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Hacking Inception : Questioning Reality


Has it ever happened to you that you woke up from a dream, think you are awake, and then suddenly you wake up again and find yourself still lying in your bed? The problem is that you didn’t know that you were (still) dreaming, until you woke from that dream. However strange your dream may be, you do not realize how strange it actually is, until you wake up. So how can you be sure? Is this reality, or one more dream?

Inception is a fascinating movie that not only captivates you till the end, but also leaves you with many questions about the nature of the Reality. Cobb and his team use a technology that allows multiple people to share one dream, to ‘invade’ people’s minds and ‘steal’ information for clients. He is wanted by the United States government for murder on his wife Mal, and that is how he ended up in this not-so-legal business. When the powerful industrialist Saito approaches Cobb with the offer to use his influence to make Cobb’s criminal record disappear, so that he can finally go back to the U.S. and see his two small children again, Cobb cannot refuse. This is his one chance at being reunited with his children – but at what cost?

Saito asks Cobb whether he is able to perform ‘inception’ on another very powerful industrialist. Inception means ‘planting an idea in someone’s mind’. Saito asks him: “If you can steal an idea from someone’s mind, why can’t you plant one there instead?” One of Cobb’s teammates tells Saito that this is not possible, but then Cobb interferes: “I know it is possible… because I have done it before. You just have to go deep enough.”

Cobb and his team come up with a detailed plan for which they have to enter a dream within a dream within a dream, to place the most basic form of the idea into the subjects mind: the subject needs to form the idea so that he will believe it is his own. The whole planning gives a fascinating insight into how our mind works.

The movie Inception is based on spiritual knowledge from Yoga Vasistha

Source: 4.bp.blogspot.com

For this project Cobb also needs a very good ‘architect’, and he recruits the young Ariadne. Her job is to ‘design’ the dream world. However, Cobb warns her: “Never recreate places from your memory, always image new places. Because building a dream from your memory is the easiest way to lose your grasp on what’s real and what is a dream.” It is then that Cobb shows her a small spinning top. “All of us carry a totem with us. It is a small object, that you carry on you all the time and that no one else knows about – only you should know all about it.” He explains that by checking it, one knows for sure that he is not dreaming. Cobb uses the top – if it keeps spinning, without falling over, he knows he is still dreaming.

Cobb also tells Ariadne how he knows inception is possible: “My wife Mal and I were exploring the concept of a dream within a dream. I kept pushing things, I wanted to go deeper, go further. I just didn’t understand the concept that hours could turn into years down there, that we could get trapped down there, so deep, that we lost sight of what was real. To wake up from that, after years, decades, to have become old souls thrown back into youth like that, I knew something was wrong with her. Eventually she told me the truth. She was possessed by an idea, this one very simple idea, that changed everything: That our world wasn’t real. That she needed to wake up and come back to reality. That in order to get back home, we had to kill ourselves. She thought our children were projections. That our real children were waiting for us out there somewhere. She was certain. She killed herself. So I ran, left the country.”

In the end, when the job is completed, Cobb wakes up again on the airplane. His team members are sitting in different seats nearby – their job is done. They just look at him, one smiles. There are, however, no conversations, no interactions. When Cobb goes through customs, he is asked no questions, just allowed – the industrialist has kept his word. It makes you wonder, however, if the whole movie was not a dream he had while on the flight back to the United States, and his ‘team members’ are just different people on the flight that happened to smile or look at him…

Spinning Top in Inception - What is Reality?

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When Cobb comes home, he almost can’t believe he’s finally home again. Cobb spins his top, to check if he’s really back to reality, but then he sees his children in the garden, he finally sees their faces again, and runs out to meet them. In the mean time, however, the top has still not stopped spinning… so we are left to wonder: is he still dreaming? And if so, was his wife Mal coming into his dreams maybe not his own projection, but his actual wife who, after ‘killing herself’ finally woke up to the real reality, and who keeps coming back into his dream, trying to get him to wake up…?

Those who have read the thrilling ancient Indian scripture ‘Yoga Vasistha’, can recognize instantly how the movie Inception has been inspired by the book.  In Yoga Vasistha, young prince Rama is disillusioned with life and Sage Vasishta gave him advice and knowledge. The book has many stories, told by sage Vasishta to Rama, that deal with the Ultimate Reality vis-a-vis the illusionary nature of the Universe.

