Case 16: Learning to Dream into the Future
J. W. Dunne, in his popular book, An Experiment with Time, [1, 2] describes a simple and very easy method which he learned to use to dream into the future. The method is based on the fact that most of us dream of future events but do not remember the dreams upon awakening.
[2. Downloads page at Archive.Org ]
A pencil and paper is taken to bed with the experimenter and he impresses upon himself the determination to write down his dreams whenever he awakens during the night and can recall what he was dreaming.
(Most people dream from the moment they fall asleep until they awaken, even if they seldom remember a dream and so conclude that they seldom dream.)
Mr. Dunn kept a record of dreams which he had written down in the night, and found in some instances that he had dreamed of certain events in his life fifteen years before they occurred. One of these events was important enough to have been crystallized long in advance. It was a dream of flying over a pasture in one of the crude planes of the early experimental years of flight. He also tabulated the results obtained by his friends, and concluded that almost anyone can use the method successfully.
In passing, it may be noted that he met the problem of the impossibility of seeing what had not yet happened, by the simple expedient of deciding that the past, present and future of time are all right here with us, but that we cannot see beyond the instant of the present when events become momentarily actualized. Like Ouspensky in his Tertium Organum, Mr. Dunn falls back on the idea of a "space-time complex," leaps from that to a fourth dimension, and ends with little more than a play on words.
I read An Experiment with Time on a Sunday afternoon in Honolulu in 1926. That night I took pencil and paper to bed with me, determined to write down all my dreams in order that I might watch for those relating, not to the past or present, but to the future. It was a restless night and I arose in the morning with several dreams and one drawing of a crude kind on my pad of paper. My notes ran like this: (I omit all dreams which did not come true.)
Strange, big, fattish man. Came to me and asked if I would help him on an invention – something of an optical nature.... Was at my desk. Had before me a piece of a smallish machine, about two feet six inches by four inches in size. Black electrical cord and white one running from the rear end of the thing. It looked like a black enamelled lid. In a side of this lid, or cap, was a square hole about four inches by four inches. On the top of the lid was an hour-glass-shaped setscrew of blued steel. (I made the rough drawing here, of the lid.) ... I was in a latticed, low kitchen. Fat man there. Stranger also there, tall, slim, light, and about forty. Small Hawaiian woman there. I took sensitive paper from a box and placed it in a small opening in the machine. The thin man touched a switch and a light flashed. I took out the paper and developed it in one of three strange little white photo trays. The developed image was a scale, and a pointer which indicated a large number. I looked at the men. We laughed. I said, "Well, it works."
That was on Sunday night. On the following Thursday afternoon the dreams began to come true. The fat man I had seen in my dreams came into my camera store. He wanted help in splitting a ray of light to get an image of a weight-scale on a ground glass screen and a strip of recording photo paper at the same time. The top of the mechanism of the scale was described to me. It checked with the "lid" I had seen in my dream. I agreed to help him.
The next part of my dream was wrong. The lid was never brought to me and I never had it before me on my desk. I did not see it until after the mechanism I worked out, and which was built in a local machine shop, was completed. I saw it later, however, in the latticed kitchen of my dream. The tall, light man of my dream was the mechanic on the job, and it was his kitchen. The small Hawaiian woman was also there. She was his wife. The machine was used for weighing sugar syrup in sugar refineries.
When the problem had been solved and the mechanic had made changes in the machine at my direction, I went for the last time to the latticed kitchen to test the machine with sensitized paper. As it happened, I had acquired the unfamiliar little white photo trays in a trade only the day before. They were of Japanese manufacture and of a type and material I had never seen.
The results of the test were exactly as I dreamed them, except that we all exclaimed laughingly, "Well, it works!" for I had told of my dreams by then and had exhibited the notes. I also dreamed of several other future events during this period of experimentation, but no dream sequence was ever again so filled with people, mechanisms and places so strange to me as to be entirely beyond the chance of imagining them beforehand.
It will be noted that dreams of the future are not given primarily as warnings of accidents, deaths or other troubles. The ordinary life with its normal daily events are seen for the most part. It is for this reason that the average person finds little more than a temporary interest in using the Dunn method, and soon finds that a night of unbroken sleep is preferable to seeing into the future in a hit and miss fashion.
While my own interest was keen for a time, I, like most others, soon tired of the experiment. I then made the mistake of grumbling to myself when sleepily struggling to write down a dream. The light, when turned on so that I could see to write, hurt my eyes, and soon my low self got the idea that the whole matter was undesirable. It formed a complexed opinion of the matter, and thereafter seemed to refuse to pass on to me any picture of a future event which it obtained.
