Four Intelligences – Body, Mind, Emotions and Spirit

When we think of intelligence we usually focus on mental intelligence and brain power. We also need to recognize the need for intelligence about our physical body, emotions and spirit which make us whole, healthy unique beings. Intelligence is the ability to access, learn and use special information and knowledge in efficient and effective ways to enrich our quality of life and interactions with others. We do not live in isolation. We evolve, learn, grow and develop physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually with others in dynamic and ever changing ways. From an early age we learn more about our physical body and how to be healthy, fit and strong. We learn what it takes to live without discomfort, pain, stress and disease.  Some young people live with health issues and learn to overcome physical challenges early in life. During our adult lives we continue to learn more about our bodies and how to stay healthy and live longer. Over time we all face aging challenges and learn entirely new things about ourselves. Physical body awareness and intelligence allows us to pursue our desired leisure activities and interests.  We all need to learn more about our ancestry, genetics, DNA and family health histories if we are to anticipate and prepare for likely future health issues. We need to proactively pursue intelligent physical health and wellbeing.

Our mental intelligence affects multiple areas of our life. From an early age we develop cognitive skills, abilities and capacities that often enhance our physical skills and abilities. We learn in our formal and informal education and training, and in our work and everyday life experiences. We often learn the most overcoming bad experiences and failures. Our mental outlook, attitudes, beliefs, choices and decisions continue to shape our life and intelligence. With age we tend to become more conservative and closed minded and play it safe or we tend to become more liberal and open minded and try new things. Sometimes we do both. Our mental intelligence includes decisions about our finances, resources and retirement plans and options. Many of our recognitions and awards are due to our mental intelligence and acuity.

Emotional intelligence includes our feelings and relationships with family and friends. We are often more emotional than rational in what we do and how we do it. We rely on others to empower and support us in our decisions. Young people in grade school need to learn and develop social skills of empathy, compassion, self-esteem and self-control. Often we learn the most from dealing with difficult people and conflicting situations where there are no easy answers. At every stage of life we can always learn more about ourselves and others and how to maintain our emotional stability and maturity under pressure. People with high emotional intelligence are the most admired and respected and thereby more successful and significant.

The fourth intelligence is spiritual. All too often people overlook the importance of this area to enrich their whole life and well being. Just as we learn about our body, mind and emotions we need to learn about our spiritual wellbeing at every age and stage of life. This starts with an understanding that we are created in the image of God for a higher purpose and calling in life. We have a special reason to live and make the world a better place for others. We can enhance and enrich our connection to a higher power. Our religious beliefs and practices are only  starting points. This requires ethical conduct and conscience in everything we say and do, actively reaching out and serving others, servant leadership and working for the common good and community.  Spiritual intelligence helps us rise to higher levels of inner peace and true happiness and joy.