Live Chat with Filmmaker and Dream Experts

POV: Thanks for joining us for this live chat! Filmmaker Amy Hardie, shaman Claudia Goncalves and lucid dreaming expert Dr. Stephen LaBerge will be here at 1:00 p.m. EST to answer your questions!

POV: Please note that your questions and comments are being held in a queue, and will be published by the moderator as the session goes on!

POV: The chat will last approximately 45 minutes, from 1:00 to 1:45.

Comment From Leah
Hi - excited to be a part of this chat!

Comment From Catherine
I found the film to be captivating. I am a psychologist and I found it to be a beautiful and honest account of how dreaming and the unconscious works in our lives.

Amy Hardie: Hi everyone,

I am new to this, so please bear with me if I am slow. Claudia is about to be here as well. I will reply to Theresa and Weston and Claudia to Vagabond and Sara.

Hi Theresa,
Professors Zeman and Solms suggest we dream more vividly when our sleep is interrupted frequently. Because dreaming shuts the cognitive front parts of the brain done and shows such high electro-chemical activity in the parts of the brain associated with emotions and visual patterning, I think we may be more inclined to dream when already feeling emotional or when we have seen powerful or new images. Maybe that is why kids can get nightmares after horror films!

Comment From Theresa
Is there any research on why there are certain times in our lives we dream more vividly and frequently than others?

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: I'll take this one.

POV: Hi Amy, Stephen and Claudia. Please disregard the questions on the right side. You should respond to them as they appear in the center window (as the center window is what readers see)

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: The research shows that it's dream recall that varies.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: We dream every night, all the time.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: We just don't normally remember dreams, but when they are

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: emotionally involved, such as a dream about your horse dyine

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: are dreams that we will recall. So times of stress often result in better dream recall.

Comment From Weston
In the film it is variously suggested that dreaming performs an important function in our lives. I would be interested in finding out what you believe that function to be.

Amy Hardie: Hi Weston,
I think quite differently now about dreams after the events of the year. I agree that dreams seem to be involved in laying down memories but I now realise that dreaming gives us access to a part of our brain we do not normally have access to.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: First, I'd say, it's not function singular, but functions plural.

Amy Hardie: I would agree with this, thanks Stephen. For me, the different electro-chemical activity in my dreaming brain has become a valuable way of relating differently to the world around me, as well as to my own self and to other people.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: I'd say that we dream primarily the same way that we have consciousness of the world for the same reason. Basically, that our brains evolve to similate reality and to control what's happening around us.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: The basic idea is that in dreaming

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: we are experiencing the same thing that we do awake perceiving

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: the difference is the source of the content

Comment From Catherine
I had a challenging childhood and as a result had nightmares most of my life until I worked with a Jungian therapist on my dreams. I no longer have the nightmares.

Comment From Pam
For all- what are your thoughts on healing in different altered states- is any altered state equally good- lucid dreaming vs. regular dreaming, hypnosis, a shamanic journey, a moving artistic experience...

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: They all have the potential for healing. If vividness matters, if the experience of reality matters, than nothing is going to be better than dreaming. Because dreams feel real to everybody while they are happening. Some people have vivid imagination, some not so vivid, but everybody has vivid dreams.

Claudia Goncalves: Hi, Claudia here.

Amy Hardie: Hi Catherine,
I know I have different priorities when I am close to dreaming and coming out of dreaming. I notice I am connected to people in a different way, and connected to the earth. For me, I have exactly the same emotional responses when I go through into shamanic trance. Jungian therapy is fascinating, but pulls me into the intellectual too often.

POV: Welcome, Claudia. Feel free to chime in. Pam asks: what are your thoughts on healing in different altered states- is any altered state equally good- lucid dreaming vs. regular dreaming, hypnosis, a shamanic journey, a moving artistic experience...

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: I should say, in my view, this is a dream. What we're experiencing right now is a dream. What is consciousness? Our brain simulates reality. So, our everyday experiences are a form of dreaming, which is to say, they are mental models, simulations, not the things they appear to be.

