The Neuroscience of Spiritual Intelligence

Three Dimensions of Intelligence

Three Dimensions of Intelligence

Three Modes of Brain Processing

Neurological studies have established that the brain has three distinct processing modes, called serial, parallel and synchronous. Serial processing is associated with IQ functions in the left brain. Parallel processing is associated with EQ functions in the right brain. And synchronous processing is associated with SQ functions in the whole brain [1].

Neural Basis for Spiritual Intelligence

Oscillations at 40Hz propagate across the whole brain synchronously, and are associated with conscious attention and the state of presence. By linking part-brain functions from both hemispheres into the integrated field of the whole brain, 40Hz synchronous oscillations connect mind, self and world into a meaningful whole. Consequently 40Hz oscillations constitute the neural basis for SQ.

SQ Brain Circuitry

Recent findings in neuroscience confirm that spiritual intelligence is hard-wired in the human brain. But SQ brain circuitry remains largely dormant and undeveloped unless the SQ neural network is actually used. Random moments of spiritual intelligence occur spontaneously, but not very often. Therefore it’s important to know how to activate SQ intentionally, thus converting spiritual intelligence from a random fleeting experience, into your most valuable personal resource (see the video below).

Neuroscience confirms that spiritual intelligence is hard-wired in the human brain.

Qualities of Spiritual Intelligence

The qualities of spiritual intelligence are the native qualities of consciousness 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. By identifying with consciousness itself, instead of identifying with states of body and mind, we activate spiritual intelligence and thus experience its qualities. This shift in identification corresponds to the shift from ego to soul. See the diagram below of the twin poles of attention. Spiritual intelligence is therefore the intelligence of the soul.

Brain Plasticity

Studies on brain plasticity have established that neural pathways are highly malleable [2]. New neural pathways grow quickly in the human brain, and are strengthened by sustained and repeated use. For example, taxi drivers have an enlarged part of the brain that deals with direction-finding. And violin players have an enlarged brain area that deals with the left hand, but not with the right hand, which reflects the extra dexterity required to control the left hand on the strings, in comparison to to the right hand holding the bow [3]. Likewise, frequent use of the SQ neural network evolves a brain optimised for spiritual intelligence. This translates into an ability to sustain spiritual intelligence in association with any circumstances at the object-pole. Ultimately continued practice results in a 3Q brain (IQ+EQ+SQ=3Q), by means of neuroplasticity. A 3Q brain is structurally and permanently polarised to the subject-pole. With a 3Q brain you simply abide effortlessly as consciousness itself, and your spiritual intelligence is therefore active, without needing to use a practice.

Consciousness is Not a Product of the Brain

Recent studies in post-materialist science confirm that consciousness is not a product of the brain, contrary to the materialist point of view that still prevails in mainstream neuroscience. These studies, as summarised below, provide conclusive evidence that consciousness continues in the absence of brain activity. Some of these studies are based on the experience of patients in surgery. In some cases, after recovering from an operation, patient’s were able to give accurate reports of events that occurred in the operating theatre during the time that their brains were not functioning. Evidently consciousness does not depend on the brain. The brain is therefore the receiver of consciousness, not the source of consciousness. These studies represent scientific evidence for the existence of the soul.

The 3Q Brain

The 3Q brain (IQ+EQ+SQ=3Q) is optimised neurologically for spiritual intelligence. The default setting of attention in the 3Q brain is at the subject-pole of attention, not at the object-pole of attention [4]. The 3Q brain therefore replaces the ego with the soul, both as the seat of personal identity, and as the governor of IQ and EQ. The 3Q brain uses IQ and EQ not to pursue the goals of the ego, but to express the qualities of the soul, 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.

Neuro-psychology of the Soul

Neuroscience has identified the particular type of brain processing associated with spiritual intelligence, as detailed above. The SQ paradigm combines this neuroscientific evidence with findings from psycho-analysis, and with the evidence from cognitive and transpersonal psychology [5]. The resulting inter-disciplinary synthesis reveals that spiritual intelligence is associated with a particular sense of self, distinct from the ego, with a specific neurological signature, that shares the qualities and capabilities ascribed to the soul by religious traditions. The SQ paradigm therefore represents the neuro-psychology of the soul.

The 3Q brain represents the incarnation of the soul.

Realisation of the Soul

According to traditional religious beliefs, soul realisation is a supernatural experience. But the SQ paradigm identifies the realisation of the soul not as a supernatural experience but as a psycho-physical process by means of which the brain is optimised neurologically for spiritual intelligence. SQ brain circuitry is developed by transit through the SQ Portal as a means of experiencing spiritual intelligence. Frequent and sustained activation of spiritual intelligence eventually shifts the default setting of attention from the object-pole to the subject-pole of attention on a permanent basis, as a result of the neuro-plasticity of the brain. By identifying with consciousness itself, instead of identifying with states of body and mind, this shift in polarity replaces the ego with the soul, not only as the governor of IQ and EQ, but also as the conscious seat of personal identity. By virtue of continuous uninterrupted access to spiritual intelligence, the 3Q brain therefore represents the realisation of the soul.

The Spiritual Intelligence Portal

Human Evolution

Human evolution proceeds at multiple levels, from modifying the shape of the body, to evolving the brain to a more advanced level of functioning. SQ represents the next level of functioning beyond IQ and EQ. Thus human evolution is proceeding in the direction of developing the high performance 3Q brain. The emergence of spiritual intelligence into mainstream consciousness therefore signals the beginning of a new stage in human evolution governed by a higher dimension of intelligence.

The Emergence of Spiritual Intelligence

By sharing spiritual intelligence you are contributing to the evolution of mainstream consciousness. The resulting transformation, both individual and collective, is necessary to meet the challenges and opportunities of the third millennium. Spiritual intelligence therefore represents a synthesis whose time has come.

Twin Poles of Attention

Twin Poles of Attention

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 [6]. 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


© 2011 – 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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