The Dream That Diagnosed Cancer

In one of my sleep and dreams classes, a continuing education student in her 40s dreamed that a rat had bitten her just to the right of the nipple on her left breast. She and her husband owned a small farm, and there had recently been an infestation of rats in one of the barns where they kept grain for their horses. They had acquired a couple of cats to deal with the problem, and the day before the dream there had been a number of dead rats strewn around near the barn. Ruth thought that the dream was just a nightmare related to those unpleasant images.

She was in the habit of periodically doing a self-breast examination, and it occurred to her to check out that particular area especially carefully. She found an almost undetectable lump in the very spot where the dream rat had bitten her. This discovery led to an unusually early detection of a malignant breast tumor.

This case is not an isolated incident. I have heard many similar stories of dreams detecting or even predicting illness. Other dream counselors as well as physicians have documented similar reports. A dream making a cancer diagnosis seems to be the most common experience of this kind. Why is this so?

One explanation is that a growing cancer tumor eventually intrudes into surrounding tissue and organs and the person then feels something. It might be a burning sensation or a feeling of being swollen. Eventually, pain is felt. These consciously perceived sensations are what usually lead the patient to seek medical attention. It makes sense that the unconscious mind might notice some of these before they are powerful enough to be noticed by the conscious mind.

Whatever the specific explanation, these incidents demonstrate the keen powers of observation of the genius within all of us.

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Excerpted from my book Your Genius Within.

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