Back in 1966 while repairing radios in Laredo, Texas, Jose Silva was deepening his interest in hypnosis and how to tap into the full potential of the human mind. After his day job he would immerse himself into studying and researching about the topic and read the works of thought leaders such as Jung, Freud and Adler. Little did he know that his part-time interest in the subject would lead him to create the world’s most popular self empowerment program that has reached millions of people over 110 countries almost five decades later – The Silva Method.
Conductivity and Resistance of the Mind
In the very early days as a radio repairman, Silva used to muse about the possibility of whether Ohm’s law in electronic applies to the human mind – at least as a guiding metaphor. Ohm’s law states that the current passing through a conductor is inversely proportional to the resistance in the conductor. In simple words, current increases if resistance decreases.
So he asked himself “what would happen if you reduce the resistance in the human mind?”. “Would it increase how much of our mind’s potential we can reach?”. So he set off on a path of thorough research and experimentation. In fact, he started with his own children. His main interest and primary focus was to find a practical method to use more of our mind’s power – better focus & memory, overcoming fears and unproductive habits, self-healing, attaining positive mental attitudes and so on.
Initial Promises & the Beginning of a Journey
At the time Silva was trying out his methods with his own children, scientific research on brain frequency levels was already in a mature phase. From his own studies and intuitions, he knew that the secret must lie in accessing and using what is known as the Alpha and Theta frequency levels of the brain…and this is what he tried teaching his children to use with great success. He discovered to his amazement that his children were significantly improving their grades at school and tapping into greater intuitive and creative powers. That was a promising start.
Alpha & Theta: The Keys to the Evolution of Mankind
So what was Silva teaching his own children that gave such incredible results and promise? Basically because of his deep interest and studies in hypnosis and how the mind works, he knew that mind empowerment and positive transformations such as changing habits, increasing positivity & creativity, emotional balance and so on, can only come about through accessing deeper states of mind and levels of consciousness. He believed that these heightened states of consciousness held the keys to the evolution of mankind.
In hypnotherapy, for instance, the hypnotist induces the patient into deeper levels of consciousness so that he or she can ’talk’ directly to the ‘subconscious’ and bypass the defence system of the critical conscious part of our mind. At this level whatever is suggested to the ’subconscious’ will be acted upon – whether quitting smoking, relieving pain, changing a habit or releasing emotional stress – there will be an effective and powerful response. The possibilities are endless. There have also been recorded cases of people undergoing major operations without anaesthetic while under hypnosis.
Silva understood that what happens in hypnosis when the hypnotist relaxes and ‘deepens’ the patient’s trance is basically that the patient’s brainwaves slow down from Beta levels (normal waking consciousness) down to Alpha levels (calm, focus and mindfulness) and even down to Theta (associated with deep meditation and borders between wakefulness and sleep). At the Alpha level, for instance, the mind and body are relaxed with fewer distractions. Learning and auto-suggestions are in multiple degrees more effective. The mind is focused, attentive and responsive rather than being swamped by thoughts and sensory data. This has been corroborated by EEG and fMRI data over years of research which involved scanning and mapping brain states and measuring the corresponding brain frequency levels.
At the Theta levels, the mind enters an even deeper level of consciousness often associated with deep meditation, deep hypnotic trance states and that brief moment before we enter into sleep. At this level, you are even more suggestive than the Alpha state. Whatever you focus your mind on while in this level will be forged into the reality of your subconscious and acted upon immediately. Self-healing, for instance, is very possible at this level.
The Power of Active Meditation & Visualisation
Entering these deeper levels of consciousness through which you are more suggestive is not enough. You need to direct your mind while in these levels to create profound lasting change. This is where visualisation becomes very powerful in reprogramming the mind to change habits and overcome limiting beliefs amongst other positive changes.
Silva had developed ‘The Silva Method’ and refined it over the years, as a training program aimed at awakening the mind’s full potential. It makes use of a form of active meditation in the Alpha and Theta states, which means it teaches people how to use each of their five senses and visualise hyper-specific symbology while fully awake.
These techniques are powerful for two reasons – they are structured systematically, so can be learned very easily in a matter of days and weeks and once you do get the hang of entering the deeper levels of consciousness you can basically be your own hypnotherapist with just a few minutes practice a day.
Imagine having the power to relax your mind and relieve anxiety, boost your creativity and problem-solving, increase your motivation and set your mind on whatever you want to achieve.
The power of Silva’s method is in fact that he merged together, simplified and refined well known techniques and proven results from research into a solid and well defined system. The method has been widely used and accredited over the last five decades by professional therapists, personal growth teachers and individuals alike.
It has also been repeatedly tried and tested rigorously by scientific bodies and academic institutions for its benefits in cognitive enhancement, emotional wellbeing and overall enhancement in positive attributes.
Learning from the Man & His Method
My deep fascination with Silva’s story is how the dedication and life work of one individual rippled out effects across generations and millions of people. It’s an iconic example of how one idea engendered by a curious mind and driven by passion materialised into something that is bigger that the idea itself. My thoughts on this is that there is a lot to be had from his method but also a lot to be learnt from the story of the man behind the method.
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