Dreaming of people from your past

Sometimes I have dreams about someone from a long-ago chapter of my life, someone I have not been in touch with for a long time. Not always the same person. These dreams feel powerful and symbolic and leave me affected for days afterwards- lost in the past, nostalgia, reminiscing, sometimes regret. I’m wondering if others have dreams like this and how they interpret them, or how to integrate the strong feelings they bring up.


Hi there, welcome to the community! I’ve also had numerous dreams about people from my past, some of whom are no longer with us. It’s like my mind is engaged in deep processing during these dreams. Sometimes, it feels like I’m either letting go of old ties or strengthening existing connections with those individuals. I hold a unique belief about dream characters – I think they may be more than just products of our imagination. But that’s a conversation for another time. Once again, welcome! We’re delighted to have you here, and look forward to hearing more about your experiences :slightly_smiling_face:.


Thank you so much! None of the people I dream about are deceased (at least as far as I know)- more like significant people who left an impact on me, who I felt a strong heart connection with- often old lovers, or someone I loved but never was together with. I had a dream like this a few nights ago, about someone who I have dreamed about three times now in the past year (after not seeing them for about 19 years). I wonder if my subconscious or some more universal force is trying to send me a message.


For some reason reading this reminded me of a clip from the book I just finished called Journeys Out of the Body. It makes me wonder if maybe they had a thought of you which could have caused the neuropathy to become amplified, resulting in a connection in your dream. Here is the clip I am referring to. It is a little far fetched I’ll admit but interesting nonetheless.


This was the first question I was going to ask you. Glad you clarified that.

Absolutely, it is sending you a message. And with strong emotions involved, or extra vividness, the message could be a very important one about you, or about the person, or both.

Deceiphering these dreams is the hard part.

Without knowing the content of the dream, its impossible to figure out what the meaning is (its tough even when you know the content of them!).

If its not something you want to talk about in a public forum, the Dream Sangha group meets on Saturday, and is a great place to talk about private dreams discretely.


Thanks so much. Sorry for the delayed reply, I didn’t get a notification (I’ll have to figure out how to turn that on, or just check more frequently). I will join Dream Sangha next time, but I am also happy to elaborate here and now. The person in question has appeared in three dreams in the past six months. It is a man who I have not seen in close to 20 years, but on whom I had a long term unrequited love. I was raised Buddhist but didn’t have a a sangha really of my own until I left home after high school. The first sangha I really connected to deeply was a wonderful experience and this young man was part of it- one of the very few young members, and the closest to my own age. I strongly associate him with the Dharma, that period of my life (age 19 to 21), and with my own past connection to that community- which included a teacher/guru (Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche of KTD monastery).

In the first of these three dreams, the young man had become a student of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche (KKR) -who in real life passed away in 2019. The man seemed sad and withdrawn. I told him that I had been a student of KKR long ago; the man nodded, that he knew. The dream ended with us attending what appeared to be an outdoor teaching with a lama.

The second and third dreams were more romantic in nature and did not deal with our Dharma lives, although in both dreams the passage of time was clear (almost 20 years) and there was a tone of “it’s been a while” and wanting to reconnect. In the second dream (of 3) we were reconnecting but then he withdrew, to my dismay. In the third and most recent dream, he was the pursuer and I was the one less sure.

The dreams raised much emotion and nostalgia. I wonder about the message to reconnect with that lineage and Dharma community. There is also a thought (dare I hope?) that perhaps he has recently thought of me too, and I was picking up on that. However I know that people change so much with time and that reconnecting with someone after decades often leads to a rude awakening that the reality doesn’t align with the fantasy.

I do know that he lives in NYC now. I will be visiting NYC this coming March (a year after the first of my reoccuring dreams). Maybe the dreams are a premonition- some part of me wonders if I will bump into him on the street- a one in a million chance, but stranger things have happened.

My life has changed direction significantly in the past 20 years but that particular Dharma community was a huge part of my life for about 10 years. I left it completely at a certain point and it feels like that chapter has closed. However, it is something I think about often and with mixed emotions. As far as the latter two dreams, I try to not take things too literally when it comes to romantic content. What could be the deeper meaning? I see possibilities like nostalgia about the past, reaching for something which never quite comes together, missed connections of various kinds. I truly loved him and when I think of him now it is fondly, with a warmth in my heart I don’t really feel anymore in my life. I miss the sense of curiosity, openness, and heart-warmth that I had in younger days. Perhaps it is with that, not a particular person, that I need to reconnect after 20 years.

This was a long explanation, but happy to put it out there. I have had some other dreams or hypnapopic auditory experiences of people from my past, but this series of three dreams is fresh on my mind, as the most recent one happened last week.


These are really important peices of information, appreciate you taking the time to write these details, I think they are very important.

