David Krueger MD
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
I experienced a particular kind of energy being in the room at Chateau du Clos Luce in France where Leonardo da Vinci sketched many of his scientific inventions. Seeing the desk where he sat to make those drawings and sensing his creative spirit was magical. His mastery that produced Mona Lisa likely came from the same energy field that went into inventions he sketched at that desk, including the forerunner of the modern helicopter, military tank, parachute, calculator, and bicycle. Da Vinci spent six years working in a studio as Verrocchio’s top assistant on large-scale paintings, and painting one of the two angels in The Baptism of Christ. The oldest example of his painting revealed the face of an angel that had a quality never seen before, seeming to literally glow from within with an uncanny reality and expressiveness.
Those who achieve mastery immerse themselves in total absorption in a field over a period of time to acquire information and expertise to inform intuitive expression. For practicing and performing professionals, this is deliberate practice.
I heard Jane Goodall describe her experience of living with chimpanzees in the wilds of East Africa, at that time already over three decades, of feeling and thinking as one with the chimpanzees. She described how she could then see elements of their social life that no other scientists ever discerned.
Intuition and rationality paradoxically combine to shape new creative experiences and applications. Intuition, accessed by being present and grounded, engages both the rational and emotional brain. Time, intuitive feel, and experience become metabolized into mindfulness, catalyst to mastery, part of our own story told in our own voice.
Intuitive awareness helps us process complex layers of emotional and cognitive information not accessible to the conscious, logical mind in order to gain an understanding of the whole. Today, this level of thinking is even more critical than ever.
There are many paths to mastery. A key component is to know our mental and psychological strengths, and to dedicate deliberate practice to capitalize on them. In any endeavor, when we learn a complex skill for it to become automatic, we free our minds to focus on the next higher level. Once fundamental skills and knowledge are learned and assimilated, this internalization becomes part of our neural system, the default mode. We are able to think in a different way to allow us to integrate instinct with complex reason. The key: persistence and discipline to establish the creative building blocks.
And remember: practice doesn’t make perfect—it makes permanent. Only perfect practice informs perfect practice.
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