The Power of Premonitions: How Knowing the Future Can Shape Our Lives

Overview

The doctor-and bestselling author-who first demonstrated the healing effects of prayer now offers an unprecedented look at the science of premonitions.

When Larry Dossey was in his first year of medical practice, he experienced a week of premonitions about patients, all of which came true. He had never had them before; they seemed to have come out of left field. After the sensations stopped, writes Dossey in The Power of Premonitions, "It was as if the universe, having delivered...

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The Power of Premonitions: How Knowing the Future Can Shape Our Lives

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Overview

The doctor-and bestselling author-who first demonstrated the healing effects of prayer now offers an unprecedented look at the science of premonitions.

When Larry Dossey was in his first year of medical practice, he experienced a week of premonitions about patients, all of which came true. He had never had them before; they seemed to have come out of left field. After the sensations stopped, writes Dossey in The Power of Premonitions, "It was as if the universe, having delivered a message, hung up the phone. It was now my job to make sense of it-which I try to do in this book."

The four parts of The Power of Premonitions take readers through documented cases of premonitions, including a remarkable instance when an entire Nebraska community skipped church the very day it exploded; an examination of recent science studying what is known as "presentiment"; a discussion of what it all means to daily life; and practical, field-tested techniques for inviting premonitions.

Just as he did in Healing Words, the groundbreaking book that propelled Dossey into the public consciousness, in this compelling new book Dossey uses cutting-edge science to prove the value of what had long been considered spiritual mumbo-jumbo. This is a book for the skeptical mind, but it's also for the believer's heart-because its author possesses the rare gift of having both.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"The long-awaited seminal book on this topic. A crowning achievement."
-Marc Ian Barasch, author of Healing Dreams

"Larry Dossey, one of our greatest medical sages and admitted informavore, takes us on a wonderful journey from non-local mind and consciousness to the power of understanding our abilities to have not only intuitive thoughts, but premonitions. Read it to feel fully awakened to a deeper understanding of your mind and a greater connection to the universal consciousness."
-Woodson Merrell, MD, Chairman Department of Integrative Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center, NYC, and author with Kathleen Merrell of The Source: Unleash Your Natural Energy, Power Up Your Health, and Feel Ten Years Younger

"Dr. Larry Dossey is the world's leading expert in space-time mystery. In this compulsively readable, thoroughly researched work, you will be left with tantalizing questions. Can there be free will and premonitions both? What is the nature of time? Rarely does a book come along that keeps you on the edge of your seat and stimulates thought like this one. Don't miss it!"
-Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., Your Soul's Compass and Saying Yes to Change

"For anyone who is interested in knowing about the deeper meaning of our existence, this book is a must read. Once again, Larry, being the pioneer that he is, has written a classic."
-Deepak Chopra, MD, Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment

"In his crystal clear style, he explains why the paradoxical idea of knowing the future is no longer based on mere conjecture or fantastic stories, and why cultivating this startling ability is perhaps your most important birthright."
-Dean Radin, PhD, Senior Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences

"I think Larry Dossey is one of America's most important thinkers. When he talks, I listen; when he writes, I read. He presents compelling evidence that the power of the mind is so much greater than we had previously realized."
-Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

"This wonderful book brings reason and wisdom to bear on experiences that no one understands, yet which really happen. Thank goodness that Dr Larry Dossey is not afraid to wrestle with a subject that most scientists prefer to ignore, but which tells us that there is more to life and mind than our philosophies have dreamed of."
-Rupert Sheldrake, biologist and author

"This book will help to open minds and lead to an acceptance of what we experience while overcoming our being limited by what we believe. I know from personal experience, in my life and work, that the future is unconsciously prepared and known and, therefore, can be revealed through dreams and drawings and I have the evidence from my practice to prove it."
-Bernie Siegel, MD, Love, Medicine & Miracles and 365 Prescriptions For Living

