"In some off-guard moment," says author Joseph Chilton Pearce, "a thought which illuminates new territory can explode in our heads and change the shape of our thinking and our lives." For example:

Albert Einstein described "flashed of lightning" which lit the landscape of his mind for an instant and changed its shape forever.

Mozart said 20 minutes of music "fell into his head as a gestalt" which he arduously translated into notes that could be read by others.

German chemist Kekule had a vision of a ring of snakes -- a configuration that led him to unlock the secret of the benzene ring, the basis of all modern chemistry.

"This phenomenon is rare," says Pearce, 55, a former humanities professor and now a carpenter, lecturer and author of such well-known human-potential books as Magical Child and Crack in the Cosmic Egg .

"It comes as creative inspiration, scientific discovery, the Eurea!, the mystical revelation, the conversion experience. It is a function of mind which holds the key to our nature, development and fulfillment."

Pearce calls this a moment of "insight and ecxtasy," the subject of a recent Washington seminar and his latest book The Bond of Power . He recalls experiencing this kind of revelation while doggedly working on one of his books.

"I neared the edge of a solution, but I couldn't reach it. Drained and defeated I put my head in my hands and groaned aloud.

"Instantly, without warning, huge shock waves of ecstasy rushed up through my body and lifted me up to the stars where I danced in wild chaotic joy. I shouted over and over 'God is playing with me!' And I knew the solution."

After that, Pearce set about trying to "get to the bottom of the revelatory experience." The result was The Crack in the Cosmic Egg , in which he outlined a "formula of creativity.

"First, to entice insight into our lives," he says, "we must be caught up in some passionate quest. A certain intensity of purpose must be generated which finally swamps our switchboard, absorbs all our attention, rules out our lesser goals and passions.

"Then we must work for that mechanical excellence which alone can serve as the vehicle of our genius. We must gather the materials related to, and develop the abilities needed by, our quest.

"Our passionate pursuit, which may take months or years, must feed a massive amount of material into the hopper of our mind/brain. The materials must then at some point 'take over,' take on a life of their own, dictate their own ends, overrule even the person gathering them.

"This ushers in the 'gestation period,' when the mass of accumulated data and/or ability achieves its critical size and power. Then, within that mysterious realm of insight, the revelation will form. Maybe."