Origins of the Spiritual Intelligence Paradigm

Three Dimensions of Intelligence

Three Dimensions of Intelligence

Dimensions of Intelligence

At the beginning of the scientific study of intelligence in the early 20th century, intellectual intelligence (IQ) was the only dimension of intelligence recognised by science. This narrow definition of intelligence prevailed until the mid 1980s, when a second dimension of intelligence was identified [ref], called emotional intelligence (EQ).

Third Dimension

The recognition that intelligence has more than one dimension inspired more research. By combining findings from psychology, spirituality, and neuroscience, a further dimension of intelligence was identified, around the turn of the millennium [ref]. This is an innate dimension of intelligence that everyone possesses, called spiritual intelligence (SQ).

The Spiritual Intelligence Paradigm

Scientific Foundations

The SQ paradigm is based on a synthesis of findings from related fields of scientific research, including cognitive psychology, psychoanalysis, transpersonal psychology, and neuroscience. These findings represent the scientific foundations of spiritual intelligence, as summarised in the following article: The Psychology of Spiritual Intelligence.

From Ego to Soul

Spiritual intelligence is activated by shifting from the object-pole to the subject-pole of attention, which replaces the ego with the soul as the seat of personal identity, and as the governor of IQ and EQ. As the intelligence of the soul, SQ uses IQ and EQ to express the native qualities of feeling awareness itself, which are experienced at the subject-pole of attention in moments of presence, in the form of wisdom, compassion, integrity, joy, love, creativity, and peace.

Twin Poles of Attention

Twin Poles of Attention

Contemporary Spirituality

Spiritual intelligence is based on empirical evidence from two sources: firstly, the evidence of direct personal experience; and secondly, the findings of scientific research. Both forms of evidence corroborate each other. Consequently, the empirical foundations of spiritual intelligence authenticate spirituality in secular terms. Accordingly, the SQ paradigm is compatible with present-day secular culture, and thus brings spirituality up to date. As an innate dimension of intelligence that everyone can access, spiritual intelligence therefore represents the foundation of contemporary spirituality.

Whole Brain Training

As a powerful combination of three principal dimensions of intelligence, 3Q represents IQ and EQ in association with SQ. Studies in neuroscience confirm that spiritual intelligence is correlated with hemispheric synchronisation and whole brain activation [ref]. Consequently, coaching in 3Q trains the whole brain. The resulting whole-brain coherence optimises brain function, and results in greater fulfilment, increased creativity, sharpened intuition, more empathy and compassion, and improved performance on a wide variety of work skills and life skills.

3Q Essentials Online Course

When you activate a higher dimension of intelligence, you gain access to the qualities and capabilities of your higher self. You can use the method taught in this course to shift from ego to soul, and activate your spiritual intelligence. This releases your intuition and creativity, and results in a deeper sense of meaning and purpose, which ultimately transforms your entire personality. For more information about the 3Q Essentials online course click here


The SQ paradigm is based on a synthesis of findings from related fields of scientific research, including cognitive psychology, psychoanalysis, transpersonal psychology, and neuroscience. These findings represent the scientific foundations of spiritual intelligence, as summarised in the following article: The Psychology of Spiritual Intelligence.

How to Experience Spiritual Intelligence [Video]

Spiritual intelligence is easy to experience. We all experience SQ spontaneously at times. But spontaneous moments of SQ are rare and unpredictable. Therefore it’s important to know how to experience SQ intentionally. When you can engage your spiritual intelligence voluntarily, at any time of your own choosing, SQ becomes your most powerful personal resource. This video provides step-by-step instructions on how to activate SQ intentionally. Watch the video here

The Spiritual Intelligence Portal


© 2010 – 2017, Richard Griffiths.

Meet the Author

Richard Griffiths

Richard Griffiths is a psychologist and corporate trainer. He is the founder of the 3Q Institute and a former National Chairman of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the Australian Psychological Society. His published work represents his findings from a lifetime of research and practice as a psychologist and spiritual practitioner. Alongside his research in psychology, he maintained a personal spiritual practice, and had first hand experience of a number of different spiritual traditions. Eventually a secular synthesis of psychology and spirituality emerged from his research in the form of the spiritual intelligence paradigm, which is the foundation of training at the 3Q Institute.

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