Spiritual Intelligence and Integral Leadership

Alla Ratner

Alla Ratner

Alla Ratner
Alla Ratner


After 20 years in a successful leadership career, I experienced a loss of meaning. I felt locked into a dense isolation where going through one more day seemed intolerable. I was not aware that there could be a spiritual malady behind my professional and personal crisis. Spirituality was not a part of my vocabulary because I grew up in the atheistic culture of the former USSR and was taught to rely solely on my intellect. What was the point of my hard earned American dream?

Only retroactively do I see the blessings of those dark days. My old direction in life stopped working, and I had no idea how to generate a new one. Little did I know that by accepting the limits of intellect, I accepted grace as a full resident in my soul. Looking back, I see that I was always searching for freedom and truth, but this search rendered me hopeless because I always had my own image of what truth must look like instead of letting it reveal itself to me. I am writing this paper with gratitude to apparent losses that granted me the courage to step into the realm of the unknown.

When I first came across the term “spiritual intelligence” it hit home immediately. I was ready to appreciate the music of logic and the logic of music. I trusted that these two seemingly incompatible words firmly belong together. I knew that there was a greater source intrinsic to all I was doing. I became connected to that source through daily meditation, prayer, journaling, and critical reflection practices. I began experiencing revelations in what I believed was a spiritual intelligence. I began surfing literature looking for authors who define spiritual intelligence and its relevance to leadership performance. As I was reading, I became more convinced that spirituality can, and ought to be, intelligent if we genuinely understand and humbly practice it as such.

Except for the writings of Ken Wilber, most books and articles seemed to review a narrow angle in meaning and application of spirituality as intelligence. Remarkably, different authors discussed valuable insights on spiritual intelligence. The more I read, the more I appreciated how all of these insights blend into one greater whole. I was moved to write this paper hoping to offer yet another angle on how spiritual intelligence and integral leadership can blend together.

Defining the Problem

Spiritual intelligence as a term often appears in academic literature as a linguistic target for nitpicking due to the lack of a clear consensus in the field of transpersonal psychology. There is, however, a clear pattern in how the concept has been misinterpreted by successive generations. In brief, the age of modernity repressed the “higher levels of spiritual intelligence,” blaming spirituality for pre-modern religious repressions (Wilber, 2007, p. 183). Swinging the pendulum to the other extreme, the radical post-modern worldview blamed everything rational for the repression of spirituality. Thus, by protecting spirituality from intelligence, postmodernism infantilized its own relationship with the spiritual realm (Wilber, 2007, 2012). Fortunately, the integral map of consciousness laid bare these pathologies with unprecedented transparency. Now map readers can swiftly distinguish between states and stages of consciousness. The following quote from the writings of Susanne Cook-Greuter explains how significant this difference is:

The literature often confuses the terms stages and states of experience. . . Altered states of consciousness (daydreams, flow states, peak experiences) are altered in the sense that they are different from what is considered to be the normal, waking awareness. By definition, such altered states are temporary, fleeting, and lead the experiencer back to his or her ordinary, everyday view of reality. Stages, on the other hand, are the more permanent positions from which different people view, explore, and interpret experience. . . Developmental theory holds that these stages follow each other in an invariant sequence of greater and greater differentiation and integration. The theory predicts that people at post-conventional stages can more readily differentiate among transpersonal sources and make more deliberate use of the insights gained for the benefit of their quality of life. The pre-trans fallacy occurs when all undifferentiated pre-personal states and sources are deemed as equally powerful and illuminating as the transpersonal. . . As people become more self-actualized, they start to appreciate transpersonal input in qualitatively different way (Miller & Cook-Greuter, 2000, pp. xix-xx).The integral map comprehensively merged Eastern and Western philosophies in one unified document, clarifying the continually deepening relationship between science and spirituality. Nonetheless, scientific reductionism accepted developmental hierarchy but rejected its relationship with spirituality, while extreme post-modernism dismissed developmental hierarchy altogether. This fundamental confusion arrested the development of both rational and transpersonal sciences.

