by Ovidiu Brazdau
The Consciousness Quotient (CQ) is a composite psychological construct based on a list of traits, skills and abilities that describe the conscious experience. The Consciousness Quotient Inventory (CQ-i) evaluates the frequency of various behaviors and the usage of conscious skills and awakeness abilities, providing a detailed description of the conscious awareness experiences.
To be conscious means to have a degree of witnessing awareness and a degree of freedom of choice when thinking, feeling, sensing and interacting with people and the environment.
An important element of the conscious experience is intentionality, being the mind-set that allows a person to deliberately choose what behaviour to enact and what attitude to select. ‘More conscious’ (a higher CQ) means a higher degree of witnessing awareness and being less automatic in thinking-feeling-sensing, together with a higher degree of choice when initiating a behaviour.
The witnessing perspective, which leads to the ability to observe the inside and outside worlds without engaging with them, is one of the key factors of the Consciousness Quotient construct. ‘Witnessing awareness’ is usually described as the ‘I am experience’, ‘the observer experience’, ‘just being’ (as opposed to ‘doing’), ‘awareness of awareness itself’ and ‘no-mind’. ‘Mindfulness’ is a related construct, but in terms of modern mindfulness – as it is promoted in the West – being mindful does not go beyond being a cognitive observer.
The everyday Consciousness Quotient is “the level of consciousness (or the level of being conscious) that is experienced in the morning, one hour after waking up and after having had a refreshing sleep, without being exposed to any significant stimulus (coffee, TV, radio, music, talking, psychological stress). In other words, the consciousness quotient is the general level of being conscious/aware throughout a day, in regular life conditions”. This level of being conscious can change during life, through the process of personal development.
The Consciousness Quotient Inventory (CQ-i)
The CQ-i is composed of seven dimensions, which comprise the Consciousness Quotient: physical, emotional, cognitive, social-relational, self, inner growth and spiritual. These seven dimensions are the main seven factors of the Consciousness Quotient Inventory. The CQ-i explores these dimensions, using questions scored with a Likert scale with six degrees. An additional factor, “conscious presence”, is currently under development.
The CQ-i can be used for evaluating personal development or in psychotherapy when evaluating the progress of a client. Other areas include leadership, employee satisfaction, digital interactions, the arts, medicine, education and the efficacy of transformational techniques. The CQ-i is free to use by researchers and for personal testing on the Consciousness Quotient Institute website.
The Physical CQ refers to the capacity for awareness of one’s body and of the actual elements of the environment (environmental awareness). This factor includes various traits, skills and abilities, such as interoceptive awareness, body posture, tone of voice, awareness of senses (e.g., smell, taste, touch), psychosomatic connections (how the body is influenced by emotions and thinking patterns), detecting automatic movements of the body (e.g., automatic eating behaviors), awareness of the bio-energy of the body, and a connection with one’s physical surroundings.
Focusing attention on the body will result in a better connection with both your inner reality and outer reality. You will thus be able to identify the problems of your body in relation to the outer world. Breathing, conscious cooking and observing body movements comprise a few exercises that would help you to increase your Physical CQ. Another important technique is to observe what changes occur in your body when you have emotions or when you think of specific topics.
Some items from the CQ-i that refer to the Physical experience are listed below:
– When I eat I can detect which ingredients and spices are used in the food.
– I am able to notice the automatic patterns and gestures of my body.
– I like to touch an object with my hands in order to describe its characteristics.
– I notice how my body changes when I feel rejected
– I can feel differences in the energy of things, other people and environments.
– When I experience a strong emotion, I notice where in my body this emotion is located (*I notice which parts of my body feel hot/contracted/cool etc.)
– During the day, I have moments when I notice (and take the time to observe) the details of my surroundings.
– I can easily assess which types of food my body needs.
– When I am in a group of people, I can easily ascertain the sources of the smells that I perceive.
– When I look at a landscape, I easily see all the details – the colours, the shapes, the small things, the empty space surrounding and defining it.
– I notice how my body changes when I feel happy or joyful.
– I can easily detect the various tastes in the food that I eat.
– When I am psychologically tense I notice where the tension is located in my body.
