The type of dreams that gave rise to the aboriginal belief structure and it’s cosmology could be seen as part of a category of dreams known as “belief dreams”. Although they have become such an intrinsic part of aboriginal culture this is not the only place they are found. In fact, as might be expected, they have a place in most, if not all, spiritual and religious belief systems. The Bible gives an account of Jacob’s dreams of angels, In the Quran, Mohammed’s inspiration came in a dream and the ancient Egyptians believed the gods to manifest in dreams and communicate with mortals through them.
Ever found yourself in a fix and thought, “I should have seen that coming”. Well, paying heed to another type of dream that finds many homes in various spiritual traditions might have helped. This is, of course, the prophetic or precognitive dream. A precognitive dream is one that seems to predict the future. So how could this be possible?
The answer may well lie in the nature and subsequent power of the unconscious mind. Much of magic and mysticism, particularly in their 21st century forms find their power here and it is one of those places where the mystical and the scientific rub shoulders and, much to the annoyance of some, and the joy of others, begin to blur their boundaries. To make predictions you need some kind of information, and the unconscious mind has an abundance of that. Even our standard five physical senses provide us with a vast amount of data every second of every day. If we were conscious of it all, this clamorous profusion of images, sounds, smells, touch and taste would put us into a kind of sensory overload that would have us frozen in confusion. The solution? Our brain filters out the vast majority of it and only presents us with that which pertains to what we believe to be relevant. The unconscious is not so selective and so becomes a vast store of information we weren’t even aware we had gathered. What’s more, the unconscious doesn’t really care so much about what we think is relevant and is therefore free to make it’s own associations and thus make significant realisations of the potential outcomes of situations we had overlooked.
This could be really useful but the unconscious isn’t in a great position to do much about giving us the heads up while we’re awake because it’s, well, unconscious. Once we get out of the way, however, by falling asleep, it has a chance to communicate it’s concerns. What better way to do this than in dreams. Perhaps, while we dream, the opportunity is taken to show us the possible outcome of a situation about which we should be warned or made aware, because when the that information was received, we just didn’t think it was relevant to the more immediate problem of how best to pack the shopping, so it was filtered out of our conscious perception.
Often, such dreams are recurring. In today’s society where we are told to disregard dreams as some not fully understood and therefore irrelevant phenomenon, that’s not surprising. We are presented with a dream that is intended to help us and we ignore it, so the following night the unconscious repeats it to us, and so on, with an air of, “You’re just not getting this are you?”
For another possible explanation of how such nocturnal phenomenon occur, a more esoteric approach may be taken. Let’s get back to the aboriginals and their “dreaming”. In the dreaming, or the dreamtime, consciousness exists in an eternity of now. A kind of anywhen place, outside of our concept of time where all is now and now is forever. From this perspective every possible event and outcome could be seen. The view from here must be amazing. A dynamic field of possibilities, constantly changing with each made or missed decision. From this vantage point would come information so important and useful to the dreamer that it would necessitate the forming of a message to bubble forth and surface in their dreams. Because when the unbridled mind surveys the possible outcomes of our decisions or oversights it can see futures we would give our all for and others we could not contemplate inhabiting and at such times it decides, we need to know about this.
Civilisations that came long before ours along with cultures that predate ours yet still live alongside us knew and know of the importance of the information provided to us through dreams. Whilst there are various qualities that we aspire to in the hope of enhancing our decision making capabilites, the one thing we all need when facing a decision is information. Perhaps we should be looking to our dreamlife as a source of information that is otherwise unavailable to us in everyday life.