The following quote from the manuscript of Mark McCaslin, The Potentiating Arts: Integral Leadership in Action, eloquently describes that the meaning of spirituality is all-embracive and all-inclusive. Spiritual intelligence enables people with no formal religious affiliation to unite through spirituality by interpreting it as empowerment and creativity as follows:

Developing this bridge between empowerment, creativity and spirituality requires at the onset to clearly establish the meaning and significance of spirituality. James Moffett (1994) in The Universal Schoolhouse assists us in establishing this requirement by first gently removing religion from this context. “Spirituality”, he states, “may be what all religions share, but spirituality is not dependent upon religion”… This spirituality we speak of is much more akin to the likes of “soul food”…  It is the recognition that inclusive leadership is a direct outflow of our mutual creativity toward a truly shared issue and resolution, and as such, a reflection of our inner self, our spirit, our spirituality. With this in mind we become enamored by Moffet’s supposition, “suppose we do not so much learn to live but live to learn” (p. 332). Suppose we do not learn to lead so much as we lead to learn, in order to lead with elegance.” (McCaslin, 2013, p. 200)

From yet another perspective, people who belong to a religious denomination may feel uncomfortable about the idea of removing religion from the context of spiritual intelligence. This issue is addressed in Ken Wilber’s recent Loft Series; Why God needs Your Spiritual Intelligence? Wilber states that spirituality is often confused with “mythic, literal, concrete religiousness.” He believes that no one is required to either join or renounce an affiliation with a particular religion because the idea of spiritual intelligence is friendly to all. He challenges “a trend in the integral community to describe oneself as “spiritual but not religious” by posing a question: “don’t you think it’s a bit awkward for us so-called integral types to describe what we are by disaffirming an opposite?”

Ken Wilber shares McCaslin’s idea on significance of spiritual education. The academia is ready for it since statistics reveal that 75% of college students and 81% of teachers consider spirituality a crucial part of their lives but can’t discuss it within a formal university system. Thus, “until that picture at least starts to change, we are going to have zero effect getting actual trans-rational, post-conventional spirituality.” (Wilber)

What is Spiritual Intelligence?

Ken Wilber described spiritual intelligence as: “literacy in the practice of transformation,” and he further pointed out that: “spiritual intelligence is fast becoming a leadership imperative” (Wilber, 2000b, p. 95). Robert Emmons defined spiritual intelligence as a framework for identifying and organizing the skills and competencies needed for the adaptive use of spirituality (Emmons, 1999, p. 163).

Spiritual intelligence can be described symbolically as the backbone of human consciousness, responsible for character-building and meaning-making. If, as an accountant, I was asked to present spiritual intelligence on a company’s balance sheet, I would classify it as a principle intangible asset. It is a company’s virtual bank account where leaders invest their faith on behalf of all stakeholders. Metaphorically speaking, a company can draw against this account with unconditional reliance when other means fail to provide a workable solution.

Developing spiritual intelligence is more of an experiential rather than a theoretical process. Thus, it is difficult to accurately define spiritual intelligence in literal terms without retreating into metaphors and symbols. The language of spiritual intelligence is the language of the heart. Everyone understands it; but in order to speak it linguistically, we need to better understand the language of intuition, imagination, and creativity. This is especially significant for multicultural teams where people come from all walks of life and all corners of religious backgrounds.

In a practical sense, the enhanced ability of linguistically communicating what is beyond words is a remarkable tool for multicultural leadership and teamwork. It is important to stress that I am not referring to a mere exchange of feelings, but rather the unity of being that comes from a deep sense of knowing. To this end, the difference between emotional and spiritual intelligence is highly significant but often misunderstood. Drawing analogy with accounting principles once again, emotional intelligence is more of an income statement (expense) account where spiritual intelligence represents a balance sheet (investment) account in a character-building faculty. Both accounts are needed and valuable, yet intrinsically different.

David Hawkins suggested that spiritual intelligence serves as a “cross-paradigmatic dictionary.” Integrating the interface of spirituality and science, spiritual intelligence can work with the empirical methods in order to explain the phenomenon of invisible. This is specifically useful in dealing with agnostics, skeptics, or even atheists who need practical perspectives in learning contemplative disciplines (Hawkins, 2006).

Background of the Topic

Howard Gardner’s research expanded the common understanding of intelligence beyond the limitations of IQ (Gardner, 1999). His theory of multiple intelligences proposed that every human being has a potential set of talents that can be developed with adequate training. His theory initially suggested eight developmental lines or intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Robert Emmons argued that spirituality warrants inclusion in the list of multiple intelligences since it fulfills the criteria of an intelligence reflecting:

  1. Breadth of knowledge;
  2. Depth of knowledge;
  3. Performance accomplishments;
  4. Automaticity or ease of functioning;
  5. Skilled performance under changing conditions;
  6. Generative flexibility; and
  7. Speed of learning and developmental change (Emmons, 1999, p. 159).

