In the mystical sense, intelligence is light, the divine light of consciousness; where there is much light, there is clarity, and where there is less light (‘less’ since there is never a millimetre of the seen or unseen world that is without some light) there is less clarity. The light of consciousness is omnipresent, but its intensity varies through the dance of Creation.
In English, the word ‘intelligence’ means understanding, and ‘to understand’ in its origin means to stand between, or to stand in the middle of something. If we are in the midst of something, then surely it should be clear to us, as no part is then hidden from our view.
Every person has within them the light of intelligence, although no-one could claim to always act intelligently. When we recite the prayer Khatum, we say, “Disclose to us Thy Divine Light, which is hidden in our souls, that we may know and understand life better.” It is the light of intelligence that can bring us to a better understanding of life, but why is the light hidden? Only because we are unaware of it. When our gaze is turned outward, toward the intoxicating world of limitations, we do not see the light, but since that light is our very life, it acts through us in any case. By the practice of concentration, we become able to direct the light, and it is the divine light of intelligence that allows us to solve any problem or difficulty that comes before us. It is the same light that we turn, like a searchlight, on the storehouse of memory when we wish to recall something. By the light of intelligence, we can master all the affairs of the world. But it is only when we grow disillusioned with the world, which, with all its transient charms, can never match the spark of Reality that burns within us, that we turn our gaze inward. Then Divine Light begins to dawn upon us–and the the light of understanding makes all our forms and conceptions fade like mist in the rays of the rising sun.
In our ‘modern’ world, modern being a term that is usually understood to mean, ‘good, because not old-fashioned, or because different from the way of earlier generations’, the light of intelligence is applied more and more to the material world, and the subtle manipulations of matter of which we are now capable are, in one way, truly a wonder. From a spiritual point of view, though, these modern miracles are not so impressive, for ultimately all that is matter will change its form; all that is gathered will be dispersed, all that is built will be destroyed; and above all, the eyes that admire these wonders will sooner or later be dust. Only the Divine light of intelligence will live forever. Presently the world thinks that directing intelligence into more and more subtle material questions will solve the problems of life, and it is true that in many ways these efforts have made life more comfortable. But comfort does not solve the riddle of our life; the real problem of life will only be solved when we direct the light of intelligence inward, in search of itSelf.