Woodson Merrell
"Larry Dossey, one of our greatest medical sages and admitted informavore, takes us on a wonderful journey from non-local mind and consciousness to the power of understanding our abilities to have not only intuitive thoughts, but premonitions. Read it to feel fully awakened to a deeper understanding of your mind and a greater connection to the universal consciousness."--(Woodson Merrell, MD, Chairman Department of Integrative Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center, NYC, and author with Kathleen Merrell of The Source: Unleash Your Natural Energy, Power Up Your Health, and Feel Ten Years Younger)
Joan Borysenko
"Dr. Larry Dossey is the world's leading expert in space-time mystery. In this compulsively readable, thoroughly researched work, you will be left with tantalizing questions. Can there be free will and premonitions both? What is the nature of time? Rarely does a book come along that keeps you on the edge of your seat and stimulates thought like this one. Don't miss it!"--(Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., Your Soul's Compass and Saying Yes to Change)
Deepak Chopra
"For anyone who is interested in knowing about the deeper meaning of our existence, this book is a must read. Once again, Larry, being the pioneer that he is, has written a classic."--(Deepak Chopra, MD, Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment)
Dean Radin
"In his crystal clear style, he explains why the paradoxical idea of knowing the future is no longer based on mere conjecture or fantastic stories, and why cultivating this startling ability is perhaps your most important birthright."--(Dean Radin, PhD, Senior Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences)
Marianne Williamson
"I think Larry Dossey is one of America's most important thinkers. When he talks, I listen; when he writes, I read. He presents compelling evidence that the power of the mind is so much greater than we had previously realized."--(Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525951162
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/30/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.34 (w) x 6.32 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

LARRY DOSSEY, M.D., is a leader in bringing scientific understanding to spirituality, and rigorous proof to alternative medicine. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Healing Words, the first serious look at how prayer affects healing. He has been featured several times by Oprah – her TV show, radio show, and magazine – and is an international advocate for the role of the mind in health and the role of spirituality in healthcare. He lives in New Mexico.
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Read an Excerpt

When Should We Pay Attention to Premonitions?

When premonitions are accompanied by physical symptoms, they should be listened to.

One of the most famous premonitions in modern history took place in a meeting between two titans of twentieth-century psychiatry, Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung.

In 1909 Jung visited Freud in Vienna. Although Jung had been Freud’s student and confidant, things were not going smoothly; their collaboration would end three years later. One point of disagreement involved psychic phenomena; Jung was open to them and Freud was not, perhaps because he did not want his fledgling psychosexual theories further burdened by association with yet another controversial area. In their meeting, Jung pressed Freud for his opinion on psychic happenings. Jung described what happened as their meeting drew to a close: “While Freud was going on this way, I had a curious sensation. It was as if my diaphragm was made of iron and was becoming red-hot — a glowing vault. And at that moment there was such a loud report in the bookcase, which stood right next to us, that we both started up in alarm, fearing the thing was going to topple over us. I said to Freud: ‘There, that is an example of a so-called catalytic exteriorisation phenomenon.’ ‘Oh come,’ he exclaimed. That is sheer bosh. ‘It is not, Herr Professor. And to prove my point I now predict that in a moment there will be another loud report!’ Sure enough, no sooner had I said the words than the same detonation went off in the bookcase. To this day I do not know what gave me this certainty. But I knew beyond all doubt that the report would come again. Freud only stared aghast at me.”

Whether we experience an extreme sensation like Jung’s red-hot diaphragm, or something as minor as a headache, physical symptoms can alert us that premonitions are lurking should be seriously considered.

Pay attention to premonitions if they are intrusive and insistent, as if clamoring for attention.

Again, an example from Jung’s rich experiences.

During World War II, as he was returning home by train, he opened a book but could not focus on it because he became overpowered by the image of someone drowning. He attributed to the memory of an accident that had occurred while he was in military service. Try as he might, he could not put the memory out of his mind. This seemed so weird that he began to wonder if there could have been an accident. On reaching home and walking into the garden, he saw some of his grandchildren looking upset. They told him that one of the boys had fallen into the deep water in the boathouse. He could not swim and almost drowned, having been saved by his older brother.