William James first suggested that the empirical process can be extended to studies of experiential spirituality, and that varieties of personal experiences can be viewed as scientific experiments. He further suggested that experiential reports of spiritual practitioners could verify or dismiss the validity of a given spiritual hypothesis (James, 1992, p. 450). This idea is most convincingly explored in practically all books and lectures of Ken Wilber.

Quality of Faith

Although scholars approach ideas about spiritual intelligence differently, all agree on the quality of intuition and imagination, or wealth of soul, when discussing how different people relate to faith (Bozesan, 2010, p.  9). James Fowler examined the developmental dynamics of faith throughout the human life span. His findings appeared to be strikingly consistent with the works of developmental and leadership psychologists (Cook-Greuter, 2002; Wilber, 2000a, 2000b; Rooke & Torbert, 2005). Fowler’s study aligned development of faith with Piaget’s cognitive development theory, Kohlberg’s moral development, and Ericson’s development of identity (Fowler , 1981, p.52, table 2.1).

Fowler mapped the trajectory of faith in a lifespan similar to how a composer integrates various themes and tunes in one symphony. Spiritual intelligence distinguishes between genuine spirituality and a notion of an “old man in a sky,” which rendered some of us stuck in atheistic or agnostic voyages. Quality of faith resembles a “sacred conductor” who enlivens beats and rhythms of a life harmony. Creativity does not need to oppose intelligence, and spirituality can only befriend logic.

Spiritual Intelligence and Action-Logics

Fowler’s stages of faith resemble William Torbert’s action-logics, which is another term for describing developmental stages in application to leadership performance (Rooke & Torbert, 1995). The system of action-logics essentially parallels the evolution of spiritual intelligence, expansion of consciousness, increase in genuine compassion, and authentic wisdom. Hence, all models concerned with evolution of consciousness practically ask the identical question: “How and where does a person turn for empowerment when challenged by fears, uncertainties, and temptations?” Robert Emmons suggested that spiritual intelligence represents an “inner-regulatory mechanism to deal with frustrations, temptations, and setbacks” (Emmons, 1999, p. 159).

Fowler described a dominant center of value and power responsible for “ways we respond to emergencies and crises” (Fowler, 1981, p 97). Torbert’s action-logics differentiated leaders by “reactions when their power or safety is challenged” (Rooke & Torbert, 2005, p. 3).

The system of action-logics initially offered seven levels: Opportunist, Diplomat, Expert, Achiever, Individualist, Strategist, and Alchemist (Rooke & Torbert, 2005). Leaders who operate at pre-conventional levels of action-logics (Opportunists, Diplomats and Experts) find a symbolic concept of gods in worshiping money, power, other people, or one’s own intellectual mind.


The action-logic of Opportunists is fueled by mistrust, egocentrism, and manipulation. Opportunists legitimize their harsh behavior, externalize blame, reject feedback, and retaliate with anger. The wild excitement indulged in by Opportunists resembles the behavior of addicts who are obsessively attracted to adventures, driven by greed, pride, and dreams of grandiosity (Rooke & Torbert, 2005, p. 3).

If spirituality is repressed, it expresses itself through obsessive pursuits often manifesting in a variety of addictions and neuroses. Carl Jung wrote to Bill Wilson, a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous: “You see, ‘alcohol’ in Latin is spiritus, and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depriving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spiritum. (AA Grapevine, 2003, p. 19).


Whether overtly or covertly, spiritual intelligence patrols the major highway in a developmental map of action-logics aligning needs, values, identity, and meaning around its principle question – what is of ultimate concern? (Emmons, 1999, 2000; Wilber, 2007, 2012). For instance, a Diplomat’s ultimate concern is what other people think. A Diplomat is lost when approval of others is withdrawn. This makes it difficult to depend on a Diplomat-leader in times of crisis or when inspiration is needed.


Unlike Diplomats, who tend to ignore conflict, the Expert begins working through them.  Representing 38% of the sample, in contrast to 12% for Diplomats and 5% for Opportunists, Experts use knowledge in place of ultimate concern. They deny the value of collaborative efforts, perceive affection as irrelevant in business, and use intellect to control rather than empower their subordinates. Being unable to see outside themselves, Experts-leaders are lacking the ability to innovate and transform organizations.

