As I am reading "The Sacred Promise," I thought I'd relate a surprising personal encounter along the lines of Schwartz's book to explain why, personally, I think he is on target. It happened years ago and involved a dream of a woman who was clearly deceased, with a very clear message and a specific prediction that, despite tremendous obstacles, came to pass. Since the experience involved real people who are known in this area, and because I am zealous at preserving some anonymity, I'm blurring some of the details. But the events described in the dream came about due to numberless chance encounters, highly synchronous family and work connections; and when the pieces came together, I was left with vivid personal proof that consciousnesses on "the other side" can reach into the physical world quite powerfully and effectively.
The dream was short and simple. I was at the family home, when someone announced that I had a visitor who wanted to have a private chat with me. I then noticed a very specific-appearing middle aged woman. She had dark hair pulled distinctly to the back of her head. I led her into the greenhouse, which, unlike "real life" at that time, was strangely devoid of plants. In the dream, I realized that the woman was deceased but had "come back" for the specific purpose of giving me a message. She told me that I would soon be meeting her son. He would be a student of mine. She said that her son would have problems, but that I should be lenient and understanding. She then left, and I woke up.
After transcribing the dream, I had little doubt that it was some sort of encounter from the "other side." I've had very few of these dreams, but they all have one commonality: whereas dream characters are obviously dream creations, or archetypes, or cartoonish, the dead intrude into dreams as very real, specific people, and their communications are very clear. They have (for lack of a better description) a specific "vibration" that is noticeably different from that of other dream occupants.
Still, the dream made no sense. I had moved back to my hometown after some job failures; I was working nights at a factory. I had taught in the past, but I figured I'd never teach again. But I tucked the dream away in my memory, just in case.
Fast forward three years later. I had moved, gotten another job, and applied, half-heartedly, for a part-time teaching job at a local college. To my surprise, I got a call asking me to come in for an interview. I went in and talked to a befuddled administrator who said that there was a mistake; there were no openings.
A bit put-out, I left and forgot about the whole mess.
A week later, I got a frantic call from the same befuddled administrator asking, "Where are you? Why aren't you teaching the class?" Apparently, there was a major misunderstanding. The school indeed needed me and the class had been without a teacher for a week.
So once again, against every obstacle, I was surprised to find myself in the familiar role as teacher. I walked into a room full of students who had been without a teacher for a week, took roll, gave the usual handouts, and announced the token first writing assignment. And then the unusual happened.
Off from the side, a cocky-looking male student demanded, "Why do we have to write about THAT?" With a smirk, he awaited my response.
I can't remember what I said, but I figured that I didn't want to fight a new student on the first day of class, so I'm sure I passed it off. (Which was not my usual behavior in those days.)
I think it took several days for me to learn the name of that student, and I noticed that his name sounded familiar. I checked around, and I learned who he was: he was the son of a local prominent businessman. Years before, this businessman had lived in another state. I knew this because, coincidentally, he had lived down the road from my then-future wife's family. He had even attended the same local church with them. My wife had mentioned him several times and told the story about how his wife had died unexpectedly. Despondent over the tragedy, he had left the state, moved hundreds of miles north, and set up a new business. What an amazing coincidence, she had observed, that someone from the town where she grew up would later move to the area where we then lived.
When I made the connection that this was the "son" that I had dreamed about, I honored his "mother's" request. He continued to challenge me, but I always let it slide off my back. Eventually, he settled down.
I remember that his work had not been that particularly good, and he has passively-aggressively turned in some assignments late. By the end, he had barely squeaked through the course. Another teacher would have flunked him; most would have given him a "C." But I ultimately gave him a "B." And to my surprise, at the end of the quarter he wrote me a sincere personal note thanking me for being nice to him.
There's more. Not long after this, I was casually discussing the student with a co-worker friend, when she surprised me by revealing that she knew him well. Years earlier, the young man used to hang out at her house, becoming friends with her daughter. He was a very confused pre-adolescent who seemed drawn to the co-worker's daughter because of a common tragedy: The woman had just lost her husband to cancer. The boy who had lost his mother bonded with the girl who had lost her father. She still remembered him as being very angry and disturbed over the loss and had worried about him since then.
So, another coincidence, or synchronicity, that completed the story for me. I am glad that I handled the student in such a way that I turned away his anger and, possibly, had a positive influence at a critical point in his life. Apparently, the small role that I played for a few weeks in this young man's life was significant enough to warrant the unusual dream message. (And since the event happened many years ago, and the participants have all moved on, I'm trusting that it's "okay" to share this personal experience.)
For years afterward, I was amazed at the sheer ingenuity of "someone" who, in a simple dream, was able to predict with perfect accuracy an event that was absolutely unforeseeable at the time, that depended on countless small choices made by countless people--an event that almost didn't happen, but did. Furthermore, this "someone" knew that I faithfully recorded my dreams and that, when warranted, I acted on them. And what's even more amazing is that my experience is not unique. Most attentive people have at least one story from their past, or know of someone, who has had a similar experience of apparent intervention from the non-physical realm, against all logic and tremendous odds. If we were to tally all these personal experiences, over the centuries, numbering in the thousands, would we have scientific proof? I don't know; I will let the scientists continue to wrangle over this. But for me, personally, I have all the proof I need.