What is the Consciousness Quotient Inventory (CQ-i)?
by Ovidiu Brazdau
The Consciousness Quotient (CQ) is a composite psychological construct based on a list of traits, skills and abilities that describe conscious experience. The CQ Inventory (CQ-i) evaluates the frequency of various behaviours and the usage of specific skills and abilities, providing a detailed description of 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 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 CQ 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 the 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 CQ 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. CQ-i explores these dimensions, using questions scored with a Likert scale with six degrees. An additional factor, “conscious presence”, is currently under development.
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 religious techniques. CQ-i is free to use by researchers in educational fields and for individual online testing on the CQ Institute website.
1. Physical Experience
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.
The items in the CQ Inventory that refer to the Physical CQ, 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.
– I can easily notice whether there are any changes in the smells around me.
– I am able to perceive subtle smells which may appear from my body.
– I realize beforehand when I am going to be hungry.
– I can see energy surrounding people in the form of alterations in patterns of light.
– I can easily detect the sources of the sounds around me.
– I notice the first signs of a cold straight away, even before the physical symptoms appear.
– I can easily detect most of the sounds around me, even if I am focused on a specific task.
– I notice how my body changes when I feel sad.
– I can easily detect different nuances of the same colour.
– I notice how food and drink affect my thoughts, bodily sensations and emotions.
– I realize when people are somehow influencing my body energy, making me feel more or less vital.
– I am able to really enjoy the taste of food and drink and not eating on automatic pilot.
– I notice when my voice becomes louder or my body language becomes aggressive.
– I see familiar places as if I see them for the first time.
– When something is bad or good with my decisions I can feel it in my body.
– During the day, I have moments when I notice and reflect upon how time seems to go by.
– I quickly notice when my body tells me that my mind is in conflict with reality (it feels contracted, tense, burning, heavy) or else in harmony with it (it feels vibrating, relaxed).
– When viewing a wonderful landscape, I feel very connected, as if I am becoming part of it.
– I notice how my emotions express themselves through my body.
– I notice how my body changes when I feel different emotions.
– I can see patterns of energy in space (*webbing, points of light etc.)
– When I am in conversation with someone, I pay attention to my posture.
– I can feel energy flowing through my body.
– I easily notice changes in my breathing, such as whether it slows down or speeds up.
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.”
2. Emotional Experience
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 appear in you.
By raising the level of Emotional CQ through various personal growth techniques, you will be able to improve your personal and social life. You may find it useful to develop your emotional intelligence (e.g. eqi.org) and the capacity to welcome and accept all your emotions as they come.
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.
– When talking to others I stay connected and empathetic, even when we experience an unpleasant emotion.
– I can empathize with people’s experiences and feel their emotion, even if that experience is new to me.
– I easily adapt my emotional responses to various social contexts.
– I can select from among my feelings and decide whether a given feeling is worth developing or letting go of, without fighting with it.
– I can perceive my feelings and emotions without having to change them.
– I realize immediately when I behave impulsively when strong emotions build up (*due to the strong emotions I have).
– I pay attention to how my emotions affect my thoughts and behaviour.
– I am able to distinguish between the different emotions that a moment or an event provokes, even if they might be contradictory (*provokes in me, awake in me).
– I notice when I am getting lost in my thoughts or feelings.
– I watch or analyse my emotions in order to solve my personal issues.
– I recover quickly from difficult emotional situations.
– I am able to recognize the automatic/usual patterns of my emotional life (*how my emotions and feelings behave in various situations).
– I can describe how I feel at a given moment in considerable detail.
– I feel empathetic with a story or its characters when I watch a movie or go to the theatre, without forgetting the fact that it is a movie or a play.
– I am able to empathize with people whose opinions or actions I disapprove of.
– I notice the emotions transmitted by a movie, a story or its characters, and I am able to decide if I empathize with them or not.
– I notice when my emotional response in a situation is related to my past experiences, and not only to the present situation.
– I accept all my feelings and sensations, even if they are unpleasant or painful, and I don’t try to change them.
Our emotions are highly influenced by the 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 we are in. This distinction may look impossible for some people, but in a few months it can be done.
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 multiple 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.
3. Cognitive Experience
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.
In my opinion 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).
One 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.
Here are some of the skills and traits that describe your cognitive world, as I translated them into items in the Consciousness Quotient Inventory. Think about them for a while.
– 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.
– When I make important decisions, I analyse my emotions and the feelings that may influence those decisions.
– When discussing a topic, I notice when I’m overconfident – as if I were an expert – even if I don’t know too much about that particular subject.
– During the day, I have moments when I reflect upon what I do or feel at that moment.
– I quickly realize when I have wrongly judged someone due to my preconceived ideas.
– I notice when I have a thought that is creating negative emotions.
– I can easily be in the present moment, without any thoughts distracting my presence (my here-now experience).
– When I speak, I like to play with words or use metaphors and images.
