We’ve all heard of emotional intelligence, but what is spiritual intelligence? Actually, spiritual intelligence is implicit in the art and science of coaching, so if you are a life coach or had some life coaching, you are probably already using it. Visualising goals, using positive language and releasing limiting beliefs, for example, all have their roots in ancient spiritual wisdom as well as being part of our latest coaching know-how.
Spiritual intelligence is the knowledge and utilisation of the universal spiritual laws and principles at work in our cosmos. Just as physics charts the behaviour of material things, metaphysics (i.e. the science of spirit) charts the behaviour of ‘unseen’ energy. We may not be able to test metaphysical principles in a test tube, but we can observe them at work in our psyches. And, of course, what happens in our psyches expresses itself in every other aspect of our lives.
In recent years, spiritual intelligence has hit the mainstream via the publication of books such as ‘The Power of Now’ and the release of films like ‘The Secret’ and ‘What the Bleep’. The Law of Attraction, once an esoteric spiritual principle understood only by the initiated, now features in self development forums, popular magazines and chat shows worldwide. Like most spiritual principles, the law itself is very simple (what you pay attention to attracts more of the same), yet properly understood and applied, has profound implications.
As coaches, we can employ spiritual intelligence to enhance sessions with our clients, boost the running of our business and resource ourselves. Using our intuition, practising meditation and accessing our inner guidance all serve to give our coaching practice an energetic ‘X-factor’ that is hard to beat.
Seven ways to use spiritual intelligence in your coaching practice
1. Prepare yourself for your client
Meditate for 10 minutes before every coaching session. Sit quietly, follow your breath and relax. Mentally ask for whatever emotional resource or state of mind you require. Then think of your client and ask that you connect well with your client and are able to give them exactly what they need. You can then make a few notes on any ideas that came up that when you were meditating on your client.
2. Prepare your client for their session
Meditate for a further 10 minutes with your client at the beginning of your session. Encourage them and yourself to follow the breath and relax. You can also feed in a relevant question to contemplate whilst meditating. (If you are not confident leading meditation, play a short guided meditation CD.) This will help your client get centred and feel more authentic. It will also help you tune in to your client more deeply.
3. Develop Your Intuition
The word intuition means inner tutor or inner guide. Practise being aware of your intuition by calming your thinking mind (with exercise, meditation or music) and letting yourself drop into a embodied wisdom that speaks from a deeper place inside you. Test out your intuition with small questions first. Ask yourself ‘should I do this?’ and see if you get a ‘yes’ (nice, expansive feeling) or ‘no’ (unpleasant, tense feeling) in your body. It’s often felt in the tummy – the reason why we talk about gut instinct. Follow the answer, then, check later to see if your intuition proved right.
4. Trust your intuition
Rather than cram your coaching session full of pre-planned ideas, allow some space for spontaneous ideas to bubble up. Don’t be afraid to sit in silence for a few moments just to listen to your inner guidance. Check if your intuition is telling you that something would be good for your client, or to change tack if a new direction is emerging. Likewise, encourage your client to do the same. A few moments quiet at any point can be very fruitful. Meditation prepares you to be able to do this.
5. Practice telepathic marketing
We are all much more telepathic than we realise. Once we are 100% clear and intentional within ourselves, a large chunk of our marketing is done! Write down what kind of coach you are, what kind of ideal clients you like to work with, and what benefits you are bringing to them (in precise, positive present tense language, of course!). You will be amazed at what interest starts to come your way even before you’ve placed your adverts.
6. Learn and practice the Ah meditation
This powerful manifestation meditation (popularised by Wayne Dyer in the 80’s) can be done in 10 minutes. It is one of the most effective ways to create and attract what’s best for you into your life, relationships and business. Teach it to your clients too. You can download guidance notes to the Ah meditation from the www.thrivecraft.co.uk website resource page.
7. Connect with your own inner guidance
The most effective way of employing spiritual intelligence is to connect with your own! Every single one of us has a source of wisdom and guidance within us. Learn how to quieten your thinking mind and listen to the amazing answers, promptings and directions we have dormant within us. A special guided meditation to help you do this – Answers: Finding Wisdom from Within – can be found at the on the shop page.
We’ve all had those moments. Suddenly, you are totally absorbed in a thing of great beauty – an incredible golden sunset on a beach, a piece of heart soaring music that moves you to tears. The rest of the world disappears. There’s only this wonderful experience, filling you, thrilling you. Anything you were doing pauses. Anything you were thinking melts away. You are transported into vivid aliveness and feel like you are standing in the centre of the universe.
This aliveness is your natural state. It is waiting beneath and below all the complicated layers of your life ready to greet you. All you have to do is remember to drop in from time to time – visit the oasis, refresh yourself – and you can take that aliveness back into your everyday life. Somehow, then, your troubles aren’t quite so troubling. You feel like your emotional batteries are charged up. You can see more clearly how to deal with things.
