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!
What Are Your Personal Experiences?!
Experts tell us that we aren’t able to read while dreaming. Apparently this holds true for telling time as well – while we may see clocks in our dreams, we’re unable to “tell” what time it is.
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.
How Physical Pain Affects Our Dreams
The more facts you read about dreams, the more you realize just how fascinating they are. This week’s “Fascinating Fact” is one you may have experienced yourself. Have you ever dreamed that you were in pain of some sort, only to wake up and find that the pain was REAL?
Some people believe they hurt themselves in their dream, but that’s not the case. What happens is this: When we experience pain with any type of intensity, we often “work” this pain into our dream. If our spouse inadvertently kicks us in the middle of the night, for example, we may dream that something has hit us in the leg.
Lab studies have actually been performed that prove a couple of ways dreamers respond to pain during sleep:
- If it’s a mild, annoying type of pain (for example, they’re foot has fallen asleep and they’re experiencing the pins and needles business), they may dream that their shoe is on too tight or that their foot is stuck in something.
- If they are suffering from something more intense (such as a broken bone or pulled muscle), the pain may manifest itself in the dream as something the dreamer is trying to “escape” from. Physical suffering often shows up in dreams as something that the dreamer is trying to out-run, hide from, or even destroy.
I once got an e-mail from a woman who was CONVINCED she’d cut herself in her dream. She said that, in the dream, she cut herself on the leg with a piece of paper. When she woke up the next morning, she noticed a scratch exactly where she’d dreamed of being cut. I told her that – although this certainly would make for the coolest of stories – it was physically impossible for a dream symbol to leave a mark.
I asked her if she had pets that regularly slept with her or if she slept with someone who might just need to clip their toenails! She said that she had two cats that slept with her and her husband.
When I told her that it was pretty obvious that one of the cats accidentally scratched her leg – she agreed that it was “possible,” but that she planned on sticking with the paper cut explanation.
I guess a “good” story appeals to some people more than the plain old truth!
No One’s Entirely a Stranger in Your Dreams
In addition to the normal dream interpretations and analyses on Dream Prophesy, I’m going to start a series called Fascinating Facts About Dreams. I’ll usually post these on Wednesdays – unless I think of something so fascinating I can’t wait to share it!
The first Fact About Dreams is one that blew me away – in fact, years ago, when I first read about it, I was actually even a little skeptical. But after further research and through personal experience, I’ve found that it’s dead on: There are no total strangers in your dreams.
The faces you see in your dreams are faces you’ve seen at some point in your life. They may be people you’ve seen on television, in movies, in books, or in public. You may or may not have ever talked to these people – all that matters is the fact that your eyes saw them and your brain “acknowledged” them.
When your brain takes notice of a face, it immediately plays casting director. The individual is added to an ever-growing and expansive list of characters that it can draw from for its grand productions called dreams.
That’s why the cashier in your dream may look an awful lot like “Flo” from the Progressive commercials. She (or even what she represents – insurance) may not have anything in the world to do with the dream’s meaning. She may simply be the one that was cast in that particular role!
I have a dream a few nights ago and I kept thinking, “The woman I spoke to looked familiar…” Later I realized the face was that of an English teacher I had in high school. I’m not entirely sure what was up with her hair, though – I’m kind of certain my brain’s hair and makeup department switched up her ‘do a little bit.
When awake, we can kind of imagine the image of a face we’ve never seen. We can think… let’s give her Halle Berry’s eyes, Gwen Stefani’s smile, and Angelina Jolie’s nose. We can come pretty close to picturing the final product (and how lovely would she be?!). However, in our dreams, we simply aren’t able to get that creative.
Think about someone in one of your most recent dreams and see if you can… literally… put a name to the face.