On the physical plane, time is linear and unidirectional: it always flows from the past to the future and cannot be reversed. That time in subtler realms is an eternal present is almost a cliché in spiritual circles. Yet what not everyone knows is that this notion can become an object of personal verification.
To some extent, psychics may have access to the future (or, better said, possible futures); they may also obtain glimpses of the past by tapping into the information embedded in individual or collective energy fields. Mystics often do the same, though not intentionally: once you dissolve the illusion of separation, all knowledge becomes effortlessly available. For those who are neither mystics nor psychics, dreams can be a portal to an expanded experience of time.
In his Interpretation of Dreams, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud observed how, while in the oneiric state, we often regurgitate memories of recent experiences. These are usually trivial events that have no bearing on our psyche: if we watched somebody eat turkey in a movie, for example, we may dream of eating turkey that night. If we spotted a squirrel during our evening walk, we may dream of a squirrel scurrying through our kitchen–yet there is no deep meaning to be gleaned from these dreams. Because of their residual status, I call these “indifferent dream memories.”
By definition, indifferent dream memories refer to the past. Yet if we pay closer attention, we may notice that, at times, our dreams also give us information about the future. Precognitive dreams are considerably more frequent than we think.
In everyday parlance, the notion of “precognitive dreams” usually refers to visions of major events in the life of an individual, a community, or the planet. These dreams receive a considerable amount of attention due to their import and their emotional impact. They are glamorous because they are rare, and they are rare because they are glamourous. If you look past the pizzazz of dreams announcing Julius Caesar’s murder and the sinking of the Titanic, you may notice that, as a matter of fact, precognitions are quite frequent. Most of them, however, partake of the residual quality of indifferent dream memories: the information they provide is not only unexciting, but it may be downright irrelevant. As a result of this banality, we often fail to pay attention.
By journaling my dreams on a daily basis, I frequently notice what I call “indifferent precognitive dreams.” For example, I often dream of casual conversations and happenstance events that will take place during the day; I also receive information that is as accurate as it is unimportant. None of these dreams is particularly meaningful to me (or anyone else, for that sake). All of them, however, have helped me deepen my understanding of time.
What these dreams show me experientially is that, as one moves away from the physical dimension, time ceases to be linear. It does so in what we commonly call “the astral” as the realm which, interfacing with our subconscious, hosts at least part of our oneiric activities. What we can glean from these dream experiences, I suggest, is that all events are synchronous; what we call “past” and “future” are really a product of our perspective.
Consider this: If you ever visited an Italian church, you may have noticed magnificent frescoes portraying the lives of saints. If you look at one of these artworks from left to right, you will witness its protagonist’s birth, the bestowing of grace upon her, her miracles and, finally her death. However, if you look at the story from right to left, the order of events will be reversed: first you will see the saint’s death, then her midlife miracles, and finally her birth. You can also allow your gaze to wander about the fresco at random; no matter what you do, however, all of this saint’s life will be displayed simultaneously for your perusal: the trajectory of the narration will result from how you look at it.
This is how you perceive time when you start paying attention to your dreams: all events are laid out in front of your consciousness for you to observe in the order your subconscious allows. At times, you will find yourself looking at the “past;” on occasions, however, you will also get glimpses of the “future.”
Ultimately, what even your most insignificant dreams are teaching you is that your experience of time is a function of your perspective—one that is painfully constrained in the physical realm, but becomes more expansive as you begin to transcend it.
Image by Alexandre Chambon via Unsplash