What is intelligence? And how would I know if I have it?

I am really lucky to have been able to spend a lot of time in Ubud, Bali.  If you haven't been there, go.  It is hard to pin-point exactly what it is about the place that I find so awesome (I could probably list a hundred things if I really tried), but it certainly feels like my second home.  World class Yoga instructors, a wonderfully atmosphere, great food...these are a few of my favourite things.

For those of you who have been to The Yoga Barn in Ubud, you might remember the reception area as you walk in from the Jalan Hanoman entrance near Siam Sally.  There is a collection of books as well as various Ayurvedic and Yoga products that I always seem to give a quick glance on the way through.

On this occasion, I was waiting for my often-late partner to show up for brunch at The Garden Kafe down the path from the reception area.  Knowing that Jason would be late, it gave me the opportunity to peruse this collection of goodies more closely.  

A simple definition of intelligence

This is an excerpt from the Foreword of a book titled 'Intelligence' by an author simply known as Osho, which I purchased on that lovely Ubud afternoon.  Try this on to see how it fits...

'Intellectual' is not intelligence.  To be intellectual is to be phony, it is pretending intelligence.  It is not real because it is not yours, it is borrowed.  Intelligence is the growth of inner consciousness.  It has nothing to do with knowledge, it has something to do with meditativeness.  An intelligent person does not function out of his past experience; he functions in the present.  He does not react, he responds.  Hence he is always unpredictable; one can never be certain what he is going to do.

It did prompt my thinking about how intelligence is represented in our Western society.  The things we hold onto as important, which keep us locked into the past or contemplating a future that may or may not transpire.

Further into the book, he cites an ancient story...

3 friends were talking to another friend who said that he had been given just 6 months to live.  The first said "if that were me, I would give all my belongings to the church, take communion every Sunday, and say my Hail Marys regularly".
The second said "I would sell everything and go on a world cruise and have a great time".
The third said "Me, I would see another doctor".

So what's the point?

If there is a morale to this article, it's that intelligence is a natural quality of life, and we are all born intelligent.  Living a more mindful existence is intelligence.  As it turns out, perhaps over time we drift away from our natural intelligence towards a focus on trying to be intellectual.  To who's advantage?

If Osho is to be believed, and to me he sounds like a pretty smart chap, those who feel comfortable in this very moment are displaying their natural intelligence.  Bravo!

Perhaps intelligence is not for others to judge, but it is certainly ours to embrace.  We just need to make that choice.