Electric Dreams

Dream Trek

The Literal Bias in Psychic Dreaming

Linda Lane Magallón

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 Magallón, Linda Lane (1997 February). DreamTrek - The Literal Bias in Psychic Dreaming. Column. Electric Dreams 4(2). Retrieved July 26, 2000 on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams

During the past 14 years I have served as a midwife at the birth of many extraordinary dreams, including psychic ones. By holding group and mutual projects and telepathic dream experiments, I encourage folks to dream intentionally and together.

For a long time I was not convinced that I was a psychic dreamer, myself. That's because I knew too much. I knew the picture of the classic psychic dream as described in the parapsychological literature. But I didn't realize that those images and definitions contain a bias which worked against me. That prejudice prevented me from recognizing and appreciating my inherent ESP ability.

I call it the literal bias. It comes from a very important need to distinguish between the false and true; the appropriate and inappropriate. To be psychic is to perceive...in an extraordinary way. Just as with *regular* perception, it is necessary to learn to perceive accurately. Extrasensory is sometimes defined as *extended sensory.* It's a sneak peek at the mundane, a remote view of the surface, a prophesy of a blatant physical event.

The most widely accepted standard for accurate perception is the waking state. Thus a *true*
extrasensory dream is supposed to be one that equates well with physical life. The more it copies waking reality, the better. A literal psychic dream is like a home video or Ansel Adams realistic photograph. A literal-realistic dreamer has a mind that creates pictures which mimic the waking standard. Doctors, engineers, architects as well as psychic detectives and healers benefit from a literal mind set.

There are many reasons offered to support the literal psychic dream. Literal dreams can heal and solve problems. They can give us sneak previews of our literal future. Or futures, as the case may be.

And literal dreams are a lot easier to figure out than symbolic dreams. When it comes to psychic-symbolic dreams, we are dream interpretation couch-potatoes. Symbolic dreams are rarely put through the decoding mill accompanied by the questions, *Is this a precognitive dream?* *Is this a clairvoyant dream?* *Does this dream have anything to do with anyone else besides me?*

But reality is more than just the surface of things. Literal-realistic doesn't plumb the depths. And dreams (especially dreams!) are a dive into the unconscious. A voyage through the underworld of myth and symbol. A trip inside alternate reality. A trip insides our heads.

The dreaming mind engages in *primary process thinking.* It takes apart the standard picture and reduces it to its essential parts of color, shape, form, sound, touch and feel. If it reassembles the parts in order, we have a literal dream. But it doesn't always reassemble or retrieve or create the images as we might expect.

I am basically a creative-symbolic dreamer. So are most of the folks who have been attracted to intentional or deliberate dreaming. Our minds paint inner pictures with the freedom of an artist to illustrate reality in abstract and non-linear terms. We come mainly from two groups, which sometimes overlap.

The first group is dreamworkers and dreamers who take the time to understand and interpret the symbols in our dreams. We understand the value of sign and mythic imagery. We have spent too much effort learning our own dreaming language to throw away the symbolic approach when we come to psychic dreaming.

The second group is creative folks. We are the artists, writers, musicians, in-dream and out. Patricia Garfield's seminal book on intentional dreaming is called *Creative Dreaming.* It's certainly aimed at the right audience.

Now, put together a personality who naturally dreams in symbolic-creative terms together with a type of dreaming that is defined in literal terms and you've got a potential problem. In this skeptical society, the literal psychic dreamer is unappreciated and misunderstood. But the psychic-symbolic dreamer is barely recognized--even by dreamers and dreamworkers themselves! Some folks have been looking for a way to integrate the two extremes. But the exploration of the subject is barely begun.

Consider this: ESP is about becoming extra perceptive, and that includes learning to peer beneath the surface to that which is not obvious to the naked eye. Like what we think. Like how we feel. Using ESP we can *pick up* another person's fantasy or another person's dream. And dreams and fantasies may have nothing to do with waking life. They might be crammed full of those strange non-literal images we call *symbols.*

I believe that we are all psychic dreamers by nature. My hope is that I can help folks recognize and appreciate when we have psychic dreams, no matter what our personality types and perceptive proclivities. But we may have to take out our magnifying glasses and put on our Sherlock Holmes hats to find those that don't fit the consensus reality standard.

Then when we start playing psychic games, rather than feeling like failures if we don't dream up a carbon copy of waking reality, we can begin to realize the Michaelangelo within. We can applaud the natural genius who paints the dream with complex emotional textures as well as stark and simple black and white.