In 2018, I interviewed scientist and author Dr. Dean Radin upon the publication of his book Real Magic. At the time, I was occasionally interviewing authors for a newspaper, but I was super excited for this one as it was the first time I would interview a parapsychology researcher.
On a more personal level, I was looking forward to the opportunity to talk precognition and psychic dreams with Radin, who has studied the phenomenon and published papers with findings related to the extrasensory ability.
I was nervous, as I am sometimes at the beginning of these calls, but I managed at one point during our Skype session to mention to him that I have had precognitive dreams.
Radin asked me for an example, and the one I gave referenced dreaming of a place I had never visited in real life that later, the next day, I would see show up as photograph someone else shared on Facebook.
Radin was unimpressed.
He made some comment that suggested this was a common occurrence.
Common? Dreaming what you would see the next day on Facebook? I didn’t know anyone who could do that!
In an effort to remain professional, I didn’t react to Radin’s non-reaction and moved onto my next question, more closely related to the content of his book.
It’s been almost four years since that interview and in the time since, I’ve done a significant amount of independent research on precognition and precognitive dreams. I’ve tracked at least 1000 nights of my own dreams since then, some of which have come true in waking life later. I understand now why Radin seemed unimpressed.
Dreaming the future typically starts out with dreaming of images we will see on social media, TV, newspaper, or the internet. Essentially, dreaming of future images is usually how we start becoming aware that we do, in fact, dream some version of the future.
Have you had this kind of dream? Have you wondered why or how? Or what it means?
I would recommend reading Radin’s books, as well as those of neuroscientist Dr. Julia Mossbridge about precognition. (Full disclosure: I’ve served in an advisory role for TILT, Mossbridge’s non-profit.)
Both scientists write in an easily accessible way about what controlled studies are showing us about precognition. Their books are great resources to start learning about premonitions, psi abilities, and remote viewing.
For a while, my dream research was heavily focused on one objective: to prove to myself and others I sometimes dreamt the future.
I figured if I tracked my dreams more regularly and carefully, I would have some way of validating the experience.
This worked. But it also didn’t work. One thing I learned along the way is proving anything to anyone, including oneself, requires trust and consensus. What is proof, exactly? How close to “reality” did my dream content have to match waking life content in order for it to be considered proven by someone else?
As I tracked my dreams and shared them occasionally with friends or family it also became clear — and Radin mentions this in Real Magic — that belief in the possibility of precognition is certainly going to affect whether or not a person experiences precognition. Belief in precognition will also impact how someone hears the content of your dream. In other words, the more skeptical of precognition, the more your friend will be seeking exactitude in details when you compare the dream with the waking life future experience.
For instance, I may have a dream in which I am walking down a street. I think I am wearing a yellow sundress. I cross the street and I am pushed out of the way of an oncoming car by a stranger. The man, a thin person in his forties who looks a lot like my old dentist from childhood, says to me, “Watch out. You were almost killed.”
The next week, in waking life, I am crossing the street. I am wearing a yellow jumper. As I cross, I am pushed out of the way of an oncoming car by a stranger. It’s a woman, thin, with short-cropped hair. She’s in her twenties, wearing hospital scrubs. She says, “Sheesh. That was almost the end of you.” I notice her name tag. It says Dr. Cohen.
Did I dream the future?
I have had so many incidents like that: where the dream content was close enough, especially when one eliminates the visual details, and focuses instead on the emotional experience. But if I were to share that experience with one person, I might get a hearty, “Wow! You totally dreamed that.” Another person, more skeptical, would say, “Well, it was a woman, not a man.” Or they’d note the jumper was not a dress.
Would it matter to that person that my childhood dentist was named Dr. Cohen? Maybe. Maybe not.
People automatically see, hear, and believe what they already believe. It takes practice and commitment to be open to that which exists outside your current belief system. This is why it’s important you take care with who you share your dreams, whether those be the dreams you have while sleeping or waking dreams for your optimal imagined future.
