top of page

The Everyday Genius


By Colleen Mauro

Our famous artists, writers, scientists, and entrepreneurs are often seen as rare and special beings endowed with gifts and talents that most of us lack.

I have discovered that many of our most celebrated creative thinkers—the people we call geniuses or visionaries—credit their greatest achievements to their contact with the soul. Many spoke of the soul as a portal to a universal source of inspiration and beauty. Once connected to this source, ideas and images simply flowed into their brains.

We see the fruits of this experience all around us, from our most beautiful works of art to the scientific breakthroughs and inventions that have revolutionized our world. Many of our most renowned artists, writers, scientists, and business leaders have left a record of this experience.

In the late 1800s, Arthur Abell, an American violinist living in Europe, interviewed Puccini, Brahms, Strauss, Wagner, and other well-known composers about the source of their creative genius. As you’ll see below, their experiences are remarkably consistent. Each spoke of the soul as the portal to a universal source of inspiration. Once they were connected to this source, ideas and images simply flowed into their brains. As Puccini explained to Abell, “The great secret of all creative geniuses is that they possess the power to appropriate the beauty, the wealth, the grandeur, and the sublimity within their own souls, which are a part of the Omnipotence, and to communicate those riches to others. The conscious, purposeful appropriation of one’s own soul force is the supreme secret.” Puccini experienced inspiration as a divine force, a “vibration [that passes] from the soul-center, into my consciousness, where the inspired ideas are born.”

German composer Richard Wagner, best known for his set of four operas called the Ring, also spoke of inspiration as the ability to become one with the “universal currents of Divine thought [that are] vibrating everywhere.” According to Wagner, “This universal vibrating energy binds the soul of man . . . to the Supreme Force of the universe, of which we are all a part.” Wagner, who also spoke of “appropriating” this force when composing his famous operas, described his creative process to Abell: “I see in my mind’s eye definite visions of the heroes and heroines of my music dramas. I have clear mental pictures of them before they take form in my scores, and while I am holding fast to those mental images, the music . . . the whole musical structure, occurs to me.”  

Richard Strauss also spoke of inspiration as coming from a higher self: “In my most inspired moods, I have definite compelling visions, involving a higher selfhood. I feel at such moments that I am tapping the source of infinite and eternal energy from which you and I and all things proceed.” Strauss, who called his ability to register inspired ideas a “divine gift,” described a similar experience while writing one of his operas: “The ideas were flowing in upon me—the motives, themes, structure, melodies . . . in fact the entire musical measure by measure. . . . I was definitely conscious of being aided by a more than earthly power.”

Johannes Brahms called his method of composing music “communicating with the infinite.” Composing, Brahms said, “cannot be done by will power working through the conscious mind. . . It can only be accomplished by the soul-powers within.” He described inspiration as “a condition where the conscious mind is in temporary abeyance and the superconscious is in control, for it is through the superconscious mind, which is part of Omnipotence, that the inspiration comes.”

​Writers and visual artists have also reported this experience. As Ralph Waldo Emerson explained in his 1844 essay The Poet, “It is a secret which every intellectual man quickly learns, that beyond the energy of his possessed and conscious intellect, he is capable of a new energy . . . a great public power on which he can draw . . . by unlocking his human doors . . . he is caught up in the life of the Universe.” Leonardo da Vinci stated that “The painter’s mind is a copy of the Divine Mind,” and “the painter has the Universe in his mind and hands. . . . Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”

Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2 came in a moment of inspiration when, in his words, “a storm broke loose in my mind and with it came the answers.” Einstein, a friend later said, had “tapped into God’s thoughts and tuned into the master plan for the universe.” After his death, pathologists dissected Einstein’s brain, looking for anomalies that would explain the source of his genius. But Einstein— who wrote, “There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge. . . . All great discoveries have involved such a leap” and “The mystical . . . is the source of all true art and science”—made it clear that his inspiration came from a higher source.

It’s not just the “special” people—our famous artists, writers and scientists—who have the ability to contact the subtle worlds. With a daily meditation practice, it is possible for each of us to build our bridge to the soul and tap that universal flow of wisdom and knowledge. Imagine the inspired writing, the beautiful works of art, the groundbreaking inventions, and the new healing techniques we will bring to the world as the soul in each of us unfolds.” This is the future that awaits us, a future where each of us can become an “everyday genius.”

© Colleen Mauro

bottom of page