Tricycle Film Club

Buddhist films and discussion for the
Tricycle Community

Edge of Dreaming

How real are our dreams?

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Edge of DreamingEach month, Tricycle Supporting and Sustaining Members will be treated to a select feature-length film, presented in partnership with Alive Mind Cinema and BuddhaFest Film Festival, June 14-17 in Washington, DC. The benefits of membership continue to grow, so if you're not already a Supporting or Sustaining Member, upgrade now and watch our February selection, Edge of Dreaming, written and directed by Amy Hardie.

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Edge of Dreaming (February 2012)

Scottish filmmaker Amy Hardie built a career on making science documentaries, reflecting her staunchly rational mind. Then one evening she had a haunting dream of her horse dying, waking to discover that her beloved horse had passed away that same night. Shaken, she tried to pass it off as mere coincidence. But then she had another disturbing slumber, a nightmare where her deceased ex-husband predicts that she will die at age 48. With the love and support of her family, Amy chronicles her quest to untangle the knots in her unconscious and the meaning of her destabilizing dreams.

Read more about Edge of Dreaming—and purchase the film—here.

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Philip Ryan's picture

Thank you Amy, and thank you everyone for a wonderful discussion of Edge of Dreaming!

pwoodall's picture

Dear Amy,

I hope that you are still reading viewer's comments (after all, it's already March). In any case, I just watched EDGE OF DREAMING and was very impressed; your story was so lovely told and accompanied with beautiful images.

Another reason that I hope you're still reading these comments is that I wanted to ask you some questions about filmmaking and whatnot. I have recently turned 37 years old and for the majority of that time I have wanted to be involved in the film industry (most preferably in directing; I KNOW!!! What a shock!). The main problem for me, at least as I see it, is my health. I have something of a rare neuromuscular disease called Friedreich's Ataxia, which severely limits my mobility, coordination, and energy; plus I have diabetes to boot, I was just wondering if you have any ideas for certain film jobs, or gigs, or what ever I should try for. The movie business is certainly not an easy thing to wedge your self into, as we all know; so I'm curious as to how you became involved in it.

In any case, thank you once again for a very enjoyable hour and a half.

BrianB's picture

Amy,

A beautiful film and very courageous! We lost many people in our family last year and even had to put our little dog to sleep as well. Just yesterday I was told my aunt's cancer was back and she only has a few days. Thus, your film really hit home.

I like to think of nature in terms of a cycle and our connection to nature allows us to participate in that cycle. As a Zen practitioner, zazen allows for the loss of self, but without the fear of annihilation. (As least that is my personal experience.) Many different ways to discuss zazen, but, for me, it allows for a felt connection.....the experience of emptiness.

What was most thought provoking for me was the mention of those places on earth so polluted that they are void of life. I know quite a bit about Lake Erie and it has "dead zones" where the lack of oxygen means nothing can live. Your film really makes me consider our relation to nature. I posted a comment on my Facebook page about your film and a friend noted that she had recently had nightmares about the earth's devastation. Perhaps we take in the bad news about the state of the environment during the day, but it's only at night do we fully process this information and full recognize the danger. Perhaps many people are having such dreams and hopefully we can muster a creative response.... perhaps by listening to our dreams.

With much thanks and appreciation!

Brian

Amy Hardie's picture

Thankyou everyone for sharing your insights and responding to the film. It was really exciting for me to read. In fact it inspired me to set up a blog, in the hope of widening and continuing the conversation. I write about Tricycle in Digging in the dirt – or reflecting dreams? and the blog is amyhardie.com.

Enjoy the rest of your year!

Amy

catemarkey's picture

What a beautiful story, cinematography is exquisite - spare, vital and at the same time ethereal. Love hearing of the work you are doing with hospice. I spend the last 90 days helping my mother die and as Amy Hardie said "I held her hand as her body ended" while I said Buddhist, Islamic and Christian prayers to guide her to the next plain. And 30 days later I find that grief, despite my spiritual beliefs, is viseral and will have it's day. I can only be present for that chapter as well. Thank you for this lovely film.

