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How Dreams Affect Us Differently

The Mysterious Ways senior editor recalls a dream she remembers vividly.


I rarely remember my dreams. A snippet here and there—that’s about it. There’s one dream, however, that I can recall almost perfectly. Strange because it happened when I was maybe seven years old. In the dream, my sister Priscilla and I were in a place that looked a lot like a Hollywood version of Kansas. A winding dirt road. A farmhouse in the distance. Fields of wheat. Everything bathed in a hazy, golden light. By the side of the road was a puddle. The water was so clear and sparkly, as if it weren’t of this world. At the bottom of the puddle lay several gold coins. Priscilla and I knelt by the puddle, splashing and laughing as we tried to pick them up. 

Did we ever get the coins? I woke up without ever finding out. The dream was so beautiful, though, that I never forgot it. I have no idea what it meant, but it’s the closest feeling to heaven that I can imagine. 

That’s something Dr. Mary C. Neal, our Q&A subject this issue, knows quite a bit about. In 1999, Dr. Neal had a near-death experience that brought her to the very gates of paradise. After her experience, she came to see that “our world and God’s are not two separate places—we are a part of the spiritual world, and it is part of us.” 

You don’t have to have a brush with death to catch a glimpse of that world. You might see it in a vision, like the one recovering alcoholic Mary Jensen had 30 days into sobriety. Or an amazing healing, as renowned naturalist John Muir experienced at the age of 28. And, yes, even a dream, something editor Desiree Cole—who actually is from Kansas!—investigates in her eye-opening piece on the warnings God sends us while we sleep. 

My dream wasn’t a warning, but maybe it too was a glimpse. Of some happiness that awaits perhaps. What do you think? Share your theories—and your own mysterious dreams—on or by e-mailing us at

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