Explorations on the Spiritual Side – 3 – Dreams That Fortell the Future: Am I Responsible?

Every once in a while I hear from someone who has apparently precognitive dreams, what they dream about happens later in ordinary reality, and it’s not something that could be rationally predicted. Dreaming that some public figure will be exposed as involved in a scandal involving sex or money, for example, is way too likely, we’ll never think of that as paranormal. Highly specific stuff that’s unpredictable and turns out to be right is what gets our attention, like a highway crash the next day involving three red trucks and one crashed airplane – not your everyday event.

It’s not the paranormality or lack of it that concerns me here, that’s a judgment call in real life events. My concern here is the people who dream of disasters, it looks precognitive, and they start to worry: “Did I just know about that in advance, or did I somehow make it happen? Am I just a reporter, or an agent of destruction?”?” To most of us this worry may seem somewhat silly: we see reports of catastrophes on the news all the time – floods, famines, explosions, etc., but we don’t feel responsible for them. But some people really worry over this.

I would not absolutely rule out the possibility of psychic abilities being used, perhaps unconsciously, to bring ill into the world, and most people have believed that throughout all known history. That’s folklore: we few parapsychologists tend to be very nice people and we don’t do experiments to see if paranormal cursing really works. My best guess – and certainly my desire – is that it’s very unlikely that someone who dreams of catastrophes in advance has anything to do with bringing them about.

Indeed as a psychologist, my concern for such people is to hope they would undertake various psychological and psychotherapeutic and spiritual growth exercises to figure out why they are attracted to the idea that they might be agents of catastrophe. That is not the same thing as saying I know they are “sick” and need to work on themselves! I know nothing of these individuals’ psychology. But in general I think we benefit from self-knowledge.

So if I talk to someone with this concern I can tell them that, using what scientific knowledge we have (too little, really, but it’s all we have), they should not worry about it. Whether this is really helpful to anyone, I don’t know. When, like me, you like to be helpful to people, but don’t know if you’re actually doing any good, that’s frustrating – but it’s the way reality works most of the time, so you do what you can and hope and pray for the best.

5 comments

  1. Maybe it isn’t so much that people feel responsible for something bad happening. Maybe the real issue is that if you are going to have precognition, why can’t it be good enough to be useful? If I had a dream about a car accident, and then people died in a car accident that I couldn’t prevent because I didn’t know enough details… Well that would bother me. I would rather not have known anything bad was going to happen if I couldn’t do anything to fix it. But if a precognitive dream gave enough information to save lives, I’d be OK with that.

    I seem to recall Larry Dossey addresses this in his book, The Power of Premonitions, by suggesting that just like having limited eyesight is preferable to being blind, maybe limited precognition is better than none at all. Personally, I’m not sure if I totally agree with that, but it is one way to look at things

  2. “Maybe the real issue is that if you are going to have precognition, why can’t it be good enough to be useful?”

    I think this is an important point. A lot of veridical information may come through people who have psychic perceptions. However it is hard to tell what is accurate before it is verified. Sometimes the information is literally true, sometimes it’s symbolic and not literal, sometimes it’s wrong. I often got readings at spiritualist churches with a lot of veridical information but the medium for some reason wove a story around it which was completely false. It’s unfortunate because in order to avoid feeding them information it is customary to just say yes or no if you recognize the information or not so a lot of the time I would have to keep saying “no, no, no”, when the situation was a lot more complex and included a lot of information that was meaningful to me.

    Regarding precognition, part of the problem is telling what part applies to the specific individuals. If you dream your plane crashes and skip the flight and it then crashes, does that mean you escaped your fate or just that the plane was destined to crash and you avoided being on it when it did so? On Dean Radin’s blog someone comented about a time they were pulling names out of a hat for some reason and he knew which name he’d get so he took one, then let go of it and took another but wound up with the predicted name. That seems to imply that you can’t beat fate unless you abstain from the entire event. To avoid pulling a certain name you have to back out of the whole thing. To avoid the plane crash you have to skip the flight and wait for it to crash. If it doesn’t crash I suppose you can’t get on another one until the one you would have taken crashes. This brings up some moral dilemmas.

  3. I think a lot of psychic occurrences bring up worries about personal responsibility. If I can’t prevent something bad from happening, did I try hard enough? If something bad happens to someone I don’t like, am I somehow responsible? If I save myself and other people get hurt, does that make me a bad person?

    Look at PK. There is research showing that good intentions seem to heal people. That gets a lot of attention, but if that were true wouldn’t the opposite be theoretically possible as well? So if someone had an ability to generate PK, they could be dangerous. Isn’t that why poltergeist cases are often solved when the person generating the PK takes responsibility for the PK events? Once someone realizes that they are to blame, not some ghost or other phenomenon, they usually stop. Probably because to generate that kind of effect consciously would scare the hell out of anyone.

  4. ” There is research showing that good intentions seem to heal people. That gets a lot of attention, but if that were true wouldn’t the opposite be theoretically possible as well?”

    It’s hard to know exactly how this works. Spiritualists don’t use their intention for any specific purpose except healing for the highest good. It is left to God or spirit guides to implement the specific outcome. This is because a person doesn’t know when a back ache will cause a person to miss a doomed flight or teach them an important lesson about life. Sometimes being sick is for the highest good. But it also takes the person out of the loop so that any bad intentions coming from the healer are not part of the process.

  5. “It’s unfortunate because in order to avoid feeding them information it is customary to just say yes or no if you recognize the information or not so a lot of the time I would have to keep saying “no, no, no”, when the situation was a lot more complex and included a lot of information that was meaningful to me.”

    I really think it would be helpful if a group of mediums would take a class in remote viewing and then develop, maybe with the help of remote viewing instructors, a more systematic and scientific approach to learning and doing mediumship.

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