Amy Hardie's picture

Hi Cate,

90 days with your mother as she died! Lucky mother, lucky you! You have your priorities right, and as you say, you know that the pain will pass. I still miss my mother. I guess its part of being alive and human and animal. Thankyou for your presence.

Sophia's picture

Two possibilities....To live life as though you were never going to die...or to live life, ever aware that death could come in the very next moment. Such amazingly different invitations to consider... in the weighty question of how SHALL we go about creating this life we are given. For myself, I feel an amazingly powerful resonance with the first possibility.

Dying is a but a brief moment in time. But life is the process of actually living each and every moment, within the context of the "me" that exists between birth and death. And in point of fact...in the Dhamma...there IS no tomorrow....there is only THIS moment....and then the NEXT moment...and then the NEXT.

Why then be distracted by the thought that someday...somewhere...sometime...there will be a moment which will be the last? And why try and craft THIS moment as though it was somehow dependent... upon some moment in the future... which will be the last? Why not just craft THIS moment as though it was the most precious thing in all the world... for it is the deepest truth of the Dhamma, that THIS moment is the only moment you are given, in which you can have any chance to craft the life that you yearn to live.

So I say with the deepest passion that I can touch within myself. YES, yes and yes...I will dedicate all my energies to living each and every precious moment to it's fullest...not because I will someday die...but because Life exists solely for the purpose of Living. The Universe is nothing more than this elegant process...the process of energy and matter at play in experiencing the infinite possibilities of form and function that are available to them. It's a dynamic process...and all of my moments are a mirror of this same process. I can even believe that there really is no finite birth and death for me as well. I too am at play in experiencing the infinite possibilities available to the elemental essence of which I am made...and for this elemental essence...there is no death...no birth...just the infinite play of form and function.

Play on I say...Play on ! ! !

Amy Hardie's picture

What a beautiful articulation of the importance of now! Can I put them is on my blog - it is so well described. Or maybe you should? It would be the first discussion Digging in the dirt – or reflecting dreams? where I talk about Tricycle.

Thankyou so much for this.

Amy x

Sophia's picture

I am deeply touched that you find a resonance with these articulations about the nature of "now"...that space and place in time, where life can be most richly lived....where our experience of ourselves and everything around us...is most resonant for us, precisely because of it's proximity to having just arisen not only in our consciousness, but in the unfolding reality before us.

I invite you to include my reflections in your blog if you would like to do so. I am not sure where or how you would like to include them, so I will leave that to you, if I may.

Lastly, I'd like to offer up to you the very deepest of bows from my heart to yours.

Beauty has a resonance that our heart cannot help itself but to entrain with....beauty has a resonance that our eyes and ears are in constant search of. Indeed, beauty has a resonance that our mind and consciousness hungers for. You my dear one, have been gifted with the artistry to bring beauty to thought...word...and deed, through your screenwriting and film. But most touchingly...through the beauty of this, your personal journey, which you have so lovingly shared with all of us. Your gift to us is priceless.

May You Always Walk...and Ride...In Beauty

Sophia

Amy Hardie's picture

sorry forgot to give you blog address: amyhardie.com

MarkG's picture

Today I watched the lovely film by Amy Hardie, just close to the end of the showing. I am certainly happy that Tricycle selected this marvelous examination of a personal journey. All too often people shy away from their fears, from the certainty of death, and also from the warmth and light of living. It is in this regard that I particularly loved this film. Amy Hardie has in her reflection on mortality infused the film with love, light and living. The lovely, warm and heartgiving family images, the caring cat and dog, and the lush Scottish landscape at sometimes brimming with life and at other times dormant.
This is life isn't it Amy? We are certain of death but around us is life brimming with its golden energy, its vibrant colors, its fullness.
Thank you so much for putting your insights into film.
MarkG

Amy Hardie's picture

Hi Mark,

I love your recognising the paradox: you put it so beautifully. We are certain of death but around us is life ...offering us so much to enjoy and experience. I would love you to respond to the short films I am making now with a group of women who have secondary cancer as they confront their own death. I will put them on my blog, amyhardie.com, as soon as i can.