Since I started interacting more with open-minded dreamers, and people who allow for the possibility of precognition, I’ve moved less toward needing validation, and more toward already knowing there is something having to do with the experience of time that happens inside our dreams that we still don’t fully understand.
I love trying to understand it, though.
I wrote an article a couple of years ago in which I gave some tips for how to know you dream the future. But upon reading it recently in advance of sending it to a friend, I realized it could use a refresher.
My friend asked for ways in which to know she dreams the future. I realized it was a good time to publish an article with some updated recommended best practices.
Before I list the steps below, I want to emphasize again the importance of finding a good balance between keeping your dream content private, and sharing your dream life with other like-minded dreamers who can encourage your exploration of your gifts and supernatural experiences.
Of course, it’s natural for humans, especially active dreamers, to want to share their dreams. We are social creatures, even if we vary in how social we are, or how intimate and vulnerable we get with others.
That said, I’ve come to see the dream as a sacred encounter, an experience that exists for us to explore at many levels, across time even, depending on where we are on our own spiritual path.
Perhaps where you are on your path is best supported by analyzing your dreams for symbolism. Perhaps you are interested in engaging in Jungian archetypal analysis. Perhaps you desire to deepen your feeling experience inside the dream in an attempt to change unhealthy patterns in waking life. Perhaps you are heavily involved in shadow work. Perhaps you are learning better how to be lucid in the dream. All are valid practices, and can be healing.
The steps below focus solely on tracking precognitive dreams. And, even so, my way isn’t the definitive way. It is simply what’s worked for me so far. I suggest trying it out, then modifying it to work best for you. You may need to adjust it based on your own particular sleep patterns, schedule, or memory recall ability.
One more thing I will add is that getting good, regular sleep is ideal for those of us trying to have regular dreams and remember them. Also, dream recall works best immediately upon waking. For some, it works even better to stay in bed with eyes closed and reflect on the dream itself before writing it down somewhere. For certain, it’s more difficult to recall dream details and feelings if you immediately start engaging with waking life sensory experiences; in particular, the internet, television, social media, conversation with others, or any kind of content with story or images.
- Upon waking — whether in the morning or in the middle of the night — write down your dream using an app or software that is searchable. This can be a Notes app on your phone or a Word doc on your computer. The key is that it has some functionality that allows you to search for keywords or phrases.
- Always date your dream at the top of the dream note: ie. December 18, 2019. I don’t track the days of the week, but not for any good reason. It may even be useful to include days and times, depending on how much you take notice in waking life of days of the week and times of day. If you think knowing it’s a Wednesday will help you match a dream to a future waking life experience, include the day. This is helpful if you are actively looking at a calendar every day in your waking life, for instance.
- Start by writing out as much of the dream content as you can remember. Go with the flow. Do not stop to autocorrect or fix punctuation. Get as much detail down as possible. Write all the dreams of the previous sleep session down, even when they seem blended. Whatever you can remember, write down. This will serve as a first draft.
- As for which details to track to prove precognitive dreams, it’s best to not get too caught up in the narrative, and instead, pay more attention to the details of what you observe (colors you see, shapes of buildings, time of day, types of vehicles, dialogue).
- That said, it’s also important to not get TOO hung up on the details. Our minds are always making meaning: all the time, even in dreams.
Our minds will sometimes not understand the context of what is “happening” in a “future memory” or “future experience” because it has no reference yet for the experience. It hasn’t happened yet. For instance, if you dream about a person you have not yet met. If we get too detailed, we sometimes over-describe a person, a happening, or event. Our mind also likes to make sense of what’s confusing, hence the “Dr. Cohen” = my old dentist above. (I know this may be confusing if you’re just starting out. So for now, just try to be aware that it’s a potential stumbling block to over-describe a dream. )
- Once you have written a “first draft” of all your dreams, go back over it and fix the punctuation or spelling. If you don’t, when you search up the dream a month or a year later, it may not make sense. It’s worth taking the time if you have it to fix the spelling of words. Sometimes I use the voice to text feature (I am sensitive to the light on my phone early in the morning). If you use this, you’ll definitely want to go back to fix the words misheard by the phone.