Amy Hardie: Hi Pam,
I think this answer will depend on the individual , and will also vary according to the stages of your life. I know the shamanic journey for me allowed me more freedom and more of a visceral engagement with what was causing me difficulties. Claudia will also answer.

Claudia Goncalves: Hi Pam,
My thoughts are that all states you mentioned are very good and have different aspects to help individuals in their own journey. The best way I would say to try all of them and see which one works best and see which one comes easier for you.

Comment From aaron
I've tried lucid dreaming, but can't quite seem to get it. Are there any tips that you recommend?

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: OK, the key to lucid dreaming is memory.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: You need to recognize that you're dreaming several times throughout the night. So that you get to know what your dreams are like, and then it's a matter of prospective memory.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: If you really want to have lucid dreams

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: you need to read about it, it takes time. But the basic idea

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: is that you need to get to know what your dreams are like. You could read Bob Van de Castle's book, The Dreaming Mind.

Amy Hardie: Wow Stephen,
are you saying we are living a dream while we are awake? I agree our brain is a superb model making device, but I enjoy the difference between my waking 'real' and dreaming life.However, I have a new response now to my dreams and their link to reality. I am sure that there is a lot more going on in the objective real world than we can monitor with our five senses. I think dreams allow us to engage with the real world and monitor the way it is acting on us. Once we can have dialogue with that engagement then we can (almost) say we are in communication - what we are in communication with is another subject.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: You could also visit our website for the specific methods of lucid dreaming…

Claudia Goncalves: Hi Aaron,
I only had two experiences with lucid dreaming so I will answer based on that. After trying for a long time i found that it was very important for me to be really rested before attempting lucid dreaming. If i was tired i would go into deep sleep immediately. So make sure you are not tired before migth help. Also give yourself a specific task to do in the dreaming which you will remember. For example as soon as you move into the dreaming state, look at your hand. That will be your sign that you are know lucid dreaming, and you just carry on from there.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: yes, Amy.

Comment From aaron
these are great, thank you. i'll check out the site and book and keep trying!

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: Dreams and waking life are both the same kinds of things. The difference is that dreaming is perceiving free of external constraints, whereas perceiving otherwise is dreaming true. Meaning what you dream about actually happens.

Comment From Vagabond
How does one go about finding an authentic shaman?

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: Just to finish up... there is only one essential difference between consciousness and dreaming, and that is sensory input. Your experience is a dream, so is my experience. this stuff about how the frontal cortext is repressed during dreaming. Lucid dreaming presents an obvious contradiction to it. The only difference is sensory input.

Claudia Goncalves: Hi Vagabond,
Listen to your gut instints. They will tell you. If you feel something doesn't feel quite right, don't go there. Also try to feel into the persons's vibration. If you feel unconditional love coming through that is a very good sign.

Amy Hardie: Hi Stephen,
What do you think about using a dream to change what 'actually happens'. I think the neural pathways in our brains affect what happens in our bodies, and so can alter our health. I think that my dream had laid down a deep and swift neural pathway that was almost hypnotising me to accept my own death. I felt that my body was following its instructions. What was interesting for me is that I could not change this with rational thinking. I needed to access the same electro-chemical 'soup' that dreams make in my brain, before I could alter that neural pathway.

Comment From Catherine
I have found shamans or guides in many walks of life. I would say my hypnotherapist was a shaman as was my Jungian therapist as is a friend of mine who guides me at times into unconscious material.

Amy Hardie: Hi Catherine,
I would totally agree with this. Shamanism is the oldest form of communicating and healing. It probably resides in all of us.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: OK, Amy. That may be so. I do agree that dreams ... the research on dreams shows a strong psycho-physiological connection.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: Meaning that if you dream you do something, it's as if you actually are doing it from your brain's point of view.

Amy Hardie: Hi Stephen,

Which is how people learn from their dreams. Their are many examples of scientists stuck and then solving complex problems after a dream.

