Low-gravity dreams evoke “real” memories

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. . . when swift Camilla scours the Plain,
Flies o’er th’unbending Corn, and skims along the Main.

— Pope, Essay on Criticism

I have had dozens of dreams in which I seem to be less than ordinarily affected by gravity. The dreams always appear to take place on earth, and other things and people in the environment behave normally; only I (and occasionally a few other people) move as if in a low-gravity environment.

These dreams take two basic forms. In the more common of the two, I am walking and find that every step sends me sailing gently into the air, several meters up, and then slowly back down. I can move almost effortlessly this way; by simply “kicking off” from the ground a few times a minute, as one might do when using a playground swing, I can keep myself moving forward in great slow bounds. In the dreams, the thought that always accompanies this is: “I’d forgotten I could do this. I should do this more often.”

In the second form of the dream, I am in a supine position about 70 cm above the ground and am moving “forward” (that is, in a caudal direction). As in the jumping dreams, I have to “kick off” with one foot occasionally to maintain my speed, though in these dreams I am reminded more of a skateboard than a playground swing. In these dreams, unlike the others, I do not rise or fall; I stay at a constant distance from the ground, and kicking off serves only to give me a burst of forward speed, not to send me sailing up into the air.

In my slow-jumping dreams, I have an exhilarating sense of freedom, and at the apex of my leaps I enjoy looking down on the scenery (generally rolling green hills, dotted with trees). In the supine-skimming dreams, though, I often feel that I am going where I am “supposed to” go, following a leader who is walking ahead of me. I never see this leader, though, because I am always looking straight up at the sky — though I am somehow simultaneously aware of the ground (usually a hard gray surface) rushing past beneath my back.


What makes these dreams unusual is that, upon waking, I am left with an unshakable conviction that they really happened. I don’t mean that I feel as if the dream itself had been real — the dream was obviously just a dream. However, I have a compelling feeling that the dream is reminding me of something I really experienced, that some long-forgotten memory from my real life has been jogged almost back into conscious recollection by the dream. I feel sure — my body feels sure — that somehow, somewhere, sometime, I really have moved that way, if only I could remember where or when. But, rack my brain how I may, I can never quite retrieve those elusive memories. I am left with an unsatisfying certainty that somehow those dreams must be about something “real,” but without being able to explain how they possibly could be.


Filed under Dreams, Oddities

30 responses to “Low-gravity dreams evoke “real” memories

  1. Assuming, for a moment, that these seem real because they are in some sense real – do they feel more like memories of the past (maybe partial or distorted) of something that really happened (e.g. reincarnation, pre-mortal existence); or yearnings for something in the future that is real but not of this world (like CS Lewis’s idea of ‘Joy’/ Sehnsucht)?

  2. Definitely past memories, not yearnings. The feeling is I’m sure I’ve done this before.

    Since this is a recurring theme in my dreams, I suppose it could be that each dream is simply reminding me of similar past dreams, but the memories feel like memories of real, waking events.

    • Mary

      I realize it’s three years later, but I was searching for others who might share my perception that moving in a low gravity environment felt intuitively more like reality than my reality in waking life, and found this. I always walk in dreams as if I’m hopping and gliding, more launching and gliding. I feel very fluid and natural in the dream – like moving this way was all I ever did. To add to that, when I was very young, age three or four and younger, I would spin around a poll, but remember having this fear that I was going to launch myself into the stratosphere, and I remember feeling that way often when I would play outside, particularly when it was dark. This worry became a phobia and limited my activity to some degree. I do feel like I lived in a place where low gravity existed, and try to fit that into my perception of waking life with little success. The idea does tug at me, enough to search for others. Cheers ~

      • Cindy Schneider

        Sorry, it’s another year later, but I had this dream last night and all day I’ve felt like it was really a memory and I’ve been trying to figure it out. I can “remember” feeling this glide, and looking down, seeing my feet slightly off the ground, and just knowing that if I slide my feet together and turn, I can get more distance. It’s like taking really big strides in slow motion, but your still covering distance. I remember feeling that probably not everyone can do this, and it might be a pretty cool thing I should keep doing. But it also felt totally normal. I had a hard time waking up and reconciling whether or not I was remembering something I had done or just dreaming.

      • martin

        last night, was a sleepless one. i was trying to figure out how n why i was having this kind of a dream coming over n over again, back in 2013. i’d narrate to my friends,but they laughed at it. the dream is nolonger coming as frequently as it was before,i dont know why. but i am always into knowing much about our lives because i feel that we still havent done what we can easily do. i have done a little bit research about our names and,itz interesting. if you still curious, lets do this.

  3. Agellius

    I believe I have had the same type of “slow-jumping” dream. The thing that stands out for me about these dreams, is that I almost always eventually jump a bit too hard and find myself at a higher altitude than I intended, and in danger of falling. However I never really get hurt.

    I do not, however, have the feeling you describe that the dream represents a real memory. It is amazing, though, how normal and natural the “jumping” feels in the dream. It’s obviously not anything I’ve done in real life, yet I seem to have a complete understanding of exactly how it would feel to experience it, how to control it, how much effort to put into each bound, etc.

