"Higher Education and Intelligence" An Essay by Sharani
- Notions of intelligence have evolved since my youth when being intelligent meant getting good grades in school or having a high IQ. Now one can find discussions of EQ (emotional intelligence), MQ (moral intelligence), BQ (body intelligence) and SQ (spiritual intelligence) to go along with IQ, the best known traditional idea of intelligence. With these new forms of intelligence added to the mix, popular culture seems to recognize that simple book smarts are insufficient to create a well-rounded, well-adjusted individual.
When I was growing up, my parents placed a lot of emphasis on old-fashioned IQ - doing well in school, book learning and higher education. The education I received in the traditional classroom cultivated the powers of the reasoning mind. In my mid-twenties, I embarked on Sri Chinmoy's spiritual path with an emphasis on devotional love of God, simplicity and a calm, quiet mind. Now the words "higher education" meant more than my years spent in college and graduate school or my years spent working at an academic university library.
Eager to grow on a spiritual path with the goal of a quiet mind to foster transformative meditation, I pursued this new kind of higher education. Under Sri Chinmoy's tutelage, I studied the spiritual arts instead of the liberal arts. I devoured his writings which offered glimpses of wisdom and knowledge of God that leapt off the pages and overflowed through his concerts, paintings, poetry and athletic endeavors. Foremost I learned this new higher education through his silent teachings as a Guru - meditations, blessings and inner messages.
I still draw on my traditional schooling and higher education to pursue my professional career in a library setting. I need good research and problem solving skills to help people find the answers to their questions and to teach them classes or give them one-on-one instruction. But my idea of intelligence and higher education has evolved within the framework of spiritual pursuit.
The qualities of love, forgiveness, compassion and illumination are often uttered in the same breath when people speak of God. I might not be typical in my approach, but I actually prefer to think of God's Intelligence more than His Compassion. When I find myself backed into a corner, I ask for help at my meditation shrine through prayer and conversation. Or I inwardly ask for assistance making choices, large and small. Sometimes I have been alerted or steered away from trouble through inner messages or dreams that spontaneously helped me before I even knew I needed help. Since I was instilled with strong value for education and intelligence, perhaps is why I feel a special thrill whenever I call God the smartest of all.