Best wishes,

Amy

MarkG's picture

OMG Amy, I will look at them. Thank you for the invitation.
Mark

Tad Maupin's picture

Amy, thank you so much for the wonderful stories and sharing your personal experiences and how you were able to find meaning, purpose, and life with the dream messages. I was intrigue how the shaman was able to assist you in finding a new path and setting a new course in your life your hero's journey. The film was very well done, I will share it with everyone especially my family. I learned that i need to listen to my dreams, overcome fear, and love my family as if I would live forever. Thank you so much!

Namaste
Tad

Amy Hardie's picture

Hi Tad,

Yes I think the shaman was extraordinary. It was just an immediate and total turnaround! And it felt that it came to me just be chance. I am so so glad you want to share the film with your family. Yeah! Let us live as though we will live forever - doesn't it give you energy!

Amy x
Amyhardie.com (filmaking blog)

donnamariedenton's picture

dear Amy, I have been taking tricycle magazine for several years.. Yesterday i joined the tricycle .com community. I am finding my way thru the various parts and wisdom teachings and then clicked on to your movie Edge of Dreaming. What an amazing piece of photography as well as your artistic unique rendering of your story. I believe that our energy and thoughts do make a difference in how we create our own world of being. Your desire to be well and your faith in that possibility supported by your very loving family made it come true for you. i think~!
I have had three back operations. My surgeons kept on correcting the vertebras and eventually the nerves by my neurosurgeon and now my back is feeling good. I too had a reason to live. My family loved me and it kept me trying to be well again Hope is a healing medicine...
" Life is like a box of mixed chocolates, you never know what you are going to get"! But your elegant handling of your dream tells a wonderful story, i hope to share with friends of mine.
and i wish you more wonderful films of people's lives.. you will do them justice.
And thank you Tricycle for your amazingly full library of work on this tricycle .com site.

Amy Hardie's picture

Hi Donna Marie,

I agree with you about the importance of having desire and energy to live - and that is something we can be given. I felt I was struggling with that during that year. It is also a decision that we make. And remake. Congratulations on your persistence with the healing of your back. I am so glad you are feeling good. I am working now with a group of women who have secondary cancer - I just finished their film and showed it back to them. If you are interested you can go to Amyhardie.com and see the blog and soon the clips and I hope the film itself.

Much love,

Amy

Danzen's picture

Thank you Amy for your film , It was heart and mind felt.I`m glad you and your husband got through this and hope that you and your beautiful family have a long and healthy life together.I hope to see more of your thought provoking films.And I would like to thank Tricycle for bringing it to us all.

Amy Hardie's picture

Hi Danzen (like dance? wonderful!). Thankyou for these good wishes! They are exactly what I also wish for us! If you want to look in on amyhardie.com you can see the latest films I am making, working with amazing women confronting death, again here in Scotland.

Best wishes

Amy

icelandiclad75@gmail.com's picture

Dear Amy,

Thank You , Thank You, Thank You for making this Wonderful and insightful work of Art!!! Through your eyes I was able to see a whole different dimension of film making and truth. Ever since I was a little boy I have had the most amazing dreams. They are always so vivid, colorful, and sometimes terrifying. I always ask my friends if they ever Remember their dreams and often I am alone in this remembrance. I wonder why it is that some people can remember their dreams while others just wake up as if nothing has happened. I try to not take my dreams seriously but the ones involving death I have to meditate on. I just recently lost one of my cats, his name was Simon, and he was just "magic" to me. I always felt as if we could speak to one another, and the day he passed away I just knew something was not right. I almost "felt" him go... and so when you lost George it made me weep. I knew exactly what you meant when George came to you in your dream and it just helped hearing that others feel like this to and I am not alone!!! :) Please don't ever stop making ART like "Edge of Dreaming"....you really have the power to Help others like myself!!! May you be Blessed with Love and Light, Warmly Yours, Robb Lombard

Amy Hardie's picture

Hi Robb,
I also wonder why some people and I sometimes remember dreams and not at other times. I think dreams are a potent form of communication from parts of ourselves to other parts of ourselves. And from our expanded identity which might include the community around us - our animals as well as our relatives and even perhaps the earth we are part of. I spend a lot more time that you could imagine thinking about this! I am really enjoying making films at the moment with other people who are confronting their own mortality: you can join the discussion and see clips soon on amyhardie.com. Enjoy your vivid connections to your dreams and your self!

