Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

Spiritual Intelligence: Creating a Compassionate World

23 Comments

photo courtesy of Arunas Naukokas, Unsplash

Being the super sensitive, emotional, deeply aware human that you are, I suspect that you’re feeling a bit discombobulated these days. OK. Extremely distressed and anxious these days. From where I sit in North America, there’s a lot to be discombobulated (read: extremely distressed and anxious) about. A lot. You may be overwhelmed with grief, rage, or despair. You may feel a responsibility to act but not know your best path. You may feel pressure to be brilliant because, after all, you’re so smart.

I want to send you some extra love and inspiration.

To do that, I need to step into more iffy territory. Some of you may balk. But these times require risk, expansion, and iffy territory.

Are you with me?

OK, then.

Here’s the overall plan:  Believe in your deeply introspective journey. It will heal you and inform your outer action. (If your journey includes psychotherapy, thank you for your courage.) Explore your spirituality. Imagine that you can access guidance from a powerful, loving Energy both inside of you and around you. Tap into this energy in Nature and in what might be called the invisible world or, as I like to call it, the Force. Use the techniques that sing to you such as: meditation, poetry, dancing, gardening, art-making, blogging, praying, journaling, yoga, religion, dreaming, camping/hiking, traveling, studying, drumming, or journeying. In this way, find your version of a spiritual intelligence that will move you closer to your greater purpose. Then, you will know what actions to take.

Got it?

Here’s the inspiration:

From mythologist Martin Shaw:

“…When the lots are counted, when we are gathered in, we will find that it was love that mattered. Love expressed, given, received, fought for. So for those of us fighting right now, I say; keep going. As a culture, as an individual, believe in the full life that is your bequeathed inheritance, not the subterranean half-life that terror and impoverished minded bullies will try and spike your wine with. You are too good for that…Wander your oak valleys, linger in ornate chapels at dusk, get thrown out of the tavern at midnight, be kind, kiss the wounded, fight injustice and protect, protect, protect all the trembling bells of delight that you notice out of the corner of your eye when everyone else is oblivious. Value yourself, know yourself, don’t be naive, but don’t be afraid of love. Carry it.”

From psychologist Kathleen D. Noble, Riding the Windhorse:

“…we are never truly alone. Not only does there exist an immense network of intelligent and loving allies who sustain and support us as we struggle to grow, but also some portion of our larger self always comprehends what we are doing and where we are heading. No matter where we might find ourselves in the vast complexity of the whole, there is always a level of awareness that is old enough and smart enough to understand…each of us, no matter how small or insignificant we might sometimes feel, is vital to the whole, to a depth and degree we are wont to forget.”

From Star Wars:

“May the Force be with you.”

______________________________

To my bloggEEs: Now that I write this, it doesn’t seem all that iffy. Or risky. I’m guessing that many of you are already in touch with a larger spirituality and sense of Love in the universe. Share your path with us and your thoughts and resources. Where do you find your guidance and hope? How does your spirituality inform your introspective process and your action to create a better world? And thank you for continuing to love and to notice the “trembling bells of delight.”

For more research from Kathleen Noble on the study of consciousness, go here.

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Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rain forest to describe this population. Like the rain forest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore.

23 thoughts on “Spiritual Intelligence: Creating a Compassionate World

  1. Love you as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is hard to talk about somehow, but I feel like I want to say something. I can’t quite find words, except to say: beautiful post, Paula!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you Paula, so wonderfully affirming as always. I wanted to share the name of my meditation teacher as others might find his methods appealing. He is Craig Hamilton, The Practice of Direct Awakening. He runs an online course through evolving wisdom. I consider it ‘an intelligent approach to meditation’. He instructs in a practical way that appreciates the divine nature of things but doesn’t get caught up in it. What I love most is he doesn’t coach for students to ’empty the mind’, in fact its the opposite, he encourages thinking. It is truly the mediation for gifted people and I wholehearted endorse it. I grateful that you’ve bravely stepped into iffy territory, so so necessary.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I like this post. It speaks to many of us in many ways. It also hints at the blatant divide that we as a society are experiencing now. The cynic might say that these ideas are further pushing us into our respective tribalism. However, the way i see it, if we do not walk a peace-seeking path — of which is mocked by others as being a “snowflake” — then we risk losing not only our own well-being, but everything that that is good to include a healthy planet and our inherent compassion toward each other. So thank you for the inspiration to keep our heads held high during this time of discombobulation.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this post, it is beautiful as always. It’s in times like this that we really need to be reminded to take care of ourselves and believe in/focus on the good.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When I come to work on a Monday exhausted from my weekend, I know I am squeezing every bit of life into my moments (and I still need that alone time!) but also forgetting to get enough sleep impacts and makes me even more sensitive, getting enough rest is really the only way I can be in the world.
    I can’t watch the news, I just skim headlines. Always wondering how much or what to share with my children about the world. We live in a very rural area, are very selective about what the kids watch, and three of my four kids are home schooled, so they don’t get much exposure to the media. However, the rural setting also makes it so there are not many like minded people around.
    My kids are young, I want them to be innocent and in love with life. But.. the world is harsh and unforgiving at times. I just gather them in and hope love will be enough to get us all through.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have some questions for you, Paula.

    Do you think that certain factors (i.e. traumatic head injury, stress, depression,diseases, anxiety, poor diet, etc..) which could adversely affect brain function prevent gifted individuals from expressing their abilities at an optimum level?

    (After all, the things which often plague those who are considered less gifted are not suppose to affect the brain of those who are more able?)