Scott Kiloby describes his experience in re-connecting with the body: “When I would see or feel the body, I began to notice that what I was really looking at was not a physical container at all. It was a combination of sensation, emotion, words and pictures. But damn it did feel physical at first. As I examined the stomach or the throat, I just kept seeing an image and feeling a sensation that came with it. I just did nothing – nothing but being conscious of that picture or that energy. Inquiry helped tremendously in stopping the desire to change how I felt. The whole game of fixing was seen as futile. From that point on, it was just a process of being conscious of these sensations, emotions, words and pictures and doing nothing with them. Being conscious of them and allowing them to float freely was enough. They began to be seen as temporary arisings, just like thoughts. I realized that a lifetime of paying no attention to these inner arisings only led back to the seeking, medicating and dissociating. It was time to pay attention.
This exploration became so intimate, tender and gentle, like falling in love with every sensation and every thought about the body. A complete surrender to all of that as it arose. I would gently feel into the body all over all the time, throughout the day. It truly became a love affair. I started to see that all my life I had been looking for attention, love and everything else outside of myself. I was just looking for something to change how I felt, for someone to love my body, my experience. I realized that this is my job, not someone else’s. Looking for that outside myself is next to impossible. And it’s so indirect and inefficient to think that something outside of me will comfort and love my experience. It’s up to me to do that.”
The Emotional CQ refers to the capacity for awareness of one’s emotions and feelings, and their development and interactions. The Emotional CQ include traits, skills and abilities related to the emotional world, such as empathy, emotional validation, openness, vulnerability, recognition of people’s emotions, detecting the automatic patterns in emotional life, mirroring others, emotional acceptance, emotional intelligence, the ability to select among emotions and to sustain positive emotions, adapting emotional responses to various social contexts, and acceptance of any emotions that may appear.
Some of the items included in the Emotional CQ are listed below:
– When talking to someone, I am able to identify even the smallest behavioral signs/clues indicating how they feel.
– I am able to accurately recognize the emotions of the person I am talking to (*to explain to people what is happening inside them)
– It is easy for me to perceive bodily feelings that reflect emotions.
– I am able to sustain positive emotions for long periods.
– I am able to reflect back to them (in words) the emotions of the people I talk with.
– I have moments when I feel I am at one with everything.
– I notice my emotions as they come, paying attention to them without blocking my mind, and let them go without a trace.
– Even when I’m feeling very upset, I can find a way to put my feelings into words and express them.
– I consider that all my emotions are genuine and welcome.
– I find it easy to assess when someone I know behaves differently, due to their momentary emotional state.
– When I am in a bad mood I can easily identify its source.
– I allow myself to experience both positive and negative emotions.
Our emotions are highly influenced by other people and our surroundings. I found it useful to discriminate between the emotions I generate, somebody else’s emotions, and the emotions of the group I was in.
The best handbook I know on emotional intelligence is available at eqi.org. It includes many words describing emotions that will expand your emotional vocabulary, and it shows how to validate a person, why invalidating a child is a terrible mistake with long term dramatic consequences and what are the emotional needs of a couple. You’ll also find on YouTube some useful videos: Validation, RSA Shorts – The Power of Empathy, outrospection.
The Cognitive CQ refers to the capacity for awareness of one’s own ideas and thoughts, of the cognitive flow in general. The Cognitive experience is related to thinking, reflection, judgment, patterns of understanding, ways of meaning-making. It includes specific traits, skills and abilities, such as systems-thinking, intuition, awareness of cognitive filters, metacognition, self-reflection, detection of cognitive biases (e.g., jumping to conclusions, labeling, projection), accepting indecision, flexibility in thinking, critical thinking, present moment awareness, awareness of the limits of words (construct awareness), attention regulation, an ability to act with intention (choice), decision-making, mindfulness, acceptance of multiple perspectives, cognitive openness, creativity, the ability to have a panoramic view (overview) of a specific topic or situation, and the ability to manage the flow of thoughts.
