Can You “Program” Your Own Dreams?
A couple of frequently asked questions about dreams actually have a lot in common:
- Is there any way to re-enter a dream after waking from one?
- Can you “Invite” a dream back into your dream world. For example, once you have dreamed about a particular thing, can you make yourself dream about it again?
Whenever I’m asked this one, my response is never one the dreamer wants to hear. It’s been my experience that you cannot (once awake) quickly return to the dream you have just left. If this has happened with anyone, I’d have to say that the dreamer never fully awoke.
The second frequently asked question also receives the same negative-type answer (sorry about that!): While it’s not “impossible” (since few things are ever 100% impossible), it’s highly unlikely that you can “make” your brain repeat a dream or even return to the scene of the dream, so to speak.
There are, in all fairness, some dreamologists who believe that a dreamer can “program” their mind to dream about a certain subject. They say that frequently thinking about this subject – especially as you are falling asleep – can cause the brain to enter into this type of dream. However, even if the general subject of the dream is created, there are no sure bets that things will play out as you thought they would.
While it isn’t a sure thing, all I can say is this: What would it hurt to try?! I’m not convinced that you can direct your dreams from “this” side, but I’d have to agree that focusing on the desired outcome is the way to go about it.
However, I think the better question would be, “Why are you wanting to return to this dream in the first place?” If the dream scenario is revisiting loved ones who have passed (a frequent dream people don’t want to leave), realize that you obviously miss them even more than you realized. Get out old photographs and think and talk about these loved ones. Mention them more throughout the day, keeping their memory alive.
Our dreams about loved ones are extra sweet because we feel as though we have “visited” with them. Simply “visit” with them throughout the day with treasured memories.
If you feel your dream is helping you “work something out” in your mind, you can get to the answer through another door – daydreams. Daydreaming (at appropriate times, of course) can help your mind sort through things that your conscious mind often gets in the way of.
Daydreams are also a great way to deal with a dream we wake from “sooner” than we’d like. Simply close your eyes and “daydream” the rest of the story. You’re able to call the shots more with this approach anyway!
Why Does Our Mind Choose the People it Chooses?!
A question I’m asked a lot has to do with the people who show up in our dreams. Questions like Why Do We Sometimes Dream About People We Haven’t Thought of In Years? and Why did (a particular actor/actress) appear in my dream are a couple of examples.
While there are instances where the individual or individuals are a part of the dream interpretation or meaning, itself, most of the time, the individual is used simply because there was a role to be filled in the brain’s “movie” and it’s a one organ casting department. More times than not, the brain will “cast” someone who’s name it heard or who’s face it saw during the pat 48 hours.
A perfect example actually happened to me a few nights ago. While my husband and I were watching a great college basketball game on television, the announcers brought up a recent Luke Bryan concert. One announcer said that his favorite Country artist was Toby Keith. In a dream, that night, none other than Toby Keith was the barista in a coffee shop my husband and I went to. In all honesty, I’m not that familiar with Luke Bryan and I’m only about 45 % sure I could pick him out in a lineup.
On the other hand, Toby Keith is one of my favorite artists ever – Country or otherwise.
The funny thing is, I had not thought of Toby Keith for weeks when the announcer brought up his name. What’s more, I was so invested in the ballgame, I only barely “registered” what he’d said. In fact, I didn’t think about it the rest of the night. However, my brain had taken note of the name and had it on “standby” when it came time to cast the barista!
Because I had not given this particular singer any thought in weeks and because the mention of his name barely even registered on my radar, I know that he had nothing to do with the interpretation of the dream. He was simply a “handy” name (with a face my brain would recognize) when a barista was needed.
Sometimes your brain will “pull” someone from the “casting pool” that you saw (and possibly barely recognized) on a magazine cover, in a commercial, online, or in a movie. Other times, like Toby, it’ll simply be the mention of a name that’ll earn them a spot in your dream. Zero meaning, zero significance.
It may seem strange for someone who studies dreams to admit this, but sometimes even our dreams hold no real meaning. I refer to these as “throwaway” dreams. They’re the type of dreams that simply don’t hold any significant meaning, premonition, reflection, or depth whatsoever. Ironically, the dream I mentioned earlier was, itself, a “throwaway” dream. Coffee is a HUGE part of life in our household. We are serious, serious coffee drinkers. We talk about coffee, we brew coffee, we go out for coffee, we drink coffee, we think about coffee… and so on.
So the fact that we were in a coffeehouse in a dream is absolutely no surprise. The fact that the barista was someone who’s name I’d heard a few hours before – also no big surprise.
A throwaway dream… although it did make me wake up at 3:00 am craving coffee in the worst way!
I’ve tried to think of my own dreams to test these theories out. I can recall a few dreams where books were involved, but there weren’t any words on the covers – only pictures. I also recall a really vivid dream where my family and I were in a fast food restaurant. We were looking at the large lit-up menu above the counter, but there were only pictures – no words. In the dream, we even pointed to the food we wanted.. no reading, no words involved! Have you had any dreams, yourself, where words and/or numbers WERE involved or dreams (similar to mine) where they were “no shows?” See More Facts About Dreams.
I’ve tried to think of my own dreams to test these theories out. I can recall a few dreams where books were involved, but there weren’t any words on the covers – only pictures.
I also recall a really vivid dream where my family and I were in a fast food restaurant. We were looking at the large lit-up menu above the counter, but there were only pictures – no words. In the dream, we even pointed to the food we wanted.. no reading, no words involved!
Have you had any dreams, yourself, where words and/or numbers WERE involved or dreams (similar to mine) where they were “no shows?”
See More Facts About Dreams.
You Simply Don’t Remember Them All!
A lot of people think they only have one dream each night. They’d be surprised to learn that they probably have more than one. A LOT more.
In an interesting article on WebMD about dreams, dream expert Lauri Quinn Loewenberg explained it this way: “We dream every 90 minutes throughout the night, with each cycle of dreaming being longer than the previous. The first dream of the night is about 5 minutes long and the last dream you have before awakening can be 45 minutes to an hour long.”
I guess it’s pretty obvious why we’re more apt to remember our last dream rather than our first dream!
UPDATE: I’m re-doing the entire Dream Dictionary on the website. WHY? Simple. Dream symbols change over time and, therefore, their interpretations or meanings also change. The most accurate dream dictionary is one that changes and updates with the times. The guide is linked to in the top nav bar throughout the website and each letter (A – Z) will appear in the drop down menu. It’s a work (or a RE-work, to be more precise!) in progress, so – as of today – there aren’t a lot of entries.
In the meantime, simply enter your dream symbol in the search box (on the right) to find an interpretation on the website. With all the dream interpretations, I think I’ve covered just about everything imaginable, but if you’re unable to find what you’re looking for, either e-mail me or leave a comment on any of the previous posts.
Let Us Know What You Think in the Comments
If you can’t sleep at night, it’s because you’re awake in somone else’s dream. – Legend
A popular (and old!) legend about dreams says that if you can’t sleep at night, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dream. Like all legends, you kind of have to wonder where it came from and what experience (if any) led someone to make this statement.
I analyzed a dream for a woman once who said that she and her husband awoke at the same time one night and, after sharing the details about the dreams the were each having, they discovered that each one had just begun dreaming about the other. When I told her about the legend, she said she was a believer.
Have you ever had an experience that would lead you to believe the legend is true?! Or maybe you simply believe it’s a fun legend that really doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Whichever side your on – let us know in the comments.