The deliberate practice of dropping in to your inner experience like this is called meditation. It’s so easy to forget your natural, alive state that you need to do something routinely to remind yourself. So, you build reminder time into our daily pattern – get up, brush your teeth, have a cup of tea, and meditate – and that way you don’t forget to remember! As little as ten minutes spent like this every day can invite the aliveness back into your life.
Relaxing your body, calming your mind and opening your heart is wonderful enough, however, it can be just the beginning of your inner journey. Pretty soon you will discover that your inner world gets bigger and bigger and bigger until a whole vast universe reveals itself inside us, and it’s just as big as the one outside!
But is it the mind or is it the heart?
The ancient Indian language of Sanskrit has a lovely word – citta (pronounced chitta) meaning heart / mind. I sometimes wish we had an equivalent word in English. The philosophy is that heart and mind operate as one and both need to be touched and transformed by spiritual practice. If anything, our heart is more dominant than our mind because it’s our emotions that usually prompt the direction of our thinking. We habitually form opinions that justify what we are feeling and protect our insecurities from being challenged.
We think that we are being logical and impartial, but if we stand back and observe, we’ll see that there’s nearly always an emotional charge driving the logic that runs through our mind. The stronger the emotional undercurrent, the more rigid and attached we are to the opinions that support our argument. Even very intellectual and scientific people do this – it’s just that they are particularly skilled in dressing up less conscious emotions and presenting them as compelling logical, empirical arguments.
The Buddha taught that, when you are sufficiently self aware, you no longer have any emotional attachment to your intellectual opinions. You still have opinions and can possess a searing intellect and have good debates, but you don’t take challenges personally or need to cling on to your views in order to save face.
Not long after I was ordained, a controversial book was published by one of our senior Order Members. I was unconvinced by the book’s arguments and thought the topic important enough to merit a direct challenge. So, I wrote a long letter to my teacher and requested a meeting with him.
I was quite charged up when we met, but we talked about my letter and I expanded my views in more detail. My teacher received what I had to say with genuine interest and calm intelligence. After we’d talked for a while, he accepted my point of view and agreed that we’d had very different life experience to draw our conclusions from. Furthermore, he indicated that he was always open to being persuaded to other conclusions should he be presented with convincing enough arguments.
Then I realised that I was seeing something I had rarely seen before – as well as being highly intelligent and forthright in his opinions, this man was absolutely not attached to his views whatsoever! It is quite hard to describe being in the presence of this kind of non-attachment. There was just no personality, no ego, sticking onto the conversation at all. He had no personal investment in anything being this way or that, no axe to grind, no point to prove. None! So, the upshot was, whatever the rights and wrongs of his views, I left that meeting thoroughly impressed. This was why he was my teacher!
Who’s in charge?
I studied psychology at university and loved what I was learning about the human psyche. But even so, I got frustrated with all the clever word games and the academic obsession for establishing scientific proof for everything. It seemed that for every theory, there was another proving the exact opposite, and the most interesting things you just couldn’t prove either way. There were some ideas I found intellectually thrilling, but even with those I felt like I had gone as far as my thinking brain could take me.
However, there was one mystery that I just couldn’t stop wondering about. Are us humans in charge of our selves and our destiny, or are we just robots mindlessly acting out whatever we are brainwashed with? The philosophers call it the ‘free will versus determinism’ debate and theories about it are at the core of much of our belief systems. Fortunately, while I was still a student, I made a new discovery that was going to give me whole new way of understanding what we are all about and what we are capable of – meditation.
I was just knocked out. So THIS is how you can go beyond intellectual thinking! A whole new dimension of experience was opening up before me. I loved it. I loved how good meditation made me feel and how clear and calm my mind was and how open my heart became. That year’s university exams flowed effortlessly. It was incredible! And as for Buddhism, well, I didn’t know the first thing about it, but the more I found out the more fascinated I became.
Best of all, Buddhism provided me with an answer to my question about whether us humans have free will or whether we just act out blindly from our conditioning. The typical Zen-like answer was – both are true! Hah! My new Buddhist teacher called it ‘Mind Reactive and Mind Creative’. The premise is quite simple – the less aware we are, the more subject we are to conditioning influences (mind reactive). On the other hand, the more self-awareness we possess, the more free will we possess (mind creative).
In other words, if our minds and hearts are very dull and asleep, we don’t know what we are doing or why and go about our lives in automatic pilot. If, however, we wake up our hearts and minds with something like meditation, we breathe awareness and therefore choice into our life. We have enough inner space and where-with-all to recognise our options and make a considered decision. Meditation creates awareness, which creates choice, which creates free will.
Where is the wisdom coming from?
