The Heart and Soul of EI
- The Spiritual perspective to Emotional Intelligence
by Keith Beasley
It's no coincidence that Emotional Intelligence has become a popular topics at this period in mankind's history. It's but one of many ideas and paths of personal development and self growth as we move rapidly into our 21st Century. More and more individuals are looking for some way to improve themselves . . . which has to be good for each of those men and women . . . and for humanity as a whole.
This phase in mankind's evolution is considered by many to be key. We're becoming a global community. Through the internet, air travel and improved communications generally we're finding out more and more about each others and having to cope with so much more information than any previous generation. With the resulting challenges and stresses there's little doubt that our view of the world and ways of thinking need to change to accommodate our ever changing society. If we don't become more emotionally intelligent we'll be swamped by the information society and allow today's technology to destroy rather than enable us.
But what are the other features of these times that we find ourselves in? Even if you don't like to call it the 'Age of Aquarius' I hope you'll admit that the interest in a whole range of religions and spiritual practices is now huge and growing rapidly. Philosophies and techniques such as Yoga and Meditation have moved from minority activities to mainstream ways of handling stress. Other practices such as Reiki Healing, from being virtually unknown thirty years ago are not only recognised by a large proportion of people but even being integrated into conventional health service facilities.
Whatever reason you might want to give to it, many humans are looking for more meaning in their life. They can see that all is not right and are more and more willing and able to face the realities of their own lives and humanity in general and take active steps to change for the better. This is emotional intelligence at work.
It is also, many would say, a spiritual awakening. What we as a species are seeking is a level of engaging above and beyond superficial material products and meaningless words. Whether it's with ourselves, in our closest relationships or with the natural world more and more of us need a more mature 'heart and soul' based way of interacting with each other and the world around. We cannot achieve this with our rational intellects alone.
Perhaps it's useful to identify a few examples of individuals, through the ages who we would generally agree to be 'emotionally intelligent'. The names Gandhi and Nelson Mandela come immediately to mind. They certainly displayed tremendous patience, awareness and tolerance yet at the same time strength and courage. What enabled them to gain the respect of those they dealt with . . . and thus lead to their respective success in their countries, was their humility. If we do need a measure of EQ, try gauging a person's humility . . . lack of arrogance . . . ability to respect everyone without presenting themselves as bigger and better. Isn't that emotional intelligence at it's best?
What Mandela and Gandhi also possessed was wisdom . . . an innate intelligence. Not so much learnt intellectually as allowed to develop naturally through open-ness and willingness to surrender their own beliefs to see a greater truth. They knew they had right on their side at a level far deeper and more honest and true than anything we find in most politics and business these days. Theirs is EI at it's most noticeable and thus memorable. We do well to reflect on their example and emulate it.
That's the 'big picture'. My own story of self discovery fits in well, reflecting all the aims and aspirations discussed above. My quest to become more able to cope with my own emotions in the ever changing world has lead me to explore not just other aspects of my intelligence but my creativity (see 'The Artistry of Emotional Intelligence') and above all my spiritual nature.
I do not feel I could have made any significant progress to enhancing my EQ without recognising that I am not just mind and body, but mind, body and soul. Likewise, to take the next step towards EI I had to let go my rational mind's desire to be in control and learn to trust my intuition, my psychic / spiritual guidance in my understanding and decision making. This sacrifice of ego to higher self, selfishness to soul purpose is the underlying tenant is most if not all religions and spiritual philosophies: we are each unique parts of a greater whole. Once we can accept this universal, cosmic, reality then we have access to wisdom and genius of the greatest thinkers and artists. It is from the divinity within each of us that our true emotional intelligence comes.
has been writing and working on Emotional Intelligence topics since 1987.
HHe's now based in Bangor, Wales.
Go here for Keith's EQ Intro page