A Conversation with Michael Gelb, author of Da Vinci Decoded: Discovering the Spiritual Secrets of Leonardo’s Seven Principles
Q. You have been a da Vinci scholar and student for many years. What first inspired you to embrace the teachings of Leonardo da Vinci?
A. Leonardo was one of my childhood heroes. The multi-dimensional nature of his genius makes him unique in human history. He serves as a universal archetype of human potential, inspiring people from all over the world to awaken and develop their creative spirit.
Q. In the book, you use da Vinci’s 7 Principles as a guide. How has embracing these principles changed your life?
A. Leonardo’s 7 principles have helped me deepen my ability to remember and focus on what is really important in life.
Q. Over the years, you have lectured to large corporations such as Nike, Merck, IBM, Microsoft and DuPont. How can understanding and embracing da Vinci’s spiritual secrets assist in business management?
A. The spiritual path involves alignment with a sense of something greater than the ego, something that gives meaning and purpose to life beyond just survival and self-aggrandizement. Ultimately, this broader perspective brings out the best in manager/leaders.
Q. Why is it important to keep “spiritual notebook”?
A. When we give our attention to something consciously we increase the possibility of expanding our awareness of it. A “spiritual notebook” directs ones attention to inner awareness and the flow of consciousness thereby opening the door to cultivating finer consciousness and deeper awareness.
Q. Your previous book, How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, was published in 1998. Why, besides of course the publication of The Da Vinci Code, has there been such a tremendous surge of interest in Leonardo da Vinci?
A. Leonardo has been in and out of vogue over the centuries, but as discussed in the introductory chapter of the new book, he is currently enjoying an unprecedented wave of popular fascination. Why? In addition to serving as a beacon for our spiritual and creative development Leonardo symbolizes the ideal of evolving humanity. He transcends many of the dualities that cause conflict and strife in our world today and points us toward a new vision of intelligent, harmonious living.
Q. In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown makes assumptions regarding Leonardo da Vinci’s life and his art work. Do you agree?
A. Dan Brown’s delightful novel contains a number of faulty assumptions and factual errors in regard to Leonardo, but, Brown accurately intuited Leonardo’s role as an avatar of the emerging consciousness that seeks to reconcile the dominant masculine (symbolized by ‘Opus Dei” and ‘Inspector Fache’) with the emerging sacred feminine (symbolized by the “Priory of Sion” and “Sophie Neveu”).
Q. If you could sit down with Leonardo, what is the one question you would ask?
A. I’d ask him how I could further develop my ability to apply his teachings to be a more creative, conscious and compassionate person.