    I’ve had two traumatic head injuries as a child, and other things which could have severely affected my brain function. However, with time and given the right condition, (i.e. having a healthier diet rich in antioxidants and good fats, proper supplementation, meditation, mental stimulation, etc.), do you think it would be possible for my brain to function at a higher level?Now, I don’t expect my brain to completely heal. But, perhaps, close to it?

    I’m sorry for digressing from the topic of your current post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robert. I would think that the factors you mention would also affect the brains of the gifted. Like with anyone, it would depend on the severity of the injury and the person. I’ve seen gifted folks who are emotionally resilient when it comes to living in a dysfunctional family but head injuries, diseases, etc. would certainly affect them. There’s no generalization I can make about this.

      I can’t say specifically what will support your improved brain function. There are other professionals that you’d need to consult. It certainly makes sense, though, that you make those healthy choices to provide for the best possible chance of healing.

      Like

  8. Your current post mentioned this, “You may feel a responsibility to act but not know your best path.”

    Is this somehow related with the urge to act or achieve things? (Which is also related to the concept of overexcitability, isn’t it?) An innate principle that predisposes gifted and/or talented individuals to act, feel, and think in ways that would be considered different from the general population.

    I think do have these things…along with an intrinsic form of perfectionism.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What I’m referring to there, Robert, is the need that I often see in the rainforest-minded to have a positive influence on the world. That’s not really related to overexcitability as I understand it.

      Like

  9. Thanks for answering my questions, Paula. I truly appreciate it!

    When you said, “…the need that I often see in the rainforest-minded to have a positive influence on the world” were you referring to it as an intrinsic drive to make a positive difference in the world, or merely as a preference based on the personality of the individual. Also, isn’t it true that personality is partly biological which consists of parts which makes up the whole? When I mentioned the concept of overexcitability and connected it to a portion of your post I was trying to paint a whole picture…not merely fragment or isolated extension of something.

    In addition, I think you’re partly right that giftedness could have a protective effect on the individual. But to which degree? Is it absolute? Also, not every individual is the same. There were many instances in which individuals that were considered gifted or talented that succumbed to depression and committed suicide.

    Sylvia Plath=depression and suicide
    Immanuel Kant=dementia during his last years.
    Charles Spurgeon (a famous Christian preacher, scholar, who is also thought to have a photographic memory; he could remember passages from books that read years earlier)=depression; there were times when he wasn’t able to preach for weeks due to his depression
    Ernest Hemingway=depression and suicide

    And other individuals throughout history.

    P.S. I’m not sure if I would be considered gifted, or merely deceiving myself as being one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What I’ve experienced, is that the need to influence the world an intrinsic drive. Jacobsen writes about this in The Gifted Adult. You raise some interesting questions, Robert. Let’s see if others want to join the conversation. (as you know from reading my blog, many gifted folks don’t identify themselves that way)

      Like

  10. I’ve found that the best way for me to deal with the extreme existential anxiety is not checking my news app or Google News. I haven’t checked them in months, and so I’m able to breathe.

    I’ve been realizing a few things lately.

    Through the lens of my complex PTSD/developmental trauma/whatever, it’s always seemed to me that the world is the way it is because that’s what humans want. Humans like to hurt others. Humans like it when other living beings are suffering. Humans will always blame victims and take the side of abusers and torture and kill and neglect other living beings, because it’s what they do. Humans enjoy genocide and destruction and death.

    This, as you can imagine, makes the current state of reality extremely painful for me.

    But the last couple of days I’ve been looking at what I experienced and felt during the Bad Times, and what’s happened in my community since, and I am beginning to see how that outlook is the result of trauma and may not be reality. Like it makes sense to me, because during the worst of the Bad Times, people judged me and blamed me and believed what my abuser said about me and abandoned me, and I was completely alone. And also honestly I was terrified of everyone and isolating myself to the point that if someone had been willing to listen to me and believe me, they wouldn’t have been able to get past my walls.

    In the years since, I’ve shared my story in the Sims community, and people have listened and believed me and supported me, and they’ve even recently changed the rules at the popular anonymous site where they allowed my stalker and other people to harass me anonymously for years. Hate isn’t allowed there anymore. And I’ve been told that it’s because I stuck around and I told my story and I kept sharing what it was like and what it did to me.

    It is really really hard for me to process that, and my brain keeps doing its emotional flashback thing and insisting that no, the reality is those years of isolation and believing that everyone agreed with the hate and with my abuser, that they saw me suffering and they liked it and they agreed with it and that’s why they didn’t help, why no one ever even asked if I was okay.

    They did help. Eventually. But it took time, and it took courage and honesty, and it took me talking and talking until someone finally listened and heard and understood and tried to help.

    So, you know. Maybe it’s not that humans are evil, so much. Maybe it’s that humans are, well, human, and they can empathize and they can help and they can understand, but it takes time and it takes effort and it takes telling the stories over and over and over and over until finally some people get it, and change happens.

    I’ve also seen the culture of the Sims community change over the last decade. Things that I got hate for talking about are normal and common place now, and questioning the things that I got shamed and ostracized for questioning is routine and seen as cool now. I mean, yeah, it’s not perfect and there’s definitely still all the same problems, but I’m not the only voice speaking up now. Other voices joined in.

    So I don’t know. Maybe that’s what I do, to help. I keep speaking, even when I’m the only one, and I take the ostracism and the judging and the pain, and I keep going, and eventually, eventually, people listen.

    Liked by 1 person

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