Dot Luce's picture

Hi Amy:
Thank you for your film; I'd been waiting to watch, until I had time to concentrate on it, and not be distracted by my usual busy-ness. Then, I was suddenly ill, and not sure of what my illness was. As it progressed, and the problem became clearer, I sat, watching, with minimum lung capacity. I have never had pulmonary problems and not having breath was an extraordinary learning experience,especially watching your film, as if it were made exclusively for me.
What struck me was the shaman's reminder: fear weakens, gives away your strength. A wonderful reminder for me, watching your courage in pursuing this fear, and seeing what I consider the purest form of love, that between we humans and the sentient beings, who join our families.
I'm rambling, but want to comment: as women, we share special soul space with those we create a child with; your son's father, your present partner. It's a bond beyond love.
and, last, I love the saying (buddhist, reportedly) Live as if you're already dead!

Amy Hardie's picture

Hi Dot,
Thankyou for the attention you brought to the film. Fear leaks away our power - I was amazed when the shaman said that, and thought it was so true. Today I showed a film I am just finishing with five women facing secondary cancer, at a Maggie's Centre in Scotland. They were so so brave, so present, so full of fun and tears and wisdom!

I agree about the special soul space we share with those we create a child with - although I know that that soul space can then expand to include so many more people, then animals, then bits of the earth....

Amy

pamhicks's picture

From the moment I saw the listing for this film on Tricycle, I felt a sort of anxiety until I could watch it because I knew i would find it useful. The phenomenon of dreams is compelling for me. A number of years ago I was awakened at 4am to the sound of a train in the distance. I realized that I had been dreaming of many people, most of whom I knew, coming to me to tell me that my father was looking for me. Then I went to all the places he had been looking for me but I could not find him. The obvious loud & clear message was that I needed to travel to another part of the country to try & see my father, who was ill in the hospital, before he died. Indeed, I had this opportunity - thanks to the dream. Not only did I realize that it was necessary for me to be there for my father's process, but I quickly realized that it was also his greatest gift to me.
My study of Buddhism has recently deepened because I have found my teacher. Through this process I have realized that my first consciousness, in this lifetime, of what I came to learn is a very important Buddhist teaching happened when I was nine. I was walking across a big grassy school yard on a glorious sunny day. Suddenly I was compelled to stop & look around in awe. It was then that I heard "this is all a dream." So I have found the dream concept to be a very useful Dharma tool. I have enjoyed this ongoing discussion as much as I enjoyed this beautiful, deeply personal film. Thank you so much Amy. I found a free ebook of the previously referenced "Dream Yoga" book online & I thank Patricia for that suggestion also. To be continued!

Amy Hardie's picture

Hi Pam,
I also felt that asking me to be with her as she died was my mother's greatest gift to me. But I don't understand it very well! And I was scared initially to be with my mother when she died. But when I got over myself, I found I was able to be there, fully present, and conscious of the huge privilege that had been given to me. I sometimes think human beings are born to be really good appreciators! That is what they can do best.

Amy x

pamhicks's picture

Please note: The free ebook that I found online is not the full, complete version of the "Dream Yoga" book as it is 68 pages & the book is 168 pages. I don't want to discourage any purchases of the book!

pelejalde's picture

Thank you Tricycle and Amy for this interesting film!

According to Buddha, life is the "big" dream, and the experience of death is similar to the experience of waking up and seeing that what you experienced, good or bad, was just a dream... Taking into account that we actually spend most of our living time sleeping and in a dream state, we can actually do something while we are dreaming "consciously" i.e. knowing in a dream that we are dreaming. I recommend reading "Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light" by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu (edition & introduction by Michael Katz).

"In Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu gives instructions for developing clarity within the sleep and dream states. He goes beyond the practices of lucid dreaming that have been popularized in the West, by presenting methods for guiding dream states that are part of a broader system for enhancing self-awareness. The development of lucidity in the dream state is understood in the context of generating greater awareness for the ultimate purpose of attaining liberation."

Michael Katz is a psychologist who has lectured widely on lucid dreaming.

Many regards from Peru!

