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Dr. Larry Dossey and your internal crystal ball

May 1, 2009 |  6:16 pm

PowerofPremonitionsBookCove Ever have a gut instinct that something just isn’t right? Ever think: Maybe I shouldn’t go tonight. Maybe I should call home, or something feels wrong.

According to Dr. Larry Dossey, those little things you sense might be more important than you think.

Dossey’s latest book, “The Power of Premonitions: How Knowing the Future Can Shape Our Lives,” breaks down what premonitions are, where they come from, who has them, how we can cultivate them and why we should care.

Through a series of real-life cases and psi research, Dossey shows how we might already know the future and how we can welcome subconscious knowing into our lives to improve how we live or, in some cases, save ourselves.

Dossey explains his theories and research here:

Jacket Copy: You begin your book saying there is a connection between noticing, meditation and premonition. “Become a good listener,” you write. “Pay attention to the feelings, hunches, and intuitions that flood your life every day. If you do, you will see that premonitions are not rare, but a natural part of our lives.”

Does everyone have premonitions? And if so, why aren’t we avoiding more accidents, making more money and falling in love faster?

Dr. Larry Dossey: Surveys show that the majority of Americans have experienced premonitions at one point or another in their life. Some are of jaw-dropping intensity. Others are vague feelings, vague knowings, what people call “hunches.” They come in all varieties. Most people’s premonitions are not that dramatic.

There are quite a few people who attribute their fortunes to premonition. There’s a growth industry now cultivating “business intuition.” Though I’m not recommending premonitions as the end-all solution to life’s problems.

JC: You are a medical doctor. Do you believe spirituality has a place in science? And if so, how much should we rely on black-and-white facts versus gut instinct?

LD: Both are required. I think we get into trouble when we try to work with just either. I think we are geared and wired for both.

I think the evidence for spirituality in health is just overwhelming. People’s wishes, wants and desires for others, when put to the test, do affect others.

JC: Describe your first premonition. Clearly, that event stuck with you. Is that why you wrote this book?

LD: That’s what sort of captured my attention early on. It wasn’t the only reason for writing the book.

I had a dream premonition. It sort unnerved me. It was so eerily precise. It had to do with the 4-year-old child of one of my colleagues. A tech was attempting to do some sort of test on his head. And he wasn’t having it; he went berserk. His mother tried to comfort him, but it just wasn’t working. Finally, the medical tech threw up her hands and said: “I quit!”

It seemed so vivid. What some people called “realer than real.”

The next day, I was having lunch with my colleague in the lunch area. My colleague’s wife walked into the area where we were having lunch with the child, and his head was wet. They had been in the EEG laboratory, and they had been there for the boy to have a brain scan.  Basically, she described my dream to her husband in great detail.

I was stunned. I had dreamt about it hours before it happened. I was shaken up by that. I didn’t know what to do with that experience. We are taught that information can’t flow from the future into the present. So I sat on that for quite a while. 

What's coming after the jump? Can you sense it?

JC: Do you continue to have premonitions now?

LD: For a long time I thought my premonitions had deserted me. Now I simply think they’ve taken other forms. My position now is that my premonitions still operate out of sight. It is off the stage of conscious awareness.

JC: In Chapter 1, the Cases chapter of your book, you describe one person feeling pain indicating that someone they care about is hurt or dying. How often do you believe this heightened empathy is physically manifested like this?

LD:  I think it happens quite often. I think your term “heightened empathy” captures exactly what’s going on here. It happens between people who are emotionally close. It happens between lovers. It happens between mothers and daughters. Fathers and sons. It happens between siblings, especially twins.

Physical sensations are shared between people who are physically apart, as if they share one body.

JC: When should we take our premonitions seriously and when can we disregard some of these things as mere nightmares?

LD: One is if they are recurrent. If they keep hammering away as if they are clamoring for attention. So, recurrence is one.

Another one is the vividness of the premonition. People call these "realer than real." Some people use the term "hyper-real" or "luminous."

Also if they dream of issues of life and death. If the premonition announces death, pay attention to it because you might not get a second chance.

JC: Why are we human beings so obsessed with knowing the future?

LD: I think it is in our nature to do so. It's hard-wired into our biology. It's part of survival. 

JC: You describe situations in which perfect prerecognition would be a disaster to life as we know it. Would you agree that unknowing is part of life's magic? 

LD: Oh, exactly. I strongly do. I can't imagine anything more boring than knowing. It would erase the fun of being alive. Opposed to that are the moments when this can come in handy and help us survive. 

It's a paradox and I don't think we need to apologize for the paradox. I adore a mystery.

--Lori Kozlowski

Photo courtesy of Dutton.