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Borrowed Genius
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Procedure Script:  An experience script
for leading groups

  • Have a group of eight or more participants, or a blank audio tape cassette.
  • Arrange for the room or space to be uninterrupted for 30 or more minutes.
  • Arrange your participants in pairs, review the "waterglass" rules (one "bing" = half-minute's notice, three "bings" = instant talking-pause); closed-eyes agreement.
  • Have your participants move into pairs and/or trios, pairs preferred. Have them huddle close to each other to hear each other easily, so the results will be buzz-murmur instead of roar.
Note that simpler instructions for your own solo use of this Periscopic procedure follow after the more detailed group script below, on whatever subject or skill area, including golf, tennis, math or piano.

If this is a classroom in some particular course — such as Math 102 or recent U.S. History or Biology 142 or whatever — orient students on the idea that somewhere further on in the experience they will encounter someone or something which will play for them on this occasion the role of a genius in that subject. If this is a multi-subject class or an assembly of people without a defined academic or scholastic goal, have each pick a subject or skill s/he would like to speed-learn. This can be from scratch, or it could be to build upon some already existing proficiency. This in any event should be a subject or skill that participants can, immediately upon their return home if not before, try out and practice in real time.

Instructions in quote marks are to be read aloud to the group or to tape; instructions in parentheses are for silent reading only, to the person guiding this experience.

1. "In this experience, as in others, the more describing we do or the more detail we describe, the more we will perceive. So we want to describe in as a rich a detail as we can, and not let any airtime lapse between us either. As one of you pauses for breath, your partner rushes in with some description of his or her own experience; when he or she pauses for breath, you rush back in with more description of your own experience, back and forth so each of you gets in as much description as possible. As to what we will describe ..."

2. "We will imagine and describe an exquisitely beautiful garden. But please notice when you get pictures in your mind's eye, and switch to describing those pictures even if some of them are different from what the group as a whole is asked to picture. It's the different, unexpected pictures which often teach us the most and best. But we'll start with a garden until you get pictures, then please describe those pictures even if they go in a different direction from the images and ideas I'll be reading to the group as a whole. So starting with a garden ..."

3. "Please imagine an exquisitely beautiful garden. Anyone can describe a garden; let's make this garden more beautiful than any garden you've ever seen in real life, and very different, so that this is a very special garden indeed. Imagine yourself to be standing there in mid-garden, this extraordinary beauty all around you. Imagine or see the colors, the shapes, the spaces, the feel of this garden, the textures, the smells, the sounds of this exquisite garden ..."

4. "Beginning with what's directly in front of you, look around you to bring more into view, maybe left and then left again, turning until you've seen all around you. Maybe moving through this garden, too, touching things and bringing still more into view . . . . With rich detail from all your senses, please begin describing this extraordinarily beautiful garden to your partner. Describe in such rich immediate detail that you make this garden an utterly real experience to your listener. Beginning with what's right in front of you there in this garden, please begin describing now ..."

(Allow 4 to 6 minutes. Make sure everyone is participating, but don't overmanage. After 4 minutes, listen for the first lull in the buzz-murmur. When it comes, or within 6 minutes, sound the chime or waterglass once lightly, softly saying something like, "Continue, half- minute's notice, meanwhile keep going . . . . " At the next lull or after 30 to 60 seconds, sound three "bings," saying...)

5. "Thank you, keeping eyes closed, moving perhaps still deeper into this garden experience or into whatever this space has become for you if not a garden. Please now imagine a genius joining you here in this special space or in this garden. Perhaps this genius is someone you know or someone you don't know; perhaps this genius is past, present, future, or imaginary. Best perhaps to let yourself be surprised by who or what your larger mind puts there in this space to play the role of genius at your chosen subject or skill. Whoever or whatever this genius is, there in this space or in this garden, please begin describing this genius in the same rich detail as you were describing the garden. Make this genius utterly real to your listener through the richness of your description, especially the feel of the warm, welcoming presence of this genius. There in this space or in this garden, through the richness of your description, please begin now making this genius utterly real to your listener . . . "

(Same parenthetical instructions as following Step #4 above, except allowing only three to five minutes. One "bing"; three "bings" and say ...)

