I’ll See You In My Dreams: The Shared Dream Phenomenon

by Tony Harrington

dreamsIn 2011, director Christopher Nolan introduced  the concept of shared dreaming with his film “INCEPTION”. Within his world, it was possible for a group of hackers to consciously enter the subconscious mind of an individual, and either extract or implant information.

Prior to the film though, the concept of shared dreaming had been explored many times before. The “Nightmare on Elm Street” films tread these waters ad nauseam, and in the 1980’s adventure “Dreamscape” Dennis Quaid and Kate Capshaw entered the dream world to rescue a President whose mind was trapped there.

In the novel “Mirage” by F. Paul Wilson and Matthew Costello, a young scientist must enter the mind of her comatose sister to unlock the dark secrets buried there.

Is a concept that seems so at home in the world of movies and books even possible in the real world?

The question is hotly debated, mostly because no one really knows of what our minds are capable. Specifically, the brain can be tricked so easily. False memory, for example, is someone remembering an event that never happened. The brain can also be influenced by the movies we watch, the books we read, even the conversations we have.

Our brains are designed to make sense of chaos, and even in a sub-conscious state they can be manipulated. Noises or conversations happening in the physical world manifest themselves into our metaphysical world and become integrated into the very dreams we are experiencing.

I am getting ahead of myself though. Let’s start with a definition of what shared dreaming truly is.

Shared dreaming, also known as “Mutual Dreaming”, describes a phenomena in which two people experience the same dream simultaneously.

Within shared or mutual dreaming, people can experience two distinct stages.

Non-Lucid: These dream types are typically incoherent wherein each person sharing the dream is simply watching the events unfold. Though the people sharing the dream are aware of each others presence, they do not communicate within the dream, and may not even know at the time that they are experiencing a shared-dream.

Lucid:  In this type of shared dream, both dreamers are cognizant of each other, can interact, and are aware they are in a dream state. In a lucid dream, dreamers maintain a logical and functional capacity, operating on a conscious level as opposed to a subconscious level.

Non-Lucid shared dreaming is more widely accepted as a possibility as opposed to the more sci-fi inspired lucid dreaming. In fact, scientists and doctors widely discount the existence of lucid dreaming altogether, claiming that the mind has to be in a subconscious state, in deep (REM) stage sleep to produce dreams.In the mind of these professionals, lucid dreaming is more akin to imagination and less like dreaming.

Despite claims to the contrary, some people are firm believers that shared dreaming is possible, and that it has happened to them.

A reader of the blog from Indonesia shared the following story with me:

Within my dreams I would often find those with whom I am familiar. A passing glance, a wave, or other form of acknowledgement would be made. Upon waking, it would later be revealed in random conversation that my acquaintance had dream’t of me. The dream they would describe would be near identical to the one I experienced. It leaves me with a sense of the supernatural, that we exist on different planes. What is your belief, my friend? Have you dream’t of others and awoke to find that they of you?

The question intrigued me enough to write this blog entry, because growing up there were occasions, looking back on it, that I had experienced such phenomenon.

However, in fair disclosure, the experiences I had were with my twin brother. I would often awake from a dream in which my brother played a prominent role. In the morning I would tell my mother about the dream and during my recanting my brother would chime in with details that I had left out.

I never thought this was strange or odd, I naturally assumed that everyone had these types dreams.

From a scientific standpoint, shared dreaming is possible, but with a very specific caveat. When two or more people share a room, if one of those people happen to be dreaming and talking in their sleep about the events in the dream, it is possible that those within the room (and earshot) can subconsciously interpret what is being said into a dream, thereby having a similar dream to the sleep talker.

For me, the jury is still out. I am skeptical of lucid shared dreams, but I am not as quick to write off the possibility of the non-lucid variety.

What experiences with shared dreaming have you had? Share your experiences, stories, etc with us by commenting on this article.


7 thoughts on “I’ll See You In My Dreams: The Shared Dream Phenomenon

  1. We share a passion for the Spirit World and spirit communication it seems. Interesting post on shared dreams. I once shared the same past life experience with the woman next to me at a group past life regression. If you are interested in reading more about this experience, read my post ‘Soul to Soul: A Real Past Life Experience’ on my Blog.

    1. I will definitely check out your blog and especially the related post.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time not only read the blog but to comment on it and share your personal experiences with our readers.