Observing and analyzing the thinking is one of the most important topics during the inner development journey. Improving the Cognitive CQ could have positive effects for the management of your thoughts. Training your attention (e.g., through mindfulness) would help you to identify less with your stream of thinking and provide you with the abilities necessary to better organize your thoughts. Sustained self-reflection (metacognition – thinking about thinking) is another useful practice to increase the Cognitive CQ (some useful techniques are available on wisebrain.org).
A key feature of thinking is the associative process: the connections between ideas and the connections between concepts / groups of ideas. Many people are not educated to observe how their mind wanders, how it starts to make associations from a word they hear or say. From our childhood, we are cultivated to make associations, and this becomes a thinking habit. Just watch this mechanism in a casual conversation, paying attention if the person you talk with is really discussing and sharing, or is just making associations based on the ideas you provide.
These are some of the skills and traits that describe the cognitive world, as they were translated into items in the CQ-i:
– When I reflect upon the significance of an event or an action, I deliberately take care to look at the big picture.
– I analyse my reasons for being in relationships with various people.
– I am aware that there is no absolute truth, but rather multiple truths.
– I can detect and regulate (change) my thoughts when my thinking tends to become repetitive.
– I realize when I need to ask for help because I cannot handle things on my own.
– I realize quickly if I have taken on more tasks or responsibilities than I can actually handle.
– When looking around, my attention is focused simultaneously on the observed, on me as the observer and on the act of observing itself.
– When I make important decisions, I listen to my inner voice and I am confident that I am making the right decision.
– I am able to notice my own automatic habits of speech.
Over the years, I have noticed that the way we ask questions is relevant for the Cognitive CQ. There are two main questions I will comment on: “why” and “how”. Though it seems that “why” is a causal question, people who have this as a preferred way of knowing are many times stuck in never-ending causal correlations. Instead, “how” is a better question for vertical development. And even more important is the question “How do I relate with that?”. For example, a person may say “I feel exhausted”. The question “How do you relate with this?” is activating the meta-cognition and it takes the person’s perspective to observation of the big picture, instead of just analyzing the relations and the causes of their exhaustion.
Another example “I feel that I reached the end of my limits”. The question “How do you relate with the experience of reaching my limits?” leads to a change in perspective and sometimes to some moments of perplexity for those new to this way of meta-analysis. But the experience of this new perspective disappears after a while, if it is not consciously reinforced. Susanne Cook-Greuter talks about this in the ego development theory, when she speaks about “prioritizing perspectives”. To support the transition to a new perspective, we need to “utilize” it; after a while, the neuroplasticity of the brain will do its job and we will have new stable synapses. After new synapses form, the new perspective will become a default mode.
Language and speech: the communication hygiene
The connection between thinking-feeling-sensing and speech is so automated, that it requires a lot of attention and exercises to de-automatize it. Conscious talking is about being in the conversational act, but in the same time, being a witness, without being “absorbed” in the discussion. Observing and eliminating verbal stereotypes and tics are efficient methods that lead to a better communicational clarity and to a higher mental clarity. The second step is to observe that most of the people tend to use the same phrasing and words, and not describe what they actually experience in that specific moment. Unless working in professions that require training the speech (e.g. actors, public speakers, professors), people are unable to observe their speech in real time. In the Ego-aware stage of ego development, due to the increased present moment awareness, people can take the speech system as an object, and they are able to use original language to communicate their experiences.
It is interesting to observe that some subpersonalities even have their own type of speech. I found useful this mapping of speech styles, mixing the types described by Jaxon-Baer and Rohr: Preaching (moralizing); Advising (flattering, advising); Propaganda (wooing, inspiring, impressing advice); Lamentation (lyrical lamentation); Treatise (explaining, systematizing); Setting limits (warning, limiting); Stories (garrulous, storytelling); Laying trips (challenging, unmasking); Saga (monotonous, rambling).
Kaissa Pukhaka talks about the original speech, available in the post-autonomous stages of ego development: “speech that spontaneously comes from nothing and is the expression of a self arising afresh is creative in this literal sense that it comes from nothing. It is very different from the far more common speech that comes from notions of a fixated self and expresses the reactions of a fixated self. Original speech, as I call the former, has nothing to do with having high novelty value or shock value. The content of what is being said is often not important, but the qualities of saying it always are. Original speech is simple, spacious, and usually sparse. No words are said that are not meant, and nothing that is meant is left unsaid. It is simple because there is no hidden agenda to preserve or validate the existence or esteem of the self.”