– I tend to evaluate whether my experiences are right or wrong.
– When discussing with someone, I notice when they reach a conclusion too quickly, without much analysis.
– I am able to notice the automatic habits/patterns of my thinking (*e.g. positive, negative, optimistic).
– When describing a situation I realize that the words I use are just my own approximation and do not capture the objective reality of that event.
– I am able to notice the automatic habits of speech of other people.
– When discussing a topic, I notice the ambiguities in the language of the people I talk with.
– I can find the answers to questions without being able to fully tell how I arrived at those answers.
– I prefer to use my own words when speaking to someone instead of quoting others in order to support my views.
– When I think of a situation from the past, I remember most of my thoughts and emotions at that moment and many of the details.
– I can tell when my mind grabs onto an idea and starts using it as a theme for thinking, creating related streams of thought.
– If a topic I am thinking about is not helping me at the moment, I can abandon it easily, without fighting with it.
– I allow myself to doubt my perceptions and my beliefs.
– I believe some of my thoughts are abnormal or bad and that I shouldn’t think that way.
– When talking to someone, I am aware of whether I use verbal stereotypes/clichés.
– When I have an issue with something, I am able to distinguish between solutions based on gut feelings and those based on rational thinking.
– I am ashamed of some of my thoughts.
– I realize that each person, no matter how well informed, has a subjective and limited perspective of any situation.
– When I talk with people I notice their way of thinking and I am able to observe how they think.
– When talking to a person, I am able to adjust my words and language to their framework so that I can communicate properly with them.
– While dreaming, I have experienced moments when I was aware that I was dreaming.
– People say about me that I detect subtle distinctions (nuances) when I describe an event.
– When discussing a topic, I realize that I am able to have a panoramic view (a larger overview) of the topic being discussed, which may include many of the perspectives of the people I talk with.
– I have moments when, in my mind, I am planning possible future discussions with people.
– When I recall a past action or a meeting, I am able to remember very vividly my surroundings and my own thoughts and feelings in great detail.
– I consider more than one alternative and consider different perspectives when making a decision.
– When I talk, I let my thoughts move with the flow and I feel that I am able to use the right words without any effort.
– When I hear a new idea, I first make sure that I listen fully and openly, and only afterwards do I analyse it or agree/disagree with it.
– I think about my principles in life whether they are really balanced.
– When talking with people, I am able to notice how our language limits our perspective on a specific event or situation.
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, until 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.
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.
Language and speech: the communicational 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, 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 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 analyze 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.”
4. Social-Relational Experience
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 modifications in the way we relate with people. Changing friends, moving to new groups are natural, 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 couple in relationships as a 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 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 “women”. A native Cherokee proverb transmits 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 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 Inventory that refer to the Social-Relational aspect are listed below:
– 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.
– When people talk to me, I listen to them with my full attention and I do not think about what I will say next, while they are talking.
– I pay attention to what people recommend to me, because their advice might simply reflect their own desires and thoughts, and not my needs.
– When meeting with people, I take care to create deeper and authentic relationships.
– I can identify what people want from me, even if they do not say it directly.
– I know when I do not get back as much as I give in a relationship.
– I pay attention to what I recommend to people, because my advice might simply reflect my own desires and thoughts, and not their needs.
– When interacting with people I notice when my analysis of the situation is based on my momentary feelings (e.g., positive or negative) rather than considering the big picture.
– I notice immediately when a friend has changed their attitude towards me, even if their behaviour appears the same.
– When discussing with people, I can detect immediately when someone is not really aware of what we are talking about.
– When talking to someone I am totally open to understanding their world view.
– When talking to a person I adjust my words and my language to their framework so that I can communicate properly with them.
– I tend to shape my own opinion about people regardless of their culture or religion.
– I notice when the people I am talking with try to conceal what they truly think.
– When I talk with people, I reply by completing their sentences, without acknowledging what they have just said.
– It is easy for me to take the perspective of another person and recognize it as their truth.
– I realize when I try to create an image of myself in front of others, which is different than my usual self (*letting others believe I am something, even if I know that I am not).
– When talking to someone, I can easily look very closely at his/her non-verbal language to determine whether what they are saying is really what they are thinking.
– (When discussing a topic with someone) I realize when the person I am talking to is trying to present a different image of themselves, other than they usually are.
– When meeting people, I am very open and flexible in seeing them as they really are, not filtering them through my own perspective.
– When meeting a person, I notice if they tend to label me with one characteristic, ignoring my complex personality.
– I easily pick up social signals from the people around me.
– When joining a group of people, I can easily detect the vibe of the group and how it influences just by being there, listening to them or discussing things with them.
– When discussing a topic with people, I am able to help them by intervening at the right moment and with the appropriate words.
– I get to know myself by developing relationships and empathetic lines of thinking with others.
– I find great value in stepping outside of myself by discovering other people’s lives, and not just being self-absorbed in my own reality.
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.
