Spiritual Intelligence in Seven Steps

Iff Books
£14.99 (cloth)
£7.99 (e-book)
Audiobook at Audible
229 pages

Available at US Amazon

Available at UK Amazon

Click for a talk and article introducing the book and asking, what is spiritual intelligence?


“Important and challenging cri de coeur.” Church Times

“Wise and perceptive.” Paradigm Explorer


“In Spiritual Intelligence in Seven Steps, Mark Vernon draws on the understanding of numerous individuals and cultures, weaving them into a text that leads the reader on a journey into the very heart of their self and, at the same time, to the reality that lies behind and is expressed as the world. Like the journey which his mentor, Dante, undertakes, each chapter guides us more and more deeply into the perennial understanding that lies at the foundation of our civilisation.” Rupert Spira

“Compellingly readable, urgently important, kind, wise and scholarly. This is a manual for living and dying that begins with the usually overlooked questions: ‘What are we?’ and ‘Where did we come from?’ Unless we have informed answers we can’t begin to say how we should behave, or what makes us thrive, or speculate on our prognosis as a species, let alone about the therapy that might avert catastrophe. Vernon’s gentle, humble and powerful book needs to be widely read before it’s too late for us all.” Charles Foster

“Spiritual intelligence goes well beyond what we understand as emotional intelligence. It connects us with the centre of our being and our shared spiritual commons. To leave behind the false idols of our materialist imagination, we must learn to reappreciate wonder, death, kairological time, and the glorious universal. In seven elating steps, Mark Vernon outlines how we can dance with the fact that spiritual hunger has always been part of the human condition, and become Homo spiritualis once again. Why should we? Quite simply to avoid going extinct as a species.” Anna Katherina Schaffner

“As entertaining and passionate as it is profound, this book is a treasure trove of spiritual insight and guidance. Expertly interweaving the wisdom of mysticism, philosophy and psychology, Mark Vernon shows that spiritual awakening is the most urgent need of our time.” Steve Taylor

“With intellectual flair, passionate commitment and enormous scope of vision, Mark Vernon has put his finger on the spiritual impoverishment of our times, and offered a pathway to those who are seeking guidance for living soulfully in our materialist world. If we don’t take this seriously and learn from both our own inner wisdom and the great philosophical and religious traditions available to us, the ‘decline and fall’ of the twenty-first century may well be nigh. Vernon shows us how we can reflect afresh and learn what it means to live and die well – this book is a bold and challenging urge to wake up before it is too late.” Angela Voss

“There is a widespread hunger for spiritual intelligence. In this characteristically lucid book Mark Vernon explains that it is not a proficiency achieved by an elite, but a way of perceiving things that is open to everyone. He takes his readers on a transformative journey that helps them to understand better the nature of spiritual intelligence, how it has developed, how it can be cultivated, and why it matters.” Fraser Watts

“The world is desperately in need the kind of spiritual intelligence which Vernon presents, based on humility, insight, compassion and, above all, joy. His attempt to talk about it in a way which is not circumscribed by specific religious belief, but rather draws upon the wisdom of all the great spiritual traditions as well as the contemporary psychology and science, is both original and immensely helpful for those who wish to cultivate these qualities in themselves.” Jane Clark

From the back cover

We live in an age of emergency, exacerbated by a collapse of meaning. Writer and psychotherapist, Mark Vernon, examines the type of intelligence that, whilst often dismissed and overlooked, is crucial to understand and cultivate if we are to survive and thrive in our times.

Spiritual intelligence is the foundation of who we are and our particular type of consciousness. It is the perception identified across wisdom and religious traditions, and known by many names, which can be summarised as the awareness of awareness, and so of being itself. It is the foundation of peace, even in the face of death, as well as purpose and solidarity. The challenge today is to recover and live according to that knowledge.

Examining themes from the nature of consciousness to the experience of time, the emergence of our species and the teaching of spiritual adepts, the book is an antidote to rampant AI and a complement to emotional intelligence. It is written without presuming religious commitments in readers and draws on a mix of sources, from the writings of mystics to the films of Pixar, the work of scholars including Iain McGilchrist and Robin Dunbar, and experience gained from the author’s own practices, particularly psychotherapy. It advocates pilgrimage and improvisation, virtues over morality, and big histories that do not turn the story of our species into a bleak struggle for survival.

The seven steps will help readers identify spiritual intelligence within themselves, unpack why it matters, and suggest how a wider trust in it may be revived. Each chapter ends with a short practice or question.