Ok. You have some dreams recorded now. The reason that using a searchable app for precognitive dreaming is key is because you don’t know when your dreams are going to become waking life events. Will it be a week from now? A month? Two years?
I have found that there is a link between the time of year I dream an event and the time of year the dream happens in waking life. For instance, I have experiential, anecdotal evidence that I sometimes dream an event almost to the day it will happen the following year or two. (ie. Dream on April 12, 2020 something that happens April 9, 2021.) More often, I dream events a day or a week in advance. The ones that “travel” back farther in time are ones with strong emotional resonance. More on that to come in a later article.
The reason you have used a searchable app is because inevitably when you experience a waking life event you think you dreamed you will get a feeling. It will feel different. Many people call this deja vu.
The correct term in the case of dreams is deja reve.
Here is a great post by Art Funkhouser summarizing a book by Dr. Vernon M. Neppe that lists all the different kinds of deja experiences. This was so helpful to me as I have long been a deja vu experiencer and I appreciated the distinctive categories.
When you get that “this feels familiar” feeling, you are now able to search your searchable dream journal for keywords or phrases. This is sometimes simple: let’s say you already dreamt running into your cousin Bob at the Steely Dan reunion tour and then you did! You can search “Bob,” or “concert,” or “Steely Dan” and maybe it’s that easy to prove it.
However, maybe you dreamt running into your cousin Bob, but in waking life it ends up being your co-worker Bob you bump into at the concert. The thing is: when you had the dream in March 2020, you hadn’t yet met Bob the coworker! You worked at a different job back then! This kind of mix-up can happen often. In this case, you may have a dream note that reads like this:
“Dreamed Steely Dan was doing a reunion tour and I went with cousin Bob.”
As I said, the dream mind, like the waking mind, wants to make meaning. It wants clarity. It will make up details and fill in the blanks sometimes, as a result.
In my opinion, the dream is still precog if there are some details that aren’t exact parallels.
Sometimes it’s not as easy to search up people or places in your dream notes, especially when they are new to you. You need to be creative and thoughtful.
Let’s say you’ve never been to Prague. Then you go there on a work trip. You walk along some city streets, aimlessly touring, when you come upon the Prague Astronomical Clock. There is a large crowd. You are in awe of the old clock, sure, but you also get that familiar feeling. Have I been here before? Well, you know you’ve never been to Prague…
When searching your dream notes, you could certainly start by searching up Prague, but you may want to expand your search to include “old city,” “narrow streets,” “monument,” “clock tower,” or “work trip.”
When reading a recorded dream you might realize you dreamt the experience based not on specifics, but on other, looser, more interpretive details or based on the description of an emotional experience.
I hope these tips are helpful to get you started on recording and tracking your dreams in a way that makes it easier to prove to yourself you dream the future sometimes. As with any skill, attention, practice, and community support help.
It feels important for me to add here that precognitive dreaming, as with any new-to-us tool or technology, should be used with care: for yourself and others. Further, just because you dream the future sometimes, does not mean you always dream the future. When we first start believing we can dream the future, nightmares suddenly become a lot scarier for fear that a nightmare will come true in waking life.
Because there is so much room for the mind to confuse out-of-context events and people, it’s hardly been the case for me that my worst nightmares have come true in waking life.
Take care with making any decisions based on your dreams of a supposed future — good or bad.
Recently, I wrote about a dream I had that caused me to worry about how my boyfriend felt about me. The dream conversation between him and me did, in fact, happen in waking life, but within context, it took on a much different meaning. This happens a lot in dreams, just as it does in waking life. We make assumptions about interactions based on our conditioning and subconscious beliefs. More on this in a future post.