Patricia

Amy Hardie's picture

That sounds really interesting! It does seem strange that we we have grown and developed so much in our conscious waking lives, acting on the world and on each other and yet we spend so so many hours asleep and having these extraordinarily vivid experiences and over all these generations of dreamers have not learnt to play our dreams. Thankyou for the book reference!

Amy x

pelejalde's picture

Thank you Tricycle and Amy for this interesting film!

According to Buddha, life is the "big" dream, and the experience of death is similar to the experience of waking up and seeing that what you experienced, good or bad, was just a dream... Taking into account that we actually spend most of our living time sleeping and in a dream state, we can actually do something while we are dreaming "consciously" i.e. knowing in a dream that we are dreaming. I recommend reading "Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light" by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu (edition & introduction by Michael Katz).

"In Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu gives instructions for developing clarity within the sleep and dream states. He goes beyond the practices of lucid dreaming that have been popularized in the West, by presenting methods for guiding dream states that are part of a broader system for enhancing self-awareness. The development of lucidity in the dream state is understood in the context of generating greater awareness for the ultimate purpose of attaining liberation."

Michael Katz is a psychologist who has lectured widely on lucid dreaming.

Many regards from Peru!

Patricia

kmontana75's picture

I truly enjoyed watching this movie. Amy, thank you for sharing your talent and knowledge. I especially enjoyed seeing what a wonderful dynamic your family shares. Very refreshing to see.

Amy Hardie's picture

It is true - my family are stars! I always felt if I am willing to film other people's families then I must be willing to film my own!

Amy x

philhuelin's picture

Beautiful, honest, raw...Life
Thank you Amy for sharing such a profound and personal journey and thank you Tricycle for hosting it.

Amy Hardie's picture

Thankyou also! If you are interested in other people's personal journeys, I have just made a lovely film with five extraordinary women in the Maggie's Centre in Scotland. I will post it on my blog once it comes back from the composer and sound design: http://www.amyhardie.com/

Amy x

Zoozyq's picture

Thank you, Amy, for this beautiful, thoughtful, and real connection with you through your film. I am humbled by your honesty and willingness to allow us to experience your process of dealing with death--and life; it is an inspiration to experience my own life with more depth, openness, and wonder, and so when I come to death, perhaps I will be more likely to also approach it with depth, openness, and wonder. I bow to you...may you be safe and happy, live with ease, free of suffering... _/\_

Amy Hardie's picture

Thankyou so much for such a beautiful response to the film! And I am sure you are enjoying your own life very much! If you ever find any wonderful examples of depth openess and wonder please post them on my blog for me to enjoy!

http://www.amyhardie.com/

Amy x

carol.delk's picture

I joined Tricycle because of the clip about "George" that held me until I was able to see the whole movie. I find the thought of death intriguing and will be entering the business of helping people cope with it in the near future. Thank you Amy for your bravery in the face of what appeared to be sure death. And for teaching us through this film that it can be reversed . . . . THAT is an interesting thought indeed.

Amy Hardie's picture

Thanks Carol,

I am so pleased George gripped you so you wanted to see the whole film. And there is an interesting twist - a friend offered me a foal - and he looks just like George. You can see him on http://www.amyhardie.com/ on the first post.

Amy x

wendywa's picture

As someone who works with the Jungian interpretation of dreams, I loved watching a scientist's perspective of dreams evolve, sparked from personal experience and curiosity. The range of her experiences is expansive, from her discovery that there must be some elusive reason why dreams remain throughout human evolution to her submission to the shaman's drum.

Amy's work is honest, brave and important. How do we make meaning out of the world? Whether we believe or not in meaningful coincidences, it is still up to us to interpret what they may mean to us personally. It's like a sculptor carving away at the image within the media. There is a fundamental human need for narrative, and to make sense of things. Even though everything may indeed be simply random and arbitrary, the meaning that we make out of it is what we are left to consider and all that we have.

The Jungian idea of synchronicity, how two unrelated events, come together in a meaningful manner, is such an example of making this meaning. Blend it with intuition, and the subtle hints the unconscious picks up and we have an enormous, untapped and renewable resource.