Claudia Goncalves: Hi Catherine,
Yes that is true. Because the shamanic ways was misundertood and feared for such a long time, many shamans had to shapeshift. They shapeshifted into many forms, and even clowns, theatre people, great artists, hypnotherapists, and the list goes on and on.

Comment From Jane
Why do people have recurring dreams?

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: They are probably talking about nightmares.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: The answer is when you wake up from a nightmare, an unpleasant experience

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: You want to forget about it, push it aside, not think about it

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: but doing so triggers in your memory something important. It causes you to interpret the experience as dangerous, threatening

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: therefore, to remember, it's not adaptive to forget about the things that you think are dangerous

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: so the solution is that you have to be willing to look at your imagery

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: take a few minutes to work with it and say 'this is what I would do when I find myself in that experience or in a similar situation" so you have a plan, and you can let go of it

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: So, recurring dreams are paradoxical.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: well, the source of them comes from your wanting to get rid of them.

Comment From Guest
Amy - in the film you say you rarely remembered dreams before these ones. Is that still the case? Or, do you remember dreams more often?

Claudia Goncalves: Hi Jane,
I think many many reasons. From my spiritual point of view if a dream is repeating itself, it is calling your attention on a level beyond the ordinary. Something is trying to call your attention, depending on the dream I would try to find out why, either talking to a dream specialist, or connecting with your inner guides for the answer, hypnotherapy, or other ways. Sometimes it takes years for the answer to come if we don't go looking for the answer.

Amy Hardie: I do agree with you there Stephen. A recurring dream probably merits close attention. Something wants you to pay attention. My interest at the moment is to use my dreaming self (which I also access in shamanic journeying) to engage with the Earth. In my waking rational life I often forget about the Earth, or I get worried or confused by contradictory information. With my dreaming brain I can have access to powerful images of what is going on in the Earth, from day to day. Does anyone else have this?

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: Yes, there are several answers to it. The specific idea I'm talking about is recurring dreams. Here's an example: A guy is afraid to go to sleep because he doesn't want to have the same dream again. He is in a room, the walls are closing in and the door is locked. He's stuck there. It's recurrent. He's afraid it's going to happen again, and it does.

Comment From James Ward
Hi all, Love the discussion and thanks for doing this. My names is James and I wanted to help those looking for a Shaman. I have taken classes with Michael Harner who started Go there if you are seeking answers.

Comment From Catherine
I think we all know what is happening, what we are doing to our Earth at some level of the unconscious. I also believe we can dream ourselves and the earth back to beauty and health. We must, of course, alter the ways we interact with each other, ourselves, and the Earth to do so.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: In my view, knowing the source of the dream doesn't make it stop. No, what we find makes more sense is to rspond to the dream differently, face the fear presented in the dream to make it stop.

Amy Hardie: Hi Guest,
I don't remember my dreams very well. If I do remember a dream it is usually something I need to act on. It is usually giving me some information that I have tried to avoid. I like the way dreams present themselves as words and images that are trying to get your attention using your model-making brain's ability to make up stories. I try to see what the dream might be referring to - because the information in the world is being interpreted by my brain which only has the concepts derived from our five senses. So I think of the sequences in my dream as my brain doing its very best to process information in a way it knows I can deal with.

Claudia Goncalves: Hi James,
Yes, wonderful. I also suggest society for shamanic practitioners in America where you will find very good practitioners who are near you.

Comment From michael mut
HI Claudia, do you think that we as humans are losing touch with reality and are dreams because of media brainwashing?

Amy Hardie: Hi Catherine,
I love to hear this. Where do you get the strength of your intention from?

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: I guess my view is that dreams are more like poems than letters. If we are trying to tell ourselves something, why do we forget most of what we dream?

Amy Hardie: Hi Stephen,
What a good question. I guess we forget most of it because we don't have access to those parts of our brain once we are switched to wakefulness. But why we evolved that way is a puzzle to me.