6. "Thank you, keeping eyes closed, perhaps moving even deeper into this experience, there with this genius in your garden or in whatever this space has become for you ... It's one thing to see a genius from outside; it's another thing to get the inside story of what it's like being a genius. That inside story is what we want to discover now ..."

7. "Please stand your genius at arm's length distance from you, with his or her or its back to you. Good, now please sort of just waft yourself forward into this genius, bring your eyes to where the eyes of this genius are, so you can look through and with the eyes of this genius at this same space or garden you've been in. Bring your ears to where the ears of this genius are, so you can listen to the sounds of this garden or space through and with the ears of this genius. Bring your senses, your mind and body and memories and perceptions to where those of this genius are, so that you now become this genius. As this genius, look around this same space or garden you've just been in but now with the eyes and senses and mind and awarenesses of this genius. Notice that as this genius you perceive some differences, differences between what this genius sees in this same garden or space and what you saw there before you joined this genius. Some of those differences might be surprising. Whatever they are, observe now as this genius, be this genius and make these differences utterly real to your listener through the richness of your description, as you resume describing now . . . "

(Same parenthetical instructions, 3 to 5 minutes. One "bing." Three "bings," and say ...)

8. "Thank you, eyes still closed, staying in this experience, perhaps moving even deeper into this experience — even as we move more directly into whatever it is that this genius is a genius at, please stay as sensory as possible in your descriptions. The understandings and abstractions and a-ha!s will almost take care of themselves, if we continue to stay firmly with the rich sensory detail of being this genius ..."

9. "Move now into some of what it is that your genius is a genius at, either there in this garden or space or just beyond it, or by moving back through the memories of your genius. Continuing to be this genius, engage in some of what it is that this genius is a genius at, and study the feelings in the body of this genius doing that, not just what the genius sees and hears. What are the perceptions of this genius, while your genius is doing this thing he, she or it is a genius at? As this genius, make all these sensory perceptions of your genius utterly real to your listener as you resume describing now ..."

(Same parenthetical instructions, four to six minutes. One "bing," three "bings," then say ...)

10. "Good, eyes still closed, moving perhaps even deeper into this experience, still continuing to be this genius. Please give special note to the details of body feeling in this genius, especially the characteristic posture of this genius, the characteristic gestures and pattern of movement, the feelings in each part of the body associated especially with when this thing at which the genius is a genius ... when this thing goes really well or goes into a full a-ha! What are the feelings in the face of this genius? What are the feelings in the neck and shoulders of this genius? In every other part of the body of this genius, while being especially effective at this thing your genius is a genius at? All these body-related feelings of the genius, especially, please now make utterly real to your listener as you resume describing now . . . "

(Same parenthetical instructions, three to six minutes. One "bing," three "bings," then say ...)

11. "Since you are now being this genius, you can move freely through this genius's memories. Go now to the moment of greatest understanding or illumination in the lifetime memory of this genius, the point of highest or greatest a-HA!, the time when, more than any other, everything came together and suddenly made wonderful sense. Describe as much as you can of that moment, and of that experience, and of the perceptions and understandings which were part of that experience, resuming your describing now . . ."

(Same parenthetical instruction, three to seven minutes depending on how well this goes. One "bing." Three "bings," and say ...)

12. "Thank you ... please walk now in front of a big, full-length mirror. See this genius there facing you in the mirror. Now abolish the mirror, have the genius standing there and you back here, facing each other. Project a warm feeling of thanks to your genius. Perhaps your genius is also projecting thanks to you for the opportunity to share some of the experiences which mean so much to him or her or it. Now have your genius hand you a tiny cellular pocket phone. See your genius also pocketing his or her own little cellular phone. Let the felt understanding between you be that you can tap this genius any time, not just when you're in special experience, for what this genius is special for ... and that this genius can tap you for what you're special for. Even if this genius is only an extension of your own resource base, this seems to work better when set up reciprocally, on a two-way basis. And now ..."

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