“A genius is a man who has discovered how to increase the intensity of thought to a point when he can freely communicate with sources of knowledge not available through the ordinary rate of thought.” –Napoleon Hill, author of the Best Selling Classic Book, Think and Grow Rich.
In PART 3 we cover:
✔ A look at Speed Learning with 2 strategies we can all use right away to learn faster, and remember what we have learned longer.
✔ Creative Sleep, and how to use our sleep to solve problems, improve creativity and intuition in our waking hours, with 4 steps to improving your ability to use and remember your dreams.
Welcome back to The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast and PART 3 of our Review of Jose Silva’s Mind Control Program. I’m Andrea Samadi an author and an educator, who like many of you listening, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind ANY high-performance strategy proven to increase our results in our schools, sports, or modern workplaces. If there’s something NEW that I come across that can help us in any way, I’ll investigate it, connect it with the most current research, and then share what I learn with you here.
If you’ve been following the past few episodes, you’ll know that I came across Jose Silva’s work with Dr. Hasan Ibne Akram, from EPISODE #260[i], who has launched 7 successful companies, and mentioned that this book completely changed his world. I had heard of this book and Silva’s Program over the years, and many of the concepts that Jose Silva mentions in his book, but had not read it cover to cover, or practiced the audio training that goes along with the book, so I decided to do a complete review of the program, like we did with Napoleon Hill’s book at the start of this year, and see how this book, that was popular in the 80s and 90s could connect to the interviews we’ve done previously on this podcast. Especially when Friederike Fabritius mentioned on EPISODE #258[ii] that our mind can be trained to produce flashes of insight, that can help us in business and our personal lives and what Jose Silva would say could reveal “some astounding things” with a trained mind.
I wondered how exactly could our mind be trained...
Was daily meditation not enough?
If it was, how do I even know if I’m meditating the right way?
What was I missing from my current practice?
What can we learn from the years of research behind Jose Silva’s popular program that could help all of us to refine our current meditation practice?
Then I thought back to a class I took with Jon Kabat-Zinn, the father of mindfulness, who reminded us in this class that we are already perfect, (as we are) and that mindfulness is not about “attaining a certain state, (that brings us to this new level of perfection) but that we are already whole and perfect.” Whatever program we are doing now, the idea of this book review is not to say that Jose Silva’s method is better, or that we might be missing something from what we are already doing, but to see if there’s anything NEW that we cover here, that interests us to dive deeper into, to further enhance our current practice.
Jim Kwik, the founder of Kwik Learning[iii], has said that “we’ve discovered more in the past 20 years about our brain than we’ve known in the previous 2,000 years combined” and I think it’s so exciting to share new strategies to help us all, which is the purpose of this podcast. When I learn something new, something that can help me to improve in any way, this energizes me, this gets me all jazzed up, and I know I can’t be the only one like this. I’m sure for those of you who tune into this podcast, can relate to what I’m saying and I’m honored that you’ve chosen me to study with, wherever you might be tuning into this podcast around the world. I love looking at the statistics to see where listeners are tuning in from in over 168 countries, which is a Geography lesson for me when I look at the map of the world.
NOTE TO LISTENERS: Thank you to everyone who tunes into our podcast around the world. I can see all the countries you are tuning in from, and am grateful you have chosen to study with me.
For this book review, little263-INTRO did I know just how powerful Silva’s program would be, when I recorded PART 1 of this series. As I began reading each chapter that Jose Silva wrote many years ago when he was on a quest to increase learning for his own children, I began piecing together many of the strategies that we’ve covered on this podcast for improving learning, focus, creativity, imagination and productivity, all backed by science, right within the pages of The Silva Method.
I made many connections to past episodes and research, including Dr. John Dunlosky from EPISODE #37[iv] where he spoke about using “spaced repetition” as an evidence-based method for improving recall for students, that we will cover today. This research also appears in John Almarode, Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher’s recent book, How Learning Works: Translating the Science of Learning into Strategies in Your Classroom that we covered on EPISODE #161[v].
Or even the importance of mindfulness and meditation in the classroom, for athletes or in the workplace. The connection to current research was enough for me to see that Jose Silva was on to something with the methods he wrote about, years before the research would take off exponentially in this area.
Daniel Goleman wrote about this in his book Altered Traits[vi] where he showed a visual with the research on Mindfulness and Meditation going up exponentially from the year 2000, to 2020.
