Dreams Decoded: Do We Experience Our Past Lives While We Sleep?
Ah, to dream. We have come to associate dreaming with bliss, or in the achieving of the ultimate escape. Or, perhaps what comes to mind is the plotting of a brighter future or a different reality, as we “dream” a wish that we would like to see fulfilled. Dreams are an integral part of the human experience, and studies have shown that animals, and therefore perhaps even all beings, dream. But, what are dreams? Why do we have them? And, most mysterious of all, what the heck do they mean?
Most of us can recall at least one dream that made us go hmm. Even for those of you who are lucky enough to achieve a deep enough sleep state that you don’t often remember your dreams (a state that I haven’t experienced since I had kids) will occasionally have one that will be so powerful that it makes you sit bolt upright in bed at 3 am. Science has shown through the study of brainwaves that we dream several times a night even if we don’t wake enough to remember them. Quite puzzling, don’t you think?
So, where do these dreams come from? The simple answer here is that they are manifestations of material directly from our subconscious minds. Our subconscious is a generic way to refer to the large percentage of our minds that we don’t utilize on a daily basis (the 10 or so percent that we do use is what we generally call our conscious minds, minus the parts that dictate our primal urges and body functions). You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure that 90% can contain a whole lot of “stuff”. I also believe that the subconscious could even represent our untapped potential as human beings and contains forgotten memories (including past life memories), unrealized psychic abilities such as telepathy, and spiritual knowledge about the universe that we cannot possibly comprehend with our dinky 10% brains. I might have also just explained why our dreams can be so weird.
I love people’s dream stories. They tell me so much about themselves in a short, concise, and quite entertaining way. As they recount the details of their most recent recurring dream, most people laugh and warn me that their story is ridiculous and that I am going to think that they are a little bit “nuts”. Dreams are hodge-podge mixes of memories, desires, fears, and premonitions that piece together to form a veritable quilt that represents the whole of the subconscious. So, of course if you retell a dream as if you were recounting a conscious mind story it can sound like a real whacked out adventure, like that you are running down a corridor with two heads chasing your ex-boyfriend who suddenly looks like Imelda Marcos (yes, a real one of mine). But why are we dreaming these “stories”?
We dream because our “inner selves” (a term that I use to acknowledge the spiritual connotations of our subconscious minds) are trying to tell us something. This is an important part of our drive to evolve, meaning that subconsciously we want to learn and grow. Dreams are a gift, as we are being given a small piece of our inner self that we are meant to chew on, digest and thus integrate into our conscious minds. When we dream, we are quite literally being shown the truth as according to our older, wiser, inner, spiritual self. I learned an important truth about myself from having the above named Imelda dream, and it aided me in more consciously making a decision that has proven invaluable in my life.
So, what do dreams have to do with past lives and hypnosis? Aside from being a self-professed dream expert from having had some real doozies myself there is a very important connection between dreams and hypnosis and dreams and past lives. The simplest way to explain this is that we most often will experience hypnosis much like we dream, and that our dreams will often contain material that are past life memories. These experiences all deal with the act of tapping into the subconscious, and are therefore inextricably linked.
People often wonder what the experience of hypnosis will be like, and there are a whole slew of misconceptions about it in popular culture. The best way I have found to describe it to someone who has not experienced it is to compare it to having a lucid dream. A lucid dream is one of those dreams in which you aren’t really asleep, and you aren’t really awake, but yet you are aware that you are having a dream. Most of us can even make decisions during a lucid dream, and they tend to be vivid, memorable, and multi-sensory. This is very much what hypnosis is like; only during hypnosis you achieve that hyper relaxed and very receptive state on purpose. There is an obvious association with frequent lucid dreamers (and also those who talk and walk in their sleep) and those who have a high hypnotic capacity.
When I meet with someone for the first time, I will spend a good deal of the first part of the session questioning a person about his or her dreams. This ends up being a bit of a short cut for me, as I can act as a more efficient guide during a past life regression if I already know how they experience their dreams. I will ask someone if they “see” their dreams in vivid detail, or if they just sense them. I want to know if they hear noises or voices, and also what perspective they usually experience their dreams from (if they are watching it from above or inside their own body). The vast majority of the time, with some inevitable exceptions, you will experience hypnosis like you dream. (See my previous blog “Psychic Phenomena” for more detail on “ways of seeing”). Why is it the same? Because it comes from the same place, the subconscious mind is the source of your dreams as well as the place that you actively access when you are under hypnosis.
So then, how can you tell if your dream contains a past life memory? There are several clues, the most obvious being the details around you in your dreamscape. If you are driving a horse and buggy rather than your trusty 2013 Ford Escort, you may possibly be experiencing a past life. Ditto for old-fashioned clothing styles, landscape and terrain that are unfamiliar in this life, and structures or objects that are not modern. Perhaps you even have enough awareness of yourself in your dream to know that you are a different gender or ethnicity than you are currently, which would certainly be a hallmark of a possible past life dream.
In my opinion, the largest indicator that you might be “dreaming your memories” lies in the emotions that you feel while you are experiencing the dream. This is not to say that all dreams are not emotional, because they certainly are. Our dreams draw out raw and real feelings for us in order to make us pay attention to them, and so that we are able to reference them later by way of our library of emotions that we have all managed to amass simply by being human. But, a memory has a very specific emotional quality to it that will stand out if you take the time to give it some thought.
Whether our dreams contain a past life memory or not, the important thing to focus on is what they mean to us. As I mentioned earlier, they are a direct line into our inner selves and tend to be related to events or themes that are happening (or are about to happen) in our current lives. They emerge to educate us about a truth that we cannot see, help us to make more conscious decisions, and resolve our various issues in a better and more loving way. This is exactly the same purpose that a past life regression serves in our lives, as well as deep meditation and contemplation. To probe around in our inner minds is to become more self aware, and therefore more enlightened beings. Our dreams can be an amazing tool in this process.
So, how can we know what our dreams mean? They usually end up being a twisted jumble of memory, symbolism and something that you may have seen on television right before you fell asleep. Although there are many wonderful books on dream symbolism, and experts that you can consult, at the end of the day it is you and only you who can accurately interpret your dreams. This is because the material contained in dreams is supremely personal, and is distributed through your own, unique filter through which you perceive the world.
Your dreams are literally you relaying a message to you. A symbol book might tell you that the color black means something bad or ominous, but you might love black so much that you wear nothing else. In that case, the appearance of the color black in your dream might represent you and not that something terrible is about to happen. It didn’t take me too long to figure out that my two heads in the Imelda dream didn’t mean that I literally had them, but that they represented two different and opposing sides of myself.
I encourage each of you to begin keeping a notebook beside your bed at night, as writing your dreams down when they are fresh will aid in your ability to recall them in the morning after you have, hopefully, returned to a state of restful sleep after the dream. This act will help set a powerful intention that the dreams will come and aid us as we work hard to traverse life and the myriad of challenges that come with it. As you practice this, you will become your own dream expert as you learn more about yourself and the workings of your inner mind. You will naturally become aware of your past lives and how they relate to your life today, as well as tune into your own prophetic powers as you wade through the symbolism to uncover your own possible future. So now, sleep well and dream, as you never know what you might discover about yourself tonight.