In the light of my experience, I strongly advise the beginner to provide himself with a weak night light which will not hurt the eyes when turned on. Above all, tell your sleep self what a pleasure it is to awaken and write down dreams. Of course, if one has a recording instrument and can press the button and speak the description of the dreams into the mouthpiece, that is the ideal equipment. Also, if my experience is a criterion, one will learn inside a month to know by some inward sense whether a dream belongs to the future and is worth recording or whether it is a common dream with little or no significance.
The field of the sleep state offers great possibilities for experimentation in other ways. There seems to be no better time for suggestion to enter the low self than during normal sleep. And this form of suggestion does not need the hypnotic force which we associate with hypnotic suggestion. The spoken word is enough. It may be spoken by a machine on which a carefully prepared record is placed. The record may be started during the night by a clock, made to repeat, or play through and stop. An under-the-pillow speaker may be used. In any event the words are to be played with low volume, and in a few nights they will cease to awaken one. The low self, which remains sensitive to sound during sleep, seems to hear the worded suggestion and make thought forms automatically of those words. These thought forms lodge in the shadowy body of the low self and remain there unaffected by the usual rationalizing process to which they would be subjected during wakening moments.
Rationalizing by the middle self is a process of tying to the words and thoughts of a suggestion a contradictory string of thought forms saying that the suggestion is not workable. For this reason, one using the recorded suggestions during sleep will do well to assure himself that the things which he elects to have read as suggestions by the machine during his sleep are acceptable, and that the low self will respond and make them workable. This attitude of the middle self, which is one of confident expectancy, leaves the low self freely open to accept the suggestions made at night and to react to them more and more fully as the nightly repetition goes on.
Most of us are smothered by our inhibitions and habits. From childhood our failures build in us complexed beliefs in our inability. We suffer from fear complexes. We are afraid of people, or even of God. The list is long. Much illness results from fixations. For this reason the recorded suggestion given through sleep needs careful consideration, and, when it comes to learning to cause the low self to deliver our telepathic prayers for instant healing to the High Self, the records may play a splendid part in the high magic.
While mention should be made of the fact that hypnotized subjects have often been reported as telling of events before they occurred, it is only as by accident that such prevision comes. It cannot be had upon command of the hypnotic operator, which again offers proof that the subconscious – which responds to suggestion – does not have the ability to see the future, but must have the future shown it by a being of superior mental powers – the kahunas say by the Aumakua or High Self.
For the student wishing to examine the record of premonitory abilities infrequently displayed by hypnotized subjects, the book by [Charles] Richet, Thirty Years of Psychic Research,  is available in most good libraries.
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Case 17: Foreknowledge in Ordinary Dreaming
Dreams which foretell the future are of several kinds. One of the most common is that in which the dreamer dreams of a symbol, and, when awake, translates the symbol and predicts the general nature of the event. For instance, a gentleman of my acquaintance would sometimes dream of seeing a fine red bull. This was for him the symbol of a lucky happening to come, and it was seldom that a fortuitous event did not follow soon after such a dream.
Another kind of dream mixes symbols with events from both past and future. Often the mixing distorts the events appearing in the dream. I once dreamed of seeing a store window filled with leaping monkeys who flourished fountain pens and wrote very long marks with them on moving curls of paper. Later in the same week I recognized the store window of my dreams when I saw a toy monkey dancing on a revolving table. In the opposite window a small machine was on display in which a paper cylinder revolved under the point of a fountain pen making miles of line to show the large ink capacity.
The dream which touches only the future event and shows it clearly and unmixed, may also move from one point in time ahead to others. This type of dream is the most deserving of study and cultivation. My father, at a certain time in my boyhood, had many such dreams. He would recount them at the breakfast table and ask us to remember them and help him check later to see how accurate they were – he recognized them by an inner sensing as dreams belonging to the future.
My father dreamed of a valley in which sheep moved through the Wyoming sage. This time progressed, and in the same valley he saw a railroad being built. Another leap forward, and a town occupied the valley on one side of the railroad. On the opposite side a coal mine was opened and working. Behind the town an oil derrick stood. The final step ahead in time showed the same valley, but with everything gone except the rail line and the foundations of the vanished buildings.
This dream of a single night covered a period of about ten years. Father later recognized the valley and saw the new rail line pass through it, then a town, Spring Valley, Wyo., rise, the coal mine open, the oil well drilled near the town and later plugged. Soon the mine proved too dangerous to work because of gas, and the Union Pacific, which owned everything, removed all structures, leaving the valley as last seen in the dream. (I personally saw the valley in these various stages.)
At the time my father had this dream, the coal vein at Spring Valley had not been discovered. It was only after the rail line had been laid that the discovery was made and the mine opened. It may be said with authority that in this dream there was no reading of the mind of another person. It was a straight, clear and detailed viewing of events of which no living man could have had knowledge at the time.