My mother dreamed of our 18 year old longhaired dachshund glowing gold as he died, only to wake and find him deceased, which she said she intuitively knew before she even looked. Thanks for sharing the beautiful images, of the rain pelting the window, the house at night, and the many other details that allow us to experience your life with you as one of the many generations in that house.

Amy Hardie's picture

Hi Wendy,

I replied to you last week, just before a powercut, and I see the post didn't make it! Sorry. What an amazing dream your mother had of her dog. I spend more time than you can imagine pondering whether synchronicities are random or can have meaning, and if they have meaning, if it something we retroactively apply, with hindsight, and if it could be reversed. But I do believe in paying attention to animals, plants, and to noticing how they are acting on my dream life. Thankyou for your attention to the visual details in the film: I found it a real comfort when I was scared, to show myself those images.
Amy x

magdalene's picture

Ms. Hardie,

on your web page for the film you speak of 3 dreams

1) George dies
2) your going to die at 48
3)?

What was your 3rd dream?

Wonderful film.

Thanks

Laura438's picture

The third dream was of Amy riding her horse, the horse giving way beneath her, and her realizing, "This is how it is to die. It is not painful or scary."

Interesting to me that the horse is often a symbol for the breath and, of course, Amy had breathing problems between 48 and 49.

Laura438's picture

"The horse is often a symbol for the breath..." I need to be more precise about this.

In Buddhism, particularly Shambhala, as I understand it, the horse is a symbol of the breath. He is referred to as the wind-horse, or breath, and students are taught to ride the breath intelligently.

Wikipedia has a great deal more information related to "wind horse" than I was aware of before clarifying my comment. It seems that the term and the concept, like some other elements in Buddhism, came into the tradition from shamanism.

In analytic traditions the horse--and any other animal in a dream--might represent our animal nature. It is, of course, our precious human body (aka, our animal nature) that has been born and also dies.

It was helpful to me to think about Amy's dream/film in this way, and so I have offered these ideas into the discussion for others to associate to as well. But the dreamer, of course, is the authority on her own dream and what any part of it may mean.

Amy Hardie's picture

Hi Laura,

Thanks for these thoughtful points. I did not know that the horse was a symbol of breath, and refered to as the wind-horse. What a lovely idea! I think perhaps dreaming allows us to extend our identity beyond our individual body and mind. So maybe the horse, then my former partner, Arthur, and then even the earth, are bound up and connected through my dreaming brain. Is this what buddhists call expanded consciousness?
Amy x

magdalene's picture

Ahhh... thank you.

Amy Hardie's picture

exactly! It was the third dream that shook my rationalism out the window! And made me focus on changing the dreams! I actually had it for several nights in a row, which made it feel very urgent.

Amy x

Laura438's picture

How amazing and how fortunate for you to have this preview of the experience of death!

May death be so peaceful and painless for all beings!

Thank you again for sharing your dreams and your film images with us.

Katarina Fischer's picture

Beautiful, amazing movie! I was spellbound by it from beginning to end. Thank you!

Amy Hardie's picture

Thankyou Katarina,

It is lovely to know that I am communicating. It is so much work, and there is genuine misery about not getting it right, and having to keep trying for so so so long so it is lovely to get your response!

Amy x

tayzo74's picture

Thank you Tricycle and Amy for a wonderful film. I must say that this film struck a few chords with me. It was almost spooky when I was watching the scenes where you explained about dreams where the Earth was splitting, with hot magma (at least that's what I assumed it was) flowing through the cracks. It turns out that I have had numerous, all nearly identical, extremely vivid dreams (not sure whether being vivid or faint has any bearing of how accurate they are?) of the same kind. They entail scenes of how we/or the Earth/ perishes, potentially, in it's final moments (or at least at the beginning of a new cycle). It normally begins with myself riding in a motor vehicle, or else climbing hills and/or mountains in a valley. Then, the roads or hills and/or mountains start heaving/cracking. Hot magma begins covering the landscape...and it's about to touch me (as I try to evade it), then the dream ends. What is this communicating to me? I'm sure other people have had similar types of dreams as to this. I sure hope they aren't literal!! Could the Earth or humanity as we know it be close to it's final days? After all, it is 2012...

Laura438's picture

My daughter and I both have had a similar sense that the earth is dying. One wonders...