Several years ago, I came across a spiritual mind and meditation system called The Silva Method. It was developed by Jose Silva, an American electrician who was looking for a way to help his children get better grades at school. What he ended up developing were meditation and visualization exercises that claim to advance mental capabilities.
One of his most famous teachings has to do with developing our ability to obtain an answer to our questions using deep sleep. Jose Silva is not the first man to discover and tap into the resourceful states of the unconscious mind for inspiration and answers. The New Thought Movement, led by ministers like Ernest Holmes and Joseph Murphy, also emphasized a method where prayer was used in conjunction with sleep. Furthermore, the Istikhara prayer, used in various Islamic traditions, also intends to invoke a solution to a quandry from the dreamscape.
When we surrender the problem we have in mind to the dreamscape, resources of mind that are repressed when we are in waking states become available. Savant-like abilities of analysis, calculation and recall become available to us when we are not using our brain to walk, talk, pay the bills, interact with others or do our day jobs. It is this more sophisticated form of calculation and analysis, which becomes available when our brains are doing less, that goes to work on finding a solution. The idea is that we then experience the solution in a dream, wake up with an answer already in mind, or experience the solution as an epiphany sometime during our waking hours.
Silva’s Method for Invoking an Answer in a Dream
Silva’s method asks the participant to place a full glass of water by the bedside. The participant then closes their eyes and induces a state of relaxation. They are to place the tip of their tongue on the roof of their mouth and to mentally state “I know this is all I need to do to find a solution to the problem I have in mind.” They are then asked to name the problem. The participant then opens their eyes and drinks half of the glass of water. They are to go to sleep immediately afterwards, keeping the intent to find a solution foremost on their mind as they drift to sleep. In the morning and as soon as they wake up, they are to drink the remaining water in the glass.
This method has allowed me to experience dreams related to issues I wished to explore. I can’t tell you if those dreams have ever provided solutions, but what the method has taught me is that we can have a deliberate effect on our dream life and we can access more resourceful states of mind by what we intend as we drift off to sleep. More recently, I have been experimenting with the intent of achieving a lucid state in my dreams. Once I become lucid, I work on the matters of interest of concern that I planned on exploring before going to sleep.
I find this approach more useful than Silva’s technique, the reason being that in Silva’s technique I am a passive recipient of a dream. I don’t consciously realize I’m dreaming or that the dream was willed by me before going to sleep, or that it has provided an answer until after I wake up. In the lucid exploration model, I am aware that I am dreaming and I am consciously and actively tapping into the resourceful states of my unconscious mind to see what it has to say about the “problem I have in mind.”