The Twin Poles of Attention

Twin Poles of Attention

Twin Poles of Attention

Operating System

The basic operating system of human awareness is represented by the twin poles of attention, comprising the subject-pole and the object-pole, as everyone can confirm from their own experience.

Object-pole of Attention

At the object-pole of attention is everything we are aware of, from perceptions of external surroundings, to thoughts, emotions, beliefs, memories, self-image, personal story, etc. The ego is experienced as identity with states of the body and mind at the object-pole of attention.

The twin poles of attention represent the basic operating system of human awareness.

Subject-pole of Attention

At the subject-pole of attention is feeling-awareness itself, or consciousness itself, otherwise known as the soul. To identify with the subject-pole of attention is simply to be the presence of awareness, or simply to be that which is aware. The subject-pole of attention is free from modification by anything at the object-pole of attention. Therefore the qualities of feeling-awareness itself (or the soul) represent source energy in its inherent unmodified form, as experienced at the subject-pole of attention in moments of presence, in the form of peace, compassion, joy, love, wisdom, and creativity.

From Ego to Soul

The shift from the object-pole to the subject-pole of attention replaces the ego with the soul, which establishes the state of presence and thus activates spiritual intelligence. When SQ is not active, IQ and EQ are exercised by the ego. But when SQ is activated, IQ and EQ are exercised by the soul.

Three Dimensions of Intelligence

Three Dimensions of Intelligence

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


This article on 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

Origins of the Spiritual Intelligence Paradigm


© 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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