Sadly, Rooke and Torbert’s study of leadership revealed that only a few leaders “try to understand their own action-logic, and fewer still have explored the possibility of changing it” (Rooke & Torbert, 2005, p. 3). In his recent course, Future of Spirituality, Wilber noted that, “right now, spiritual intelligence is on the bottom of multiple intelligences, tracking them all down while it ought to be at the top pulling them up”. This problem is, once again, generally rooted in “our poor understanding of spirituality, and in particular, because of our catastrophic failure to distinguish between pre-rational religion and trans-rational religion” (Wilber, 2012, lecture 2).

Natti Ronel, in her article The Experience of Spiritual Intelligence, argued that the 12-step programs offer a useful example of spiritual-intelligence-in-action that activates “a sense of meaning, which can engage us more fully with the world around us.” (Ronel, 2008, pp. 31-33). Addicts and alcoholics are faced with the immediacy of spiritual development under threat of being institutionalized, imprisoned, or dead. Paradoxically, this immediacy forces 12-step practitioners out of their “comfort zone” towards the rigorous practice of a spiritually oriented lifestyle. As a result, many experience accelerated transformation from ego-centered to social-centered and principle-centered worldviews.

Twelve-step programs further parallel the spiritual journey of leaders growing through action-logics. Specifically, the second step in the AA program emphasizes that all achievements start from someone having faith in something greater than his or her rational mind (The Big Book 44-57). Opening one’s mind begins a transition from Shadow to Light or from Expert to Achiever.


Those measured as Achievers represent 30% of the sample and they show the capability to participate in collaborative efforts. Achievers offer a greater integration in understanding, but this is nevertheless poorly shaped for thinking “outside the box” (Rooke & Torbert, 2005, p. 6). Achievers begin recognizing that the nature of conflicts can be attributed to different views and interpretations. This recognition shows the early signs of humility, a major quality of spiritual intelligence.


Individualists, action-logic following Achievers, cease marginalizing themselves and others, and contribute out of the box innovations to the organizations they manage. The downside of this action-logic is ignoring established rules and practices. In terms of spiritual intelligence, Individualists exhibit a high capacity for transcending limitations, but have a poor capacity to stay grounded. Individualists deny time-tested organizational rules and values that could actually help them stay grounded.

Steps 10 and 11 of the AA program help practitioners develop quality of spiritual intelligence through repetition of critical reflection, forgiveness, and humility in the daily acts of detecting, amending, and transcending shortcomings (The Big Book 2001, pp. 84-88). Such practices can help Individualists to stay grounded, embrace the rules of an organization, and exhibit reverence to their team members.


While Achievers and Individualists recognize existence of other worldviews, Strategists develop capability to actually put themselves in other people’s shoes. Strategists seek to weave together idealist visions with pragmatic, timely initiatives and principled actions. The Strategist operates from the second tier of consciousness. More specifically, Strategists fully embrace opposites and master “the second-order organizational impact. . . creating shared visions” across different action-logics (Rooke & Torbert 2005, p. 7). Unlike the Individualist, a Strategist integrates established principles and practices into a new unconventional vision.

Strategists are fascinated with global synergies. They are leaders who transform themselves through heightening awareness. They rely on an inner source of empowerment and produce quantum leaps in social transformations. Scoring 4% of the sample, Strategists are described as change agents (Rooke & Torbert, 2005). The Strategist exemplifies what Natti Ronel described as the experience of spiritual intelligence at the Principle-Centered consciousness.

The practice of rigorous honesty, accountability for one’s thoughts and deeds, humility, forgiveness, compassion, and wisdom are principles on which the 12-step program rests in its entirety (The Big Book, 2001; Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 2004). These ideas are very native for Alchemists, the seventh action-logic in the transformational hierarchy of leadership.

Some sources also list the Ironist, yet little research is available on it to date.


Alchemists “focus intensely on the truth” (Rooke & Torbert, 2005). While Strategists are Integral leaders, Alchemists can qualitatively be identified as transpersonal leaders because they manifest changes of a historic magnitude. Whereby the Strategist moves from one engagement to another, the Alchemist exhibits an extraordinary capacity to perform on multiple levels with a multitude of activities. Synchronicity in addressing priorities and long-term goals is an attribute of alchemical leadership. Exponents of this action-logic can find the time to successfully resolve the issues of multiple organizations on a daily basis without experiencing a sense of rush.