We are forced to conclude (1) that some intelligent being or form of consciousness had been able to foresee the future of the valley, and, in doing so, it demonstrated a form of mental power much superior to that of the conscious or subconscious selves. (This checks with the High Self of the kahuna system.) Or, (2) we have the alternative of concluding that the subconscious has the ability to see into the future, but this is a fallacy proven by its inability to see the future under hypnotic command.
Case 18: Seeing the Future Through Crystal Gazing
Crystal gazing produces a condition of relaxation in which the low self is able to enter a state similar to that of sleep, with the difference that the middle self is able to stand by and observe the dream-like images which appear in the crystal.
(A) I have already mentioned the lady who lived at Lovelock, Nevada, and who learned the art of "scrying" as it was called in ancient times. Not only was she able to find my friends at a distance and see what they were doing, she was also able to make a spoken request for vision of future events and, frequently, to get them in her crystal.
Two sittings were devoted to trying to look into the future to see what lay ahead for me. At that time I was traveling from town to town making photographs, and I was about to go to places which I had not visited before. In fact, I had not decided what those places were to be. During these sittings she saw two detailed and complete parts of my future, each covering a period of about a week.
Looking into her crystal, she saw a picture begin to take form in color and motion. She described it to me as it moved and changed from scene to scene. First there was a small town, laid out in neat streets on either side of a railroad line. There was a station and she saw me getting off a train with bags and cameras. The picture changed and she saw me entering a modern brick hotel. Next she saw me standing on a cottage porch talking to a red-haired young woman dressed in white, and holding on her arm a baby with red hair. A following scene showed Indians encamped not far from the hotel and holding some kind of a meeting. I was taking pictures of the camp.
This foreseeing proved to be correct in every detail in less than a month. I took a train to Mason, Nevada, and, upon arriving, recognized the town and hotel as ones which had been described. During my stay I met the woman dressed in white who had red hair, and made photographs of her red-headed baby. Two days after my arrival, Indians began to pour into the town for the annual conclave of the tribes of the Carson Sink region. They camped near the hotel and I made many pictures of the camp and of the Indians.
(B) A second town, which I visited after leaving Mason, was Yerrington, Nevada. It was exactly as it had been seen in the crystal. I left the railroad in a stage and traveled a couple of miles to find the town just as described, one built along an old main road, with almost no side streets. I watched for a rooming house bearing a sign, "Globe Rooming House," with a picture of a globe painted underneath, and it soon came into sight. I knew that this was the place where I was to stay, and, after getting down and ringing the bell, I watched hopefully to see whether or not the woman with "dark hair and slightly crossed eyes" would appear. She did, and, as it turned out, she became my good friend, helping me to get business and lending me some much appreciated books on occultism.
The advantage of crystal gazing over ordinary dreaming is apparent. In the former one decides what is desired in the way of forevision, and in the latter, one has to take what can be intercepted in haphazard manner from dreams.
An interesting angle is to be seen in this mechanism through which the future is
seen. While in other sittings no vision of the future appeared in answer to a request,
there were other times when prevision came without request. The requests were spoken
aloud without knowing to whom they were to be addressed, and it is surprising that
there were any answers at all.
Seeing into the future is contrary to present scientific beliefs, as are fire-walking and instant healing. Science has no explanation to offer and is stalemate on these points, but the kahunas show the way ahead for those of open mind who are ready to investigate the evidence which has been accumulated.
Case 19: Premonitory Information Through Spirits of the Dead
According to the kahunas, all contact with the spirits of the dead – as with the High Self – is made by the low self. This applies in particular to the spirits in their invisible state in which they must be seen or sensed by what we may call "psychic" ability, which is nothing more nor less than the ability to relax and let the low self see and report anything from ordinary dreams, to "seeings" of the past, the present or the future.
It is reasonable to believe that when we die and become "spirits" we have only the mental powers we had during life. The act of dying does not make the lower selves into a Superconscious with the ability to look into the future. However, we have the same ability to contact the High Self and ask for vision of the future, and, if we are able to make our presence known to the low self of a living person, we may be able to pass on, through it, information we have obtained on the other side.
There is an alternate method by which one relaxes and lets the spirit of a dead person enter the body and speak through its lips. This is not an uncommon method. It is used by "mediums," and is highly approved by Spiritualism. It is studied by Psychical Research, and condemned by the Church and by reactionary Science.
In this state of trance when spirits are speaking through the medium, they are, as if by accident, sometimes able to foretell the future correctly. They cannot do so at will, which tends to prove that the High Self must give such information to the spirits of the dead as well as to the low selves of the living.
The records of Psychical Research are replete with instances in which spirits have correctly foretold the future, and with instances in which they have tried to do so and failed dismally. The failure has been so frequent that it has caused Spiritualism to be looked upon with question.
