Free to Shine

In Clarity and Brilliance I offered a way of conceptualizing the dynamic integrity of human consciousness across its four types of intelligence: rational (RQ = mind), emotional (EQ = heart), visceral (VQ = will), and spiritual (SQ = soul/spirit).

The validity of these four is well-established in the psychological literature, with our spiritual intelligence most recently accepted into the empirical and academic discussion, now free of its supernatural and metaphysical preconceptions.

Using the analogy of a diamond, I employed the terms “clarity” and “brilliance” to help us appreciate the integrity of intelligence and how consciousness is (or can be) amplified, developed, and expressed in the human being. We have to qualify this with a “can be” since, in many of us, this flow of consciousness is actually impeded by neurotic, even pathological, complications. We’ll come to these after a bit.

“Clarity” refers to the transparency that each facet offers to the diamond’s interior depths, while its “brilliance” describes the effect of focusing and magnifying the light from these depths into a resplendent outward radiance. A clear diamond is also a bright diamond.

Clarity is looking in, brilliance is shining out.

So too with consciousness and its three “facets” or faculties of mind, heart, and will. When these are transparent to the inner depths of soul, consciousness is focused and intensified into the outward expression of spirit. This can be depicted more abstractly using the cross design of ‘X’ and ‘Y’ axes, where the three faculties are arranged along the horizontal (‘X’) axis and spiritual intelligence forms a continuum along the vertical (‘Y’) axis, with soul down-and-within and spirit up-and-around.

This entire system should be understood psychospiritually. Instead, in its early efforts to legitimate itself as a scientific (i.e., not “superstitious”) enterprise, Western psychology detached the horizontal axis of faculties from the recently discredited and unscientific vertical continuum of spiritual intelligence. It then further dissected the faculties into separate centers, or, which became the mainstream paradigm, absorbed the heart and will into a more broadly cognitive theory of mind.

Twenty-first-century psychology is more open to a psychospiritual approach, now that spiritual intelligence (SQ) has been validated in the research. Psychologists can agree, if not with the supernatural worldview and metaphysics of religious true believers, then with more of their scientific peers, that humans universally seek existential grounding in reality, as well as transpersonal community with others and all things – perhaps even with the cosmos itself.

These are not mere wishful fantasies or forgotten sensations of prenatal life, as Freud believed, but aspirations or spiritual longings that are deeply rooted in human nature.

In this post I will merge my “diamond” model of consciousness with the Five Aspirations of a human being. The coincidence of there being five aspirations or spiritual longings that drive us through life, and also five distinct nodes of our quadratic intelligence – rational, emotional, visceral, and two for the esoteric/contemplative and ecstatic/expressive poles on the continuum of spiritual intelligence – only recently clicked for me.

But it’s enough of a revelation that I wanted to upload it to the cloud of superconscious wisdom, just in case someone else, somewhere else, and perhaps at some other time, might download and help it to advance.

My diagram brings forward the diamond image, associating each faculty or node with one of the five aspirations. Thus:

  • The soul centers our longing for inner peace.
  • The mind centers our longing for deeper meaning.
  • The heart centers our longing for genuine love.
  • The will centers our longing for higher purpose.
  • The spirit centers our longing for creative freedom.

In the healthy and self-actualizing human being there is a deep sense of grounding in reality, which registers in the nervous system as a calm inner peace. Free of distress and securely based, the faculties of mind, heart, and will can develop and function with clarity, opening to life in the world with clearheaded and kindhearted goodwill.

The clarity of these faculties focuses awareness into the deep interior of the soul, where it is cultivated, amplified, and then projected outward as spirit in creative freedom. A clear (or open) mind, heart, and will provides for a relevant engagement with reality, one that is in touch with what’s going on, sensitive to the wonders and mysteries, challenges and opportunities it holds.

It’s when we put this dynamic of consciousness on its course of normal human development that the complications mentioned above start showing up.

If for whatever reason an individual lacks the grounding of inner peace, this insecurity has the effect of “clouding” the faculties with distortions that interfere with their proper function – dysfunctions which arise in the effort to manage insecurity and prevent an overwhelming flood of panic and despair.

Rather than opening in curiosity and seeking to understand, the mind closes down on its own beliefs, finding a false sense of security inside a defended enclosure of conviction. Instead of opening to others and to reality itself in lovingkindness, the heart gets locked into obsession and neurotic attachment. And in this clouded and distorted state, the will gets stuck in the ambition of “what’s in it for me?”: desperately craving something but at the same time afraid it won’t work out or be enough.

Conviction, obsession, and ambition are all compensatory mechanisms for managing – or more accurately, coping with – the subjective insecurity (anxiety) that comes with ego formation and standing out as somebody unique and special.

Because the development of personal identity entails a differentiation of self-consciousness from the ground of consciousness itself, even a normal ego experiences some degree of exposure and alienation which registers in the nervous system as generalized anxiety.

Given that normal ego development brings some anxiety along with it, and now with a better understanding of how the mind, heart, and will lose their transparency to the depths of soul as they get trapped in their own coping strategies, we can sympathize with how humans “manage” to so magnificently muck things up for ourselves.

We can also see the wisdom in the various methods and techniques that humans have devised over the millenniums for cultivating a more grounded existence. When we have inner peace, we can live free of conviction, obsession, and ambition – free to create a life of deeper meaning, genuine love, and higher purpose.

We can be free to shine and share in the Spirit of true community.

Published by tractsofrevolution

Thanks for stopping by! My formal training and experience are in the fields of philosophy (B.A.), spirituality (M.Div.), and counseling (M.Ed.), but my passionate interest is in what Abraham Maslow called "the farther reaches of our human nature." Tracts of Revolution is an ongoing conversation about this adventure we are all on -- together: becoming more fully human, more fully alive. I'd love for you to join in!

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