One of the things that I consider to be useful in the inner growth journey, is developing an internal speech hygiene. In my case, I noticed the following types of inner speech: talking to people (depending on the topic I’m thinking in that moment); affirming wishes or decisions (what to do, what I wish from a certain thing); verbalizing what I experience; reporting my experiences to an inner superior (an internalized parent); preparing for future events, repeating (how to say, what to say); commands, encouragements – do this, do that; repeating some words I’ve said that I feel the need to analyse or I like repeating (after saying something to someone my mind repeats what I’ve just said); questions – Why? What to do? How to do it? (an inner omnipotent voice); discussions with an inner judge. In time, I started to notice quickly the internal speech type, and that improved my self-reflection.
A person photographed by Humans of New York has a nice piece of wisdom: “When I was younger, I thought listening was just about learning the contents of someone’s mind. I’d always try to finish their thoughts, just to show them that I knew what they were thinking. As I got older, I learned to listen better. I realized that by trying to anticipate their mind, I was ignoring their heart.”
The Social-Relational experience refers to the capacity for awareness of the relations and connections with the people around us and the communities we are a part of. The Social-Relational CQ includes traits, skills and abilities related to parental relationships, close relationships, social interactions, perception of others’ communications styles, detecting social deception, cognitive empathy, social intuition, flexibility in social behaviors, outrospection (a means of getting to know oneself by developing relationships and empathetic thinking with others), awareness of in-out groups stereotypes, cognitive openness when discussing matters with others, detecting the hidden agendas of the people we listen to or talk to, and conversational skills.
During inner growth, there are many changes in the way we relate with people. Changing friends, moving to new groups are natural dynamics, as people change their interests and way of thinking-feeling-sensing. In couples, if the transformation potential is not similar in both partners, the natural way in many cases is for each one to continue the journey separately.
I see conscious relationships as mature connections: the partner is there not to solve the other’s insecurity, but to amplify stability and to support the partner’s evolution. I recently saw a feminine warrior’s manifesto for conscious relationships, in a blog post by Kelly Marceau: “Sexy consciously awake women: who we are, what we want and need from men”. Below some excerpts:
“At 23-years old, my romantic life was tripping me up. I was choosing men who were ambitious and driven. The downside is they were complete pricks. I liked men that were wicked smart. It’s a shame that some of those fools were too wicked for their own well being. Then I met Adam. Adam and I clicked. Conversation was endless. There were no topics left untouched. What a relief that was. Adam was a Consciously Awake man, the first I had ever encountered in my life. His self-awareness opened my own world to an expansion of my self. The part of me I had been craving for an eternity. Deep-seeded issues started arising. I had no idea how much my past was playing itself out in my present.
Fortunately, the one thing I had gotten right… was my outright refusal to compromise on my standards of living. So, instead of running, I dived in to examine and process the stuff I’d buried for so long. My desire to wake up was bigger than my desire to stay unconscious. I went to war with my demons and did the work to become a more Consciously Awake human being. Choosing awareness was brutal. Real examination of self and vulnerability requires courage, discipline and immense strength. It’s tough to understand until you’re sinking in piles of your own shit and you have to figure a way out before it suffocates you. But once you’re out… you’re free.
Men… we need you. All this “we don’t need you” crap is a big fucking lie. The problem is a lot of you are lame, unreliable, emotionally stunted, and impossible to date. The idea that the vast majority of men are cavemen has validity. And it’s hard to need (and want) a caveman with no purpose and no ability to communicate to us as women. We need men, not boys…
There is nothing un-sexier to a Consciously Awake woman than a guy who is still being potty trained emotionally. These men are not men. They’re boys.And to the women who are still toying with these boys, you can make better choices. It’s time to demand these men step up and initiate into manhood. There is a big difference between a man who can harness his boy spirit, and be playful, loving, funny, and obnoxious, and a man who has the emotional intelligence of a teenage boy.