      1. While you are there, check out ‘Creepy but True: Sleeping In A Haunted Jail’…I actually captured spirits on camera, however, decided not to publish them online…will save them for a book!

  2. I had a lucid dream where im walking on a grassy field, like a park or football field. I knew i was dreaming but i was conscious and aware that i was dreaming and i had control of myself. I looked around at will, i looked down at the grass, it looked blurry as if looking through smudged glasses, i tried hard to focus and i would reach down to touch it. There was no particular story to the dream, just walking on a field, it was very realistic.

  3. I don’t know what scientists and doctors are looking for to accept the reality of lucid dreams. I have had a few of them in my life and I had two of them recently shorty after my dear brother made his sudden and ‘untimely’ transition. We lost him suddenly and unexpectedly and it was impossible to accept this reality. I started reading about NDEs, After Death Communications etc to probably make myself secure in the assumption that he is not really gone. I read everything spiritual about death. Even research papers in peer-reviewed journals. I admit that my mind was all filled with death, god, angels, ADC, OBC and all. I would just ask my brother many a times to contact me in my dreams. I would even call his name in my mind during the day to make him listen and come to me. If not obsessed I was at least all the time possessed with his thoughts and a desire to prove to myself and my parents that death is an illusion and my brother still lives in non-physical form.

    One afternoon I was quite tired of house chores and went for a nap after telling my husband to take the baby with him and leave me alone in my room. I just made a little non-serious request to my brother and God to contact me in my dream if possible and I think I fell asleep almost instantly.

    The next thing I was aware of was my self calling my brother in the darkness. I didn’t see myself or him. Just that dark space and myself calling him from the depth of my heart and my heart was somehow confident that my voice is reaching him. Suddenly he appeared. But it wasn’t his body I just knew he has come. We started having conversations. Then somewhere in the middle of the dream I started seeing everything. Him, myself, the surroundings. I asked him all the questions i was intending to ask during my waking hours. I knew I was in dream and he has come to visit me. I was aware and a little insecure that my dream may end if I got fully conscious. I think these features qualify for a lucid dream. On waking I forgot many things but still remember some conversation.

    The conversation:
    Q: Why don’t you come in my dreams? You came in your wife’s dream, mom’s dream but why not mine?
    A: I reach out to you many times but you don’t respond

    Q: If I get pregnant, will you be reborn as my child?
    A: I’ll let you know this later

    Q: Why don’t you visit us often?
    A: It is not that easy to do that frequently. These people have become more strict now.

    Q: But I thought heaven is all good?
    A: Yes, they are good but now a bit serious about righting the recalcitrant. The other day they were oiling their brush to………
    The dream ended here. I woke up and told my mother on phone. She was a bit surprised to note that my brother used to diligently oil the chicken with brush before grilling and he used to do it quite often. I didn’t know about this. I too was startled to know this because I felt that ‘oiling the brush’ phrase was not very fitting in that part of the dream.

    The other day I was having a regular dream with people around me but not really seeing anyone. Suddenly my brother came before my eyes and everything else went into the background. He was smiling and asked me how are you. Surprised, I asked how can you be here. He just smiled in return. I again became aware that I am dreaming and he is visiting me. I started asking him questions.
    Q: Are you okay?
    A: Yes (with a smile)

    Q: What else? (I was a bit nervous that my dream would break and I will lose him)
    A: You people cry for no reason. I am well. In fact you people are not even real.

    Q: Do you mean we are in someone’s dream?
    A: (Smiled). You are temporary. I am the truth. You will vanish. I will prevail.

    Conversation in both dreams was terse and it was led by me, just like what happens in a lucid dream. If someone could elaborate more on my experience and share their views i’ll be highly obliged.

    The shared dream experience:
    Although not mine but I believe the person who told me about his own experience was truthful to his core. My sister-in-law’s brother almost died in a car accident in which one of his friends who was driving the car actually transitioned. Few days afterwards while still in hospital he and the other friend involved in accident saw this dead friend of theirs in dream together. They were not sleeping in same room. The dead friend told them ‘I am confused. I want to come back to you people’. Both of them replied to him ‘You don’t belong here anymore. So leave’.

    1. Thannks for the blog.
      Now I know I’m not crazy and others also have experienced shared dreaming with people they know.

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