The Experience of Deja Vu
By Remez Sasson
Did you have an experience, in which you were in a new place, yet felt as if you had been there before? Did you meet someone for the first time, but had the feeling that you have met him before? Have you been in a totally new situation, yet felt it was familiar, and that you have experienced it in the past? Such experiences are called deja vu.
The term "deja vu" comes from the French, meaning "already seen", and describes the experience of feeling that one has witnessed or experienced a new situation previously.
The experience of deja vu is usually accompanied by a compelling sense of familiarity, and sometimes with a strong sense that one has experienced or have been in the same situation or place in the past.
It is said that the experience of deja vu seems to be very common, and that 70% of people report having experienced it at least once in their lives.
The term deja vu was first used by Emile Boirac (1851-1917), who was a French psychic researcher.
There could be many explanations for the experience of deja vu:
1. You might have seen pictures of the place in the past.
2. You might have read about a certain place or situation, even years ago, and when being in that place or in a similar situation, you feel as if you have already experienced the same thing before.
3. You might have seen a movie about a similar experience, and though you might have forgotten seeing that movie, the subconscious mind still remembers it, giving you the eerie sensation of being familiar with it.
4. You might have seen the place or situation or something similar in your dreams, and now it looks familiar.
5. Deja vu could also be triggered through the five senses. It could be a smell, the taste of food, the decor, combination of colors, pitch of voice, background noises or anything else that triggers old memories. You might not consciously remember the original situation that brought that memory, but you remember having experienced it, and you associate it with the present experience.
6. The sight, clothing or manner of speaking of the person or persons who are with, might remind you of someone you have once met in the past.
7. Some say that this feeling of familiarity may be caused by a brain state, by neurochemical factors during perception that have nothing to do with memory.
8. People who believe in reincarnation say that the reason for deja vu is that one has experienced the same situation in a past life.
There could be more reasons and explanations for experiencing deja vu. The mind is a powerful engine that creates all kinds of experiences, and which very few people investigate and try to understand.