Dreamemories: The Relationship Between Dreams and Memories
In the Otakukin community there is something of a dichotomy of thought regarding the relationship between dreams and memories. On the one hand Otakukin, myself included, often speak of having regained past life memories through dreams. On the other hand new people entering the community sometimes say that they suddenly had a vivid dream that they were such and such character- and they are almost uniformly told that a dream does not a memory make. To make matters worse, skeptics looking to criticize Otakukin say that no dream constitutes a memory and that anyone claiming to have recovered memories through dreams is full of bologna.
So what is the answer? If Otakukin really believe in ‘dreamemories’ then aren’t they being harsh in asserting that the dreams of others aren’t valid remembrances? The answer is yes and no. Certainly most dreams are just that- random brain noise, subconscious symbols, and just plain wishful thinking. But sometimes memories that have been forgotten or suppressed really do come out when a person is sleeping. I am speaking not only of doubtable ‘past life’ memories, but of the regular, externally verifiable memories of one’s current lifetime.
When I was about six or seven years old I started having a vivid recurring dream of falling off a cliff. The dream was always the same; I was at a park, near a coin operated binocular machine overlooking a sandy cliff. I would duck under the rail across the edge to get a better look at the scrubby vegetation, then lose my footing, slip, and wake up.
I had the dream five or more times before I started getting really curious about why I was having it. So I did what I always did when I was seven and wanted to know something- I asked my mom. My mom seemed surprised and told me that the dream was actually a memory from when I was very little. I had just been learning to walk, and my parents had taken me to a park near where we lived in California. I really did get too close to the edge and slip a little ways down the cliff, to a ledge only about a foot from where I fell.
After I learned that it was a real memory, and had a place and context to file it in my mind, the dream stopped recurring.
Even more than the memories of early childhood, the memories of our past lives are faint and hard for our minds to quantify, and hard for our waking minds to reach. So, sometimes, if the memory is important, or if something has triggered it, we will remember while we are dreaming what we can not when we are awake.
Not every dream is a memory, not even every especially vivid and coherent dream. I have dreamed of being Buffy, a miscellaneous Sailor Senshi, Harry Potter and others, but none of those dreams shared the indefinable characteristic of memory that marked that dream of my childhood fall- and many of my dreams of my life as Ken. I’ve even had dreams of being Ken that I would say are almost definitely not memories. Perhaps it is easier for me to tell the difference between them because I have had the experience of a verified ‘dreamemory’.
It can be difficult to solidly decide what is true recollection in dreams of past lives because the people in them are not there to verify the details. Yet there may be subtle cues in the dream to cast validity or doubt- the constancy of the details of the dream (do items move and people disappear like in a regular dream?) does it come back night after night as if demanding your attention?
No method is foolproof, but with a little effort you should be able to decide for yourself what your dreams are saying to you. Most dreams are just brainfluff, but it is possible for real memories to reveal themselves to a person while he or she is sleeping.