5. Self (Identity)
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 of the items I have included in the Self CQ factor of the Consciousness Quotient Inventory are listed below. I invite you to take some moments to reflect on them:
– 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).
– When talking to people, I prefer to offer myself as I am at that particular moment and not try to mask who I really am.
– I feel that my main goal in life is to just to be aware.
– When I wish to do so, I can recreate an emotion from my memory and I am able re-experience that emotion in the present moment.
– I sense that my main goal in life is to be the most I that I can be.
– It is easy for me to notice the various aspects (facets, parts) of my self.
– I can tolerate a certain amount of physical and psychological discomfort without needing to change what I am doing in order to comfort myself.
– I easily adapt my emotional reactions and behaviour to different situations.
– When I’m going through a very hard time, I give myself the care and tenderness that I need.
– I like to have moments of self-analysis, whether by myself or in discussion with my friends.
– I realize that my personality has some parts that are more balanced than other parts.
– In my personal relationships, I realize which of my emotional patterns influence my behaviour.
– I can easily tell the difference between ‘liking’ and ‘wanting’ something.
– When I make mistakes I have compassion for myself and accept this without judging myself.
– I am loving towards myself when I feel emotional pain.
– 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.
6. Inner Growth Experience
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 include items that explore the transformation journey:
– 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.
– I question my perspective when I discover new or contradictory evidence.
– When I discuss with people, I realize whether I have a bigger / more limited perspective on the topic being discussed compared to the person I am talking to.
– I can easily change my view when I encounter a new perspective that is larger/more valid than mine (when I talk with my friends, read a book, see a movie).
– I have lived through significant events that have changed my concepts about the world and life.
– (It happens that) I see familiar situations as having new or different meanings.
– I notice when my beliefs change and when I see a familiar situation from a new perspective.
– When someone criticizes me, I listen very carefully and usually I ask for more details.
– I allow myself to be open and vulnerable with the people I connect with.
– When encountering new, important information, I am able to perceive how that information changes my personality or identity.
– I learn very quickly from situations and, as a result, I don’t have to have something happen twice (or several times) to learn from it.
– When encountering difficult situations in life, I find good fortune in misfortune.
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 for the same situation are key skills that would support your personal development.
7. Spiritual Experience
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 CQ 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 with spirituality become more and more internalized. In the preconventional stages, spirituality is rather related with moral norms, and respecting them was a matter of 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 the Zulu saying, “a person is a person through other persons.”
Humanity to others is fundamentally and specifically 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 Inventory, which compose the Spiritual CQ 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.
– I have moments when I feel that all human beings belong to one big family, even though we do not know each other.
– I think about how I can contribute to the progress of humankind.
– I realize when I meet important people and when I am in important situations that can help me to improve or change myself for the better.
– In difficult situations, I can pause to reflect without immediately reacting.
– When interacting with nature, I take care to protect it and not to damage it in the slightest.
– I am able to witness (observe) my own thoughts and emotions as they come and go, and I feel comfortable with this.
– I have moments when I am out of my head and I am able to appreciate just being where I am, in the present moment.
– When using natural resources (e.g., water, gas, food, wood products), I take care to use what I need for my survival only and not to waste them.
– I find appropriate moments to do little acts of kindness for strangers.
– When I meet someone with a view about spirituality that is different to mine, I become curious and I ask questions in order to learn more.
– I accept each new experience as being the right experience for me, even if I don’t understand it.
– When I have distressing thoughts or images, I am able to simply notice them without reacting immediately.
– I see that each event in the world, even the smallest one, has a kind of indirect influence on me or at least has the potential to influence me.
– I can easily include/reference God and other religious figures when I am joking, though in a kind way.
– I have moments when I am grateful for what I am and what I know.
– I have moments when I notice coincidences (synchronicities) in my life, when it seems that people or situations are giving me exactly what I’m looking for.
– I pay attention to the present moment and to what is really here now in my being and around me.
– I find the time every day to do exercises that help me improve myself or change myself for the better (e.g., reading, prayer, meditation, a diary, etc.).
– When I do everyday tasks, such as cooking, this is very spiritual for me, and full of wonderful meanings.
– I have moments when I feel that all human beings are highly connected, even though we do not know each other.
– When I meet a person, I understand that they are as important to humanity as I am.
– I feel that almost every moment in my life is wonderful.
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 develop 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 Consciousness Quotient Inventory, including items evaluated with a Yes/No response scale:
– Do you feel relaxed, at ease, fulfilled, peaceful and/or satisified?
– 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?
– Are you receptively listening for the answers to come to you, while answering these questions?
– Do you enjoy not thinking, by dwelling on all that you feel as a whole?
– Would it be scary for you if your mind was still or silent most of the time?
– Do you feel fulfilled just existing as you are, confident that all is well?
– Are you aware at this moment of the quality and presence of your awareness?
These items explore the indvidual experience of 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 some 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 Presence Self.