Do you have repeat dreams?

March 9, 2021 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Self-Help Tools 

Science will tell you that you shouldn’t. A chemical that is naturally released during dreaming impedes the retention of the dream in memory. Nature has wired your brain to have dreams, but not store them in ever-living-color in your mind.

In therapy sessions with veterans, they often told me of nightmares that they couldn’t escape. They not only remembered them. They feared going to sleep because of them. And at times, in the dream, relived the same story or horrific life event.

When a dream repeats, I have an eerie sense of deja vu. It is as if I am walking into a place that I have been before. If it is a nightmare, I panic to see if I can remember my way out. Usually that is not possible. The antagonist in the dream remembers and blocks the old solution. The scene then continues as it did originally, or changes in a more obtuse and dreadful way.

The routine repeat dreams are more benign. They feel like I am watching a rerun on TV. One can almost predict the dialogue. When it ends, I still have to wonder about the meaning of the dream, and why it returned last night. I consider changes I have made in my conscious world and new pressures arising from the environs. I realize that a number of different circumstances could trigger the repeat.

To me, there are two intriguing challenges presented by repeat dreams. One is that I can recall having been in a particular scene and story while the science tells me that the dream should be long-forgotten. And two, the dream originates in me and demonstrates a lingering emotional content that hasn’t been integrated into my consciousness and accepted as part of myself.

If you want to explore your dreams further, you can use my technique of capturing the content and anchoring it in your conscious mind. The first task is to record your dream in some way. I recommend a tablet and pen by your bedside. When you wake from a dream, you can jot yourself some notes as an aid to your memory.

At breakfast, or later in the day, you can ask yourself the three questions that will enable you to draw out the meaning from the dream.

  1. What first comes to mind after I write down or draw an image from the dream?
  2. What feeling did I have in the dream?
  3. What was left unfinished at the end?

As you ask yourself these questions, remember that we addressing the phenomenon of sleep and waking. I don’t expect you to have concrete definitive answers to all of the questions. They merely permit you to elaborate the dream for your own inspection. As you follow this path, you will discover an ever deepening tour among your emotions, fantasies and desires. You’ll be surprised at the person you encounter.