Pay attention to a premonition when it indicates death, no matter how fuzzy the details may be.

In a dream of Jung’s, he was attending a garden party and saw a woman he knew well, who lived in Basel. He knew instantly she was going to die. On waking, however, although he remembered the dream in detail, he could not manage to recall her name no matter how hard he tried. A few weeks later he received news that a friend of his who lived in Basel had been killed in an accident. He knew at once it was the woman in the dream who had been marked for death, but whose name he could not recall.

Jungian psychologist Jerome Bernstein, who has described many premonitions that preceded the tragedies of September 11, agrees. He suggests that when a dream premonition is extraordinarily vivid and deals with the body, physical health, and life or death, we would be wise to regard it as a literal message and take action, for we may not have a second chance.

Pay attention to premonitions when they seem intensely real.

This happens particularly during premonitory dreams, as opposed to waking premonitions. The dream premonition may “light up with glowing significance,” as one individual put it, as if it is “realer than real.” The dream can seem so important that one has the urge to record it, or to wake one’s spouse or partner and share it.

In addition to these criteria, many people simply develop an intuitive feel for when to pay attention to a premonition and when to ignore it. Their sensitivities become refined and calibrated with increasing experience.

I’ve found, too, that reading about others’ premonitions speeds the learning process, such as those described in The Gift, a compendium of cases from the files of the Rhine Research Center.

Moreover, there are Internet discussion groups where people can share and compare their premonitory dreams, such as the Web site of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD).

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Table of Contents

Foreword xiii

Author's Note xv

Introduction xvii

1 The Cases 1

Warnings of Illness 8

Telesomatic Events: The Importance of Feeling 13

Premonitions of Infant Death: SIDS 17

The Aberfan Disaster 21

Premonitions and Immortality: Dunne's Experiment with Time 26

Avoiding Trains and Planes 30

The Exploding Church 41

The Farmer's Almanac 45

Across Space and Time: Two Explorers Test the Limits of Premonitions 45

Making Money 49

2 Evidence 61

Ahead of Ourselves: The Presentiment Experiments 63

Online Evidence 74

Facing Up to the Evidence 76

Premonitions in Animals 78

First Sight and Mindsight 86

Premonitions and the Brain 92

Knocked Psychic? 96

3 Premonitions: Why, What, How? 101

Speaking the Language of Premonitions 103

Why Are Premonitions Not More Accurate? 106

The Repression Effect 108

Evolution and Instinct: Staying Ahead of the Game 114

Entropy and Emotion 114

4 Why Should we Want to Cultivate Premonitions, and How do we do it? 121

Culture and Premonitions 123

Why We Want to Cultivate Premonitions 127

Personality and Temperament 129

The Importance of Belief 134

Respecting Chaos 136

When Should We Pay Attention to Premonitions? 139

Ethics 141

Question the Source 146

The Cost of Denying Premonitions 149

Would History Have Been Different? 157

If We Can See the Future, Can We Change It? 162

Dangers 165

Cautions 169

5 Premonitions and our Worldview 173

Paths Toward Premonitions 175

Our Beloved Time 177

Time in a Muddle 178

Premonitions Do Not Contradict the Laws of Nature 181

Can We Affect the Past? 182

Quantum Possibilities 185

Consciousness 188

Fate or Free Will?195

Loving Mystery 197

Appendix 201

Infinite, Eternal, and One: Scientists on Consciousness 203

Notes 209

References 253

Acknowledgments 271

Index 275

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 9 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2010

    Awesome!

