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The Bridge From Intelligence To Intellect

[Listen to me read this reflection here]

This is a question of knowing versus thinking.

The pursuit of intelligence is a pursuit of learning. Growing up, I absorbed so much knowledge, so many customs and even more beliefs from my environment. This is the intelligence that I carry today and continue to grow. This path is one paved with books and filled with engaging conversations. It is an attempt to turn the unknown into the known.

Intelligence requires the skills of observation, absorption and association.

To observe what is being shared, what is happening and what is not happening. To absorb information from the countless sources available to me. To draw associations between patterns, and to recall and remember information when relevant.

I find that there is a ceiling to intelligence though, and a limit to its usefulness. Intelligence is my ability to absorb knowledge from books, teachers, experiences and those around me. My work is to know how to use this knowledge when relevant and valuable to me, or to others. The issue I am finding is that my intelligence is limited by what is already known, by someone.

Intellect requires the skill of thinking, and is a completely different matter altogether than intelligence.

The bridge from intelligence to intellect is one that I am trying to cross.

Intellect requires the ability to think for myself. The courage to question what is presented to me. The independence of identity. The security to know that I am okay. The feeling of being grounded to something, so that I feel safe to explore the unknown. The ability to draw my own conclusions and to build my own beliefs.

Intellect is when I carve my own path, and resist the temptation to follow the path that is known and trusted.

Intellect is a skill that resides within me, and within each of us. And it is a skill worthy of cultivating and nurturing. Perhaps one day mastering.


I think in my writing I have found one example of this crossing. Writing has become a space for me to explore and express what it is that I am beginning to discover about my world, and my relationship to it.

Each year, I set a one word intention to help guide my choices. This year, that word is space. I can see now how space is required to cultivate intellect, as I need the space to think. Not only do I need space, so do others around me.

During meditation, I become aware of so much. When I choose to sit with it all, versus ignore it or run from it, I become curious. With some space between myself and my thoughts, I begin to inquire within. I cannot ask anyone to answer my questions, as they can only offer me knowledge. I have to spend the time to answer my own questions.

The bridge from intelligence to intellect is one that starts with creating the space for me to think, followed by the courage to inquire.

It is the understanding that there is no right answer, single path or destination for me to get to. I have nowhere to go, I am always on my way.

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