The Psychology of Spiritual Intelligence

Three Dimensions of Intelligence

Three Dimensions of Intelligence

Science of the Soul

A synthesis of findings from related fields of scientific research presents the following evidence for the existence of an advanced dimension of intelligence beyond IQ and EQ, called SQ or spiritual intelligence. Studies in neuropsychology have identified a state of conscious identity, distinct from the ego, associated with hemispheric synchronisation and whole-brain activation [1]. This distinct sense of self coincides with the experience of being identified with feeling-awareness itself (or consciousness itself), in contrast to being identified with the body and mind [2]. The native qualities of feeling-awareness itself are experienced at the subject-pole of attention in moments of presence, in the form of wisdom, compassion, integrity, joy, love, creativity, and peace [3]. Thus the qualities traditionally ascribed to a “soul” by religious beliefs are associated with a distinct sense of self, at an accessible psychological location, with a detectable neurological signature [4]. This combined evidence for the SQ paradigm is drawn from the following four independent fields of scientific research.

Twin Poles of Attention

Twin Poles of Attention

1. Cognitive Psychology

Studies in cognitive psychology have established the benefits of mindfulness training, with particular reference to anxiety and depression. These studies confirm that the state of presence can be identified neurologically, experienced repeatedly, and verified inter-subjectively. Consequently the distinct sense of self experienced in presence, associated with being feeling-awareness itself (or the soul), qualifies as a valid subject of scientific investigation [5]. 

2. Psychoanalysis

Early studies in psychoanalysis demonstrated that object-relations are the means by which personal identity is established [6, 7]. This discovery was originally made a long time ago by ancient traditions of spiritual wisdom, notably by Vedanta and Buddhism [89]. Nevertheless, in the western intellectual tradition, this finding was first confirmed by Freud, in his founding work on psychoanalysis, at the turn of the twentieth century. More recent psychoanalytic studies of object-relations confirm that the ego (or the body-mind-self) grows by means of identifying with states of body and mind at the object-pole of attention [10].

“The cross-pollination of disciplines is the seedbed of
true knowledge.”

~ Marcus du Sautoy

3. Transpersonal Psychology

Findings in transpersonal psychology, as confirmed by countless meditators over thousands of years, verify that unmodified feeling-awareness itself, which is free from identification with objects of attention, experiences the qualities traditionally ascribed to the soul [11]. The energy of unmodified feeling-awareness itself, which is known as spirit, is experienced at the subject-pole of attention in moments of presence, in the form of wisdom, compassion, integrity, joy, love, creativity, and peace. Spirit is the source of spiritual intelligence [12].

4. Neuroscience

Neurological studies have established that the experience of presence is associated with hemispheric synchronisation and whole-brain activation at a frequency of 40Hz [13]. At this frequency part-brain functions from both hemispheres (PQ/IQ/EQ) are integrated into the field of the whole brain, thus combining mind, self, and world, into a meaningful whole. 40Hz whole-brain activation therefore correlates neurologically with spiritual intelligence. Neuroscience thus confirms that SQ is hard-wired in the human brain. However, SQ rarely occurs spontaneously. Therefore it’s necessary to activate SQ intentionally, in order to experience the benefits of spiritual intelligence in daily life [14]. This video explains a simple three-step process to activate spiritual intelligence intentionally.

Spiritual Intelligence Portal

Spiritual Intelligence Portal

Spiritual Intelligence

The existence of spiritual intelligence is corroborated by a broad range of scientific findings, as outlined above. The SQ paradigm thus authenticates spirituality in empirical terms. SQ is an advanced dimension of intelligence that everyone can experience directly as an innate capability, without relying on religious belief. SQ therefore represents secular spirituality, based on the science of the soul.

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 [15]. 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

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

Spiritual Intelligence and Creativity


About Spiritual Intelligence

  • Zohar, D., Marshall, I. (2001). SQ: Connecting With Our Spiritual Intelligence
  • Amramt, Y. (2007). The Seven Dimensions of Spiritual Intelligence
  • Draper, B. (2010). Spiritual Intelligence: A New Way of Being
  • Wilber, K. (2000). Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology

SQ Sources

  • Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shree (1980) Book of the Secrets
  • Muktananda, S. (1978) Play of Consciousness
  • Thomas a Kempis (1441) The Imitation of Christ
  • Rastogi, T (1982) Islamic Mysticism
  • Tolle, E. (2004) The Power of Now
  • Yogananda, P. (1945) Autobiography of a Yogi

Cognitive Psychology

  • Segal, Z. et al (2002) Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
  • Fulton, P. et al (2005) Mindfulness and Psychotherapy
  • Brown, K.W. (2003) The Benefits of being Present


  • Fairbairn, W.R.D. (1952) Psychoanalytic Studies of the Personality.
  • Greenberg, J & Mitchell, S. (1985) Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory.
  • Bion, W. R. (1970) Attention and Interpretation.

Transpersonal Psychology

Philosophy of Science

  • Kuhn, T. (1970) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  • Popper, K. (1959) The Logic of Scientific Discovery
  • Henry, J. (2008) The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science
  • Sheldrake, R. (2013) Science Set Free
  • Haisch, B. (2012) The Purpose-Guided Universe: Believing in Einstein, Darwin, and God


  • Zohar, D. & Marshall, I. (2001) SQ: Ultimate Intelligence
  • Seil, F.J. (2008) Neural Plasticity and Regeneration
  • Dehaene, S. (2002) The Neuroscience of Consciousness
  • Newberg, A. (2014) Principles of Neurotheology
  • Siegel, D.J. (2013) Interpersonal Neurobiology

Research Studies on Spiritual Intelligence

1. Studies demonstrating the Benefits of Meditation that also apply to 3Q:

Harvard Unveils MRI Study Proving Meditation Literally Rebuilds The Brain’s Grey Matter In 8 Weeks

A Neuroscientist Explains How Meditation Changes Your Brain

The 23 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness for Body and Brain

2. Studies showing that 3Q abilities (like creativity and innovation) and 3Q values (like a deeper sense of purpose) increase job satisfaction and contribute to higher productivity:

Purposeful Leaders Shown to Elevate Workplace

Stop Engaging – Start Fulfilling: A New Era of Employee Engagement

Spiritual Intelligence Increases Job Satisfaction

Being happy at work really makes you more productive

3. Studies proving that a 3Q Organisational Culture improves Performance:

The Five Elements of a Simply Irresistible Organisation

How Great Leaders Create Trust

High-Character Leadership Is The Key To Your Company’s Financial Success

© 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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