Every year, The Flame hold an event at Coventry Cathedral exploring the depths of mindfulness and sharing insight through a range of speakers, performers and mindfulness practices. Last year I attended their fourth event – Mindfulness and Transformation – the first time I’d been which also introduced me to this brilliant organisation in Coventry (since then I’ve attended their mindfulness workshop and I’m a ‘regular’ at Chi Kung which I LOVE). I kept my ears pricked for this year’s event – the topic of which was Mindfulness and Spiritual Intelligence.
Admittedly, when I first heard the phrase ‘spiritual intelligence’, I had preconceptions of what I thought it might be and wasn’t sure it was quite ‘me’. I was wrong. Spiritual intelligence relates to us all – it’s about is reaching the point where you become your true, authentic self – where you really know who you are and have confidence, courage and willingness to discover.
This year there were four speakers giving personal accounts of mindfulness and there were talks from Ivana Buric, Professor Les Lancaster and Dav Panesar – a very knowledgeable team!
Anyway, I thought I’d share my key takeaways:
1. Spiritual intelligence is…
a higher dimension of intelligence that is rooted in consciousness-based approaches, and provides a secular and life affirming approach to spirituality that activates the qualities and capabilities of the authentic self, in the form of wisdom, compassion, integrity, joy, love, creativity and peace. The Flame
2. We’re composed of…
- Body – at the centre, maintaining balance through an Ayurvedic diet (this really sprung out to me as I’ve been exploring Ayurveda) and keeping the flow of prana (energy) through movement including yoga and chi kung
- Mind – the root of health, allowing to recognise the signs of detrimental health and acting on this to make changes
- Emotion – this often comes out as sensations in the body which can result in the treatment of symptoms as opposed to the cause (the biomedical model)
- Transpersonal elements – self-discovery e.g. ‘who am I?’ ‘What am I doing here?’ ‘What’s it all about?!’
…important to view these as connected that make up the whole person, rather than separate elements.
3. We have a world view
We have a world view – that is, a view of how we see ourselves in the world. What we feel inside directly impacts this view. For example, internal anger leads to an anger towards the world. We tell ourselves stories and create our own sense of self. Not helped by the media, constantly telling us we should be a certain way! Spiritual intelligence is about getting to the root of this self-creating process and breaking the habit.
4. Mindfulness has the capacity to unravel self-creating processes
To break this learned world view, we need to recognise the negative thoughts and only then that we can learn to control them. Mindfulness allows this process to happen, going beyond the layers. If you’ve seen ‘Shrek’, it reminds me of when Shrek talks on onions and layers!
5. “You can’t escape our biology”
In the words (nearly!) of Girls Aloud, research suggests that, when practised consistently, mindfulness has the ability to decrease inflammation in the body. Clever, eh!
6. Wisdom and compassion are at the core of spiritual intelligence
Over time, mindfulness allows us to unpeel the layers, eventually leading to self-awareness – knowing who you are and who you’re not and self-trust – being able to speak your truth. When this comes together, compassion and wisdom are born, and as a result, you’ve opened the path to spiritual intelligence – a continual process.
7. Enjoy the present!
Right here, right now…
8. A quote to live by
If you allow others to define who you are then you lose the right to be who and what you are. Dav Panesar, The Flame
Think this is a great quote!
Needless to say, it was a really interesting event – I’d definitely recommend checking out The Flame and all the great work they do!