Could you please tell us more about the significance of people who dream about the future? I heard some people do and I often get dreams about future events and surprisingly they happen most of the time. At times I dream before a day, at times before a week and even before 9-10 months, but most of them happen. Isn't it strange? After these experiences, I feel future is per-determined. Can prayer help stopping events which aren't desirable?
—Sangita Sanyal, India
Yes, many people have what are called “predictive dreams,” meaning that they dream about a future event, and then find out later that what they dreamed did come true.
I made a study of dreams for a book I self-published called The Meaning of Dreaming: Paramhansa Yogananda’s Teachings of Why We Dream and What Our Dreams Mean. In my research for that book, here is what I found out about predictive dreams.:
There are many examples of dreams that have accurately predicted future events. One of the most famous example is Abraham Lincoln’s dream, which predicted his death shortly before it happened.
The few laboratory studies, which have been conducted on predictive dreams, have had varied results, because these kinds of dreams are difficult to study in a laboratory setting.
Paramhansa Yogananda tells us that most of our nightly dreams are subconscious “meanderings” and a process of “linking together memories of our daily life’s events;” this most common kind of dreams happen primarily to entertain us.
But some dreams are more superconscious in nature, meaning that they come from a higher source, to offer us important information. This sort of superconscious dream or vision, is something to which we probably should pay attention. I’d say that most predictiive dreams would fall into that category.
You ask about the “significance of people who dream [true] dreams about the future.” It is probably a God-given talent, to be used, or not used, as you are so directed by God, like any other talent.
No, it is not strange to have predictive dreams, for the Great Masters tell us that TIME is an illusion. Past, present, and future are all happening at the same time. So it would make sense that we might be able to, at times, tune into future events. Certainly these same Masters can know the future, if they willed to do so, and if guided by God.
The Great Ones tell us that most of our future is predetermined, through the laws of karma. But we still have some free will, which could affect the future to a certain degree.
Prayer, meditation, attunement to the Guru, these things certainly do help us in so many ways; and they can mitigate, if not fully stop, unpleasant or undesirable future events (at times, but probably not always — because we often need our lessons, unpleasant or not, to be able to learn, grow, and change.)
But do remember this: Sri Yukteswar is quoted in the Autobiography of a Yogi as saying, “Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.” This, above all, is very true!