Having a flash of brilliance
At times a brilliant thought, a sparkling idea or a bright reflection appears in our mind and even before we start processing it – in flash of seconds it vanishes, it’s gone. Some other urgent thoughts replace this brilliance. It happens to poets, authors, painters, composers, to all creative minds. It is so difficult to catch or detect this elusive idea or thought again because of its abstruse nature.
I am sure this happens in everybody’s life; we are all bothered some time or the other with some great idea/reflection that comes in a flash and it doesn’t wait. We know it would be brilliant if we could find the right representation, words or style to describe it. Often, we receive a brilliant flash of creative light that we try to grab and focus upon, hoping that we would have some magical device or means to bring it back to life. Many times while speaking to somebody some such thing happens and by the time we try to speak it out its gone. This “spark” is so alluring; it appears for few seconds. I think it challenges is our creativity and ability to bring it back to shape. As though this it plays a hide and seek game with us.
Marathi literary world had a genius called C.T.Khanolkar who wrote mind-blowing novels like ‘Ratra Kali Ghagar Kali’ ‘Kondura’, Trishanku’, and ‘Ganuraya Ani Chani.’ He received Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1976) for his playwriting and Sahitya Akademi Award (1978) for his collection of poems ‘Nakshatranche Dene.’ He wrote poetry under the penname “Arati Prabhu” and prose under his own name. Khanolkar’s one poem “ti yete anik jate, yetana kadhi kalya anite” describesthe distress of a poet who says that the idea appears and leaves in a flash, it comes in form of a bud and when it leaves in seconds it challenges the poet’s mind to blossom it in flower. Wow!! Only a poet of brilliance like Khanolkar could express this dilemma.
This brilliant poetry which explains a poet’s anguish of not being able to hold back the flash of brilliance which challenges his creativity is wonderfully composed by Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar and sung by none other than Mahendra Kapoor.
Please notice, these flashes happen anytime when our brain is occupied with some work, while we are doing some daily chore, while driving, while cooking, while speaking to somebody, but frequently when we don’t have a pen and paper in hand to immediately write it down. This is one reason why so many successful people attribute their success to luck. The flash of brilliance seems to come out of nowhere – sometimes it happens from a few words someone else said that gets us thinking.
The exclamation “Eureka” of Archimedes explains the flash of brilliance when he stepped into a bath and noticed that the water level rose—this naturally happened everyday when he took bath – but on that particular day he all of a sudden understood that the volume of water displaced must be equal to the volume of the part of his body he had submerged. His eureka moment gave the world treatise on hydrostatics which is called “Archimedes Principle”
David Rock, coach and neuroscientist has a different view on the flash of brilliance. He says “great ideas come when the mind is quiet”. It’s tough to have a flash of brilliance if your brain is constantly occupied with electronics, multitasking, and to do lists and never has a moment of peace. The surface noise of daily life blocks the deeper insights from surfacing.
However, no technology can capture our brilliant thoughts; we must allow our brain to access our deep, non-conscious, below the surface thinking. So the next time you get a flash of brilliance, relax, and take deep breaths think of the background of all that you were doing or thinking when this flash occurred. And await the flash again.