Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Developing Creative Intelligence

This morning Gail, my hairdresser told me an interesting story. Some years ago, she had a dream that her mother had died, and during the funeral her father sighed, “If only she had gone to the doctor!” She and her mother speak almost daily on the phone, so Gail mentioned the dream in passing. A couple weeks later her mother told her that she was supposed to go in for a chest scan but had not made the appointment until after Gail had that dream. The scan showed that she had Stage 1 lung cancer.

“Is your mother still alive?” I asked. Yes! Gail’s mother is not only alive but well – thanks to early detection and treatment, something very rare with lung cancer, which is usually only detected in its final and fatal stages. Not normally mystical in her orientation, Gail explained that “God usually talks to me in the daytime, not in dreams.” But because at that time, she happened to be reading the story of the Prophet Joseph (sa) in the Bible, she took this dream more seriously than she had taken other dreams.

Most of us have had times in our lives when we allowed our creative intelligence take priority over our academic training or rational intelligence. Sometimes following our dreams can lead us to great things, and other times it can provide us with a deep and abiding lesson about the laws of cause and effect.

Einstein said that no problem can be solved on the same mental level as it was created. He experienced many of his brainy “jumps” to unique conclusions of various long-unsolved problems at completely random moments such as while riding the bus, simply allowing his mind to wander freely.

Solving problems creatively by overriding dominant patterns of thinking requires the ability to make subconscious connections between billions of memories of thoughts and impressions; bring that information into personal consciousness in a clear moment’ and translate this raw data into words and pictures, so that this information could then be transmitted to other human beings. Creative intelligence incorporates yet supersedes both emotional and rational intelligence, because it tunes into and taps into the Divine Spirit which is beyond ego.

How do we become creative and spiritual human beings?

“Failure often overwhelms people who desire, or think they desire, to take up and maintain a spiritual orientation to life. This is so because the ego is the greatest test there is. We may wake up any morning with the firmest resolve that we will concentrate only on the purest, most blessed, and highest thoughts. Yet all it takes is a phone call, telling us that we are overdrawn at the bank, or that the children have broken a window, and before we know what has happened, we have lost our concentration. Only later in the afternoon do we recall our resolution to remember God. Therefore, one must constantly restate and restart one’s intention all the time. At first, it may be difficult, and failures may occur. But sooner than one would imagine, the intention leads to a habit, the most positive habit possible. After a time, you don’t forget,” writes Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chishti in his “Book of Sufi Healing.”

Chishti concludes, “Thus with obedience and the grace of Allah does the soul progress from its state at inception – of helpless egotism – to divine unity, if Allah wills it.”

As parents, is there a way to help our children develop habits that will lead to creative intelligence? How do we help them move from a state of mind where the world exists only to meet the child’s needs, to a state of mind where a person develops, who wants to honor the Creator through service?

“Children with creative intelligence have a more developed sense of imagination. They can play games with a few blocks or faceless dolls. They often create imaginary friends. They don’t need a lot to be stimulated. When too much is done for them, they don’t develop their imagination,” writes popular psychologist John Gray, PhD, in “Children Are From Heaven.”

“Too much TV, where images are visual, can weaken children’s ability to imagine. Just as every intelligence grows by being used, a creative intelligence grows when imagination is stimulated, enabling children to think differently. They succeed in life where others fail because they can look at things in a new and different way,” Gray concludes.

“Because the images from television and the movies are so powerful and change so quickly, children often do not understand the story line, and are left imitating the rapid movements and the elements that make the strongest impressions: chasing, shooting, crashing, and so on,” writes Waldorf educator Rahima Baldwin-Dancy in “You Are Your Child’s First Teacher.”

“As a preschool and kindergarten teacher, I observed a dramatic difference in the quality of the play of children who did not watch television. Their inside play was much more imaginative and more likely to have a story line, compared to the running around and catching one another that was dominant with the other children.”

Since God is the Creator, developing creative intelligence requires aligning our consciousness with His, and often this is helped along by tuning into our subconscious inner symbolism. So, in a lot of ways, the less we do and the less input we give our children, the better. Instead of teaching them anything in particular, we can help them find what is within themselves, simply by eliminating distractions.

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