Many of us have the sense that we’ve been here before. We have unexplained attachments to places we’ve never been, have favorite era’s of history, or simply feel much older than we are, but in a good way. However, how do we know we’re having past life dreams or just playing out a fiction as we sleep?

Past Lives often crop up when we are dreaming, as it gives your subconscious an opportunity to reach back and bring forward memories that your conscious brain does its best to ignore. But how can you differentiate between dreams of past lives and just plain old dreams?

What are Past Life Dreams?

Past life dreams are usually distinguishable because of the specific details they include. You, and others, may appear in unfamiliar clothing, or the scape of the dream will appear ancient, or foreign.

How to Know if You've Had Past Life Dreams

One of the biggest clues is that you will have the sense of being you, but someone else at the same time; as in the person is you but in a different time, or looks different. This also happens with people we know in our current lives, we know that it’s them in the dream, but they appear completely different.

There’s no way they ‘Look’ the same, but you know without a doubt, it is that person.

Recording Past Life Dreams

Keeping a dream journal is a really great way of identifying similarities in dreams. Past life dreams are usually recurring, although we might dream of less significant dreams just once. This is not to say that you didn’t do much in that life, the past lives that have the most significance to us now are the ones where we have brought forward unresolved issues, and our mind is trying to draw our attention to them. But a little more on that later on….

Start writing into your dream journal every morning, as soon as you wake up. Even if it’s to jot down that you don’t recollect the dream at all, you are simply getting into the habit. By writing down the details, we are going to bring our conscious mind into determining the messages our subconscious is trying to tell us.

With dreams you do recollect, write down as much detail as possible – who was in it (how did they appear), what people were wearing, the locations, when it was taking place, the tone of the dream etc. Every little bit of information you remember, and anything you think is significant, write it down. Detailing this amount of information will make the task of finding patterns a lot easier. After some time, go back through your journal, and on a separate page, jot down recurring details or themes.

With some details, you might even be able to jump online and verify. For example, if you had been dressed in an unfamiliar fashion, you could google the garb and see what era and location it belonged to. You can cross-reference this with other details that may have been in the dream as well. This is fascinating stuff, especially when you come across details that you had no way of knowing beforehand.

Why are you having these past life dreams?

If we have a past life dream once or twice, it’s usually just our sub-conscious bringing forth memories that stood out, such as happy or life-changing occasions. When we start having the same dream more often however, there is more than likely an unresolved issue in our present life that is similar, or that needs to be resolved.

In this particular situation, it’s important to understand what issues we can work on so we can let go of the past and be happy.

Look at the similarities between that life and this one. Is there a chance you are repeating the same mistakes, or not taking opportunities? Are you displaying destructive behavior, or do you feel trapped by how someone else is acting? Be open and honest and find the similarity. This will be the issue that you really have to delve into to understand how you are meant to approach this in your current life.

In each life we are meant to evolve further, if we miss out on that chance on a prior life, we will always be given the opportunity again. So take the time to analyze what your mind is trying to tell you, and don’t let that opportunity pass you by again!

Understanding Past Lives

It is rare for someone to delve into learning about reincarnation without coming across the name of Dr. Ian Stevenson and the in-depth research he carried out on reincarnation. Dr. Stevenson travelled for over 40 years, investigating 3,000 cases of children around the world who recalled having past lives.

His meticulous research pointed to many common links and presented numerous arguments that reincarnation does indeed exist and we are all involved with this cycle.

Dr. Stevenson’s began researching reincarnation in 1960 when a case of a Sri-Lankan child remembering a past life was brought to his attention. Travelling to Sri Lanka, he thoroughly questioned the child and the child’s parents. Not only this, he questioned the people who the child referred to as being his parents from his past life.

This led to Dr. Stevenson’s conviction that reincarnation was possibly a reality and the publication of two articles in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research about this particular case.  From this point onwards, Dr. Ian Stevenson dedicated his work to studying cases of reincarnation.

Reincarnation had been pretty much ignored by science in the past, but the more cases Dr. Stevenson discovered, the greater his conviction that reincarnation could be scientifically quantified.

Dr. Stevenson kept in-depth records of all cases he encountered and through these, we are able to see patterns that repeat themselves, time and time again. Some of these are detailed below.

