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What Will Happen Next?

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Have you ever wished you could see into the future for guidance on your next moves? Or have you ever been on the receiving end of that guidance?

If so, you've probably noticed that intuition, hunches, and outright premonitions, (typically vivid dreams forewarning future happenings--especially catastrophic ones) are real. However, you may not always trust them enough to act upon them. But take heart! In his latest book, The Power of Premonitions, bestselling author Larry Dossey, MD delves deeply into the phenomenon of premonitions providing the clarity you need to learn to trust these unbidden hints, when appropriate. Through Dossey's evocative exploration of the subtle threshold between the present and the future, you may just get inspired to keep a diary on your bedside table to jot down and capture what comes to you in the sleep state.

Anything from a vivid nightmare of disaster to a vague feeling of uneasiness can turn out to be lifesaving, if acted upon. But it's hard to distinguish ordinary worries, chronic uneasiness in a time of great change, from true warnings. Compounding the challenge is the fact that premonitions are often imprecise.

A North Carolina housewife, "Becky," had an ominous dream that prompted her to cancel her family's vacation plans to fly on September 11, 2001, over the protests of other family members. In the dream, a voice repeated the words, 2830 (which later turned out to be the number of people who died at the World Trade Center) and "Horrocks," the name of one of the doomed pilots. Dossey hypothesizes that on that day, other flyers may also have received forebodings and changed their travel plans, because the flights were under-subscribed.

In Beatrice, Nebraska in 1950, a church exploded due to a gas leak ten minutes after choir members were scheduled for their weekly practice. However, no one was killed because, uncharacteristically, every one of the usually punctual singers showed up a half hour late, citing uneasy feelings, and a host of other excuses.

Sensing what lies ahead of the curve may confer other surprising advantages. Two psychologists spent ten years studying and testing 385 CEOs of U.S. corporations. They found a close correlation between a CEO's precognitive abilities and the success of his or her company. The CEOs with above average precognitive powers produced higher financial returns consistently. Dossey reports that based on the a company's financial reports, the researchers were actually able to "predict in advance how well a given CEO would do in (their) experiment."

Dossey suggests that receptivity to premonitions has evolutionary value. "The ability to bypass the physical senses (would enable an organism to) scan the event horizon, assess impending dangers, and take appropriate measures (providing) a distinct advantage in the high-stakes game of survival of the fittest. This skill might become internalized as part of one's genetic endowment."

Yet, for many this skill is unconscious or may be interpreted as accidental or based on some concrete indicator.

Dossey recounts the famous incident of the 1816 Farmer's Almanac. As it went to press, there was a glitch--no weather forecast for July 13th. Since the editor was ill, a copy boy spontaneously inserted "rain, hail, and snow" as the prediction. Unexpectedly, a "Little Ice Age" created unseasonably cold weather the following summer rendering the improbable forecast accurate.

This true story captures the conundrum associated with premonitions: Had a logical editor taken a second look at this absurd prediction, it would have been redlined out. And that's what we often do when confronted with a morsel of reality that doesn't fit with our favorite assumptions.

Dossey's book tantalizes by questioning whether the rule of material logic doesn't omit something people seem to need: mystery. According to Dossey, studies show that women who "regularly engage in mini-mysteries... taking on novel experiences that get them out of familiar routines (better) preserve their mental faculties later in life." If perching on the verge of mystery conveys health benefits, it may be because it's scary, humbling, and inspiring to acknowledge that reality extends beyond our perceived limits into a territory we can't measure with a slide rule.

"The sky in the daytime flooded with the sun's light looks blue and empty, but at night without the sun, it can be seen filled with flickering starlight." says psychologist, James C. Carpenter. Dossey points out that "the dazzling light of logic can obscure the presence of subtle premonitions.. This means that .. we need to learn to "speak the language" which is often symbolic, not logical" if we want to cultivate and understand them.

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