I used to believe that my dreams could predict the future. I thought they were warnings or clues about what was going to happen to me at some point in my life. This was back when I was much younger, my early teen years, and didn’t quite understand what a dream really was.
When a dream does seem to predict the future, is it possible that it was really a self-fulfilling prophecy and that the dream caused us to take an action which made the dream come true? We dream about taking an exotic trip and it was such a fabulous idea that we take a trip much like our dream one and – what do you know – our dream came true!
I’ve taken a different view as I’ve aged. Maybe it’s from experience. Maybe because none of the ones I had that appeared to be about future events have ever come true.
If my dreams told the future:
- I’d have married an Asian man only a few inches taller than myself (this was a recurring dream in my teens and I’ve never even dated anyone who was Asian)
- My sister would have accidentally jumped off of a highway overhead interchange while jogging…with me (she was okay as she landed on a pile of soft material below but to my knowledge, she’s never jogged – nor will she ever jog – on a highway overpass)
- I would be able to levitate (how I wish this one were true!)
- Red scorpions would invade my home (okay – maybe this one was about the future. While we don’t have red scorpions here, we do have scorpions and I think I found one in the house a month later and had to kill it. Ew.)
- I would have dated a co-worker I find completely unappealing (never gonna happen)
See, I don’t think these dreams are telling me about my future. I think they’re telling me something about the present – problems at work, stress I was under, big decisions I had to make – but not things that were set-in-stone, damned-if-you-do future events.
Instead, I think dreams can guide our future if we use the clues they provide us.
When I’m particularly stressed about something, my dreams go into overtime. I didn’t understand that what I was seeing was my brain trying to work through whatever was bothering me. Dreams about bridges, for example, can be dreams about an upcoming decision you have to make or a fork on the road of life that you’re considering. Do you know how many transitions I’ve had in my life? Moving out of my parents’ home, choosing a college, breaking up with a boyfriend, getting married, getting divorced, changing jobs, having kids, moving….almost all of them came with a dream of some sort. A message that I was struggling with a choice or had some set of actions I was putting off. My brain would come along and give me a nice, swift, kick to the head as a reminder that these things needed to be dealt with.
Sometimes, the fact that we’re struggling with something isn’t so obvious. It’s buried deep because we may not want to face it or we don’t consciously know how to deal with it. Our head knows what’s going way down deep, though, so we get clues in our dreams about those problems. If you pay attention to them, they can help guide your future, too.
Whether or not you believe that we do or do not use only a small percentage of our brain’s ability, I do think it’s worth paying attention to what power we know we have that we often overlook – like our dreams. I don’t think they predict the future, necessarily, but I think they have something very important to tell us, nonetheless.