Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Practical Dreaming #3: The Proleptic Faculty, or: "Stay Tuned for The Coming Attractions!"

There are many different sorts of dreams. Dreams of contact with spirit entities and/or mentors, contact with those that are passed on, or contact with those that are distant time- or geography-wise. Fun dreams that are essentially opportunities for our souls or unconscious minds to play or create (or both!). Dreams wherein we explore a number of possible solutions to a problem or issue that is vexing us in waking life. And related to this last category is the proleptic dream, or dream of the future.

Quantum mechanics (the appallingly complex and gratifyingly nonlinear physics of subatomic phenomena) tells us that not only can subatomic particles and information move backwards in time, they do. Routinely. Even pre-quantum physics (early Einstein-era) understood that although our six bodily senses experience time flowing in only one direction, time flows backwards too. And in dreaming we can sense the waves made by future events flowing "back" to us -- ripples in time. If we pay attention, we can collect information invaluable to navigating the currents of our days.

In my experience it is rare to have a dream wherein a particular friend telephones me with a particular piece of news, and then within a day or two that scenario is enacted in waking life (although I *have* had astonishingly literal and exact dreams of an imminent event). Most usually a dream of the future speaks to me metaphorically. Sometimes the symbolism is so oblique that it is only in retrospect that I understand that I dreamt an event prior to it occurring in my waking hours. And sometimes the symbolism is not only apt but direct enough that when an otherwise shocking event occurs, I'm ready for it. To wit:

In the winter of 2002-2003, I had been making my living in the corporate world for nearly 15 years. Although by nature not the corporate type, I had marketable skills and corporate was where the best money was. I was ready for something new and had been for some time. But I hadn't the courage and inspiration to make the shift. It was always -- "just another six months and I'll have enough money in the bank to take the leap," or "dang the economy's been sucking wind since 9/11 and now's just a good time to hunker down with this secure, well-paying job [need I mention full medical and dental coverage? ] until conditions get better." Spirit figured I needed a clue -- and a rude shove.

"Bon Voyage!" (2/10/03)
I am riding on a sailboat in a violent thunderstorm. It is night. The pilot sends me forward to adjust a sail as the boat heaves & leaps. Lightning-strikes are nearly constant. I get to the bow and a huge wave washes me overboard. The hull of the boat slides by me in the dark although phosphorescent sparks in the water clearly show its outline. I wait calmly, knowing I can grab a rope that hangs down from the stern (for just this purpose) and haul myself back on. After a few moments, the stern glides by and I grab the rope. But I hesitate -- unsure if I should haul myself up -- and then let the rope loose and watch the boat disappear into the darkness.

Eight days after I had this dream, my "secure, well-paying" job advised me my services were no longer required. I had been with a startup for 7 years and it had gone from a ragtag us-against-the-world group of 7 employees to a much more structured and straitlaced environment of nearly 60. The company and myself no longer fit -- a mirror reflection of the larger me-in-the-corporate-world picture. I had about four months of severance and at first assumed I'd use that time to find my next corporate gig. Then, recalling this dream, I decided against it. It meant I had no idea what exactly I would do -- other than "watch the boat disappear into the darkness"...leaving me treading water alone in a thunderstorm who knows how far from shore. But I took the cue and aimed my search in the opposite direction. In about four weeks I'd been offered a business opportunity with some longtime friends (running a Pilates studio -- body healing to go with the spirit-healing work I do) and I'm coming up on three satisfying years.

Spirit figured I needed a clue and a rude shove. I didn't have a choice about the push I got, but I had to choose to make use of the dream cue I got. As I noted in an earlier post: all the spiritual wisdom and energy we have is of no use until it's in action in practical ways.


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