The People in Our Dreams

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!