My goal with this review of The Silva Method[vii], is to help all of us to learn something new to refine our current meditation practice whether we are working in our schools to improve learning, in our sports environments for improved results towards a specific goal, or in the corporate workplace to generate new ideas. I wouldn’t have picked this book to review if it hadn’t made such an impact on the world, like Napoleon Hills’ book, but I had no idea the concepts I would learn each week, would be so powerful, and life-changing.
After releasing the first 2 PARTS of this program, I began to receive messages from our listeners around the world who have used Silva’s Program, even from those who used it years ago. Then my good friend Hans Ajay from the UK, urged me to sign up for the full program through MindValley[viii], (where the course sits today after Vishen Lakhiani (the founder) revised and improved it in this current version. Hans wrote “It’ll be transformative.”
I don’t need anyone to twist my arm if there’s going to be transformation and learning occurring, so I signed up immediately taking what I’m learning in the pages of Silva’s book to a whole new level. I’ll stick to covering each chapter, but have to say that the experiential exercises have brought each chapter to life in a way that I don’t think it’s possible for me to show with my writing. I’ll connect as many exercises as I can find online with each chapter review, and encourage those of you who want to learn more to explore the entire program further through MindValley. This course is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in all my years of studying and learning.
✔ CH 1- Using More of Our Mind in Special Ways: An Introduction to the Silva Mind Control Method
✔ What this program has done for others.
✔ Ch 2- Meet Jose Silva
✔ Ch 3- How to Meditate: A review of the brain states (BETA, ALPHA, THETA, DELTA).
✔ How to quickly access the ALPHA STATE to improve creativity, and intuition.
✔ Using A Mental Screen in Your Mind for Heightened Visualization
✔ How to Help Yourself and Others Using a Mental Screen in Our Mind
UNDERSTANDING HOW TO ACCESS THE ALPHA BRAIN STATE:
Once we understand the different brain states, and how to access them, it makes more sense as we dive into the Alpha State, and practice visualizing on the screen of our mind in this state with the meditation exercises. Understanding the Alpha Level of Mind is the first step in Silva’s Mind Control Program, and used by itself, had tremendous health capabilities.
When you are daydreaming, or just going to sleep but not quite there yet, or just awakening but not yet awake, you are in Alpha Brain State that Silva calls the "inner consciousness” where he says is our mental world exists, with no time or space. With Silva’s Mind Control training you can enter the Alpha level at will and still remain fully alert, which is where the exciting part of his program begins.
I found 2 meditations on YouTube that I’ve listed below to help us to gain access to the experiential activities and take the first steps to applying Jose Silva’s program into our daily life.
This first video is an introduction, helping us to understand how to enter the Alpha state of mind easily. Jose Silva explains what one needs to do to reach the Alpha, or meditative, level of mind, and this video illustrates his words beautifully.
ALPHA MEDITATION EXAMPLE 2:
Here’s a second example I found on YouTube of entering the Alpha State and practicing our Mental Screen, with the 3, 2, 1, countdown method in a (25 minutes meditation) with Sommer Leigh, who reads Silva’s Alpha Meditation exactly as he would, but obviously this time, it’s with a female voice and peaceful music. Sommer does address the fact that someone new to meditating should begin with counting down from 100 to 1 to reach the Alpha level, using the countdown method that Silva suggests.
If you prefer a male voice for this activity, you can sign up for MindValley.com where Vishen Lakhiani goes through this same exercise, that he calls “Tapping into Alpha with a Centering Exercise” or you can hear Vishen’s YouTube version of The 20 Minute Silva Centering Exercise here from MindValley’s Channel.
Once you reach the Alpha level, (either in the morning, or a night or any time of day that you have to spend 15 minutes) Silva explains this is where we envision a peaceful place to help us to relax our mind, and body for improved health. This is also the place where we can practice solving a problem that we will go deeper into in PART 2. This meditation ends with the 1-5 countdown method to exit the meditation, where we feel better than we did before.
Jose Silva reminds us that if we did nothing other than practice going to this peaceful state of mind, it would have tremendous health and wellness benefits that research now proves to be true.
In PART 2[x] of our review, on our last episode, we covered:
✔ Ch 4- Dynamic Meditation (where we actually DO something while meditating, instead of it being a passive practice).
✔ The 4 Laws that must be in place BEFORE we visualize a goal.
✔ How these 4 Laws mirror Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich book.
✔ 3 STEPS to SOLVE ANY PROBLEM Using the Silva Method on the Screen that We Build in Our Mind.
✔ Ch 5- Improving Memory
✔ Where Silva's Memory Hacks have been seen on previous episodes and in the motivational speaking industry.
