You Need More Than Mental Intelligence To Get Through A Pandemic: A Primer For Using Your Four Whole Health Intelligences

May 28th, 2020

By Lissa Rankin

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Now that we have bought ourselves a few months of time with a global quarantine, individual states and countries will be making decisions about loosening the Outer Shield imposed upon us by our governments and public health officials. As lockdown restrictions gradually transition to masks and social distancing in public places, you’ll have many decisions ahead of you.

Should you voluntarily stay in lockdown, even if your community opens up? Will you choose to be part of a vaccine study? What kinds of risks will you take—and how will you balance competing risks, such as the risk of exposure to the virus and the risk of unemployment and financial insecurity if your job expects you to leave home? How will you manage the mental, physical, and financial risks of ongoing social isolation versus the contagion risks of re-engaging socially and professionally? Given that a risk-free life is an impossibility in the midst of a pandemic, how will you make wise, measured, health-inducing decisions for yourself and your loved ones? This is where the four Whole Health Intelligences come in.

Did You Know Humans Have More Than One Kind Of Intelligence?

Many of us have been relying upon mental intelligence to help us make wise decisions during this pandemic. We are tracking the data, reading the results of medical experiments in medical journals, listening to the media reports, and hoping we can trust what our government and public health leaders are recommending (which is questionable in some parts of the world). Political and financial conflicts of interest aside, it’s wise to rely on mental intelligence as one of the tools we use to make smart decisions about how to stay healthy. Epidemiologists and mathematicians are crunching numbers to try to predict the future, but as we’ve seen so far, even the smartest scientists and number crunchers can’t predict the future accurately. Why? Because mental intelligence—as helpful as it can be—only takes us so far.

To understand why I make the assertion that it’s not so simple to just “Trust the science,” please read this document I created—17 Things We Don’t Know—And Shouldn’t Pretend To Know—About Covid-19. I’m all for following the science, but science and mental intelligence have their limitations, which is why, as a critical thinker, doctor, and scientist who understands the benefits and also the limitations of science, I think it’s important not to neglect the other three types of intelligence that our indigenous ancestors surely relied upon—our intuitive intelligence, somatic intelligence, and emotional intelligence. When there’s good evidence that the assumptions our scientists and doctors are relying upon might be false, leading to cognitive errors and vast public health policy mistakes, we simply must rely on more than mental intelligence alone.

Many people are not comfortable relying upon anything other than mental intelligence, so this might feel like a stretch. But let me briefly explain what I mean when I suggest we need to have an integrated way to include the information from all of our intelligences. Many wisdom teachers from many cultures throughout the ages have taught us how to tune into all four intelligences, but for simplicity’s sake, I like the way empathy researcher Karla McLaren breaks down the four intelligences, as described in her book The Language of Emotions.

Tune Into All Four Whole Health Intelligence

In her book The Language of Emotions, Karla McLaren describes four “intelligences,” which I call “Whole Health Intelligences.” As an empathy researcher who used to be an intuitive healer, she openly admits that science cannot prove that these four intelligences exist. She frames them not as science but as mythological and poetic in nature, a container with which we can better understand our wholeness as human beings. While mental intelligence is what we typically think of as “intellect,” researchers have identified seven different types of intelligences, not just logical intelligence, but linguistic intelligence, musical intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, spatial intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence. In her work with empaths, Karla lumps these seven intelligences together with the four elements—spiritual/intuitive intelligence (fire), mental/logical intelligence (air), body intelligence (earth), and emotional intelligence (water.) The work of integrating all these intelligences requires developing a sort of conductor inside of you, one who orchestrates and governs all the intelligences. In an unbalanced psyche, we tend to fragment, and one intelligence might overpower and dominate the others, causing us to be psychologically lopsided and handicapped in our decision-making. But when we’re able to gather information from all of our intelligences, without neglecting any of them (especially the often-maligned and neglected intelligence of not just “positive,” but also “negative” emotions), we can make healthy, balanced decisions using all the input from all four Whole Health Intelligences.

Karla writes:

Our emotions move energy, abilities, and information from one place to another by reacting and feeling their way through life. Our minds translate, categorize, and store the content of any material presented to them. Our bodies feel and process any material viscerally; they bring it down to earth. Our visionary spirits supply the overview, the big picture of the whole situation in relation to all other situations. In a properly moderated psyche, our four elements and our seven intelligences are like dancers in an intricately choreographed ballet; each moves and performs in its own rhythm and in its own way. In a poorly moderated psyche or system (which is, unfortunately, the norm in our culture), the elements and intelligences don’t dance; they smack into and trip over one another in confusion and gracelessness.

The beauty of using an integrated approach to your four Whole Health Intelligences is that this way of making decisions helps you include not only what is good for you individually, but also what is good for the whole. Since your four intelligences are connected to the One Mind (or what some might call Divine Mind or Non-Local Mind), you won’t have to choose between doing what’s good for you (which might harm other people) or doing what’s good for others (which might harm you). This integrated way of making decisions, especially in times of crisis, relies upon the interconnectedness of all things and helps you protect not only yourself and your family but also the good of the collective.

