Another Morning in Paradise

 

I get to live yet another day

to experience another morning in paradise,

beautiful Vancouver Island, serene Comox Valley,

where the sea greets the mountains

and hundreds of streams, creeks, and rivers

find their way to the living waters,

where the salmon run their final journey home

to the places they were born,

where the eagles fly searching the waters

for the creatures that give them life,

where the sea lions linger after the herring run

and bark to each other in pure joy,

where the trees reach to the sky

in the vortex of the awakening,

where my heart can share itself

with my soul mate and kindred spirit,

where my heart lives in the only paradise

I may ever know.

 

But if these are the last days

of the last life I will ever live,

I will live it in gratitude.

I will die content.

 

(From my new book, The Magic of Love, soon to be published.)

 

 We are living in a world in crisis. Literally millions are dying from Covid 19 and as many or more are leaving this world due to drug overdose, depression, and suicides. We are asked to trust science and seek intellectual solutions; however, as we have seen, we humans tend to pride ourselves on an intelligence that is based on logical-mathematical reasoning even though it is so prone to errors due to our biases.

Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner in his book, Multiple Intelligences[1], suggests seven different intelligences including: Linguistic, Mathematical and Logical, Visual and Spatial, Bodily Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Music. In recent years he has suggested an eighth, called existential or spiritual intelligence, which he defines as our capacity to reflect upon issues such as the meaning of life[2].

Today I want to look at intrapersonal intelligence  which I believe is a combination of emotional intelligence and  spiritual intelligence and interpersonal intelligence, which I believe can best be  understood as emotional intelligence.  The two go together. I do not think we can have one without the other. Intrapersonal intelligence includes emotional skills like knowing how to relieve stress and to face and overcome challenges. Spiritual skills include self-awareness, living in the moment, acting on the basis of positive beliefs, and having the ability to stand back and examine our setbacks and learn from our experiences. Interpersonal intelligence includes emotional skills like communicating effectively and being able to resolve conflicts positively, and spiritual skills such as deep empathy for others, valuing and respecting differences, and understanding how our actions influence others and affects the greater good.

In order for mankind to survive these trying years ahead, we need to first have intrapersonal skills which basically means we have to understand ourselves and why we think the way we think and do the things we do. This means we have to first find peace within ourselves before we will have peace in the world. The first step is learning how to manage our response to stress. We have to get back to our premodern mind states where we used to spend ninety percent of our days just absorbing and responding to the world around us with gratitude and joy. Only in this state can we sense what is right and good; only then can we release our minds so that we can respond to our environment holistically and use the positive energy around us to heal our bodies and our minds. Once in this state, we can become aware of the power and beauty of our spiritual selves. We can live in the moment and deal with issues and conflicts as they arise with clear minds and positive intent. When things go wrong, we can step back and analyze the situation, see where we went wrong, and plot a new course while accepting and growing from the lessons we have learned.

Once we take the beam out of our own eye, we can strive to remove the speck from our neighbor’s. We can empathize with others, understand why they are saying and doing what they are saying and doing, and not only set aside our differences but actually see that the differences can be used for a better understanding. We can then use this collective wisdom to find real solutions to real problems. In this way we will reinforce each other’s positive beliefs and use the power of our combined spiritual energies to make this world a better place to live.

[1] Gardener, Howard. Multiple Intelligences. Basic Books. New York. 1983.

 

[2] Gardener, Howard. Intelligence Reframed. Basic Books. New York. 1999.

 

Lawrence J.W. Cooper

Poet Laureate, Comox Valley