To spite all the recent talk about DaVinci’s Code and his possible involvement with the Holy Grail, few would argue Leonardo DaVinci’s qualities of genius. To those ends, what did he take part in that might have added to his genius? Was he born a genius? Or were there things he did that tapped into a part of his brain that remains hidden from most people?
Let’s suppose for a moment that he wasn’t born genius and whatever tools he used we can use to tap into the hidden genius too. What would it mean to you and your life if you could use the same tools Leonardo used in his life? What if you could apply those tactics to open the same pathway to the superconscious he did? Would you want to see your life from that perspective? Would you want to apply this expansiveness of thought?
It turns out much of what he did to harness the power of his superconscious is available to all of us. And although he applied many different methods, the one I’ll detail today is what I like to call Streamwriting.
Streamwriting is simply writing nonstop what is in your mind, unedited until your conscious mind gets out of the way and allows your superconscious to do the talking. Da Vinci used this method with his journals to solve specific problems and to seek answers that were otherwise hidden from his conscious experience.
Streamwriting sounds simple and it is. But the challenge is to stay with it until you break through and get the answers you seek.
Here are the simple steps to get started streamwriting:
Take out your journal, notebook or a legal pad and write a subject or problem you want to solve at the top of a page. Word your problem using specific language and make the wanted outcome sound fun, exciting or pleasant. For instance, a question like “How can I earn an extra $1000 this month and enjoy the process?” would be better than “Make a $1000.”
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Then, beneath your question start writing everything that pops into your head. Write related and unrelated thoughts that come to your mind. Keep your pen on paper and do not stop writing to think or get back on track. Your brain knows the problem, so you don’t need to consciously think about it. You need your conscious out of the way.
When you run out of ideas, keep writing anyway. Write “I am stuck” or “I can’t think of anything to write.” Don’t worry your conscious will likely get bored and let the ideas flow. Or you will change the subject to your goal or another side road that leads to the breakthrough. Just relax and keep writing.
I will say this method does take patience. You may need to do some streamwriting over the period of a week or more before your ideas blow you away. Where others may see results the first day. Overall, though, the more you practice, the quicker and better ideas you will get.
Humor was not absent from Leonardo’s work. This clearly emerges from a sheet of pictograms in which Leonardo experiments with the translation of short phrases into images, usually by giving each word a different meaning and then illustrating it in a picture. On the verso of the sheet, for example, in pictographs running from right to left on top of the square drawn just to the left of center, he illustrates the laconic expression “ora sono fritto”, literally meaning “Now I’m fried!” (i.e. done for) as follows: the Italian word ora (“now”) also means “hour” and is represented by an hourglass; sono (“I am”) also means “sound” (strictly speaking suono) and is indicated by someone playing a pipe; lastly, the word “fritto (“fried”) has been illustrated with a frying pan on fire.