    I haven’t had the supine-skimming dream that I can recall.

  4. chrs campbell

    That is one of the most compelling things about dreams, is that while experiencing them, and simultaneously being aware that you are dreaming, everything seems ‘normal’ or ‘the way it should be’ ( ? )
    i often have ‘memories’ of things, sometimes recalled from dreams, and sometimes not, that i wonder if they are real memories or dream memories, and the test that i apply is : When did this happen?
    If i can’t place it as happening before or after well founded memories, then i assume that, despite it’s extreme lucidity, it must be a dream memory that happened in some other reality ( ! )
    Dreams are the Real Reality, This waking stuff is our experiences in a fractional reality created by the xi.6 controllers to either teach us something important, or to enslave our souls for some purpose that the angels themselves are unable or unwilling to do ( ? )

  5. This may seem a little ‘out there’. But that’s because it is. I have had dreams like this before too. For me I was fully aware I was dreaming, so it was a lucid dream. And whenever I jumped into the air, gravity was low and I could do these fantastic slow leaps and when I was coming down slowly I could feel the air on my face. And it felt incredibly real.

    When I researched into it. Turns out a lot of scientists believe in a theory that we used to live on Mars (I said it was out there). And that we may have been left here after our planet was destroyed. Mars is a funny planet. Because it once had a fully functioning Magnetic field like Earth and huge oceans of water like Earth. These are facts now. Meaning it had a good atmosphere, water, and may even have had air just like our planet did.
    It could explain why millions of us have always felt lost, or not at home here, a feeling like we don’t belong on this world.
    It could explain why many, many people have experienced low gravity dreams. It could explain why Humans are the only living creature on Earth that are so advanced compared to other species here. It could explain, our bad backs. Yes that’s actually not a joke. The humans are the only species on Earth that are prone to getting bad backs in life, even if they look after themselves. Most end up with them. While no other creature that is native to this planet does. This is all thought to be down to our bodies originally evolving to a much lower gravity.

    All life on this planet gives birth with great ease. Except for the humans. Giving birth is incredibly dangerous for the mother and the baby in Humans. Whereas all other life is able to give birth alone without the need for help. And a scientific fact, is that this is down to humans Skull structure. The head formed from a baby is largely round. Our heads take on this shape because of gravity. It is thought that if we lived in low gravity, our heads would form taller and skinnier. Birth shouldn’t be painful. Yet it is.

    • Interesting ideas, Mikee, but it seems unlikely that we came from Mars. Humans, while unique in many ways, are still clearly members of Earth-based biological taxa. Our very close genetic similarity to the African apes — and, to a lesser degree, to other Earth animals — is hard to explain on the hypothesis that we are aliens.

      Bad backs and painful birthing are most likely the result of our recent transition to bipedalism, to which we have adapted only imperfectly.

      • Damon

        I am glad I found this post.
        I have had recurring dreams like the rest of you
        1 is of ability to float around a few inches off the ground. This one is not the most common dream. It comes as a memory like i used to do this in middle school. I literally woke up one morning convinced that I used to be able to do this and spent the next few days trying to make it happen again. I can almost convince my body or at least the nerves in it that I am becoming weightless in an attempt to levitate off the floor.
        2. The second and most recurring dream I consider to be a floating one of sorts. See in these dreams I typically have to be running or jogging but with each jump I will fling myself a little higher in the air and slowly come back down until I get to a point where I am very high and scared of hitting the ground. Often times I find myself grasping at tops of trees to I dont go too high that i will fall to my death. Sometimes i do this on 2 feet other times i will run on all fours. Regardless it is exhilarating and I love having these dreams. In them I will be running from military or playing hide and seek with friends or anything but still same thing just each jump gets me higher like I have less gravity than others. Its a great dream and i wish i could do it in real life lol.

  6. I just found this very similar description in Stephen Brook’s Oxford Book of Dreams (p. 107). Brook is quoting from Leigh Hunt’s 1820 essay “Of Dreams.”

    “[T]he dreamer sometimes thinks he is flying in unknown regions, sometimes skimming only a few inches above the ground, and wondering he never did it before. He will even dream that he is dreaming about it; and yet is so fully convinced of its feasibility, and so astonished at his never having hit upon so delightful a truism, that he is resolved to practise it the moment he wakes. ‘One has only,’ says he, ‘to give a little spring with one’s foot, so and — oh! it’s the easiest and most obvious thing in the world. I’ll always skim hereafter.'”

    • Wow. Skimming a few inches above the ground with a little spring with one’s foot describes my experiences well. I would just consider these ordinary waking memories, if it hadn’t been for the inconsistency with the rest of my memories and ideas of how stuff usually works.

      Another, contrasting recurring dream is that I’m running to get away from something, unlike the previous dream, where it’s a joyous, casual thing. In these dreams the running is more laborious and slow, like running in water.

      As I’m writing this I realize the two gaits might represent something I’ve learned in recent years about how I work. When following my natural interest and joy I seem to have a whole lot of ‘free’ energy and attention, but when I do stuff because I think I should, or somehow motivated by fear or obligation it often requires a lot of effort and energy.

