How Thoughts Become Real

In his book Dreaming True, Robert Moss tells a story about Harriet Tubman and dreams. When Harriet Tubman was a girl, an angry overseer hurled a two pound metal weight at a slave who was running away. It hit Harriet in the forehead instead, leaving a huge gash. After that she began having episodes where she collapsed into involuntary “sleeps” during which she experienced prophetic dreams. Three years before the Emancipation Proclamation was written, Harriet dreamed that Lincoln freed the slaves.

Once when leading a group of slaves to the north, she had one of her episodes on the side of the road. She came to just before the group was ready to abandon her. When they came to a river that looked too deep to wade, Harriet insisted they all go into the river. Not one of them could swim.

When asked if she had crossed the river before, she said she had crossed it in a dream she just had. Her dream had shown her that they could get across, and that crossing the river would mask their trail from the patrollers and bloodhounds who were after them. She had seen a cabin on the other side where they would be given food and shelter.

When she stepped into the icy river, only one person followed. The water was up above Harriet’s chin before the stream got shallower, but she found her ford. Finally the others followed and they were greeted on the other side by a black family who sheltered them in their cabin. When Harriet led her group back the way they had come the next day, they found evidence that hunting parties had tracked them all the way down that country road; if they had followed their original route they would have been taken.

In the book Creativity Unzipped: Why Your Thoughts Matter, I share the physicist William Tiller’s version of how thoughts become real. As a thought makes its way to reality, it it imprinted first as an image in the brain. Once grounded there, it makes its way to the emotional domain of the heart. Here, both magnetic and electrical monopoles engage allowing for the creative combustion we experience as an original idea. Feedback between the two poles allows us to make incremental changes to the original imprint, according to both our thoughts and feelings about it. Once we fine tune the idea and actually feel it coming true, fuel it with our passion and joy, it continues its journey toward manifest reality. Hence the saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The ancestor of every action is a thought.” May your dreams come true.