At spiritualistic seances as well as with the Ouija Board and similar mechanisms, the low self of a dead person, when it has been cut off from its middle self by some accident of dying, loves to communicate with the living. Being unable to use good reasoning powers (inductive), it tries to answer any question put to it, usually guessing (or reading the mind) what the sitters expect to hear by way of an answer. In this fashion no end of seeming lies are told by the spirits and Spiritualism given a black eye. When we learn to tell the difference between these isolated low self visitors and the regulation normal spirit having both a low and middle self, we will not be deceived so often.
(A) At breakfast, when I was a lad, my mother told the family that she had awakened in the night and had seen her sister, May, who lived in San Francisco. (We lived in Wyoming). She had appeared misty and had said that she had died and that it was her wish that her two children be taken and reared by my mother. The next day a telegram came telling of the sudden death of May. The two children were, as requested by the ghostly mother, taken into our family to be reared.
(B) A spirit speaking through the well-known Australian medium, Mrs. Foster Turner, at a seance in February, in 1914 with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, gave the following premonitory information (which later turned out to be correct).
"Now, though at present there is not a whisper of a great European war at hand, yet I want to warn you that before this year, 1914, has run its course, Europe will be deluged in blood. Great Britain, our beloved nation, will be drawn into the most awful war the world has ever known. Germany will be the great antagonist, and will draw other nations in her train. Austria will totter to its ruin. Kings and kingdoms will fall. Millions of precious lives will be slaughtered, but Britain will finally triumph and emerge victorious."
This sitting was in a hall and the prediction was heard by nearly a thousand people composing the audience.
Knowing that the future can be foreseen, it takes no great stretch of imagination to grasp the kahuna idea of a High Self with superior mental powers which enable it to see ahead. But, and this is far more difficult, we cannot so easily imagine this ability at work when it passes from a general prediction, such as we might make by guessing at the outcome of present conditions, to the detailed prediction. If the High Self used the type of reason that we middle selves use, it could only guess, and as it gives small details, there is either a magnificently superior form of reasoning or super-reasoning brought into play, or, as the kahunas believed, the future event or condition is actually a real thing, formed though it is of invisible shadowy body (aka or mea) substance similar to that of which thought forms are composed.
If the High Selves, working in a UNION or ONENESS quite beyond our comprehension, take the deeds and thoughts and desires of the world of middle and low self humanity, and, averaging all these, produce the pattern of the future, then that pattern is visible on the High Self plane of consciousness, and all its details are crystallized and set in so far as the main pattern is determined.
These conditions bring home to us the fact that the High Self has powers of mentation so greatly superior to ours that we can hardly conceive of them, to say nothing of the impossibility of understanding how they work. We can know so little. We must speculate so much. However, all we really need to know to be able to make practical use of our semi-knowledge is the part we must play to gain the aid of the High Self to shape our future toward health, success, and more kindly living and service.
The kahunas believed that the great events of the future were set and could be foreseen far ahead. World or national events might be seen hundreds or even thousands of years ahead. The future of the individual, because of the shortness of a human life time, could be seen only months or years ahead.
The kahunas demonstrated constantly their ability to foresee the future of the individual and gain the aid of the High Self to change it for the better. From this we can conclude that the future of the world and nations might also be foreseen and changed by concerted effort, were we sufficiently enlightened. Today, when we consider the possible use of the atom bomb as a weapon, we might, if greed did not rule the world, still be able to take such concerted action as to change what appears – even to our blind eyes – to be inevitable disaster.
Unfortunately, the majority of mankind is moved by greed and the animal instincts of the low self with its complexed and unreasoning hates and fears, rather than by the unemotional logic of the middle self. Few indeed listen to the promptings of the High Self where the rule of Love and Service holds sway.
Our conscious mind selves may be said to rule the world, but they are dominated by the low selves which are still animals, willful, savage and unthinking. As middle selves we have been given free will, but until our cumulative world experience is sufficient to teach us the lessons we must learn, we will use that gift of free will very badly, both as individuals and as nations.
The kahunas taught that there was an ideal condition to which the individual might aspire. It was a condition in which the aid and guidance of the High Self was requested, received, and then acted upon. The one rule of life that must be obeyed was that we should do nothing to hurt another. For those more advanced, the rule included loving service. Love can unite men and enable them to do great works for the good of all. Hate and fear can unite men only for war and destruction.
When the kahunas were at their best in Polynesia, they taught the people to live without hurting others. Those who willfully hurt others were considered worthy of death, and were frequently punished with the death prayer. It was the means of developing in Polynesia the most friendly and considerate people in the entire world. All the early explorers marveled at this and mentioned it in their writings without exception. It was the nearest approach to a Golden Age during the span of time covered by recorded history.