    Great book. Fascinating stuff. No fluff or hype. Real stories, hard science research, and fascinating new information. Recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2010

    STILL BENDING MY MIND

    Larry Dossey has been bending and expanding my mind for 30 years. He's done it again with his latest book, "The Power of Premonitions." I especially treasure that his writing has become more personal and reflective. He shares personal experiences that challenged his Western-trained medical mind on its basic assumptions of time and space. He never abandons his scientific mind, but refuses to shy away from the powerful implications of his own experience and the discoveries of thoughtful researchers from Princeton University to Sydney, Australia. Are premonitions real? After reading this, you may rephrase the question, "How can they not be?" He then follows the cascade of questions that inevitably follow: "How can you tell which ones to heed? Can anything be done about them? What do they imply about free will? How do they change the way we understand the universe?" Prepare to ride a roller-coaster of challenging ideas. Remarkably, he is able to do this in a way that is provoking without being sensational, accessible while neither simplistic nor esoteric, and ultimately very human and humble. Bravo once again!
    David Baughan, M.D.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Very Thought Provoking!

    This book is about premonitions and how people react to them. It's divided into five parts which are: (1) The Cases (2) Evidence (3) Why, What, How? (4) Why Should We Want To Cultivate Premonitions, And How Do We Do It? (5) Premonitions And Our Worldview.

    I liked the fact that the author started out with cases as this caught my attention from the beginning. The overall message of the book I took away with me was that if you want to be prone to premonitions you should have an open mind and be comfortable with the idea that this can really happen. Many people in the book were quick to point out that they, in fact, did not feel comfortable telling people of their premonitions for fear of being ridiculed.

    One question that many people, myself included, wanted answered was the question about money. If it's true that we can see into the future, is there a way we can "fix" the future to win the lottery...to know the "magic" numbers and become rich? Wow! That would be great! The funny thing is that it doesn't work that way. Somehow, when there is an overwhelming sense of greed, the numbers don't work out in our favor. You'll have to read the book to know what I'm talking about.

    This book was not only able to hold my attention, it also got me interested in exploring physics. I think I'll be paying more attention to my dreams too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Refreshingly Thorough Investigation of Future Knowing

    Dr. Larry Dossey's latest book, THE POWER OF PREMONITIONS, delves into a topic few scientists and researchers publicly address -- how some people demonstrate knowledge of future events. Dossey provides readers with an able guide to one of the more esoteric metaphysical phenomena, navigating through a dazzling collection of evidence of people who often know and act upon knowledge of the future, even when not fully conscious of having such premonitions.

    THE POWER OF PREMONITIONS provides answers for readers who remember past premonitions and wonder how common their experiences might be, as well as why they have premonitions some times and not others. Dossey outlines twelve premonition-promoting qualities that can enhance one's ability to know the future, and describes how various cultural perspectives have been shown to support or hinder the process.

    The interpretations of premonitions is every bit as fascinating as premonitions themselves, since premonitions have not been consistently comprehended for maximum positive value in peoples' lives. Some historical figures who've had amazing premonitions include Freud, Hitler, Jung, and Lincoln. Surprisingly, the meaning of some of these premonitions, while crystal-clear in hindsight, was not fully understood at the time.

    Dossey points out how having access to the power of premonitions can be used either positively or negatively, in similar fashion to most any other ability humans possess. Whereas a medical doctor such as Dossey might utilize premonitions for improved medical care, thieves or radical extremists can use premonitions for personal gain or social harm. In a particularly chilling section of the book, Dossey describes how terrorists have analyzed dreams for evidence of future success of destructive activities in order to prove alignment with divine plans and justify their actions. These and other stories caution readers to be guided by our highest noble character, rather than be misled by our own egos or selfish agendas. While Napolean once boasted of having nearly perfect precognition of future events, such pride did not prevent his subsequent fall.

    THE POWER OF PREMONITIONS touches briefly on the physics of time and causation when covering the element of time in future knowing. The concept of premonitions raises the matter of discerning if upon seeing the future, we are able to truly change that future... as well as whether it is possible to change the past. Apparently such things are indeed possible, and Dossey covers the mind-bending world of quantum physics along with the notion of probabilities involving probable futures and pasts.

    I highly recommend THE POWER OF PREMONITIONS to anyone seeking a balanced, open-minded overview of what we currently know to be true about premonitions... and to everyone wishing to gain the practical benefits of premonitions in their daily lives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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