One such story is about a lady called Leela who takes several births and dies several times and is then born as a queen. One day she goes off to sleep and dreams of dying and being reborn as a holy man who dies at an old age. Vasistha then explains to Rama that all this was happening in a dream inside a dream inside a dream in the mind of the ‘original’ dreamer, who was a poor lady in a hut and who had been asleep for only a few minutes! Rama was completely bewildered and asked Vasistha how the lady could dream of epochs in a few minutes. Vasistha said that in a moment of a dream an epoch can be dreamed of.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living says: “When you see everything as a dream, then you abide in your true nature. As you keep wondering whether all this is a dream, you will wake up to the real.”

Enjoy watching the movie (again)! And post any other interesting elements or dialogues of this movie that you find, as comments to this post! There are many more 😉

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Hacking The Matrix : The Spiritual Journey


Have you ever had this experience that you were doing what you always do, following your daily routine, and suddenly you become aware and wonder what the purpose is of all this? It is like you suddenly ‘wake up’. Most people might never question their existence, but once this happens in your life, it becomes difficult to just continue living the way you were doing before. You want to know more, find out what the purpose of your life is, of this existence. The more aware you become, the more this ‘thirst’ keeps growing…

In The Matrix, Neo has the same question. “Have you ever had this feeling where you are not sure whether you are awake or still dreaming?” His urge to know the Truth about existence is very strong, and just like any sincere seeker, when the thirst is strong enough, the Master, or Guru, appears in one’s life. Morpheus and his team keep scanning The Matrix for people that are ‘ready to be woken up’ or ‘to be unplugged’. Those people are like spiritual seekers, who have reached that level of maturity that will allow their intellect to be open enough to consider the possibility of the Truth: that all this is Maya, an illusion, created by the mind itself. If you watch the movie from this point of view, and if you have some experience with Sudarshan Kriya, meditation and spiritual practices, you will find many interesting dialogues and details.

Trinity tells Neo: “It is the question that drives us. It is the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did: “What is The Matrix?” And the answer is out there. And it will find you, if you want it to.”

Sudarshan Kriya can wake you from The Matrix

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When Neo gets a glimpse of The Matrix, he is not sure whether he wants to go through with it. Trinity tells him: “Neo, you have to trust me. Why? Because you have been down there, Neo, you know that road, you know exactly where it ends. And I know that’s not where you want to be.” Neo then realizes that his thirst to know the Truth will only get quenched if he takes this leap of faith.

When they finally meet, Morpheus tells Neo: “Let me tell you why you are here. You are here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You felt it your entire life. You don’t know what it is, but it is there, like a splinter in your mind. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about? The Matrix. Do you want to know what it is? The Matrix is everywhere, all around us, even now in this very room. Unfortunately no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. After this there is no turning back. Remember: all I’m offering is the Truth, nothing more.”

And a little later, Morpheus tells Neo: “Have you ever had a dream Neo, that you were so sure it was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?”

“I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You are the one who has to walk through. You have to let it all go Neo – fear, doubt and disbelief. Free your mind, “ Morpheus tells him.

And my favorite part is when Neo meets a small monk boy when visiting the Oracle. The boy is bending a spoon with his mind, and then tells Neo: “Do not try and bend the spoon – that is impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth. What truth? That there is no spoon. Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.”

Meditation and Sudarshan Kriya help you to transcend the mind

Source: doubletakespoon.wordpress.com

Finally Neo realizes the Truth, or reaches self-realization. He is now able to do things nobody even thought possible – he is able to bend, or even break, the rules of The Matrix. It reminds me of the amazing things a fully enlightened Guru, like His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar does. The Sudarshan Kriya taught in The Art of Living Course is like the red pill that has already unplugged millions of people – and that without the pain, slime and nasty plug points all along the spine!

Those who have read the ‘Yoga Vasistha’, the crown jewel of ancient Vedantic scriptures, can recognize instantly how the knowledge in the book has been tweaked intelligently to create The Matrix.  According to Sage Vasistha, “Creation is what one sees and is aware of, and this is within oneself.”  The Yoga Vasistha provides delightful insights into the ancient Vedanta wisdom, the nature of existence, reality, governance and dissolution.

It seems fitting that the theme song at the end of the Matrix Trilogy is the ancient Vedic mantra ‘Asato Ma Sad Gamaya, Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya, Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya’ (which means ‘lead us from untruth to Reality, from darkness to Light, from death to Immortality’).

Enjoy watching the movie (again)! And post any other interesting perspective or dialogues of this movie that you find, as comments to this post! There are many more 😉

 

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