“People think dreams aren’t real just because they aren’t made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes.”
― Neil Gaiman
When you dream about someone are they dreaming about you?
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately because of some very bizarre coincidences.
I’ve never thought of myself as an overly “spiritual” person, but my recent dreams have me genuinely considering the possibility that when you dream about someone they might also be simultaneously dreaming about you.
I did some research and it turns out I’m not the only one who thinks so.
What does science say?
“Having the same dream? But that’s impossible!”
The first instinct of those who believe strongly in extrasensory perception (ESP) or spiritual matters will be to naturally believe that dreaming of someone while they’re dreaming of you is not only possible but likely.
The first instinct of those who find spiritual beliefs hokey and think that they’re just fanciful thinking and vague, feel-good beliefs, will naturally believe that dreaming of someone while they’re dreaming of you is possible — while extremely unlikely — but would only be a function of natural coincidence and nothing supernatural.
But before we dismiss the idea too easily.
For those who believe that a psychic link between dreamers isn’t possible, I have a question.
Let me ask you something:
Do you believe that in 100 years we will have technology that seems completely impossible today or will most of it more or less line up with what we now scientifically know to be possible or impossible?
Picture what would have happened 100 years ago if you’d shown a smartphone to a scientist.
What would they have said?
They would have examined it, used it, and maybe taken it apart and then hyperventilated in wonder and mystification.
Because even if they’d understood that it wasn’t magic, they wouldn’t have been familiar with the technology or discoveries that allowed its internal components and connectivity.
It’s the same with so-called “spiritual” or extrasensory phenomena. What seems kooky or woo woo today could be second-nature tomorrow.
Here are four reasons to believe that we might be able to share dreams…
1) The discovery of morphic resonance
Morphic resonance is a fairly recent discovery that’s upending traditional scientific understanding of what’s possible or not.
The concept comes from Cambridge biologist and author Rupert Sheldrake and posits that “mysterious telepathy-type interconnections between organisms and of collective memories within species.”
In his 1988 book Presence of the Past, Sheldrake explains it this way:
“Natural systems, such as termite colonies, or pigeons, or orchid plants, or insulin molecules, inherit a collective memory from all previous things of their kind, however far away they were and however long ago they existed.”
Experimentation done using his theories has demonstrated that causing pain to a frog leads to members of its biological family feeling upset and pain even in geographic locations thousands of miles away, although skeptics claim that bias causes people to exaggerate the connections.
The idea of morphic resonance could connect to shared dreams in multiple ways.
For one thing, if we’re all connected as living beings on an emotional and psychic level then why would that not extend to our dream life?
For another thing, if our organisms communicate invisibly, what better way than while we’re asleep?
2) Dreams are full of meaning
From symbology to repressed psychological desires and more, dreams are full of meaning.
From Sigmund Freud to Carl Jung, leading psychologists and dream interpretation experts of the past have theorized that dreams often express deep meaning about our life, relationships, desires, and fears.
It makes sense that you could dream of someone else while they’re dreaming of you just on an instinctive level.
Dreaming of another person can be very meaningful:
“It is said that if two people dream about the same thing it will come true. No matter who you are or where you are, someone is thinking about you. Dreaming of someone you know and love could mean that you have been on their mind recently or are worried about you.”
In an energetic sense, this would basically revolve around the idea that when we think or feel strongly about someone it emits invisible – but powerful — spiritual energy directed at them.
This is the idea behind curses and hexes in witchcraft and even the idea behind using our intentions and emotions to ask God to help or guide someone via prayer.
It makes sense that when you’re sending a lot of energy someone’s way maybe it can act as an invitation for them to join your dream.
3) Ancient wisdom backs it up
Ancient wisdom from Egypt to indigenous to Asian civilizations has always believed strongly in the spiritual significance of dreaming.
Dreams also have a really central role in shamanic work.
In shamanism, dreams are places we can interact with spirit guides, ourselves and other souls who need our help, can assist us or have messages for us in some way.
“In a shamanic context, the word ‘dreaming’ can mean a number of things, including having a vision, going on a shamanic journey, or receiving information in a trance state. In the present context, the word dream refers to the dreams you can have while sleeping.
Shamanic dreaming has to do with interacting with the spirits while dreaming. This can be in the form of visitations, where the spirit teachers or guardian animals come to you in nightly encounters and we can receive teachings and initiations.”
I tend to think that ancient cultures around the world didn’t just randomly choose to think dreams are special places that we can communicate or share experiences with others.
I tend to think they chose to focus on dreams because they really are places that we can share experiences with other people.
4) Personal experience
Like I said, I’ve been having some bizarre coincidences lately in terms of dreaming of someone.
