As described in Parts 1 and 2 of the series
, the organizing principles of Inception's "dream within a dream within a dream" structure seem to be drawn directly from a classical three-step approach to hypnosis.?
This technique is used to help people create profound changes in their lives, by "incepting" suggestions for positive change into their subconscious minds.? Just as the architecture of Robert's dream sequence in Inception is built around around the people, image systems, and beliefs Robert holds most dear, so too is a three step hypnotic technique built around the most resonant images for the person being hypnotized.?
After an interview process during which the hypnotist gathers images that have emotional power to the writer, the hypnotist would then induce a trance in the person, creating a dream like journey-- a series of three images down into hypnosis, and three images back up--? in which each image leads them deeper into trance, and closer to the transformation they are searching for, just like a dream within a dream.
The following is an example of how this technique could be utilized to help a writer break through writer's block, by constructing a three step sequence of images with emotional resonance to the writer.? Three Steps Down
For example, if the writer loved the water, the first image might be of them floating in the ocean, feeling incredibly free.? The temperature of the water is exactly the temperature that that is right, and as they float along it feels like the water is caressing their skin.? In the distance, there is a dolphin splashing effortlessly through the water.? The dolphin dives deeper into the water and they find themselves longing to dive down with that dolphin...
This image would lead them to the next sequence, just like a dream within a dream.? Again, working with images that have emotional resonance to the writer.? So if they loved children, we might bring them to a scene at a playground, watching a young child playing happily, creating dream worlds full of magic and creativity, so carefree and playful, completely in touch with their most creative part, just as the writer once was.? The child invites the writer to join them...
This image would lead to the next dream within the dream.? The third level down into the writer?s subconscious, and the third step closer to the transformation they are seeking.? Perhaps they find themselves in a magical forest, where they are approached by someone they completely trust.? This could be a religious figure, like the Buddha or Jesus, a mother or father, or a teacher that they believe in.? The teacher leads them to a special place, a cave, a clearing, a secret room or chamber just for them.
And inside this secret place is an old leather bound book, in which the secret they need to bring about their transformation is written...? all they have to do is read the words, and they will already be transformed....
Those words are the post-hypnotic suggestion.? The key to change, which the subconscious mind will act upon and accept.? Just as in Inception, the hypnotist doesn?t even need to create the suggestion.? They simply need to create the book, and the subconscious mind will populate it with the suggestion it most needs right now...
Three Steps Back Up
Once the post hypnotic suggestion is delivered, the hypnotist brings the writer three steps back up, using different versions of the same images to anchor the suggestion, and project a positive future for the subconscious mind in which the person can experience the positive results of the change they have made, as if they had already occurred. ?
So taking the example previously discussed, as the writer exits the special place where the book was hidden, they can already feel how the secret contained in the book has transformed them.? As they find themselves in the magical forest, it?s like looking through new eyes... everything is so alive and magical.? It?s like there?s a story in every branch, every leaf, every sound.? Stories the writer is curious to explore, and excited to tell...
Their curiosity then carries them back once again to the playground, where they find themselves playing with the child, recapturing that childlike bliss that writing has always held for them, and always will, if they merely take the step today to open themselves to it.? As they see the child?s smiling face, they recognize that face... as a younger version of their own.? At that moment something shifts inside of them, some inner knowing, as they realize what that means...
...Ask that child, that younger self, if they would like to see the great future that lies ahead.? And they discover themselves back back in that ocean.?
Only this time the adult and the child swim together with that dolphin, effortless, happy, free.? The dolphin dives, and the writer and child dive with him, together, swimming all the way to the bottom, where they discover a magical reflecting pool, in which they can see their own future.
And reflected in it, writer and child see the future that lies before them, the days of satisfaction as they work on their screenplay, the eager scribbling of endless ideas, a friend or trusted mentor guiding them, the completion of their first script, and then their next, and next, and next...? a crowded movie theatre in which a movie plays.? Their movie.? The one that?s been waiting inside them, just begging to be written down.??? They can hear the applause of the audience.? The laughter.? Or maybe even the tears.? They can feel the pride welling up within them...
?How did I get here?? asks the child. ?
?We did it together? the writer tells the child... and it all began with the step we took today.? The Power of Hypnosis
If you?ve read this script, you already have some sense of how the hypnotic process works.? If the suggestions were right for you, you may have even seen yourself in that ocean, in that playground, in that magical forest, and in that secret room.? You may have discovered your own post hypnotic suggestion waiting in your own book, or simply felt the feeling of knowing even if you no longer remember the words. ?
And if these suggestions were right for you, with them you have already taken the first step of becoming the writer you want to be.
The images I used in this script are drawn from Jungian archetypes, but of course these images take on even more hypnotic power when they are shaped directly from your own symbolic systems, your own beliefs, and your own dreams.?
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for next week's newsletter, in which I?ll be discussing post-hypnotic suggestion in relation to Inception.
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