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I’ve just finished reading Cindy Wigglesworth’s book, “SQ 21: The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence.” See my previous blog on Ms. Wigglesworth’s groundbreaking work.
Ms. Wigglesworth defines spiritual intelligence as the capacity to act with wisdom and compassion, with internal and external peace, under all circumstances. She describes a capacity for happiness, peace, joy, and love. Who wouldn’t want that?
Fortunately, like emotional intelligence, we can develop our spiritual intelligence. All it takes is intentional effort and persistent, daily, gentle practice. The following is Ms. Wigglesworth’s 9 step method for shifting from acting out of ego to putting your Higher Self in the driver’s seat.
Step One: STOP. Notice when you are feeling upset. Take a pause before impulsively reacting. This gives you the time to respond in a more spiritually intelligent way.
Step Two: BREATE. Take four to five long, deep breaths. This calms us down and creates the space for our Higher Self to be heard.
Step Three: ASK for help. This can be from a wise friend, from your Higher Self, or your Higher Power. Ask, “What can I do to create the highest and best outcome for everyone?”
Step four: OBSERVE yourself. Pay attention to your body, your emotional state, and your thoughts. Be the Witness, so that you can create some separation of your Awareness from your experience. This gives you more freedom to act intelligently.
Step five: IDENTIFY and embrace ego concerns. Your ego wants to keep you safe. Treat it as an ally. It often has legitimate concerns. Listen the way you would listen to the concerns of a scared child. You want to work out a response that addresses any realistic fears.
Step six: LOOK DEEPLY for root causes of ego concerns (Ask “Why?” 5+ times). Once you acknowledge your fear, uncover the layers to get to root of what you really fear. If someone criticizes you at work, you may fear looking foolish. Below that you may fear losing your job, then your home, then your family, then your life. At the root of all ego concerns is a fear of suffering and death, sometimes via abandonment or engulfment. When you acknowledge these root fears, you can calm yourself by putting these fears into rational perspective, reducing ego mountains into realistic molehills.
Step 7: RE-FRAME (See with new eyes: the eyes of compassion and wisdom). See from your Higher Self what is what is true, right, and good in a situation—both for you and others. Dis-create your victim ego story and create a new, positive, empowering Higher Self story that takes you out of victim mode and takes into consideration the concerns and perspectives of everyone involved—with forgiveness and compassion.
Step 8: REFOCUS on something to be grateful for. Practice gratitude for what is right in a situation. For example, if someone hits your car, you can be grateful you and they are unharmed and that you have auto insurance. Even in the midst of calamity, there can be hidden gifts seen with wise and grateful eyes.
Step 9. CHOOSE a spiritually intelligent response. From the wisdom of your Higher Self, act to produce an outcome that is best for everyone involved. This is the most important step of all. Rather than fueling conflict or drama, practice acing in ways that nurture peace and resolution and that serve the Whole. Like all the steps in this “spiritual weightlifting” process, this step requires practice.
I cannot do justice to this method in one short blog. Hopefully this will entice you to purchase “SQ 21” and read about how to cultivate your spiritual intelligence for yourself. What is hopeful and inspiring is the clear power of this method to help us lead more loving and peaceful lives. All it takes is intention and practice.
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