davinci decodeDaVinci Decoded - Discovering the spiritual secrets of Leonardo's seven principles’ by Michael J. Gelb

Leonardo DaVinci was unquestionably a genius. In this book, Gelb captures the very essence of DaVinci’s life – the seemingly perfect integration of mind, body, spirit and soul. He characterizes the life of DaVinci in seven key spiritual principles. As I read these principles, they described to me the meta-program of DaVinci and provided an excellent insight into his work and his mind. In summary these principles are,

1. Seek the Truth An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning. DaVinci may have been the most curious person who ever lived.
2. Take Responsibility A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes. By rejecting dogma and superstition, DaVinci took responsibility for his own search, his own actions, his own growth, and well-being.
3. Sharpen Awareness the continuous refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience. He describes the five senses as the ‘ministers of the soul’.
4. Engage the Shadows A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox and uncertainty. To truly understand ‘good’, one must understand ‘evil’. This quest led him literally and figuratively to understand darkness.
5. Cultivate Balance The balance of left and right brain thinking, culminating in whole brain thinking. His persona and work express more than just a balance between logic and imagination, science and art; they represent the essential balance of the masculine and feminine principles in creation.
6. Nurture Integration The integration of mind and body through the cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness and poise. His outstanding physical gifts and remarkable understanding of anatomy, healing, and wellness were an expression of his integration of body, energy, and spirit.
7. Practice Love The recognition of the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena; systems thinking. He knew that everything connected to everything else.

Even though the principles may not exactly fit into the meta model described within NLP, I think they clearly explain the patterns of the genius and provide a practical roadmap for all of us to discover the boundlessness of our own full human potential. The book provides explanations of the principles followed by self-assessments and practice suggestions to develop your potential. An excellent read and well worth the investment.
‘DaVinci Decoded, discovering the spiritual secrets of Leonardo’s seven principles’, is published by Delacorte Press, ISBN 0-385-33861-9
‘Reviewed by Finbarr Sheehy, Finbarr@finbarrsheehy.com