with intelligence rather than beliefs. They encourage us to question the hierarchy of our values and principles.

  • Both encourage us to be sovereign and whole within, no longer deferring to other people’s opinions, ideas and truths.

  • Both minimize the negative impact of fear, worry and stress.

Throughout our lives, there is a practice, a training, an upleveling, if you will, of our capacity to know ourselves. First, as children, we grow our capacity for physical intelligence — how our bodies function and how we can control, utilize and integrate all that abounds within our physical world. We then become aware that we have thoughts. We think and do.

From Doing and Thinking to Being and Allowing

Each of us is growing our capacity to go from linear and logical to engaging with the messiness of emotions. Confusing, uncertain, personal, real, direct experience– being with our emotions is so confounding, especially after being trained out of being an emotional being in many ways as we grow up.

Growing our emotional intelligence means being with the fears of being different, and willingly allowing the uniqueness. Slowly but surely, as we grow our capacity to be with who we are, we consciously come out of the closet — declaring and being our authentic-selves, willingly choosing to choose based on aligning with our highest knowing, highest truth, highest values.

Cultivating emotional and spiritual intelligence requires courage to look inside to deeper and deeper levels. We explore and discover attachments to ways of seeing and interpreting reality that personally, just don’t fit any longer. We begin to choose to choose more in alignment with our own personal truth, rather than the truths of our culture, families, friends and religion. We face the fear of being rejected and ostracized, for the sake of knowing and honoring who we are as our essential selves. Little by little, we let go of survival strategies born out of fear. We partake in practices which enliven our sense of selves and bring joy and fulfillment. We allow ourselves to pursue what is infinitely pleasing. In doing so, we begin to realize a self that is different from who we thought we were — and what we thought we were.

My experience is that this is when we begin to cultivate awareness of an intelligence born from a knowing and existence beyond our consensus view of reality. What can be called spiritual intelligence is utilization of the known truths of our physical and emotional intelligences to explore the non-physical, the meta-physical aspects of our reality.

The meta-physical world has been a part of science for thousands of years. However, the concept of us participating consciously with our meta-physical selves, sometimes considered new-age thinking, has only been occurring over the last 100 years. Einstein, Carl Jung and many others spoke to the meta world. Ekhart Tolle says that we are only now able, in these current generations, to consciously evolve ourselves beyond what we believed to be the truth — the physical reality that we can see, hear, and touch.

As we uplevel ourselves, step by step, we reveal to ourselves what could not have been known before this moment. Our linear thinking, which initially was blown up with the substantiation of our emotional intelligence, learns to live in harmony with our emotions. With more and more conversation regarding the energy forces that are at play in our meta-physical world, we become more comfortable with the truth that we are 100% potentiality. We are creators of our own reality.

Upleveling to Knowing and Being with the Existence of the Divine

None of what I’ve shared with you so far is truly related to spiritual intelligence or spirituality.

Our religions and spiritual traditions were founded by individuals who had experiences of Divinity, of Sacredness, of the presence of God within all existence. As participants in these religions and spiritual institutions, as well as those of us who are mavericks in our own exploration of the big T Truths, we ourselves have either directly experienced the truth that everything is sacred and divine, or we are growing ourselves toward that knowing. Faith is the practice in which we grow our capacity to be with what is unknown, yet at the same time is known within every one of us.

I bring faith in here because I believe it is at the core of the practice of letting go of what no longer is in alignment with our highest knowing and our highest good. It is a necessary practice in order for upleveling to occur.

It has taken me pretty much my whole life to come to the direct experience of myself as an aspect of the divine. Elizabeth Gilbert, in Eat, Pray, Love, says, “God dwells in me as me.” It has taken decades of practicing faith to bring me to this level of knowing and experiencing this fact, that God dwells in me as me. It has taken me decades to own for myself that we are continually awakening to the truths of our sacredness and our union with all.

Through our lifetimes, each of us, through every event we experience, grows our ability to know ourselves fully. Each moment is a revelation – an AH-HA moment, an experience of I’ve arrived! And then we step again out onto the path to realize that that was a moment of realization. There are many more to come, even more extraordinary than the one before.

So to answer my own questions, my experience is that, over our lifetimes, we continually come to realizations that, in essence, are the bridges that allow for the integration of what is to be known. The intelligence that is built through the cultivation of awareness of our physical reality leads us to building our mental intelligence, which leads us to our emotional and then our spiritual intelligence. It is all part and parcel to the knowing of who we are! It is all one extraordinary practice of waking up to our all-ness!!!

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