Three signs a man is still potty training emotionally:
1) He’s never explored his emotional landscape or done inner personal work, gone through extensive therapy or personal and emotional coaching.
2) He doesn’t own his shit. He expects others to deal with his emotional issues, triggers, unresolved childhood stuff or dysfunctional family imprinting.
3) He’s insecure and projects his fear and emotional wounds onto you, but tries to spin it like you’re the one with issues.
Emotionally stunted men are an epidemic in our culture. A lot of these emotionally stunted guys have awesome personalities. The real problem is that they’re cool in every way except for how they choose to deal with their emotions. All women get caught up with these types at one stage or another until they wise up. Why? Because we aren’t living in a culture where the emotional intelligence of men is predominantly great, and it often takes time for people to see others as they actually are. A lot of women are so starved for connection that they begin making excuses. They get roped into multi-yearlong love affairs when warning signs have been flashing the entire time.
Ladies! Stop falling for a guy’s potential. Too many women want to be with the idea of who a man is. They sacrifice deep emotional intimacy and choose good looks and hot sex, then complain once the relationship fails. If he has major emotional issues (like the ones I highlighted), you will be babysitting, playing mommy, and living with a headache larger than life.
That is unless he is willing to work his shit out on his own without you nagging him to do so. The desire must come from within, not from you. It’s time we choose men who value growth. We will no longer subscribe to one-sided relationship. These leave us bitter, resentful and unfulfilled. We’ve been down that road too many times already. We aren’t looking for disappointment. We are looking for someone who stands out. We want men who challenge us to grow.”
I think this warrior’s manifesto for conscious relationships has the same validity if we replace “man” with “woman”. A native Cherokee proverb has an archetypal perspective to the conscious relationship: a woman’s highest calling is to lead a man to his soul, so as to unite him with the source; her lowest calling is to seduce, separating man from his soul and leave him aimlessly wandering. A man’s highest calling is to protect the woman, so she is free to walk the earth unharmed. Man’s lowest calling is to ambush and force his way into the life of a woman”.
Some of the items in the CQ-i that refer to the Social-Relational experience:
– I notice when the group of people I am with is highly empathic or else has low empathy.
– When interacting with people, I notice when we don’t find a way to really connect to each other and we just exchange some superficial ideas (or have a small talk).
– When I meet a person, after a few minutes I know whether or not I’m going to like them, even before talking directly to them.
– When I am asked I find it easy to describe my friends and my relationships with them.
– I realize when I have to refuse the help of my family or friends so I can succeed on my own.
– I know when my life partner is momentarily focused on priorities other than our relationship, even if he/she is not telling me.
– I realize when somebody is trying to be someone other than the person they truly are.
An exercise that could increase the Social-Relational CQ is to divide your attention when speaking with people: keeping your attention focused both on the person you are talking to (and their message) and on yourself, on your own body posture, thinking and emotions.
The Self CQ refers to the capacity for awareness of one’s self and one’s own ego (identity). The Self CQ includes traits, skills and abilities related to identity, the self-system, one’s image of life, self-awareness, connections between emotions and thinking, an ability to see one’s self as objectively as possible, flexibility in ego-related thinking (e.g., the ability to make and appreciate jokes about the way we are), self-compassion, self-kindness, post-autonomous ego-development traits (goal in life, ego awareness), awareness of subpersonalities, multicultural self-awareness (e.g., recognizing how cultures you interact with influence your worldview), and autonomy.
Some items included.in the CQ-i:
– I see my failings as part of the human condition.
– I realize that my identity (personality) is just a system of patterns that has developed over the course of my life.
– I realize when my emotional states (oscillations) are influenced by my thinking.
– I have moments when I analyse myself through the eyes of others, in order to broaden my perspective of myself.
– I think before saying something and I assess how to say it, even if it relates to discussions on everyday topics.
– I can make and appreciate a joke about the way I am.
– I feel that my main goal in life is to just to be.
– When I fail at something important to me I keep things in perspective.
– When I meet my friends, I prefer to discuss about how we think and how we experience life, instead of just describing the events that have happened in our lives.
– I realize when my thinking is influenced by my emotional states (emotional oscillations).
– I can detect which aspects of myself I enact in my relations with different people.