When our meditation deepens we can experience a mystical state where we feel we are part of something much bigger than our selves. We have access to a higher consciousness that can be experienced as coming from outside of our self, or as something deep within. Either way, we have access to another dimension of wisdom and guidance. In this mode, we are able to find mysterious answers to all our questions and problems.
So, is this wisdom and guidance literally coming from an outside intelligence, or coming from our own inner intelligence? My Buddhist teacher said it could be seen either way as it transcended inner and outer distinctions, but that it was probably more useful to think of it as coming from outside of our selves. However, it may depend on your personal orientation.
Some people are ‘faith types’ and are more heart and devotion orientated. Faith types may respond more to the idea that spiritual wisdom comes from outside and allow themselves to be receptive to those ‘external’ forces. On the other hand, ‘wisdom types’ are more head and thought orientated. Wisdom types may be more resonant with the idea that they are mastering their own inner powers rather than opening up to external forces.
I’ve come to understand and experience the act of downloading spiritual wisdom as a co-creation between both inner and outer dimensions. Spiritual intelligence does come from both inside us and outside us at the same time. If we stay rigidly within our everyday limited awareness, we cannot access deeper wisdom. However if we fail to recognise our own spiritual depths and only honour external powers, we do not claim our full potential.
To ignite the spark of spiritual download, we need to do something both active and receptive. We first ‘put the request out there’ by posing the question to the universe and in doing so open ourselves to a greater, limitless consciousness. Secondly, being prepared to receive an answer means we are being receptive and this allows us to drop deeper inside our selves. In this way, we participate in a co-operation between both inner and outer dimensions. In truth, inner and outer universes are all one.
Before you start meditating, be clear how long you will sit for and what kind of meditation practice you will do. Have a silent watch or clock within sight so you can open your eyes and peek at the time if you need to. You may notice that you soon don’t need a clock. Before long you will instinctively ‘feel’ that the time you’ve allocated is up and it’s time to come out of meditation.
2. Choose your time
It makes a big difference if you can stick to the same time to meditate every day (or every other day or every week – whatever routine you establish). If you pick your time and stick to it you don’t have to keep re-making the decision to meditate and figuring out when. It just becomes part of your day or week.
First thing in the morning is great. It’s well worth getting up half an hour earlier to give yourself this start to the day. Some people prefer last thing at night when everything is over. Or perhaps your best time is when you get home from taking the kids to school. Or maybe after getting home from work and just before dinner.
Whatever time you pick, have a satisfied tummy – neither hungry nor overfull. Choose your time and make it part of your daily or weekly routine.
3. Find your quiet spot
Find a place where you can be quiet and undisturbed. Be in a room on your own (unless others are meditating with you). Unplug your phone and switch off your mobile. Be out of earshot of TV or radio. Let others know to leave you in peace.
It’s nice to set the scene for your self. Perhaps face a garden window or a vase of flowers or an inspiring picture. Burn some incense or essential oils. Make this your special meditation spot. You will find that this place will start to have a peaceful atmosphere, a meditation ‘vibe’.
4. Be comfortable
Find a chair where you can sit comfortably in an alert, upright position. A dining room chair is good, or an easy chair. You can also prop yourself up at the head of a bed. Undo any tight clothing, buttons or zips.
Wherever you are sitting, support your back with cushions so that your spine is reasonably straight and your head and neck is free. If you are on a dining room chair you can put a cushion under your feet. If you are in an easy chair you can see if you prefer having your legs folded up cross-legged. If so, make sure your knees are supported with cushions if needed.
Some people like to sit on a pile of cushions on the floor, or a meditation stool. If so, put a blanket down first as a mat, then your cushions or stool on top. Two or three firm cushions are about right. At the right height your back is not bowing or arching but relatively straight.
You can straddle the cushions like a horse, or sit with your legs folded in front of you cross-legged. Support your knees by tucking extra cushions under them if they don’t reach the ground so you can relax at the hips.
However you sit, you should have a strong base – a tripod of your backside and your two knees. Have your hands resting in your lap. Tying a shawl or scarf at your tummy gives a little shelf to rest your hands on if you like.
There’s always the option to lie down on a bed or the floor if you think you’d be most comfortable like this. The only draw back is that you may find yourself feeling sleepier than if you were sitting upright. None the less, the number one priority is that you are comfortable. So if lying down is right for you, that’s fine.
If you get stiff or pins and needles while you are meditating, gently and slowly move and re-position yourself and carry on. However, the idea is to find out how to sit completely comfortably for an extended period of time without having to move, so keep playing with your posture until you get it just right.
When you are settled, close your eyes lightly, or have them slightly open if you are very sleepy or disoriented.
5. Let the weight drop down
Take several big, long, deep, deliberate, audible breaths. As you breathe out, let your weight drop down through the sitting bones – down, down, down through your seat and the floor into the ground.
