Saturday, August 21, 2010

The inception of Inception?

The film 'Inception' has been a box office hit, straddling the worlds of science fiction, psychology and slick Hollywood production rather successfully. New York Times dismissed it as being overly simplistic, but it proved entertaining and intriguing to a large number of viewers. The film dwelt on the power, complexity and creative potential of the mind as also on its possible weaknesses - addiction, vulnerability and the negative or dark turns that it can take.

The idea behind the film is rather simple and is one that we actually come across in many spiritual texts - identify with an idea or image and it becomes real for you. Many of the images we identify with are just a result of the play of the mind and emotions, and are illusory - termed the ego in some texts, maya in others - the unreal which gets in the way of our seeing the real, the non self which prevents us from clearly understanding the self. The way to get round this is also suggested - no totem or individualized measure of reality as in the film, but a non-identification with all images that the mind dredges up.

The true essence of things cannot be described or imagined - it must be known, say the texts. This core of truth is something that cannot be threatened or altered, does not vary with our variable worlds. Furthermore, our inner core has a close connection to the true essence of things around us. Perhaps this is why different people can access it in different ways - through creative endeavour, nature or just stillness - when the mind is alert, receptive (and often creative) but not churning out constant thoughts or circling round images that have been drawn from our emotions and experiences.

And to step out of the dream, one need not be destroyed or shocked (Hollywood style!) but merely recognize and disregard the false and thus gradually align oneself with the real - of course easier said than done!

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