I could write about theories and ideas all day, but the honest truth is that nothing is as powerful as personal experience when it comes to shaping our beliefs.
Yes, it’s subjective…
But I have had two recent occurrences now where I dreamed about someone and they ended up having dreamed of me at the same time. And it was not somebody I’d seen recently or had a particular reason to think about lately.
The first “shared dream” was about a month ago and was about an old high school classmate called Dimitri. The dream was of him having a birthday but his cake was made of a piece of metal. I helped him take the cake apart and then we built it into a car. It was very odd!
I messaged Dimitri the next day and he said he’d had a really strange dream of me being at his birthday but his cake falling apart and being full of old gears and stuff.
What did it mean?
Well, he had actually recently had a car accident and been really shaken up, so I believe the dream was telling me to reach out to him and the “rebuilding” of the car was a metaphor for helping him through this hard time.
The next dream came about a week ago and it was about a coworker called Olivia who I haven’t thought of in years.
She was trying to climb one of those climbing walls in a gym and kept falling down until I helped her up.
Olivia has never been someone I was very close with but we chat now and then. I sent her a message on Facebook to ask what was up and segue into letting her know I’d dreamed about her in a way that didn’t seem creepy…
She’d dreamed about me too. In a climbing gym. Helping her get up the wall! My mind was fucking blown.
Meaning? I really have no idea.
I think the dream may have been about my desire to do a career shift into a job where I help people more including “climbing the ladder” to better job opportunities because Olivia said she woke up feeling this strong sense of love and support and feeling like she had a message to tell me: this is your job.
And here are two reasons to be skeptical…
1) Be cautious of wish fulfillment
Our wishes have great power.
I’m not talking about the “Law of Attraction” or that thinking positively makes your dreams come true, but what you wish for is often what you’re focused on.
If I miss my ex a lot and have been fantasizing about her for weeks and he or she’s been doing the same about me, then it’s not exactly a cosmic correlation if you both have a dream of each other.
If you communicate with your ex and find you both dreamed of each other there’s another very real possibility:
Intentional exaggeration of similarities.
Say that in reality, you dreamed your ex was riding a rhinoceros and laughing when a massive flood suddenly starts happening and your ex clings to the rhino to try to ford the rising waters.
Say that on the same night your ex dreamed you were on a beach reading Dostoyevsky and drinking a pina colada when there is suddenly a huge earthquake and your persona has to run as fast as they can to try to reach a special refuge on a nearby mountain.
You and your ex message or call each other and bring up your dream, amazed by how you both dreamed of each other.
“Yeah, it was like a tropical setting and you were having fun and then all this crazy stuff happened.”
“Oh my God. That is so weird. I had a really similar dream about you!”
No, no you didn’t…
Your dreams aren’t actually similar, they just both took place in tropical locations and had unusual things happen in them.
2) Don’t believe everything you dream
My second caution regarding this phenomenon is that you shouldn’t believe everything you dream about.
According to the latest research, most people only remember about 5% of their dreams.
This is because the part of our mind that is engaged during REM sleep doesn’t tend to translate over well to regular waking memory.
Neuroscience researcher Bahar Gholipour writes:
“Everyone dreams during sleep, but not everyone recalls the mental escapade the next day, and scientists aren’t sure why some people remember more than others.”
Adding that a recent study shows:
“That high recallers awoke more frequently during the night. They were awake, on average, for 30 minutes during the night, whereas low recallers were awake for 14 minutes … Altogether, the results suggest the brain of high recallers may be more reactive to stimuli such as sounds, which could make them wake up more easily.”
Furthermore, there is even the issue of people remembering dreams they never had. This is actually more common than people think.
The point here is two-fold:
You are unlikely to remember your dreams and when you do, it is possible you didn’t have exactly the dream you thought you did.
Even if you remember the dream, who’s to say that you haven’t been dreaming of a person every single night and only now you’re recalling it?
This would mean the timing isn’t as unlikely or unique as you thought, even if the subject matter is remarkable, throwing into question the idea that you’re dreaming at the same time as the other person about the same thing (sharing a dream).
Another related caveat is that if you’re dreaming about someone you spend a lot of time around such as your partner, family member, close friend, or coworker, the odds are quite high that you’re both going to have a dream of each other at some point.
So…what’s my final verdict?
My final verdict on sharing a dream with another person is: maybe.
Personally, I tend to believe that science and reality is far more incredible than we currently realize and almost anything is possible.
At the same time, I do think people tend to imagine some things that they wish were true even when they’re not.
In the final analysis, I would have to say that I believe sometimes people dream of each other and simultaneously share each other’s dreams but in other cases just happen to coincidentally dream of each other.