“I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of millenniums… All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, promptings in me… Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born.”
– Jack London

6 Signs You Know You’re Having Past Life Dreams

1) Prophetic Dreams

There are numerous accounts of people experiencing prophetic dreams where someone who has died appears to a pregnant, or soon to be pregnant woman, to tell her that they will be reborn to her.

Relatives also have these dreams and tell the woman of the messages they received. Dr. Stevenson found these prophetic dreams to be particularly prolific in Burma and among the Indians in Alaska.

2) Recognizable Marks

In some cultures, Dr. Stevenson visited, newborn children were checked for recognizable marks to determine if someone that was previously known to them had in fact returned to them. This was incredibly common in cultures that believed in reincarnation, especially the Tlingit Indians and the Igbos of Nigeria.

Further to this, many tribes in West Africa would make marks on the body of the deceased so that they would be able to identify them when they were reborn.

If a mark stands out to you specifically in a dream, whether it’s on you or someone else, make sure to take note of it. These could be clues to past lives you’ve experienced.

3) Remembering a Past Life

The most common shared occurrence of reincarnation is the actual remembrance of a past life from a child. Children usually begin talking about memories of past lives between the ages of two and four, with these occurrences dwindling between the ages of four and seven.

Most children that Dr. Stevenson studied, spoke about their past lives with deep intensity and feeling. They are confused about whether their past lives or their present one is, in fact, the real one and experience a kind of ‘Double Existence’ when, at certain times, one life is more prominent than another.

As we get older, the lines between past lives and the present blur. If we had some of the dreams we do now as children, we’d be certain what these dreams really represented. Therefore, it’s important to keep an open mind when recollecting and documenting dreams.

“Finding myself to exist in the world, I believe I shall, in some shape or other, always exist.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Children don’t feel self-conscious about distinguishing between the two. This is why it’s common for a child to speak about a past life as if it was their present. For example, “I have a husband and three children and live in a small house on a farm.”

Almost all cases are able to recall events leading up to their deaths in those lives. These Children also believe their past parents to be their real ones, rather than the parents they have in this current life, and they wish to return to them. In cases where the previous family has been found, details from both parties line up in a way that far surpasses coincidence.

4) Social Status

Say, for instance, a person is born into a very high class family after they were a member of a lower class in a previous life, they may feel uncomfortable and out of place in their new family.

They may display behavior aligning to these past social statuses such as being alarmed or feeling guilty about high-price purchases or when being served or waited on. Stevenson has documented many examples of these occurrences.

5) Birthmarks or Defects Corresponding to Wounds on the Deceased

In 895 cases of children who said that they remembered past life, 309 (35%) had birthmarks or birth defects that corresponded with a wound inflicted on the deceased party, usually a fatal one.

In cases where a deceased person was identified by the details of the past life, a close correspondence was nearly always found between the birthmarks and/or birth defects on the child and the wounds on the deceased person.

When you have past life dreams where you might be hurt or worse, try examining the area now to see if there are any physical marks or illnesses associated with the area.

6) Present Life Phobias

Dr Stevenson also found that in 35% of cases he investigated, children who died an unnatural death developed corresponding phobias in their present life. For example, if someone drowned in a past life, then they would have a fear of deep water in their present one.

If someone had been shot, then they were presently unusually afraid of loud noises or bangs. If someone dies in a road accident then they would be over nervous about transportation vehicles in their present life.

Do you have frequent dreams which focus on specific phobias such as those mentioned above? If so, they could be related to a past life. Sometimes, when people make these connections and learn to accept what happened to them, these phobias can suddenly disappear.

“The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew… it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are just 6 of the common occurrences Dr. Ian Stevenson found during his 40 years of research. Although most of his research was carried out in countries where cultures believed in reincarnation, many people residing in countries where belief is not the norm, have shared some of the above experiences.

It seems common among Children to speak of past lives and many parents report these unusual conversations where their children describe complex accounts, offering information that they could not have known beforehand.

With a shift in consciousness, the percentage of adults that belief in reincarnation is on the rise and research conducted by the likes of Dr. Ian Stevenson is aiding to open minds that would previously never entertained the idea before.

So instead of dismissing your dreams as being random images, keep an open mind and try to examine what you could learn if you are indeed having past life dreams.

Further Reading

Dr Ian Stevenson’s Reincarnation Research