Claudia Goncalves: Hi Michael,
Yes, this is happening. We have to be aware of what is it that we expose ourselves to all the time. Unfortunately media brainwashing is out there 24 hours a day. We need to learn to be selective. This means to be in our power. Spending time in nature is so healing and nurturing, why are we not doing that? We have forgotten the old ways. But that desn't mean we cannot go back to the old ways. We can!

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: If we remembered our dreams... for example, imagine the cat wakes up from his dream, thinks the dog is dead and that a family of mice has moved into the dog house. So the cat jumps over the fence and gets eaten by the dog. Right, and doesn't pass on genes for remembering dreams.

Comment From Pam
I think we are still evolving, so dream consciousness may become more common- perhaps as it was in the past. Perhaps our conscious minds made gains that cost us (in dream consciousness) and we will reclaim it.

Comment From Catherine

I get the strength of this intention from doing this in my own life. As I indicated, I had a very challenging, ugly childhood and have been able to create a beautiful one in spite of those early experiences. I have always seen the beauty in life and have always been able to laugh at myself and life as well! By the way, I found your film to be FULL of beautiful images. I was in trance the entire time I watched it. I felt I was with you completely.

Claudia Goncalves: Hi Pam,
i agree with you.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: The consciousness of lucid dreaming is a cultural evolution. It's something that we are talking about and learning about, not biological evolution.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: Lucid dreaming is a skill. A tool.

POV: Hi All. We'll be wrapping up this chat in about 5 minutes. Please send in your questions now!

Comment From Liza
Amy, how have audiences reacted to the film? Have you found any of their responses particularly surprising?

Amy Hardie: Thanks Pam and Catherine. I think that this is true - post Industrialisation, our conscious minds have become increasingly railroaded into cognitive problem solving for our daily survival. One thing I love is to stop doing. When I just STOP and start looking, I enter a state that is much more dreamy, and find I look at things quite differently. It seems like a change in scale - both very close up, and simultaneously very distant.

Comment From michael mut
I'm so blown away right now! I'm on some kinda path with my art. I thank you all for making this available.

Claudia Goncalves: Hi Catherine,
You are a great self healer. Shamans are those who heal themselves and therefore are able to help others. We are all shamans in one way or another. We constantly heal ourselves and others!

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: Yes, Amy. I like that.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: The not doing is a form of doing.

Comment From Catherine
This time for me has felt like a lovely lucid dream. Thank you all!

Amy Hardie: Hi Liza,
Yes I have found some responses surprising - when people feel the film is acted, or that I scripted it. I have been very moved by many responses. It makes it worth doing. Stories that are real, that create you, rather than be created by you, are powerful. And humbling.

Comment From Trudy
Amy, your experience paralleled mine and I thought I was the only one who had it. After a malignant tumor

Claudia Goncalves: Hi Michael,
Wondeful, go out there and share your art with people of all walks of life. Art is so healing!

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: I just want to say that this has been interesting. Lucid dreaming is the opportunity to discover why we dream.

Comment From Pam
Thank you everyone. Beautiful film and great discussion.

Comment From oldParasiteSingle
I usually only remember the last 10 minutes or so of my dreams before awakening. Which part of dreaming is more important to shamanism, the first part or the end?

Amy Hardie: Hi trudy,

Thankyou - I also found many people in the audiences who have had dreams like mine. It is good to know that dreams function like this often.

Claudia Goncalves: Hi oldParasiteSingle,
All parts are important but specially the ones you remember. Keep dreaming!

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: I just want to say that if people want to learn more... you should visit, but I will also follow up with some links that they will post here in the comments section for further reading and study.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge: Meanwhile, thank you for sharing this dream with us!

Claudia Goncalves: Thank you all!

POV: Thanks to Amy, Claudia and Stephen!

Amy Hardie: Hi all,

Thankyou for taking part. Lots of love from scotland!


Dr. Stephen LaBerge: link:

POV: And thank you for reading and participating in this chat!

POV: You can watch THE EDGE OF DREAMING in its entirety and find out more about dreaming on the POV website

POV: You can replay this entire chat on the POV website as well.

POV: Have a great afternoon, everyone!