According to developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, there are nine types of multiple intelligences. In his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, they are elaborated as:
1. Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)
2. Musical Intelligence (music smart)
3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)
4. Existential Intelligence
5. Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)
6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)
7. Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)
8. Intra-personal Intelligence (Self Smart)
9. Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)
This article will add and discuss another type called Spiritual Intelligence. This knowingness, however, may come through these other kinds of multiple intelligences. I am elaborating on this and I invite the reader to enquire as to what is your primary way of knowing what you know. What you know guides you in how you live and what choices you make to choose happiness and ease in your life. What have you been educated to believe as opposed to what is your actual experience of yourself? Sometimes, we don’t trust our experience and so dismiss it because the belief is stronger than the self-trust. What is true for you?
Experience of non-ordinary states of consciousness (truly really ordinary because this is our birthright) can be spiritually intelligent in so far that the individual uses it as the ultimate problem solving in one’s life (results in “a more integrated view of the world and a broader sense of relationships, including social ethics and values”). From years of interviews with different people from different religions, one of my informants shared that “spiritual is being in touch with a source or explanation of the unknown…being in touch with a source or experience of a unified presence at the heart of the universe.” It may be that moment when your thoughts are silenced when you look at the stars or into the eyes of a baby or through prayer or dance. Intelligence, on the other hand, is the “ability to adapt and cope with experiences in a productive way.” In the process of adapting and coping to life, not only is the mental reasoning faculty used but also includes its other dimensions, the intelligence of bodily felt senses and emotions.
Given the above definition, spiritual intelligence is both the realization and the actualization as lived in one’s life. Because of the uniqueness of each individual, there is a multiplicity in the manifestation of spiritual intelligence. Furthermore, these manifestations may not necessarily match our ideas of what is spiritual intelligence. On one hand is the development of certain skills to hone it, and on the other hand, is the simply being of who we are – “happens without cultivation or desire for it.” This article recognizes its developmental quality as well as its inherent beingness that is beyond dualistic terms. We can call it the ground of being, unconditioned, uncaused. I’d like to take this further and point out that it is not the person who is spiritually intelligent, but rather there is a spiritual intelligence within and through the person.