In dreams, perhaps every night, we travel ahead of our physical selves, scouting out challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Dreams of the future are part of the basic human survival kit. We not only see things that will happen. We see things that may or may not happen, depending on our ability to remember and clarify the details, and then to take appropriate action to avoid an unwanted possible future event or to manifest a happy one.
Having said that, it is true that even the most practiced and prolific dreamers often misread dreams about the future. In my book Dreaming True I discuss the five main reasons we misinterpret dreams of the future even when we are fully prepared to look at dreams for messages about what is to come:
1. We mistake a literal event for a symbolic one, or vice versa.
2. We misidentify people and places.
3. We fail to figure out how far in the future the dream event might be.
4. We see future events from a certain angle, that may not reveal the whole picture.
5. We confuse realities, confounding a dream that relates to external reality with dreams that are real experiences in other orders of reality.
Gifted psychic dreamers often find themselves looking at a future event involving others as an observer, looking in from the outside. But in clairvoyant or precognitive dreams involving others, we may be drawn inside another person’s situation. Sometimes it’s as if we have stepped inside someone else’s head and are looking through their eyes. This syndrome is quite common among siblings, close family and friends. It poses special challenges in reading dreams of the future.
We need to determine what is our stuff and what belongs to someone else stuff. One of the ways to do that is to try to reenter the dream and establish – inside the dream – exactly what is going on. I counseled a woman who was troubled by recurring dreams of violent alcohol abuse and infidelity involving her “husband”. When she agreed to reenter the dream, she realized that she was inside her sister’s house and seemingly inside her sister’s mind and body. Her dreams proved to be an accurate scan of problems developing in her sister’s marriage. Once the dreamer got clear what belonged to her and what did not, she was able to provide effective and intuitive counsel to her sister as she struggled to cope with her spouse’s alcohol-fueled rages.