– I am aware of both the strengths and weaknesses of my personality.
– When I analyse myself, I recognize how the cultures I interact with influence my worldview.
You can increase your Self CQ by observing your subpersonalities – the various facets of your personalities (e.g., you as a child, you as a parent, you as a friend, you as a worker, etc.), how they act and interact with each other and with the environment, and what their specific emotions, patterns of thinking, fears and behavior are.
The Inner Growth CQ refers to the capacity for awareness of the process of personal development, transformation and growth. The Inner Growth CQ includes traits, skills and abilities related to the evolution of personality, paradigm shifts, unlearning and learning (through pain or by open learning), openness, the language updating process, accepting criticism, abandoning old perspectives and embracing new ones, noticing resistance to change, learning after peak experiences, detecting the cognitive biases related to learning (e.g., confirmation bias), resilience, awareness of one’s level of development (e.g., using spiral dynamics theory), and an ability to sustain new patterns of thinking/feeling while old patterns slowly lose their grip (awareness of the process of neuroplasticity).
The Inner Growth factor of the Consciousness Quotient Inventory includes items that explore the transformation journeys:
– I have lived through important events which have changed my values and priorities.
– When I examine the past, I can clearly see when and how I have changed.
– When I search for information on a topic, I also explore data that does not support my perspective on that topic (*E.g. I check the sceptical perspective).
– I notice when I become resistant to things that annoy me and do not accept them as they are.
– I enjoy investing time and effort in developing my personality and my strengths and talents.
– I have moments when I ask myself the question – What is the real objective world and who am I?
– I am able to recognize the repetitive events in my life and then analyse and learn from them.
– I detect the cognitive and emotional patterns that restrict me in becoming a better and more balanced person.
– At the end of each day, I explore what I have learned on that day.
You can increase your Inner Growth CQ by learning to be more open and to accept life as it comes. Learning from criticism and embracing various perspectives are key skills that would support your personal development.
In the last years, transpersonal psychology has offered a participatory understanding perspective on spirituality: the spirituality of persons is developed and revealed primarily in the spirituality of their relations with other persons (regarding spirituality primarily as the fruit of individual meditative attainment leads to the gross anomaly of a ‘spiritual’ person who is an interpersonal oppressor).
In my opinion, harmonizing with all that is, inside and outside, is the key element of the spiritual component. In the Consciousness Quotient Inventory, the Spiritual factor refers to specific traits, skills and abilities related to harmony, human connectedness, meta-awareness, witnessing awareness (non-attachment) and acceptance of experience, present moment awareness, the connection of humans and nature (environment), mindfulness, and non-reactivity to inner experiences. An important part of the Spiritual CQ explores post-autonomous ego development features, including serving others, compassion for the self, transpersonal experiences, Ego as object/construct, detecting the limits of words (language as object).
Spirituality, as compassionate way of living and exploring life, exists in all stages of ego development. What happens during evolution is that the values related to spirituality become more internalized. In the preconventional ego stages, spirituality is rather related with moral norms, and it usually means complying with the norms. As people transform, these values become living values, and respecting all the human beings is a matter of self-respect.
An emergent philosophy that suits well this approach toward spirituality is Ubuntu (Hunhu), coming from African wisdom. Ubuntu literally means “humanness or humanity to others”, and promotes a sense of community and communality. This philosophy of life is rooted in thousands of years of human experiences, and it is what the western lifestyle needs. Its main idea is significantly articulated in a Zulu saying, “a person is a person through other persons.”
Humanity to others is fundamentally a sense of togetherness with other human beings. To achieve this togetherness, reconciliation with those ‘others’ becomes a continuous necessity of being. For Desmond Tutu Ubuntu is “the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness. It speaks about compassion. A person with Ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share. Such people are open and available to others, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do not feel threatened that others are able and good, for they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a greater whole”.
In other words, in the philosophy of Ubuntu, to be human is to be in participation with others. Nelson Mandela explained Ubuntu as follows: “A traveler through a country would stop at a village and he didn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food and attend him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?” In an education grounded in Ubuntu, treating others people as humans becomes concretized through the principles that are enumerated above. Thus, education based on Ubuntu would emphasize “warmth, empathy, understanding, the ability to communicate, interaction, participation, sharing, reciprocation, harmony, cooperation”.