In PART 3 of our review, today’s EPISODE #263, we will cover:
✔ Ch 6-Speed Learning
✔ Ch 7-Creative Sleep
For Chapter 6: Speed Learning
I couldn’t begin writing about Silva’s strategies, without referring to Jim Kwik[xi] first, the founder of Kwik Learning, who created his entire business around how to reader faster, work smarter and think better by accelerating your learning and your life by unlocking what he calls our “superbrain.” Jim Kwik reminds us something I’m sure we’ve all heard of a million times, that school teaches us WHAT to learn (History, Math, Science, Languages) but “there are ZERO classes on how to learn, listen, focus, concentrate, solve problems, read faster or remember things.”
We mentioned Howard Berg, The World’s Fastest Speed Reader on our last episode, who taught us on EPISODE #189[xii] many skills that school never taught us, like speed reading or memory tricks.
Jose Silva was ahead of his game when he began looking for ways to teach his children, and eventually thousands of others who studied his methods, to learn faster, and be able to remember what they learned for longer periods of time.
He offers two strategies in his book:
STRATEGY 1: THE MENTAL SCREEN FOR LEARNING PAIRED WITH THE 3 FINGER TECHNIQUE
Silva suggests using our Mental Screen for learning, to speed up and deepen what we learn. He also uses the 3 Finger Technique to help us to reach the Alpha State quicker, which can be done while reading to help with focus, concentration and retention, and he outlines a teacher from Denver who used this Three Finger Technique to teach her students spelling with a list of 20 words. To test them, she would ask them to write down the words they studied that week, recall the words using the Three Finger Technique, and see the words on the screen of their minds. She was able to teach all of her students to remember their spelling list with this method.
STRATEGY 2: RECORD YOUR VOICE
The second method for Speed Learning, I’m most interest in, as I had heard about this strategy in the past. Silva suggests recording your voice when you need to learn something new. When I worked in the seminar industry, we called this a “loop tape” and this strategy was for anyone who wanted to take their results to new heights. Whether they were studying for a test, and needed to learn something new, or an actor who needed to memorize their lines quickly, a loop tape was recommended. I even remember it was suggested to me when I first moved to the US, and found life in this new country to be challenging. The first thing our offices said was “has Andrea created a loop tape of what she wants her life to look like?” Sounds a bit off the wall, but if you don’t think something first, on the screen of your mind, you’ll be less likely to know what you are looking for when you see it. It’s crazy to look back now, because my current life looks pretty much the way I imagined it to look 20+ years ago, when I created my first loop tape, and even drew a sketch of what I envisioned the house I would live in, would look like.
PUTTING THIS INTO PRACTICE:
For someone who want to apply this strategy to learning something new, Silva suggests to read the chapter that you are studying out loud (or whatever it is that you want to remember) and record it while you’re in the beta brain state, or wide awake and focused. Next, he says, go to the alpha brain state (by counting backwards using the 3, 2, 1 method, or with the 3 Finger Technique and listen to what you recorded while in this state, concentrating on your voice.
For added reinforcement, he suggests to let a few days pass and then do it again. Read the material in your beta state and play it back in alpha. This is also in line with Dr. John Dunlosky’s research, using spaced repetition.
Chapter 7 of The Silva Method on Creative Sleep.
Silva took the dream world very seriously, and he was interested in using dreams to solve problems. His programs teach us to first of all remember your dreams and suggests writing them down as soon as you wake up.
We’ve covered dreams on this podcast with EPISODE #224[xiii] with Harvard Neuroscientist Dr. Baland Jalal on “Sleep Paralysis, Lucid Dreaming and Premonitions” or EPISODE #104[xiv] with Antonio Zadra and his book “When Brains Dream” and I even took a stab at explaining “Why Our Dreams Are So Weird, Highly Emotional and Often Forgotten” on EPISODE #226[xv] as I’m personally been interested in deciphering the messages that come through in our dream state.
I mentioned on our recent episode with Dr. Hasan Ibne Akram about how motivational speaker Bob Proctor would encourage all of us to write down our dreams to see what we could learn from them. I’ve got quite the dream log that goes back to the late 90s, and while no one other than myself would understand the significance within my scribbles, they are very clear to me.
