Many years ago, I dreamed of a meeting in a room with a very odd floorplan. It was shaped like an extremely elongated triangle. I was calling on a powerful man who emerged from a nearby restroom as I was approaching the reception desk, hailed me in a friendly way and - ushering me into the triangular room - proceeded to ask whether I would prefer coffee, tea or "a double whisky-and-soda." More than a year later, I entered the Flatiron building in downtown Manhattan on my way to a meeting with a powerful man, the head of a major publishing company. As I approached reception on his floor, he emerged from a nearby restroom, greeted me with great esprit, walked me into his office - and asked, "Would you rather have coffee, tea or a double whisky-soda?" Now inside the triangular room from my dream, I was so stunned by the exact unfoldment of the dream that I missed a great opportunity. Instead of picking up cues in the conversation and playing with them improvisationally, I dully followed the script I had been given. A gentler example of being "frozen" by a sense of fatality associated with a dream.
We want at all costs to avoid fatalism and retain the power to choose between alternate possible futures. I contend that any future we can foresee is a possible - not inevitable - future and that in our game of life we want to use our foreknowledge to try to avert an unwanted future event, or to bring a happy future event into manifestation. In that cause, we need to learn to distinguish several kinds of engagement with the future.
Through precognition, we see events and circumstances ahead of time, as they will be played out. A precognitive dream may be literal, or symbolic or both. For example, a dream of a twister might turn out to be both a preview of a literal disaster and advance notice of an emotional storm that will hit with the force of a tornado
In dreams and intuitive flashes, and through the play of coincidence, we may receive an early warnings of a possible future development we may not want – a crisis at work, the bust-up of a relationship, a health problem, a car accident. If we pay attention and decide on effective action, we may be able to use such early warnings to avoid a possible future problem if we take appropriate action.
In the same way, we receive advisories about coming opportunities. Early opportunity dreams also require action if we are going to manifest a future we’ll enjoy. You dream you are in your ideal home, or doing the work that nourishes your soul and your bank account, or you are with your soulmate, who is someone you have not yet met in the regular world. You don't want to let those glimpses of possibility float away like helium balloons off the string. You want to figure out what practical action you can take to move decisively in the direction of that happy vision.
Choosing Alternate Event Tracks
As dreamers, we discover and inhabit the true nature of time, as it has always been known to dream travelers and is now confirmed by modern science. Linear time, as measured by clocks, and experienced in plodding sequences of one thing following another, always heading in the same direction, is an illusion of limited human awareness, at best (as Einstein said) a convenience. In dreaming, as in heightened states of consciousness, we step into a more spacious time, and we can move forwards or backwards at varying speeds.
We not only travel to past and future; we travel between alternate timelines. With growing awareness, we can develop greater and greater ability to choose the event track – maybe one of infinite alternative possible event tracks – that will be followed through a certain life passage, or even the larger history of our world. This may be a case of the observer effect operating on a human scale. It is well understood that at quantum levels, deep within subatomic space, the act of observation causes plucks a specific phenomenon out of a bubbling cauldron of possibilities. It may be that, in the cauldron of our dreaming: through the act of observation, we select a certain event track that will begin to be manifested in the physical world. By a fresh act of observation, or re-visioning, we can then proceed to alter that event track, or switch to an entirely different one.
I have borrowed here from Part One of my book The Three “Only” Things: Tapping the Power of Dreams, Coincidence and Imagination (New World Library). You may want to seek out a copy of my earlier book Dreaming True (Pocket Books, 2000) which is wholly devoted to this subject. In my new book The Secret History of Dreaming I track the vital importance of dreaming as divination across the whole human adventure.