The Real Magic of the Unlimited Self
“The Silva Life System holds the secret of unleashing the powers of your mind. It is really the “secret” behind The Secret, the ability to function consciously at the alpha level.” – Silva Method Website
My approach to life’s meaning has always had a “new age” flavor to it even though I don’t like that phrase. That phrase reeks of pseudoscience, while implying that age-old philosophies and practices were suddenly discovered in the 1960s and 1970s. However, the phrase is convenient here because I’m writing outside the arena of mainstream psychology.
Intuitively, I have always felt that our temporal life as we view it and understand it via logic and our physical senses is but a fraction of the “big picture.”
Over time. my beliefs have emerged as an eclectic mix of ideas and techniques that were sensible and verifiable to me after doing a whole lot of “editing” when it came to some “new age” belief systems. Readers of my my novels Sarabande, The Sun Singer, and Garden of Heaven: an Odyssey will discover many beliefs which I see as true presented as though they were fantasy and magic. One of the ideas that drew me to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was the fact that performers in the circus were presenting demonstrations of real magic disguised to appear as sleight of hand.
The Self Without Limits
Whether you use the psychological term “unconscious” or the “new age”/layperson term “subconscious,” I believe that the areas of the mind we do not normally consider—or even believe in—are available to us through a variety of psychoanalytic approaches and meditation techniques, dreaming and other altered states. Within that philosophy, one can say that in spite of any mental, spiritual, or physical limitations we may have (or appear to have) each of us is “powerful beyond measure” as Marianne Williamson puts it.
With these ideas inside my head—and with a great deal of youthful enthusiasm—I went to work as a mental health technician at a state center for the developmentally disabled in the mid-1970s. I worked my way up to a unit manager’s position, responsible for one of the center’s eight-resident “homes.” Within the context of mainstream psychology, care givers at the center used positive behavior modification methods within an environmentally rich setting and saw major transformations in residents who had previously been written off by family and society as doomed to a warehoused-away life in an old-style institution.
Outside the context of mainstream psychology, several of us at the center had recently completed a series of Silva Method seminars. In general, we learned relaxation techniques, empathic techniques, how to develop our intuition, “psychic” healing of ourselves and others, memory improvement, and other ways to access the unlimited self. Let me add that this is my view of what we learned and not necessarily that of Silva International or its instructors.
Prior to the arrival of the residents at the new developmental center, several friends met in one of our living rooms and used Silva techniques to do “readings” on each of the eight residents. Such readings are typically done as a means of discovering any health issues a person might have and not be aware of. (During the seminars, each of us had been given the names of people we did not know and asked to do readings on them; with practice, we were able to determine not only their health issues but what they looked like, what their homes were like, and many other verifiable facts that we had no logical reason to know.) During these readings, we were in a highly relaxed state and able to respond to the questions of others. Using a technique similar to that taught in biofeedback courses, we slowed our brainwaves from the beta level to the alpha level.
The Surprise of Our Lives
We were totally unprepared for what happened without exception with each reading we did on an incoming resident. While there were, I believe, three or four of us taking turns doing the readings, each of us began by saying what we perceived and then, suddenly, started speaking FOR the person we were reading. That is to say, instead of saying, “Susan can walk and feed herself at a table,” we were saying “I can walk and feed myself at a table.” Our friends were able to ask the new residents many questions, via the one doing the reading, about their history, circumstances, likes and dislikes as though the resident (we didn’t use the term “patient”) were sitting there in the room.
Later, we verified the accuracy of many of the things said once the residents and their files arrived in each unit. That is, their behavior and their “patient history” proved to us that our readings had been accurate. In other cases, incoming residents said (via the readings) that they hoped to have certain kinds of foods, clothing items and toys. One said he wanted a red ball with stars on it. We put such a ball in the living room area of the unit along with a lot of other toys, and he went right to it and was subsequently never far from the ball. Others were drawn to the foods and clothing items they “requested” during the readings.
Needless to say, our readings were never discussed with anyone at the center, but they did, I believe, improve the quality of care we were able tro provide the residents. Naturally, we didn’t discuss the readings with the residents because they were more or less nonverbal or had a limited vocabulary and/or ability to discuss abstract concepts. I can’t speak for the others who did the readings, but personally, I have never been able to do a viable reading on anyone I know. I suspect my logic and imagination get in the way of it. So, I didn’t do any more successful readings once the residents arrived at the center.
Moonlight and Ghosts
I have seldom mentioned the Silva Method and psychic readings to others because the subject matter doesn’t come up in casual conversation and, if it does, people start thinking I’m a psychic and can read their thoughts. (I cannot.) I also don’t know whether any other “Silva graduates” have began doing readings and suddenly found themselves “channeling” the person being read. And naturally, since I am not a psychologist nor a mental health worker, I have never had a forum for asking whether caregivers in altered states have tried to “read” or learn more about those in their care.
While the readings happened a long time ago, I’ve often thought about them, wishing there had been a way to pursue the technique to see if others could replicate it. However, the subject just happened to fit neatly into my paranormal Kindle short story “Moonlight and Ghosts.” Now, I have finally dealt with my feelings about leaving the residents behind when low pay forced me to resign and with the fact that—through fluke or magic or meditation training—I was able to make a connection with the incoming residents of my unit that helped us better understand each other.
Someday, perhaps, the unlimited knowledge and understanding hidden deep within the minds of those labeled as intellectually or developmentally disabled will be better understood by caregivers who desire to help the whole person. “Moonlight and Ghosts” is pure fiction. I never walked into an abandoned center and used a “reading” to discover a crime in progress. But lurking within this spooky, paranormal adventure is a bit of dramatized reality masquerading as a storyteller’s sleight of hand.
NOTE: If you are a psychologist or other direct-care worker who has experienced this phenomenon or read about it in any mainstream literature, I would love to hear about it in the comments.