Below you can find some of the items in the CQ-i, which compose the Spiritual factor:
– I have compassion for myself – even when I have made mistakes – and I treat myself with kindness and love.
– When I wake up in the morning I feel like life is full of mystery.
– I am gentle with myself and I don’t judge myself too hard when I am having a bad day.
– It is hard for me to talk with my close friends about the meaning of life and my role on the Earth.
– I am very eager and curious to learn more about myself and my life.
– When I analyse my perspective on life, I see that my story is a part of a larger story that involves all of humanity.
– I see my life as a wonderful and mysterious journey.
– I am comfortable with neutral experiences and I am not focused on looking for pleasant experiences.
– I try to understand other people’s ideas about spirituality.
– I make the effort to change those of my habits which I know are bad for me.
– I feel that the world around is friendly and full of meaning.
– When talking to people, I feel as though I am a musical instrument, and that music flows through me (without controlling it) to reach those listening.
– I have moments when I feel that I am something more than my mental activity.
Improving the Spiritual CQ could lead to an increased ability to connect with the collectivities that you live in and to experience your life as a part of a larger life that includes all of us. There are many available methods that can develop the Spiritual CQ. Some of the effective ways include mindfulness-related techniques and the practices promoted by non-dual communities (e.g., conscious.tv, batgap.com) and Eastern and traditional spiritual philosophies (e.g., Ubuntu, Native American), which may help you train the ability to non-identify with the self-centered ego and embrace a larger perspective.
The Presence experience is explored in the second part of the CQ-i, including items evaluated with a Yes/No response scale:
– Do you feel relaxed, at ease, fulfilled, peaceful and/or satisfied?
– Do you feel tense, uncomfortable, anxious and/or unhappy?
– Do you have a sense of worry or fear about what may (or may not) occur?
– Do you feel easy going, confident, grateful, satisfied and/or fulfilled?
– Is your mind relatively silent about (or supportive of) just being how you are?
– Does your mind complain about and/or criticize yourself or others?
– Are you happy being who you feel yourself to be most of the time?
These items explore the individual experience of perceptual presence. But there is another important aspect – stepping from individual to collective presence. The Human Connection Institute provides a set of techniques that can activate a collective awareness in a group, by simply noticing the collective connections. Developed by Sperry Andrews, the technique is very effective, producing a deep connection to the fundamental awareness, in a few minutes.
In the facilitator’s guide, a guide for sharing undivided attention, Sperry writes, “We are going to explore a new way of meditating together as a group. We all understand what it means to give our undivided attention when we are listening carefully to someone. Instead of meditating on our breath or on a candle flame, we begin a process of zeroing in on sharing undivided attention. By focusing moment to moment on sharing a sense of rapport with at least one other person, we get better at it. This alters our experience of what it means to be conscious with others in a group. Surprisingly, meditating in this way as a group makes meditation easier and teaches us a great deal about how to meditate alone. The more we share a sense of undivided attention with at least one other person, the more we share a sense of breathing together, of feeling together. This is a subtle process, and requires a deepening sense of relaxation and the gradual development of “effortless concentration”. It is not at all unusual that the imminent prospect of sharing awareness with others causes some nervousness. Please rest assured, anything we do not want anyone to know about us–automatically–remains beyond the reach of anyone else’s awareness. No one reads anyone else’s mind.
By immersing ourselves in collective rapport, we increase our ability to empathize with and respect others. For the first part of the game, we take turns pairing off, building rapport by sustaining eye contact with each of our partners. We speak to the whole group solely about sharing sensations and emotions–giving less attention to thoughts and intuitions for the time being– as we explore the nature of perception–itself. Instead of being focused by a task or vision, a stream of interconnected ideas or coordinated physical activity, we are going to focus on building rapport by sharing undivided attention together. We are each going to speak one at time to the whole group as the group listens while we sense the group listening to us. This allows the group to travel into collective consciousness”.
My thanks to Sperry Andrews for developing the items which explore the Perceptual Presence Self.