Photo by Victoria Russell

“One of the big traps we have in the West is our intelligence, because we want to know what we know. Freedom allows you to be wise, but you cannot know wisdom. You must be wisdom… The intellect is a beautiful servant, but a terrible master. Intellect is the power tool of our separateness. The intuitive, compassionate heart is the doorway to our unity.” – Ram Dass

For those of you who struggle with the intelligence spike – “Is my partner smart enough” – I urge you to study this quote word-by-word. I’ve written about this spike on my blog and in my Break Free course in depth, but as it has resurfaced this week through the collective unconscious that reveals itself in my counseling room, it’s time to address it again from a different angle so we can shed new light on this important and pervasive spike.

As with all projections – whether intelligence, wit, attraction, or any other place where relationship anxiety can hang its hat – the invitation is to turn the microscope into the mirror and courageously work to unpack and decode the messages about your own growth embedded in the projection. With this particular spike, there are many.

For one, you’re being asked to redefine intelligence and reprioritize your value system that places a certain kind of intelligence at the top of the hierarchy of worthiness. In other words, you’ve been conditioned through the sub-culture of your family and the culture at large to believe that a certain type of intelligence – namely, school smart – is equated with worthiness. So when a client says, “I always thought I would marry someone who attended the same type of schools I did (Ivy League) and has a similar job that I have (high income)”, what they’re really saying is, “I thought I would marry someone who my parents and the culture would think is ‘a catch.’ It’s the priorities that are out-of-whack here, not the person you’re marrying, for we live in a culture that says a person’s education is more important than their heart. “Intellect is the power tool of our separateness,” Ram Dass writes. When this spike arises, it speaks to a belief that school-intellect is at the top of the worthiness totem-pole when, in fact, when we drop underneath this habitual and conditioned metric for measuring worthiness and tap into our well of wisdom we disagree with the hierarchy entirely.

Secondly and similarly, when this spike arises you’re being asked to expand and widen your definition of intelligence. As I discuss in detail in my Trust Yourself program, we now know that there are at least nine types of intelligences, including kinesthetic awareness, creative intelligence, emotional intelligence, and many others. To limit our definition of intelligence to those who do well in school and follow a traditional career path is, in a word, absurd, and contributes to our damaging mindset of separateness. When I ask my clients who struggle with the intelligence spike what draws them to their partner, they respond with some version of, “her heart,” or “his kindness,” which corroborates with Ram Dass’ wisdom above: “The intuitive, compassionate heart is the doorway to our unity.”

Thirdly, this particular spike is often largely embedded in the mindset of caring what others think. When I ask clients if they would be obsessing about their partner’s intelligence if they lived on a desert island, the answer is almost always no. This spike points to a need to work on the ingrained habit of orienting yourself and making decisions based on others’ opinions and values instead of your own. In order to reverse this habit requires filling yourself well of Self so that the needle of your inner compass starts to naturally orient toward your own wisdom. “You cannot know wisdom. You must be wisdom,” Ram Dass shares. This means that when you learn to know yourself from the inside-out as opposed to the outside-in, you tap into the wellsprings of wisdom that currently live inside of you. When you live your life from this place of wisdom, everything changes.

Doing this work and tackling this spike is not only a personal task; we are being asked, collectively, to expand our definition of intelligence and reprioritize our value system. All projections essentially ask the same thing: to do your inner work so that unhealthy intergenerational and cultural patterns and mindsets  can fall away and be replaced with something healthy and new. If the intelligence spike or attraction spike or any other spike in causing you to see your partner though a misguided value system which occludes his/her essence, consider yourself lucky: you’re being swept along a worldwide wave that is inviting us to evolve our consciousness around what it means to love and be loved. The work is painful and challenging, but every time you turn inward and peel away a layer of distortion, every time you sit with a throb of pain, every time you learn to fill your inner well, you are healing not only yourself but also the planet. The healing wave is underfoot and you are a part of it.

It begins with you: learning the tools that will help you turn inward so that you can know yourself fully, perhaps for the first time in your life, which leads to examining the true nature of self-love and results in self-trust. For what happens when you commit to the next level of your inner work, is you realize your own nascent and true intelligence and your innate worthiness. You start to see yourself as you really are instead of what the culture or your parents have told you should be. You come closer to your intrinsic and inviolable awareness of your goodness and wholeness, and as you do so, the metrics by which you value yourself – which are based on externals – begin to shift. When this shifts, you naturally see your partner through clear eyes, eyes that understand the true nature of love.

If you’re ready to take this journey alongside a group of passionate learners, if you’re ready to learn about what it means to love yourself from the inside-out so that you can truly learn to trust yourself, please join me for my eleventh round of Trust Yourself: A 30-Day Program to Help You Overcome Your Fear of Failure, Caring What Others Think, Perfectionism, Difficulty Making Decisions, and Self-Doubt.

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