“Intelligence” is one of those words that has many definitions. You may have heard the phrase “left brain/right brain” before. Your left brain being logical, linear, by-the-numbers; and the right side is creative, artistic, empathetic. There are tests and measurement of I.Q., E.Q.(emotional intelligence), competencies, physical fitness tests, natural gifts, etc. I think a little more discernment could be of use to help us leverage our minds and bodies. I’ve put ‘intelligence’ into 4 different categories: cognitive (mental acuity), emotional (feelings), physical (somatic), and subtle (intuitive). These 4 intelligences can play solo, in pairs, trios and all together. Each intelligence has a unique perspective and access to data. One is not better than other. Some have more specific applications, but there is plenty of room for creativity here.
Cognitive Intelligence -“Treat Your Mind Like Heavy Machinery — Operate with Care”
What is cognitive intelligence? It’s the ability to understand, learn, recall, think rationally and problem-solve. Cognition is a mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought. It’s our inner mental processes such as attention, perception, memory, action-planning, and language.
The average person has 6,000 new thoughts per day, that’s about 48 thoughts in any given minute. We’re constantly thinking and engaging in cognitive activity. Despite the enormous quantity of thoughts our thinking process is very efficient. We seek to find meaning and patterns in the data around us. We filter using a “lens” such as our family beliefs, education, culture, experiences, and survival to thriving needs to select data. As we filter data, patterns form. From those patterns we create assumptions and conclusions. If our assumptions are validated and reinforced enough, they become our beliefs.
There are all sorts of things you can do to sharpen your cognitive intelligence including:
· memory tricks
· playing challenging games with others
· building your vocabulary
· learning, or teaching a skill
Sharpening your mind also has a lot to do with your physical wellbeing: caring for your heart, strength training, sleep, and even hydration.
Emotional Intelligence — “Feelings, nothing more than feelings…”
In many of my client conversations, when feelings, emotions and moods are brought up it tends to be information rich. Emotions are incredible data points and feedback mechanisms, but they can be stirring. The language of emotion is sensation based, it’s chemical, and can impact your energy. Feelings are generated in a different part of your brain than your cognition, and a different step is required for emotions to engage to create recognition and understanding of what you are feeling.
From what I’ve observed, humans deal with emotions in a huge variety of ways. Some ignore this arena because it feels messy, isn’t logical, or visibly evidence based. Others have incredible emotional intelligence and use it to build trust, influence and engage others. Your relationship with this intelligence is very personal, shaped by your life experiences.
Regardless of how you feel about your feelings, the force of emotions is quite tangible and real and it’s helpful to have awareness here. Emotions are energetic, vibrational states that are not inherently good or bad, but they can be measured in terms of life-enhancing and life-affirming verses life-dampening and draining. Think back to a time you’ve been moved by something; maybe you were in awe during an encounter with nature and walked away inspired. Or maybe someone said something that really made you angry and in return you acted out of anger. Finding productive ways to work with feelings is a useful life skill.
Physical or Somatic Intelligence -“Let’s Get Physical”
You exist within a highly intelligent organism called the human body. First and foremost, physical intelligence is understanding how your body speaks to you, what it’s trying to convey and then increasing your awareness of how to care for it and respond to it. A simple example: You are about to eat something but then notice the smell is off and your body reacts by pulling away. That item maybe spoiled and could create a bad tummy ache if you proceed to eat it. Physical intelligence is reflexive, instinctual, and subconscious.
This intelligence is important because the more you practice listening to your body, the better you will get at responding with care and kindness for yourself. It’s about being able to soothe yourself after times of stress, anger, fear, and sadness. It is also about learning to be resilient with whatever life throws at you. Physical intelligence can be observed and befriended, can help raise your self-awareness, and lead to healthy changes.
We can do this through:
· Connecting (such as making eye contact, a handshake, elbow bump or hugging)
· Placing your hand over your heart
· Moving (walks, dance, runs, swims, yoga, boxing, endless possibilities here…)
· Nutritious eating.
I’ve observed that an optimal state for a body to be in for masterfully navigating change is to feel rested, energized, and joyful. Of course, whatever state your body is in will indicate what’s needed next.
Subtle Intelligence — “Just Because You Can’t See It, Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t There”
When I’ve previously talked to clients about “subtle” intelligence they seem pop into one of two categories: either they get it and relate immediately to the concept, or they think they’ve misheard me. For our purposes here, let’s start with defining this fluid and profound territory. There are many names one could use; gut feeling, sensing energy, psychic information, intuition, a knowing, a sixth sense or consciousness. I coined the word Subtle Intelligence to capture the incredible array of possibilities this area offers.
Subtle intelligence is like peripheral vision, you can’t see it head on, it requires a quieter attention, an openness. Like when you are walking in a beautiful bit of nature, and you sense wellness there. Or you enter an alleyway and suddenly feel a little danger and become really alert to your surroundings. It can be inspiration that comes to you while you shower or from a dream you’ve had. Its real beauty shows up as synergies, timely coincidences, knowing and guidance.
Subtle intelligence uses its own language to speak with you, it comes in dreams, metaphors, “aha” moments, symbols, and archetypal patterns. Its language is sometimes called:
· clairvoyance (seeing images)
· clairsentient (recognizing feelings)
· clairaudience (hearing voices)
· claircognizance (knowing)
· even clairalience (smelling) and clairgustance (tasting).
It takes attention, discernment, and acuteness to process subtle information, but you are already gifted the ability to access it, it’s built into you. The level of fluency you wish to have in this area is not unlike the attention or training you’d have to be good at any other intelligence.
Together, one-by-one, or used sequentially, these 4 intelligences can offer you fresh perspectives and data for any situation you are facing. They each present unique information and when used consciously, can help generate new thinking, options, and potentially powerful actions. Take some time to investigate your own relationship with these 4 areas and enjoy further developing them. They may be of more service to you than your currently know!
Kathleen Joy, Founder & CEO of LumiereWork™