Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

Q:How can you tell if a premonition dream about the future is accurate? Also, if you dream that someone you know is in danger, should you tell them?

A: Accurate premonition dreams are a common extrasensory phenomenon. It is a challenge to know if a dream is a true prediction of future events or just a reflection of your own hopes and fears, the result of something that upset you in the day, watching frightening movies, or even the side effect of stomach indigestion. That said, the content of a true psychic dream would be unlike anything about which you typically dream. Premonition dreams are extra vivid, and unlike most dreams, they do not fade away as the day unfolds. The uncanny feeling and the energy of the dream stay with you, almost demanding you pay attention.

Here are a couple of ways to know a dream is way beyond your usual repertoire. One approach is to develop a practice of recalling your dreams often enough to familiarize yourself with "the language" of your dream world. Once you know the symbols, themes and feelings your dreaming self uses, a premonition dream really stands out as radically different and attention grabbing.

The second way is called direct knowing, in which information is processed by the right hemisphere of the brain and completely bypasses the linear mind. In that case, when you tell your dream to someone and they say to you, "How do you know your dream is accurate?" your answer will be, "I don't know; I just know."

When a dream message is a premonition about yourself, it is up to you to value your own guidance and to take action, or not. The worst that can happen is that you may end up feeling foolish because you changed a travel plan, made an unscheduled doctor's appointment or called a friend out of the blue. On the other hand, there are files and files of true stories of people who saved their lives by following the guidance in a dream.

If you dream someone you know is in danger, and if you feel the dream may be accurate, it is a good idea to tell the person. The best approach is to explain that you can’t guarantee that what you dreamt is true, but you want them to know in case it is useful to them. It is then up to them whether or not to act on your information. You will have done your part by delivering the message.

Lastly, if you have premonition dreams about world events, you might want to submit your information to the Central Premonitions Registry in New York. They gather this kind of information from people world wide, because before major accidents, natural disasters and wars, there are always people who dream that future probability.

Keep in mind that the more you value your dreams, the more valuable they become.