So what are then four Whole Health Intelligences?

Mental intelligence (logic, rational thought, linguistic ability): Science and math and other quantifiable data rely upon mental intelligence, so it’s very valuable in its own way. Mental intelligence is a necessary kind of intelligence that can prevent us from getting too ungrounded in the face of intuitive hunches, emotional surges, or somatic reactivity. Without your mental intelligence, you’re at risk of becoming one of those ungrounded, grandiose utopian bliss hunters who is convinced that the coronavirus can’t affect them because they are Pleiadian star seeds, here on a planetary rescue mission and therefore immune to the virus and free to break the rules. Mental intelligence can help you track data, weigh pros and cons, assess risk based on epidemiological models and statistics, and stay grounded in math and science. However, mental intelligence is not enough. In the absence of our other three intelligences, mental intelligence gets skewed out of balance, and you wind up with the confusing mess we’re in now since our leaders seem to be focusing exclusively on mental intelligence, with all its limitations.

In ancient times, our leaders would have also called upon the oracles of the tribe, the sensitive seers who can sense other realms and glean the wisdom and information that would help the tribe. These days, such visionaries are scoffed at. But imagine it! What if we asked the highly intuitive and earth-based 13 indigenous grandmothers to sit in on our public health and government task forces? What if we called upon people who feel what is needed in their bodies or the ones who can answer binary yes/no questions by tracking their emotional reactions? How might we have handled this situation differently if all four Whole Health Intelligences had been honored equally?

Pandemic policy aside, YOU have the power to utilize these four Whole Health Intelligences for your personal and family decision-making, if only you learn to attune to and trust these intelligences, which is something that can be learned and developed. My invitation to you is to expand your awareness so you can also tune into the oft-maligned or neglected intuitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, and somatic intelligences.

Intuitive Intelligence (intuition, Divine intelligence, spiritual insights, visionary intelligence, dreaming). Those who we might call “psychics” or “oracles” or “seers” tend to have a more highly developed intuitive intelligence, which is often a commonly developed intelligence in many modern-day therapists and doctors, who learn to trust their seemingly irrational knowing about how to help patients. This kind of intelligence might arise as direct knowing, “downloads,” precognitive dreams, and even the kind of visionary breakthroughs many scientists report to have when they are in deep inquiry about a scientific mystery. Many with a highly developed intuitive intelligence can learn to ask binary yes/no questions and get a “hit” of intuitive knowing, which gives them one piece of information which can be married with other intelligences to make wise decisions. If you’ve been traumatized or conditioned out of your intuitive intelligence, you can “pay what you can” to take my Connect To Your Inner Pilot Light program. Or read my book The Daily Flame for practical tools intended to develop more connection to all four of your Whole Health intelligences, but especially your intuitive one.

Emotional Intelligence (tracking feelings, following your heart, riding the waves of emotions—which are “action-requiring neurological programs”). They say the longest journey you’ll ever make is from your head to your heart. When you perceive emotions not as the whim of the “ego,” but as necessary and valid guidance helping you navigate a complex world, you can get to know the gifts each emotion brings and learn to harvest the gifts of all emotions, without balancing them into “positive” and “negative” emotions. Even of the oft-maligned emotion of fear arises for a reason—and if you work with your emotional intelligence wisely, you’ll see that even emotions like anger, jealousy, terror and even hatred arise because you’re being guided to take protective action in helpful ways, once you learn to channel the watery emotions and allow them to rise and fall like waves. If you’ve been traumatized or conditioned out of your emotional intelligence, Karla McLaren’s The Language Of Emotions details how to reawaken your emotional intelligence, emotion by emotion. You can also Google search any emotion and Karla’s name to read about each emotion on her blog. You might also want to read my book, The Fear Cure.

Somatic Intelligence (body wisdom, gut instincts, physical symptoms/sensation). Those who are very embodied—particularly athletes, dancers, and people with vast experience in spiritual embodiment practices such as yoga or Qigong—tend to have well developed somatic intelligence, such that they can ask the body binary “yes/no” questions and interpret the body’s openness or constriction. These people tend to “trust their gut,” which is often a literal sensation, in that the solar plexus may open or contract depending on what the body is telling you. If you’ve been traumatized or conditioned out of your somatic intelligence, read Steve Sisgold’s Whole Body Intelligence (I wrote the foreword!). If you’re not very finely attuned to your body because of trauma that caused you to dissociate from your body, you can also get access to your somatic intelligence (and your subconscious mind) using muscle testing, which is often taught inaccurately, and which I describe in great detail here.

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Originally published at and reproduced here with permission.

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About the author:

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician on a grass roots mission to heal healthcare, while empowering you to heal yourself. She is the founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and  healthcare providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of the books Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself (2013), The Fear Cure (2014), and The Anatomy of a Calling (2015).

Lissa blogs at and created the online community She is also the author of several other books, a speaker, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Connect with Lissa on Facebook and Twitter, or visit

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