When I tell people that I am a futurist, the first question people typically ask is, “What is going to happen in the future?” In fact, prediction is not really a key element of the academic discipline of Futures Studies, and most futurists stick to the position that the future is ultimately unknowable. Instead, most futurists like to engage in scenario work, where they attempt to contend with the issues and problems related to several possible paths which may unfold. Another process is horizon scanning, where futurists gather together as much data as they can about a particular issue, and then extrapolate the possible and probable futures which appear to be emerging. All this involves standard logical and rational ways of knowing, and the processes are conducted in normal states of consciousness. To do otherwise would invite the possibility of ridicule and the questioning of one’s professional credibility. Such is the nature of dominant culture in science and the professional/corporate world.
I am, thus, a little unusual for a futurist in that I am also a mystic. Besides writing and researching, and gaining the preferred academic qualifications (a PhD), I also spent many years working on the intuitive and emotional dimensions of mind. It’s not so easy to develop both the intellect and the psyche, as the cognitive skills required are completely different. Most academics have little or no understanding of the deeper mind, except at an intellectual level. This makes my attempts at communicating insights gleaned at a first-person experiential level quite difficult. Many in mainstream culture are quite hostile to the attempt.
Which brings me to the question, “Can we see the future?” To answer this, I am not going to refer to philosophical arguments or empirical evidence, but to personal insight. The answer is, “Yes, we can sense the future, although it may not be an inevitable future.” My understanding is that we can sense our possible futures.
Sometimes Spirit will give us warnings about the future. As just one example, while in New Zealand some time back, I took a nap on a lazy Saturday afternoon. When I awoke, and was still in the drowsy (hypnogogic) state, I suddenly saw a scene appear in my mind’s eye. It was a beach panorama, and the sea was cold, turgid and rough. A strong, disembodied male voice said clearly, “Be careful”.
This was a rather obscure warning, as it was late winter, and the thought of going to the beach was the last thing on my mind. Yet just a short time later, the phone rang. A friend of mine invited me for a picnic at the beach the following day. I accepted, and the next day we drove out to the coastal region just east of Auckland. When we arrived, the beach scene was precisely what I’d seen in the vision. The surf was rough. I told my colleagues about my vision, and warned them not to venture too far out into the surf. I did go for a swim, but stayed close to the shore, even though I am a strong swimmer.
I might add that my friends had no problem with my “advice,” as we were all members of the same spiritual group, and we worked extensively with Integrated Intelligence.
In my book, Discover Your Soul Template, several times I mentioned a friend of mine named Glenn. I also had a rather profound premonition involving him, which I did not write about in that book. This was not in the form of a warning, but occurred through an impersonal extrasensory connection. In mid 2004 I was riding a bus from Leshan to Chengdu, in Sichuan province in southern China. The journey was about ninety minutes, and I drifted off to sleep. As I slept a vision suddenly popped into my mind. I felt myself to be a disembodied entity floating over the Earth. Ahead of me I saw a setting sun, and the words “The End” appeared, as if it was the end of a movie. The strangest thing about the dream was that I perceived it from the perspective of a “ghost” floating through the air, heading towards the sunset.
“Can we see the future?” To answer this, I am not going to refer to philosophical arguments or empirical evidence, but to personal insight. The answer is, “Yes, we can sense the future, although it may not be an inevitable future.” My understanding is that we can sense our possible futures.
I awoke suddenly, and knew immediately that it was a symbolic representation of death. Somebody had died. Or was I about to die? I tried to get an intuitive sense of who it might be, but nothing came to me. The vision spooked me.
That night I slept in a hotel in Chengdu, and when I awoke I went to check my email on a computer at the hotel. When I clicked open my Yahoo account, the first email was from the long-time Australian girlfriend of Glenn. The title read, “Some sad news about Glenn.” My heart sank, and even before I opened the email, I knew what I was going to read. Glenn had committed suicide, hanging himself inside his home. The vision I had had on the bus was a symbolic representation of his passing.
I was shocked. I had been communicating with Glenn via email, and he was preparing to come and join me in China. I knew he had been having some psychological issues, so I was worried about his coming over. China can be a stressful place. Now I wouldn’t have to worry about that. His death left me feeling sad for weeks. We had known each other for well over a decade.
Beyond premonitions and impersonal intuitions, there is a far more practical aspect of sensing the future, and I call this Foresense. This is the intuitive feeling that derives from deliberately projecting the mind into a specific future. Here’s a concrete example.
Not long after completing my doctorate, again while living in China, I was involved in a negotiation regarding a university job with one of Taiwan's best universities. Via email, the dean of the department was clarifying what subjects I would be able to teach. Something didn't feel right about the situation, so I did what I call a Quick Check, which is an intuitive divination process. I got out a bit of paper, and drew a horizontal line across the page. I put out a question to the universe: "What is the energy on my accepting a position to work at this university?"
Then I ran the index finger of my left hand across the line, from left to right, measuring the energy on making the jump across the Taiwan Strait. My finger just wouldn't go anywhere much past the beginning of the line, indicating that there was no energy on my going there. This was not as I had expected. I was excited by the prospect of working at a university, and being rewarded for all my years of hard study.
Beyond premonitions and impersonal intuitions, there is a far more practical aspect of sensing the future, and I call this Foresense. This is the intuitive feeling that derives from deliberately projecting the mind into a specific future.
I wasn't dissuaded just yet, however. So I decided to use another process — the Feeling Sense — to double-check things. I sat down, closed my eyes and focused upon my breath, putting myself into a light trance state. Then, when I was sufficiently relaxed, I projected my energy into the campus of the Taiwanese university, feeling my future self walking about as if it was in the present moment. I was pulling the future towards me, merging my consciousness field with my possible future self in Taiwan. I immediately felt lost, disconnected, like I was not meant to be there. I felt myself wondering over and over, "What am I doing here?" There was an overwhelming sense of frustration, because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I opened my eyes, knowing that it wasn't meant to be. I then wrote down the results of my experience in my Intuitive Diary.
The next day I sent an email to the faculty dean, thanking him for his help, but telling him I would not be able to accept any offer.
The story above is typical of the way that Integrated Intelligence can permit you to peer into possible and probable futures, and sense the results of decisions you are making. Integrated Intelligence is the naturally occurring spiritual intelligence that we all have, and which we can all develop with the right attitudes and tools.
Of course you may argue that there is no way of proving if the sensed future is a mere delusion, and you would be correct in that — there is no proof. However, if you are committed to trusting your intuition, then making decisions based on Foresense becomes a natural personal evolution. It’s a matter of trust (or faith), not empirical reality.
It should be clear from these anecdotes that the future sometimes makes itself known to us. Sometimes it happens without conscious volition, while at other times we can consciously “tune” into the future. Foresense is a skill that is open to all people. It’s one of the things I teach people in my books and workshops.
As with any skill or cognitive ability, it is a case of “use it or lose it.” Unless you take the time to develop and use your Integrated Intelligence, it will remain a mere potential.
Integrated Intelligence is the naturally occurring spiritual intelligence that we all have, and which we can all develop with the right attitudes and tools.
Marcus T. Anthony, PhD, is an author and a practicing spiritual counselor who teaches people how to develop intuitive abilities. His goal is to help individuals and societies create Deep Futures where the spiritual, rational, economic and technological are balanced. He is a member of the World Futures Studies federation, and is the author of four books, including Discover Your Soul Template (Inner Traditions, 2011). He currently lives in Hong Kong.
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