Can the Supernatural Communicate to Us through Dreams?
Before I start, I am here to objectively ponder an idea, to give you a mental exercise, and to start a conversation, not to take sides. No matter how much of a skeptic you may be, I think this question warrants a conversation, because due to their mysterious, sometimes scary nature, dreams often draw our minds to the supernatural, as they have for humans around the world throughout history.
On the one side, our dreams are not simply some illogical, magical window into the supernatural; they can be explained by science, studied by both atheist and spiritual psychologists, and measured by physical, manmade equipment during brain scans. To use an example, the chest tightness experienced by many dreamers during sleep paralysis, often said to be the weight of a demonic visitor crushing our bodies, can be explained from a physical standpoint by the fact that during sleep paralysis, our muscles are essentially paralyzed. Our brains are activated, terrified by this trapped state, and we want to gasp for air, but our bodies haven’t gotten the message, so our lungs continue to mosey along at their steady, relaxed pace, which makes them feel tight. But please don’t stop the conversation there—the existence of scientific explanation does not disprove other explanations, in fact, I believe it’s the opposite. If you believe in an entity that created the world, and understand—as you hopefully do—that the world is subject to the laws of science, then it follows that this entity understands science, didn’t make an irrational world, and that therefore, there not only can be, but needs to be, a scientific parallel (discovered by scientists at this point in time or not) to each supernatural phenomenon we witness on this earth. From that viewpoint, dreams can have both a spiritual and physical explanation simultaneously. Evidence of either does not disprove the other one.
If we as humans can communicate, then something more powerful than us should also be able to communicate. I don’t see any reason why that communication should exchange with only our waking minds and not our dreaming minds. In fact, perhaps we are more perceptive to the supernatural when our structural, stubborn, and often flawed cognitive processes are at rest, and our conceptual, perceptive dreaming minds take over with their incredible ability to produce abstract connections and see the bigger picture. If you believe in God, it follows that God should be able to communicate to us through dreams.
This leads to another question: can dreams tell us about the future? In other words, can dreams be prophetic, or can they be premonitory thanks to an external force? Time is relative; the universe is bound by time in different terms; it’s not standardized. If something has the power to create the universe, it should therefore not be bound by time in the strict ways that we as humans on earth are. From that point of view then my answer would be why not? From a scientific standpoint, and again I stress my belief that the spiritual and the physical should be complimentary, not contradictory, it has been indicated in studies that precognitive dreams do occur[i]!
Whatever your take on this subject may be, I hope you can agree with me that the possibility of insights received via dreams courtesy of a supernatural/precognitive power is an exciting idea, and one that deserves further thought and discussion.
[i] Bem, D. L. (2011). Feeling the future: Experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 407-425.