Researchers were able to interview only six participants who scored at the Alchemists’ level, which signifies how rare this phenomenon is in leadership or anywhere else in life (Rooke & Torbert, 2005). “Perhaps most importantly, they’re able to catch unique moments in the history of their organizations, creating symbols and metaphors that speak to people’s hearts and minds” (Rooke & Torbert, 2005, p. 8). The authors point out that those surveyed revealed a skillfulness encountered in such celebrated examples of leaders as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther-King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi. Alchemist action-logic produces transformative changes that empower generations across cultural and territorial boundaries.

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and its dedicated leader for nearly half a century, appears to match the Alchemist action-logic, serving as an agent for the empowerment of millions of people (The Big Book 2001, pp. 1-16). Tested by more than 75 years of experience, anonymity, as a spiritual principle implies that AA is embedded in Unity of Spirit:

True leadership, we find, depends upon able example and not upon vain display of power or glory. . . Service, gladly rendered, obligations squarely met. . . the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the well-understood fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return,— these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 2004, pp. 124-125).

Although the above citation mentions the word “God”, Bill Wilson did not and AA does not require religion or theology. The program is about spiritual empowerment: “We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves” (The Big Book, 45). The AA term “God as we understand Him” honors any conception of higher purpose, ultimate power, divinity, universal wisdom, or other verbal equivalent of guiding spirit. A practitioner is free to select his or her own “transcendental idea” as long as such an idea represents a power greater than one’s personal mind. To this end, spiritual intelligence stages take us beyond linguistics and as Wilber poetically notes: “the contemplative prayer delivers you straight into the hands of Divinity not into the hands of church.”(Wilber)

Spiritual Principles and Integral Practice

Having served as leadership consultants for 25 years, Rooke and Torbert documented the evolutionary process of action-logics by observing leaders’ transformations. “We’ve found that leaders who undertake a voyage of personal understanding and development can transform not only their own capabilities, but also those of their companies.” Yet, the statistics of action-logic studies showed that 55% of leaders perform below the acceptable level of integrity, only 15% have achieved a post-conventional level, and less than 1% operate at what can be compared with transpersonal stages.

Wilber suggested that the concurrent practice of stages (through Western therapeutic technologies) and states (scientific prayer or Eastern forms of meditation) could significantly accelerate the development of spiritual intelligence and repair its pessimistic index. Stage training encourages development from pre-personal to personal to transpersonal perspectives, while state training prevents developmental arrest (Wilber, 2012, lecture 2).

Integral practice most effectively challenges any kind of unhealthy attachment, fixation, or addiction that manifests through various forms of mental havoc, emotional pain, or character demoralization (Wilber, 2000a, 2000b, 2007, 2012; The Big Book, 2001). Carl Jung clearly identified this tendency when he wrote to Bill Wilson in 1961: “. . . craving for alcohol was the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God” (AA Grapevine 2003, p. 18).

Although originated for the purpose of combating alcoholism, the 12-step programs have branched out to address numerous disorders driven by fear, anger, or obsessiveness of any kind.  “Complete psychic change” is a term used by medical professionals who have witnessed miraculous transformations in addictive attitudes, behaviors, reasoning, and morals (The Big Book, 2001, pp. xxi – xxviii).

Natti Ronel also suggested that principle-centered reasoning, or what she described as “God-centered consciousness,” can be trained through commitment to spiritual disciplines, and that the quality of this commitment impacts other developmental capacities such as ethics and morality. She aligned practice of spiritual principles with the development of spiritual intelligence as experienced by 12-step program participants (Ronel, 2008).

“Practicing spiritual principles in all our affairs” is a signature statement of the AA holistic method (The Big Book, 2001). What are these spiritual principles? A library research returns endless variations of what spiritual principles might mean. In his book, Psychology of the Ultimate Concern, Robert Emmons integrated a wide array of research data on spiritual principles in five components to signify abilities, which develop through the training of spiritual intelligence, i.e.:

  1. The capacity to transcend the physical and material;
  2. The ability to experience heightened states of consciousness;
  3. The ability to sanctify every day experience;
  4. The ability to utilize spiritual resources to solve problems; and
  5. The capacity to be virtuous (Emmons, 1999, table 8.1).

AA’s instructions on spiritual principles are intact with Emmons’ components of spiritual intelligence and Wilber’s concurrent “growing up” and “waking up” process. Specifically, the 12-steps integrate critical reflection (fearless moral inventory), making amends (practice of forgiveness and humility), and contemplative practices (daily prayer and meditation).