      Its like different forms of gravity that we dance with. Maybe propelling away from stuff with fear is just less effective than gravitating towards stuff with joy, love or interest. I mean, when I think about it, it seems like much of our world is shaped by attractive forces, like gravity and love. Doesn’t love just feel like a kind of gravity, but on the emotional plane?

  7. Renita

    I dreamed like this yesterday and feel the same way. That’s why I am searching. What is the meaning of this. Glad to know I am not alone.

  8. Luoluo

    I share the same experience with you all. We may have lived our past lives in some other low gravity planet, and that kind of memories passed on to this present life.

  9. Imran

    I have same experience. I concluded that my dreams are representation of my memory and my thoughts, all of them I can explain this way. But I always wonder where from this kind of dreams, why that? I mean it is only one I cant explain by my past experience. Glad to know I am not alone

  10. Jack dida

    Hi there the explanation of your dreams it really Really similar to mine I feel special in some way but I can’t explain how I know that I am different… Who can tell me more about this gravity dreams is it my past life or still to come life or

  11. Chinto14

    Dreamed like this last night, but with a man holding me & we were in a horizontal position slowly bouncing at the earths ground like it has a slow gravity. It feels so real & i felt love.

  12. Scott Robbins

    I have similar dreams but in mine it is almost like I am suspended, and my feet barely touch the ground, so I can hardly get any traction for forwad motion. It is a very frustrating and unsatisfying feeling, very unlike the peace and excitement of the more jumping dreams of others here. I try to run, but barely get going.

  13. Maria Dow

    I have this dream quite often what does it mean?

    • What feelings do you have during the dream? Could the experiences be ‘excuses’ or contexts for feeling certain emotions that you might not have fully noticed given attention to while awake?

  14. catwomanbyday

    I have the same experience. I keep having dreams where I take a running start and then can fly or hover a few feet from the ground. As long as I keep up momentum, I stay in the air. ANd I always wake up feeling like this was a natural ability. I lay in bed trying to figure out how I did it, why I feel this way, how I can do it again…. it’s been frustrating me for years. I wish I knew what it meant. It’s the only kind of dream I ever have where I wake up believing it’s as true and real as my ability to walk. Wish it was. Lol

  15. Fellow Dreamer

    I’ve been having dreams like these for years, practically verbatim to yours, and was so glad to find this article. In some dreams I’ll be exiting a building, then bouncing miles in the air and landing softly, then repeating, but nobody around me seems to notice or care. In others, I’ll be somewhere like a library, and casually floating off the ground to reach the higher books, then propelling myself in different directions, while again, people are not reacting to it. They don’t feel like memories, but it does feel incredibly natural and real. I wake with that sensation that I can actually do it, and my dreams are trying to remind me how. These dreams occur so much that I’ve actually stood up in real life, closed my eyes and tried to concentrate as hard as possible into making myself levitate — as absolutely absurd as that sounds, all I can say is that I’m otherwise a fairly practical person, but imagine having dreams of playing piano so fluently that it felt like you really could, so much so that you began practicing piano and found you were a natural. You wouldn’t have started if you didn’t feel so confident doing it in your dreams. That’s how these dreams make me and a lot of others feel, it seems. It’s a very strange phenomenon.

  16. Djdjriiakdn

    I have low gravity dreams all the time I use that to lucid dream when there is low gravity I realize I’m dreaming I just enjoy it though doing fun flips and whatnot

  17. Tony J. Martin

    I’ve had low gravity dreams for years. At first it started with me holding onto a kite and flying hundreds of feed into the air. Now, its more like 75% less gravity, where I can easily jump 20 feet in the air, and casually glide down while doing several spins and flips. Often jumping off of buildings, this dream has ALWAYS taken place in a complex I grew up in as a teenager. I have this feeling that the low gravity has something to do with love, or passion for a skill that you should be seeking more thoroughly. Good dreaming 🙂

  18. Jamee Novotney

    Omg! I know you posted this years ago but absolutely everything you described and how you said it is exactly what i am experiencing. I found myself trying to do the jump straight soar when walking to work today and quickly remembered wait! That’s only in that dream “memory”. Definitely like i have done it for real and almost like its a habit but idk i couldnt explain until i read this. Its always trees and hills and a gray like sidewalk or something. This is sooo weird. Thanks for sharing

  19. I’ve had quite a lot of those. In mine I can jump super high, in a very controlled manner, and slowly with very little gravity. Sometimes I look down from way above or play around hopping from wall to wall. In my case it might have to do with depersonalization, wich causes the feeling of being bodyless. Or maybe I’m trying to look at my surroundings from a distance. These dreams feel very good though.

  20. Jordon

    Yeah ! Bounce dreams !! I’m right there with you on this one and have had very much the same experience with my dreams. For me this is usually the trigger I need to notice that I’m dreaming and become much more in control, I’m often able to overcome the gravity and fly from there as well.
    Refreshing to read that someone else has had the same dream with the same feelings after this sort of dream as myself.

  21. prince7717

    Strange but i also see dream like you same (1st type dream only) , in dream i feel low gravity and others feel gravity , and sometimes very few people fell low gravity and i am like flying in air same like astraunat

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