Even as we let our weight drop down, we are also aware of an invisible force supporting us upright. It’s as though we have a taut string attached the crown of our head, reminding us of our natural poise and alertness. The more we relax and drop down, the more we feel effortlessly supple and upright.
6. Relax and soften
Relaxing further, roll your shoulders a few times each way. Then move your head gently from side to side. Make some wild faces to release your face muscles (nobody’s looking!). Let your jaw hang slightly slack and your tongue be free.
You can use your hands to gently massage your jaw, cheeks and forehead. Carry on over the scalp and down the back of your neck. Give your shoulders a bit of a squeeze then stroke down your arms to your fingers.
Continue down the body with your hands, squeezing or stroking all the way down to your toes. You can hang over your toes for a while. Keep breathing easily and slowly uncurl. Finally, shake out your hands and finish with a nice stretch. Come back to a relaxed, upright sitting posture again.
Take a few more strong breaths. Let your tummy be soft. Check your jaw is still slack and that the tongue is free.
7. Drop into the breath.
Notice how you are breathing now, however it wants to come and go. Feel how it is to be breathing, how you feel inside yourself, the rhythm of the breath as it comes and goes. Let yourself be filled with breath. It’s as though your whole body is breathing, expanding and contracting with every in and out breath. Feel your breath right down to your toes, to the tips of your fingers, to the roots of your hair.
8. Give your head a rest
As you’re breathing, you may be aware of questions and preoccupations rippling around in your mind. It probably feels like its going on in your head. However, invite your thinking mind to rest for a little while. It’s not needed for few minutes.
Soften your eyes, let your eyes go soft and dewy (even though your eyes are closed you can do that) and let the brain itself feel slack in your head. Just feel the breath going in and out the body. Breathe in and out and let all those thought particles fall through the breath like dust particles falling through the air in a sunny room. Let them all fall to the ground.
9. Feel into your heart
Breathing into the body, notice how you are physically feeling around your heart area in your chest. Can you feel if it is tight or relaxed? Can you feel if your heart feels nice, or if it feels pain, or somewhere in between? Can you feel if your heart feels far away or if it feels very vivid and acute and present?
And whatever it is or isn’t, just noticing it as you breathe. Feeling the texture and the tone of our heart. You might be aware that there is a kind of atmosphere – an emotional atmosphere around your heart. You might not have a name for it, but you can feel its ambience, its flavour. Perhaps you can even sense its colour – the colour of your emotional heart right now.
Breathe this emotional atmosphere, this ‘heartness’ into the whole of yourself. Let it circulate with the breath.
10. Being with all that you are
Continue to breathe with all that you are – all that you think, all that you feel, all that you sense and all that you know. Gather yourself into the breath and let yourself drop into the vastness of your total being. Getting into this zone is a meditation in itself and you need do nothing more. However you are now ready for a further focussed meditation if that is what you have chosen. Enjoy.
The Easy Way to Create Your Personal Help Hotline.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to feel that you could have help whenever you need it? The astonishing fact is that superb help is right there inside you, waiting to be tapped, every single day. Whether you are in the supermarket wondering what to buy for dinner, or finalising a major life decision on a deadline, inner answers and deep personal guidance are only a few breaths away.
The wisdom of the universe is ever present – a great sky full of answers to your everyday questions and a vast ocean of understanding that makes sense of your deepest problems. In days gone by we knew how to commune with this cosmic guidance system, but our modern lifestyle is such that we’ve by and large forgotten all about it. We scurry about getting more and more confused, taking wrong turns and running in circles. No wonder we don’t feel so good these days, that something is missing in our lives.
Fortunately, not everyone has forgotten how to tune into the excellent natural sources of guidance at our disposal. Thousands of spiritual practices keep these arts alive, and countless sages, mystics and healers throughout time are adept at them. Nowadays, more and more of us are picking up the threads of these ancient ways and weaving them together with new spiritual intelligence to make a modern tapestry – a complete map – that works meaningfully and practically for us today….
…. And so my latest project has been to produce a book and guided meditation CD to pass on the knack of finding inner answers. I’m calling it ‘Find Your Answers’. The CD will be available very soon and the book will follow. I’m also running a new ‘Find Your Answers’ weekend course on October 24/25 and a weekly meditation class here in Devon.
I would love to think that lots of people will come to soak in the tips and stories and meditations from the course, class, book and CD and feel able to take on life with renewed confidence. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all re-capture our natural entitlement to be totally guided and supported in all that we do? I also hope my new ‘Find Your Answers’ offerings serve to encourage and inspire us to reclaim the most precious resource of all – our own deep lasting connection with the source of all knowledge. In doing this, we remake the greatest of discoveries – the revelation of our true self and our purpose on this earth.