Growing Through Action-Logics

Rooke and Torbert conclude by suggesting that the practice of self-reflection and contemplation expedites leadership transformation. Growing in spiritual intelligence, leaders grow in their action-logic from the perception of “What I can get” to “What I can contribute.” The authors cite an exemplary case where a leader transformed from Expert to Achiever by adopting “an ongoing community of inquiry at the center of her life” and found a spiritual home for continuing reflection in Quaker meetings” (Rooke & Torbert, 2005, p. 9). This person was eventually able to transform to the Strategist action-logic at an unprecedentedly fast pace. The authors noted that a mentor with more developed action-logic helped remarkably in this case since the leadership trainee affiliated herself with an Alchemist. This concept resembles the affiliation with an experienced sponsor, as noted in the AA 12-step program (The Big Book, 2001).

The authors describe how the transformation process often begins with a deep sense of dissatisfaction or even despair, which produces ready-to-transform leadership material. This notion is remarkably coherent with step one of the AA program, in which a newcomer faces the limitations of the lower self, which translates powerlessness into the courage needed to confront one’s own shadow. Although not everyone is a Quaker or an alcoholic, the Alchemist-mentor may intuitively know how and where to direct employees willing to grow in experiences of spiritual intelligence, or perhaps create an integral practice based on the steps and principles discussed in this paper.

In conclusion, spiritual intelligence encompasses and embraces existential philosophy and moral psychology. Relative and absolute worlds are inseparable when defining spirituality in terms of intelligence. Morality alone can neither support lasting effects of peacefulness nor find joy in surrendering personal gain for the well-being of humankind. Spiritual intelligence endures the practical world without losing sight of transcendental reality. On the contrary, existential intelligence relates to transcendental reality only, cognitive intelligence focuses on practical reality alone, emotional intelligence addresses social realms exclusively, and so on. Spiritual

Intelligence grasps the totality of issues dealing with both immanent and transcendental. All other developmental lines answer only a partial list of questions. Yet, because of such a long history of repression, spiritual intelligence comes forward as a novice concept, and further understanding of spirituality as intelligence holds a novel promise for improvement in leadership performance, as well as quality of life in general (Wilber, 2007, 2012; Howard & White, 2009). Until that time, as Wilber states, spiritual intelligence remains “the lowest of the multiple intelligences. Cognitive is higher, emotional is higher, normative is higher. Spiritual intelligence is—in the basement, and this is catastrophic, because spiritual intelligence is the only one that deals directly with the ultimate” (Wilber, 2012, lecture 2).

I would like to conclude on a cheerful note. The current research available on the action-logic of Ironist reports that this level of spiritual intelligence is primarily concerned with pure unedited being (Brown, 2011). To this end, the name Ironist speaks for itself: accepting life with a sense of irony. This is not to say that Ironists lose compassion. In contrast, as consciousness develops, a depth of compassion for everything develops as well. However, what also develops is a deep sense of lightness and sense of humor.

After numerous trials and errors in learning how to build a society, which is both grounded in rules and free from their slavery, AA adopted what has become its legendary Rule No. 64 which reads: “don’t take yourself too seriously” (Twelve Steps And Twelve Traditions, 2004, p.  149). If we wish to be helpful to ourselves and others, we better learn how to share a smile!


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About the Author

Alla Ratner was inspired to study consciousness and transpersonal psychology as a compliment to her twenty-year business leadership career in the United States. Her current scientific inquiry into the wealth of spiritual wisdom is creatively integrated into her own entrepreneurial experience as an American small business owner. Prior to migrating in 1989, Alla completed her third year at the St. Petersburg National Conservatory of Music with a specialization in Harp. Upon arrival in the United States, she worked with such organizations as the Columbia University Health Promotion Project and the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society in New York City. Alla Ratner earned an accounting degree Summa Cum Laude from the Long Island University of Business and Public Administration, while concurrently establishing and operating her own company. Her business involved helping Russian scientists, academics and entrepreneurs to continue their professional careers in the United States.

In 2009, Alla formed a Russian-American research group which studied macro economy of emerging markets from psycho-spiritual perspectives. In 2012, she co-authored a book, From Shadow Economy to Shadow Society. The book discussed the “hidden games” of collective consciousness which make corruption so dangerously invincible to governmental control in all countries. Alla Ratner’s current professional activities revolve around a desire to guide others on how to emerge from the shadow by using her skills as a psychologically and spiritually trained business entrepreneur. She currently operates a coaching company, Leadership Research Center, established to guide Russian-American small businesses in the development of full-spectrum leadership.