Not sure what this dream, or the others really mean, but here are some thoughts:

The young man could be representing an aspect of your personality that really misses the Sangha and the Dharma teachings of the past. It may be really you who is feeling sad and withdrawn, and he is helping guide you back to these sacred teachings and to finding a Dharma Sangha that you resonate with (symbolized by the outdoor teaching with the lama you attended TOGETHER, a union or harmony taking place with ‘getting the band back together’ so to speak).

These two are a bit more tricky than the first. The fact that REM sleep is often accompanied by increased blood flow and enlargement of the genitals in both sexes, can make the types of dreams we have and they way we view them colored ‘red’ by the lens of Venus. So it may have been a dream that your mind used a dream character who you had very strong love ties in the past, to play out 2 romantic dreams.

Another interpretation would be agian like in the first dream, he is representing an aspect of your personality, this is the quote I base this thought off of:

The mixed emotions, along with you closing the chapter, but also having possible thoughts of reopening that chapter, seems like it fits the behaviors in the dream pretty well.

I think reconnecting with the a Dharma community, or multiple communities, might be the main take away message.

Youre playing with fire if you dare to hope on a fantasy. Its possible he thought of you or even dreamed about you. But if his feelings about you are not the love you have for him, you are setting yourself up for a painful reality check. However if you can truely divorce yourself from the outcomes of his response, I dont see harm in you reaching out to him, and asking how he has been and if he still does Dharma stuff.

Keep it as Platonic Love, if you cant do that, and know your ego will get the better of you, best to avoid reconnecting.

To see if this dream is trying to get you to reconnect with Dharma communities, try dipping your toes in a few in your area if possible, and seeing if they resonate with you. This club is definitely a huge asset in terms of Sanhga and teachings, but there is something very special about in person Sanghas that I think part of you may be missing very much.

Hope this helps, wishing you much luck with this new chapter.


Well technically speaking, the maths say it is about a 1 in 8.5 million chance (about 8-9x less in your favor):

However, that being said Premonition and Precognitive dreams are 100% real, and these dreams could most definitely have been that! This fact, along with the fact that you both were/(are) big supporters of the Dharma, means the real time odds of you meeting him at random during your trip to NYC, may he closer to 50% or even 100%. :open_mouth: :dizzy_face: :open_mouth:

Sounds crazy I know, but for some reason the universe tends to attract people like this into your life, especially if there is a lesson that needs to be learned, or some sort of unfinished business.

He may be going through a rough patch in life, or maybe he has fallen off the ‘Dharma Wagon’ and could really use some words of encouragement to inspire him to start practicing again. (Or vice versa).

I think the main take away message I see in the dreams is to rekindle the Dharma, and Sangha in both of your lives. Keep the Love pure, as with a mother and child, NOT as in a Hollywood Romance. If you do that, I think very good things will manifest. A long term friendship is much more profitable than a short term romance.


Thanks so much. Yes, similar thoughts to my own on much of what you wrote. I don’t feel at all inclined to reach out to him- that doesn’t align or appeal to me. It feels like a can of worms that I don’t care to open! Better to let the past be the past. Realistically I would have no interest in cultivating a romantic relationship with him at this point. But when things come up in dreams and there is strong emotion there, it can stay with me for days to a week or more. When I met him, there was such a strong feeling for me that there was some karma there- a deeper connection than what meets the eye on the surface. Perhaps recognizing a connection from a past life- which doesn’t seem all that far fetched, given our mutual affiliation with a particular lineage. As far as bumping into him in NYC, that feeling has passed, although if we DID bump into each other, it would feel like synchronicity indeed, and I would be happy to get coffee with him. I don’t have any Dharma activities planned during my NYC trip, but perhaps I should find one.

Reconnecting with that particular community doesn’t really feel comfortable for me- just like with the young (no longer so young!) man, it would be a can of worms to reopen that. It took me a long time to find a new Dharma direction that resonated deeply for me, and I have actually found that in Andrew Holecek’s work. :slight_smile:


And go figure, I had another dream about him last night :joy: that makes it to four. Andrew says that for him, he feels reoccurring dreams are our subconscious trying to send us a message, and when he finally figures it out the dreams will stop. Maybe this dream #4 was to tell me I need to keep digging, that the symbolism I thought I figured out wasn’t correct :joy:


Hi Dominica
I’ve read this feed of your recurring dreams of a past love interest & wondered if my dream interpretations I use would help you.

I’ve been recording my dreams since 2009 & now have a large database of my dream meanings. My dharma path started shortly after & I discovered a pattern in my dreams were guiding me along the path.

All characters (past, present, know them or not) in my dream interpretations represent and is highlighting an aspect of my Self that its using.