Here’s an example: I was planning to move from Toronto, Canada, to Arizona, USA in January 2000. I had applied to come to the USA on the H1BI VISA for the work I was doing with teenagers, and I didn’t get the paperwork I needed until April 2001. You can see a dream I recorded Dec 14th, 2000 where I wrote “Bob at office putting in new computer telling me how I should set up my Phoenix office” that to someone else might be just a bunch of jumbled words, but to me, that was a clear sign that I was going to eventually finally make it to Arizona, with some suggestions on how to set up my office when I got there. I remember this dream clearly, with Bob actually hiding the wires behind my computer under my desk. With each log I’ve written, I can now go back over the dream in my head whenever I want, and the messages within each dream are obvious…at least to me.
HOW TO USE YOUR DREAMS AS GUIDANCE:
I’ve used this dream log to guide me in my personal and professional life and highly encourage anyone who wants to gain more self-awareness to try this activity.
Silva began using dreams to solve his problems back in 1949 and said the more he studied, the more humbling it became as he realized he knew less and less as time moved forward. He was always looking to learn more to help others with his research.
He writes an incredible story about how he dreamed of 3 numbers, and couldn’t figure out what they were, until a string of events led him to a gas station, where someone he was with saw the numbers on a lottery ticket. He bought the ticket, and went on to win $10,000 that he used to fund his research over the years.
This isn’t the only story where dreams have had a significant importance. Richard Bach, the author of the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” an important book in the field of personal development, was almost never was written. Richard Bach explains that he couldn’t figure out the ending to this story, until he saw the ending in a dream he had, helping him to finish the book. This book made the cover of Time Magazine, and Bach credits The Silva Method for the mental discipline and visualization he needed to complete this book.
PUT THIS STRATEGY INTO PRACTICE: BEGIN BY
WRITING DOWN YOUR DREAMS as soon as you wake up. I used to keep a notebook next to my bed, to do this, but now, with a phone nearby, I wake up and use the notepad on my phone. But what if you don’t recall your dreams? Dreams are hard to remember, and Stephanie Gailing, the author of The Complete Book of Dreams says that “on average, within 5 minutes we forget 50% of what we dream and within 10 minutes, only 10% may remain”[xvi] and “there are certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) necessary to transform short-term memories into long-term ones; some of these including norepinephrine are at a very low level while dreaming, therefore create an innate blockade to having our nighttime visions etched in our mind.”
TAKE THE DREAM WORLD SERIOUSLY: If you can be like Silva, and put value on your dreams, Gailing says “those who revere their dreams and accept them as an integral part of their life remember them more often.” I learned from Vishen Lakhiani, in the Silva Ultramind Online course that some indigenous cultures that he’s come across in his studies, wake up and begin their day by discussing their dreams and what messages they can see from their dream state. I know we are far off from starting our corporate meetings this way, but if you can do this on your own, I do promise you will see things that will help you in your everyday life.
MAKE SURE YOU ARE SLEEPING LONG ENOUGH: Gailing reported in her Complete Book of Dreams that “since dreams that arrive in the early morning are thought to be more vivid and complex” be sure you are sleeping long enough that you don’t miss out on this last REM stage of sleep. How would you know WHEN your REM sleep is? You can use a sleep tracker to see. I put a screen shot of my REM SLEEP from last night that shows at what points in the night I was in REM. My report showed last night’s REM sleep to be 21% higher than my 30 day average, but I unfortunately did not remember my dreams from last night.
HAVE CONFIDENCE THAT YOU WILL REMEMBER YOUR DREAMS: The strategy of having the intention of remembering your dream works well, and also not worrying if you don’t remember them every night. My dream log has weeks of gaps where I didn’t remember anything at all, or it just wasn’t something I thought was important to remember at the time.
To bring this episode to a close, and REVIEW Chapter 6 on Speed Learning and Chapter 7 on Creative Dreams,
In Chapter 6 on Speed Learning we looked at 2 Strategies that included
Using the mental screen paired with the 3-finger technique if you want to learn something quickly, using the Alpha Brain State.
Silva also covered recording your voice, or creating what I knew of as the “loop tape” of whatever it is that you want to remember. You would record what you want to remember in the BETA State, and then listen to it in the Alpha state (using the 3 finger technique or counting backwards).
In Chapter 7 on Creative Dreams we covered 4 strategies for remembering our dreams, and taking them seriously like Jose Silva himself did.
In the resource section, I’ve put the links to the three meditations I found online that can help you to take Silva’s ideas to new heights in your own life.
I hope that you take the time to go through the meditations where you will see what Hans Ajay told me. They are transformational. I wanted to learn something new with my current meditation practice, and had no idea just how deep Jose Silva’s Program would take me.