Sunday, July 18, 2010

Inception - A Film About The Subconscious

Inception is the cinematic blockbuster from writer/director Christopher Nolan about the power of dream states. I've been waiting a long time to see this finished project, having read about it years ago.

Essentially, the movie is a psychological thriller about the intricacies of the psyche, especially the Alpha state of the subconscious mind. Dreams are validated as real experiences, holding secrets, meaning and power if we can bring them into awareness.

The movie's star, Leonardo DiCaprio, said he prepared for the role by reading Sigmund Freud's "Interpretation of Dreams". Oh, Leo, you could've called me to help you. I would've let you borrow my Interpretation of Dreams collector edition. . . maybe do a session or two on the couch.

Brain Wave States
There are four brain wave states that take our mind to different places. First is Beta wave, where we are awake, alert and oriented to all things. Our mind is active and in a conscious state.

The second is Alpha wave, where we are relaxed, perhaps daydreaming, cat napping, meditating or enjoying a blissful calm. We are not asleep, but we are barely there. Our minds dimly register what's currently going on - and have greater access to subconscious thoughts.

The third is Theta wave, where we become drowsy and fall into light sleep.

Deep sleep is Delta Wave, where we are out for the count. The movement between Delta and Theta waves is the zone where we dream, and where REM sleep can be measured.

If you want to develop your mind to access subconscious thoughts, sharpen your Alpha waves by meditating, daydreaming or taking a cat nap and see where things take you.

Note: Thanks to Xmichra for reminding me that Alpha waves, which spur subconscious thoughts, can also cause triggers.


CrackerLilo said...

So that's the name for it! Sometimes I come up with ideas in the Alpha state, when I'm just resting or napping. Sometimes I ask the Gods with me to help me dream a solution to a problem. (It was a couple of my Christian relatives who taught me this--they ask Jesus.) It's not restful, because I hardly get past the Alpha state, so I don't do it often. It helps, though.

Also, if I have a hard time getting to sleep, especially if I've seen or heard something disturbing, I like to look at pictures of pandas or other cute, sleepy bears. Or I watch my own cats, if they're being sweet. I'm trying to deliberately feed my head pleasant, restful subjects for dreams.

Saw Inception yesterday; I thought it was interesting, though kinda brain popcorn. Maybe if I had your training or saw it in a different frame of mind, I'd get more out of it.

Ami said...

I have to admit that I had not even heard of this movie until this week when people started talking about it on the internet. I probably need to get out more.

I have had a series of dreams with the same little girl in them. Have no idea what they mean, why they're so detailed, and why I've felt compelled to share them. But share them I have... want to take a stab at it?

Ami said...

Oh... you can look here to start if you wanna...

Deb said...

I've always wondered if our dreams relate to what's going on in our real lives, like messages from our subconscious on an intuitive level somehow. The other night, my partner and I woke up and we both said, "Wow what a strange dream I had" at the same time. I asked her what she dreamed of, and she dreamt the same dream I did!!! This happened about 5 years ago where we kept dreaming the same place, the same happenings. Would you know anything about that?

Sorry for the long comment! :) I find the dream topic fascinating.

Dr. Deb said...

I love the dream a solution to a problem. I bet it helps. I think I spend more time in the alpha state than in deep sleep. I know what you mean about the movie. I had a different slant when watching it.

I have a lot of recurring themes too. See if you can remember more from your dreams and link them to current issues in your life.

What you wrote is exactly what psychoanalysts strongly believe. Issues we don't resolve or are out of awareness find a way into dreams. Chances are you and your partner were working on similar issues, recalling similar experiences in your conscious state and your dream states reflected the theme. I love dreamwork too. I encourage people I work with to recall dreams, to bring them in, write them down, etc. I feel they are a bridge that leads us to meaningful things. I also learn a lot by analyzing my own dreams and recurring themes.

Lynn said...

This movie sounds pretty good. I have a fascinating dream story. I once solved an accounting problem in a dream. I was the manager of a book store and had just completed the inventory and I could not make things add up they way they should have. I was very puzzled because I ran a very tight ship. I worked on the inventory problem all that day, running the figures over and over and over and could not fix the mess. Finally I went home to bed wondering how I would explain myself to the regional manager the next morning. I fell asleep and I dreamed of my ledgers. In my dream, I saw the problem. It was a simple line-item math error and I saw it very clearly in my dream. I knew what page it was on, how it came about, etc. I jumped up out of bed and drove back to the bookstore in the middle of the night AND IT WAS TRUE. My unconscious mind KNEW where the error was, but my conscious mind was too busy, stressed or distracted to connect with the same information (and it had added the figures via 'auto-pilot' too many times to question line-items entries). When I fell asleep, my unconscious mind took pity on me and saved me from looking like an incompetent dingbat in front of my boss by showing me where the problem was and how to fix it. I got a raise after I turned in my numbers.

Xmichra said...

I want to see the movie, and you talking about Leo on your couch gave me a chuckle :)

I don't really like the Alpha wave.At least not today. Somedays it is helpful, but other times it does manifest in what we want, and it hurts.

Dr. Deb said...

Great dream

You make an excellent point about Alpha wave and trauma. I should edit the post to note trigger issues. Thank you for reminding me. And sorry if the post triggered anything. :\

Alison said...

I'll be looking out for this movie - sounds fabulous!

Awake In Rochester said...

Sometimes when I’m watching TV, or on the computer I will be so caught up in things that it’s almost like an altered state of mind. I wonder if it is. I hear that movie is very good, but might take a few times watching it before you understand it.

Marj aka Thriver said...

I've heard about the benefits of meditating, but not so much about daydreaming and cat napping. Sounds great! :)

Anonymous said...

Debbie and Leo on a settee;
Think that's what they call ther-a-pee!

Sorry, sweetie, but I could not help myself. OK, I find that I have predominantly rather nice and even interesting dreams; Wendy has very frightening ones. Maybe she's a realist and I'm delusionary.

Actually, I do want to see that movie.

STAG said...

Fascinating post. Good movie.

I have a bunch of ideas on how the subconscious works....based on my experiences in rebuilding of my mind in a badly damaged brain. It was a serious trauma some ten years back.

Meditation is one answer, that would include dream interpretation, the other answer is to identify and remove the baggage. A spiritual guide can replace the baggage with a space-holder (like faith), but it is not necessary, and may be counter productive.

Dreams are not a manifestation of your subconscious. As much as the subconscious is an idiot child, it is still YOU, and not to be feared. I don't think the movie made that clear.

Raine said...

This is interesting to me as I spend alot of time in the Alpha state lately.I considered it part of depression, just laying there not asleep for long periods of time but perhaps it has some benefit also......