The Inception Exception (Level 1)

One of my favorite films of all-time is Christopher Nolan’s 2010 classic, “Inception”.

In the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, an industrial spy, who has mastered the art of extraction (i.e. stealing valuable secrets from the subconscious during the dream state). As a professional in illegal espionage, Cobb prides himself as being the best at his trade and ultimately teams with Saito, an energy magnate, who encourages Cobb to dissolve the corporation of his business rival through a reverse process known as “inception”.

**Warning: Spoiler Alert**

As the case with any praiseworthy plot, the storyline is only as good as the conflict resisting it, and in “Inception”, we find Cobb repeatedly pitted against his biggest nemesis: his subconscious

Unknown to his colleagues, Cobb locks memories of his deceased wife within himself, partly due to the shame he feels for planting a fatal idea inside her when the two had previously lived in Limbo (an expanse of infinite raw subconscious). As a result, Cobb’s projection of Mal sabotages Saito’s mission, fatally wounding him in the process. 

It’s only when Cobb owns his mistake and chooses to search for Saito in Limbo, that he finds catharsis and makes the turn for home.
After a recent viewing, I couldn’t help but marvel at the parallels between the movie and real life.

For one thing, we’re all impacted by our subconscious and its effect on our dreams. Obviously, one doesn’t have to be a dream science practitioner to preserve the past through subconscious safeguarding. It’s something everyone does in one form or another.

For instance, I can relate to Cobb’s struggle in the sense I often create my concept of a better world through my subconscious. If there’s a person I wish I could be closer to, a desire I fear may go unrealized or a past decision I wish could be corrected, the dream state becomes a place I can experience the unknown as if it were completely verifiable. 

Granted, a dream is the product of the imagination, and thus, contains no real substance; however, this doesn’t mean its content is unrealized.

You see, there’s a difference between what is real and what is realized. And this contrast becomes increasingly significant when we talk about the things we sense and what we don’t sense. Often times, our biggest battles involve elements we can’t directly experience. Perhaps this is why Paul said, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood…but against principalities…and powers of darkness…” (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).

Think about it. In every mind there's a unique set of acceptances, whether true or false, real or unreal. But regardless of their potential, the truth (or lack thereof) behind them as well as their origin can have an immense influence on what is believed and how it manifests. It’s only when we start to entertain the counterfeit ones when we find trouble and risk a hiatus in Limbo (which we’ll define here as a toleration of destructive “arguments… lofty opinions [and deceptive thoughts]…not taken captive to obey Christ…” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5).  And honestly, who would want to spend any time wrestling with an oppressive stronghold in Limbo, especially one that distorts an understanding of what is real?

Bottom line: the content of our dreams may not be real, but what can be realized from it certainly is. So don’t underestimate the power of what you can glean from your subconscious. For me, a dream can be an open door to a necessary conversation with God, my wife or a certain person I need to reconcile with. Other times, a dream can expose an insecurity or place of idolatry, which in turn, leads to repentance and renewed faith.

Whatever the case may be, God can use our dreams to help guide and direct our paths. My advice? Let God plant His ideas in your heart and don’t worry about extracting your perception of identity or worth from any other source. And if an unpleasant memory is interfering with your peace, don’t run from it. Deal with it. Take every hostile strategy, every vain thought captive and replace it with whatever is good, whatever is righteous, whatever is holy, whatever is noble, pure, lovely, etc. (Philippians 4:8). However, don't stop there, but rather continue to think about such you let God incept your heart, refine your thought patterns and transform your subconscious.

So ditch the totem (i.e. anyone/anything apart from God telling us who we are and what is real), delight in the reality of God’s dream and let your mind be the scene of the [sublime]. 

To be continued...

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