WHAT IS IT?
Most people have heard of the term “emotional intelligence.” Many may even have spent time and effort developing their “EI” in hopes of a better life.
However, there exists an untapped, yet no less impactful, form of intelligence: Spiritual Intelligence (SI). Spiritual Intelligence is not a momentary spiritual experience that may come from meditating or walking in the forest. Nor is it a spiritual belief, like the belief in God or a higher power. It is a person’s ability to draw on resources and qualities from the world’s wisdom and spiritual traditions that have been proven to enhance functioning and well-being and embody them in everyday life. Parallel to EI, which helps us draws on emotional resources to regulate our own and others’ emotions, Spiritual Intelligence can help us harness the immense resources and qualities of spirituality such as Higher-Self, Inner-Wholeness, Trust, Equanimity, Beauty, Gratitude, and Joy.
“Spiritual Intelligence is ignited by connecting with the sacred spark of your spirit.
Then fanning your flame, you permeate your world with meaning, love, beauty, grace, interconnectedness and joy.” – Yosi Amram, Chairman and Co-Founder of Intelligensi
Yosi began studying Spiritual Intelligence in 2005, interviewing seventy-one spiritual teachers and leaders who represented all the world’s major wisdom traditions1, 2. These figures were nominated by their peers for their spiritual maturity and for their ability to “walk the talk,” embodying their spiritual values in daily life. Through this research, Yosi identified twenty-two capacities they shared and actualized in their daily lives3:
Purpose, Service, Joy, Gratitude, Beauty, Immanence, Freedom, Discernment, Inner-wholeness, Equanimity, Trust, Egolessness, Openness, Presence, Mindfulness, Intuition, Synthesis, Holism, Relatedness, Sacredness, Practice, Higher-Self.
WHY DOES SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE MATTER?
Later on, Yosi’s research showed that people with high levels of Spiritual Intelligence have a greater sense of wellbeing and satisfaction with life, and make better and more inspiring leaders4.
And now over a dozen years since Yosi’s original research, studies by researchers who used the SI assessment in other applications, some of whom translated it into other languages and validated it across different countries and cultural contexts5, 6, found that it contributes to a variety of positive outcomes, such as mental health7, job and work satisfaction8, 9, work performance10, resilience11, life satisfaction and experiences of awe12. Furthermore, banks where employees reported higher spiritual intelligence showed higher performance as measured by return on assets and other financial outcomes13. Similarly, in another study with non-financial institutions, the leader’s self-assessment of their SI also predicted their organization’s financial performance14. These results attest to the power of Spiritual Intelligence and its contribution to a variety of valuable outcomes.
This now extensive and ever-growing body of research by many researchers across the world has shown that SI contributes to many valuable outcomes, including wellbeing, quality of life, work performance, effective leadership15, and many other important domains. Without a doubt, SI is real, measurable, and positively impactful.
HOW DO I ASSESS AND DEVELOP MY SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE?
“The highest reward for person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.”
– John Ruskin
1. Amram, Yosi (2007). The Seven Dimensions of Spiritual Intelligence: An Ecumenical Grounded Theory (PDF). Paper presented at the 115th Annual (August 2007) Conference of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA. Available at intelligensi.com/spiritual-intelligence/.
2. Amram, Yosi (2007). What is Spiritual Intelligences? An Ecumenical, Grounded Theory (PDF). Working paper of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (Sophia University), Palo Alto, CA. Available at intelligensi.com/spiritual-intelligence/.
3. Amram, Yosi (2009). The Contribution of Emotional and Spiritual Intelligences to Effective Business Leadership. (PDF) Doctoral dissertation, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (Sophia University), Palo Alto, CA. Available at intelligensi.com/spiritual-intelligence/.
4. Amram, Y. & Dryer, C. (2008). The Integrated Spiritual Intelligence Scale: Development and Preliminary Validation (PDF). Paper presented at the 116th Annual (August 2008) Conference of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA. Available at intelligensi.com/inspired-leadership/.
5. Khodadady, E., Taheryan, A., & Tavakoli, A. (2012) “Validating the Persian Integrated Spiritual Intelligence Scale Within and Islamic Context.” Ilahiyat Studies: Journal on Islamic and Religious Studies, 3(2).
6. Soylemez, A., Koc, M., & Soylemez, B. (2016) “Adaptation of the Integrated Spiritual Intelligence Scale into Turkish.” Journal of Family Counseling, and Education, 1(1), 18-24.
7. Pant, N. & Srivastava, S. K. (2019). “The Impact of Spiritual Intelligence, Gender and Educational Background on Mental Health Among College Students.” Journal of Religion & Health (58), 87-108.
8. What is the Relationship Between Spiritual Intelligence and Job Satisfaction Among MA and BA Teachers? by Yahyazadeh-Jeloudar, S., & Lotfi-Goodarzi, F. (2012). International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(8).
9. The Relationship Between Spiritual Intelligence and Work Satisfaction Among Leaders and Employees by Koražija, M., Žižek, S. Š., & Mumel, D. (2016). Our economy, 62(2), 51-60.
10. The impact of spiritual intelligence on work performance: Case studies in government hospitals of east coast of Malaysia by Rani, A. A., Abidin, I., & Hamid, M. R. (2013). The Macrotheme Review, 2(3), 46-59.
11. Spiritual intelligence and resilience among Christian youth in Kerala by Narayanan, A., & Jose, T. P. (2011). Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 37(2), 263-268.
12. Effects of ethnicity and spiritual intelligence in the relationship between awe and life satisfaction among Chinese primary school teachers by Liu, Z., Li, X., Jin, T., Xiao, Q., & Wuyun, T. (2021). Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 2719.
13. Malik, M. S., & Tariq, S. (2016). Impact of spiritual intelligence on organizational performance. International Review of Management and Marketing, 6(2), 289-297.
14. Effects of top Turkish managers’ emotional and spiritual intelligences on their organizational financial performance, by Evren Ayranci. Business Intelligence Journal, 4(1), 9-36.
15. Birchett-Street, Pamela (2018). The Experience of Spiritual Intelligence in Leaders of Complementary and Integrative Medicine Organization. Doctoral dissertation, Saybrook University, Oakland, CA.
16. Zohar, D., & Marshall, I. (2000). SQ: Connecting with Our Spiritual Intelligence. New York: Bloomsbury.
17. Gardner, Howard (1983). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: HarperCollins.