When was the last time you got the feeling that you’ve had an experience before, but could not, for the life of you, recall exactly what or when?

That feeling of profound remembering and utter forgetting in exactly the same moment is what we call déjà vu, or “already seen” and there are many theories about what the experience of déjà vu is and what causes it. Consider my favorite of these theories: you dreamt this moment, exactly as it is, before it happened, in some cases maybe even years before! There are many examples and evidence to support the existence of premonitory dreams in history (we will save that topic for another day). So, it’s not a stretch to imagine that this also happens with dreams that we don’t consciously remember; hence the subtle “been here before” feeling as opposed to a full-on “AH HA! I remember this!” moment.

Actually, this idea has become so popular that there is even a special term for the specific experience of seeing something in waking life that you have seen before in a dream: déjà rêvé, or “already dreamed.” Not only is there a word for this experience, but there are different classifications of the déjà rêvé experience based on its qualities and characteristics i.e. if you remember the specific dream or not. Even more, there are scientific studies that map brain activity during these experiences of déjà rêvé!


This doesn’t mean the future is set in stone, just as not every dream becomes a reality. However, this does mean that we can use our dreams as a sort of internal compass, a navigation system in waking life. Like following the north star when out at sea, we can course-correct and calibrate our waking lives based on the feedback we receive in dreams. In this way, we can choose the future we want to dream up. If we choose to see our dreams in this way, as feedback about how we are being and where we are headed in our lives, we can make empowered choices to steer our boats in the direction of our biggest and best dreams!

The first step towards making the choice to stay the course or change direction is knowing where we are. Lucky for us, our dreams allow us to see just that! Our subconscious mind is always taking things in, processing and giving us back information in just the right way. Dreams are packed with emotion, metaphors, and symbols that grab our attention and direct it to the areas of life we need to see in order to make those decisions.

The best part about all of this is that we get to practice for our waking lives every single night!

By paying attention to and recording your dreams, you may even be able to identify the exact dream that triggers the feeling of déjà vu or déjà rêvé the next time it happens to you!

What are some of your experiences with these phenomena? How do they make you feel? What conclusions have you come to?

We would love to hear your stories in the comments below!


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