For most people, ESP stands for Extra Sensory Perception. For Bill Sturdevant, a Juneau practitioner of the Silva method, it means Effective Sensory Projection, which he considers to be the same thing.
``Through his research Mr. Silva determined it's not something extra, but something everybody has and all we need to do is develop it,'' Sturdevant said.
Sturdevant teaches stress reduction and mind development using techniques developed by Jose Silva. He's contributed a chapter to a new book called ``Jose Silva's Ultramind ESP System: Think Your Way To Success.''
He's signing copies from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hearthside Books in the Nugget Mall, and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at Focal Point Books. Sturdevant is also giving a free workshop from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the downtown library on the book and applications of ESP.
Sturdevant described the Silva method as a combination of meditation and self-hypnosis.
``But it goes way beyond that,'' he said. ``Silva made some significant discoveries that I'm not aware of in other disciplines. He was able to come out with a significant set of techniques, where if you have this problem you apply this formula, that problem you apply that formula.''
Sturdevant said his sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late 1970s, and he was diagnosed with MS eight years ago. He said he's used Silva techniques since 1984 to effectively counter the symptoms he's experienced.
``It's kept me out of a nursing home, like my sister is in,'' he said. ``Most people don't know that I have MS.''
Sturdevant was having problems with his eyesight in the early 1980s, and because of his sister's condition he suspected MS was the cause. He found a copy of ``The Silva Method'' in a bookstore and began practicing the techniques.
``I would visualize myself being able to see clearly and use affirmations,'' he said. ``I meditated at least three times a day, and would go through a routine of meditations, affirmations and imaginations, and found an improvement.''
He said he's not sure just how it works.
``What I feel is that when you set up a mental pattern, it duplicates itself in the physical world,'' he said.
Sturdevant was living in Fairbanks at the time. He pursued studies of the Silva method and began teaching it. He's taught for the past 15 years in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau. Sturdevant, a clerk in the attorney general's office, has worked for the state of Alaska for about 12 years as well.
Jose Silva was a Mexican-American born early this century. Sturdevant said when Silva was 30 years old, in 1944, he was inducted into the army. The standard army psychiatric evaluation piqued his interest in psychiatry, and he began to read and study the field.
After the service he settled in Laredo, Texas. He continued his independent studies of psychiatry, hoping to improve his children's intelligence and academic performance. In the introduction to the new book, Silva describes how he began developing his own ideas about applied psychology.
In 1966 Silva began presenting his mind development method in seminars, and published ``The Silva Method.'' His methods found a variety of applications. In the new book, artists, teachers and medical practitioners describe how they used the Silva method to help develop their creative potential, improve student's performance, and help people to overcome phobias and reduce stress.
Jose Silva continued teaching, writing and researching until his death in February of 1999.
About two dozen writers contributed to the new book, including several chapters written by Silva shortly before his death.
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