First, let me state the obvious: the answer to what you should be doing is inside of you, dreams or no dreams. Somewhere, you know what’s right for you, what’s a match for your skills and talents and what makes you happy. You don’t need a dream to tell you this (unless you’re resisting your right career and your unconscious has had it with you and wants to give you a little goose!). That said, let me address the psi part of the question.
I actually talk about this a lot in Your Sixth Sense, because it’s a question that gets asked a lot. The basic rule of thumb goes like this: if your intuition is telling you about either a wish or a fear, you’re obliged to second guess it. You need to test it against other sources of information - both collaborating external data and your history with your own internal data.
For external data, you can run it by people who love and care for you, know you well and have not much of an axe to grind. What do they think about this?
You can also compare it to your talents and skills and what’s made you happy in the past, to assess if this is realistic, operational and a good match for you.
You can also take some preliminary steps while doing regular gut checks as to how it feels to be moving in this direction.
For internal info, you need to know your signature filters - the hot-button places where you’re likely to distort. Have you been misled by your dreams, your gut, your intuition before? If the only other times you had a precognitive dream tended to be accurate, that’s on the plus side. But even then, you still don’t know if your dream was telling you this was going to happen, or if it was goading you into getting out there and making it happen, by reminding you of what you want and how happy it makes you.
It also helps to know what it’s like for you when your intuition or dreams turn out to be correct or false. Everyone is different. So you need to have tracked over time whether there’s a way the info comes in when it’s accurate. Does your mood, your energy, your emotions or the physical sensations in your body shift in some nuanced but noticeable way? Is there a signature kind of clarity in your mind? Does the information come with a whole run of other intuitive pops that are spot on? If you pay attention you learn the differences between how true and false feels.
The best way to know the answers is to have set your intention to notice these things and then pay attention - optimally by keeping a journal that tracks your hits and misses and the differences in how those feel. Sometimes you won’t know whether something was a genuine intuitive hit until weeks, months or even years later - and that’s why writing it all down helps.
But it’s always a combination of intuition and logic that we need to be paying attention to. We need to be operating with both sides of our brains fully engaged. It’s rare to get a dramatically obvious, crispy-clear, simple answer - but we do get lucky from time to time!
Good luck with this.
Was It True Intuition or Just Wishful Thinking?
Belleruth, I've been using your guided imagery for a couple of years now, for anxiety and also Healthful Sleep. Recently I have been trying to make some decisions about potential life changes (career) and it has been on my mind a lot. I had a dream that gave me a pretty clear answer about what I should do, but I do not know if this was just the creative part of my mind telling me what I wanted to hear. My question is, how can I tell if a dream is my intuition or simply wishful thinking? Thank you for your time,
Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award