My past characters, I’ve had a strong romantic love interest with, if any of them show up in my dreams it means: there is a current relationship attachment that is triggering a habit or a pattern or a conditioning. Its connected to the physical; an attachment that causes an emotional feeling or could be a karmic repeated pattern.

Aspects of a female or male dream characters can be narrowed down to represent one or more of these 12 aspects of the Self.
Female (emotional) side: loving, feelings, sensitive, care, nuturing, compassion.
Male side: strength, independence, drive, support, protection, success.

All the best! Hope you solve what appears to be ‘an important message’.


This is helpful information to know in decoding the meaning of the dreams.

I dont doubt that it would be a very meaningful experience. NYC seems like it would attract some of the most enlightened souls, being there is so much need for liberation.

I was not necessarily recommending that particular community. But perhaps finding a community or sangha that meets in person might be what the dream is trying to tell you. (Even if it is a buddhist book club that meets once a month). This community with Andrew is AMAZING! But there is also really great power in sanghas that meet in person.


This is really great advice. Jung coined the term Animus and Anima, and this man in your dreams @Parhelion may be your Animus.


Great!! Thanks @NightHawk999 for this feedback. I’ve not heard of the Animus or Anima and I could not resonate with Jung when years ago I came across his work. But this first video is very interesting (sharing to my sister) and has a lot of information, @Parhelion could use it to interpret the recurring character. I especially thought the 2nd half of the 1st video had some great questions & answers!
The other 2 videos I couldn’t resonate with and felt I didnt want to complicate what I’d already discovered in the study of my dreams. It’s taken me 14 years to refine the interpretations into a fluid dream language (very useful when lucid dreaming).


Thank you for sharing. My dreams are full of people of the past. It also affects me very deeply, but because the dreams are always like soaked in darkness there is a difficult component to them. I also seem to be rather observing everything - as if distant - and not on the same level (?) as the people I encounter - (difficult to describe, but somehow as if I am ‘different’ ?) The conversations have always something to do with my psychology: self-rejection, shame, wrong-doing, etc. They leave me affected but in a not such a positive way.
I deal with them by allowing the feelings to be there and telling myself that I am integrating stuff from the past. Acceptance seems to be the only practical thing to do as I don’t understand it all either. Why this darkness? What does it say about myself? More negative aspects I have to face…? When waking up and feeling still the darkness in my heart I just breath in and out. Can’t think of anything better to do.


Ah, I was going to wait until tomorrow to go in depth but this struck a cord within me. Please recognize that fear is a catalyst for growth, never give it any more respect than that!!!


Hi @Michele1 - Saw your post today, because @Parhelion liked the above.

I’ve been studying my dreams for many years, saw a pattern in them & learnt to interpret, which may help you.

Usually dreams are about the self (small s), a way to discover aspects of that self.
I categorise them into:
6 Female (emotion) aspects: care, compassion, feelings, nurturing, loving, sensitive.
6 Male sides: strength, drive, support, independent, success, protection.

Any character past or present, you know them or not, represent aspects (reflections) of the self. I keep a record of dream characters & give them a meaning. Someone you know, think of their 3 best qualities.
Your best friend means=what you are using to friend your self.

Any darkness is good. It generally means it is unknown to you. The the journey is about heading towards the Unknown (the All-Knowing).

When observing in a dream i call this:
The Watcher; this is our Higher All-Knowing Self (capital S) with Pure Awareness. This is where our Ego self is learning to reach.

Like i said before “the darkness” is only about the unknown. Your Higher Self wants to communicate with you through the language of dreams.

Something i posted in NC a year ago:


Thank you, BIanca, for your response.
Firstly, I am chewing on this sentence:
“Your best friend means=what you are using to friend your self.”
Now going to work, but will come back later to your post. :slight_smile:


@Michele1 You’re welcome.

It means the things we most like to do to make ourselves feel good or comforting. We literally “friend” the self. The dream uses a best friend with the subject matter, to show us an aspect of our self of that is a habit pattern and/or conditioning, often unaware of.


That means, your ‘worst’ friend, your enemy, your ‘monster’, is the part you use in your dream to make you aware of what you are not aware of in yourself, the part that lies in the shadow, so to speak…(?), I guess?

I have like three or four reocurring themes, one of them is ‘toilet’. Obviously, at times, it appears shortly before waking up with the urge to go to the toilet, but other times it seems completely unrelated to a physical urge. Toilet: clogged up, not easily accesible, etc. Shame, resistence, etc.
I had a great ‘interpretation of dreams’ book in my twenties - used to write all my dreams down and used the book afterwards. Then 30 years of nothing and now coming back to the whole dream thing, but no book available :slight_smile:
Getting back there slowly…
Thank you for your input.