With the upcoming release of The Dark Knight (the sequel to Batman) I am reminded of the tragic loss of Heath Ledger. What really happened? Yes, we know Heath died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, but why? The reason is closely connected to his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight and his other roles around that same time.
We know Heath turned to strong prescription drugs as a solution to his problems, which unfortunately lead to his tragic death. What was causing his sleepless and anxious nights? What made his mind race, exhausting his life force? “Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,” he told The New York Times last November. “I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted and my mind was still going.” Heath had been upfront about his lack of success using Ambien, something he mentioned in the same interview, when he said the pills “failed to work.” He took two and, according to the story, “fell into a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing.”
Good actors and performers are channels. They allow the energy of a character they assume to flow through them. In a recent interview with Elle magazine Madonna stated “When I write, I’m often channeling and collaging from my life without being conscious of it.” Also Al Pachino on the Inside the Actors Studio noted how he channels the character he is playing, and mentioned how it was difficult to do re-shoots, because some times he had trouble channeling the same character.
The role of the Joker in The Dark Night was a particularly dark and sinister character for Heath to channel. His prior roles included more positive even heroic portrayals of human nature. My point is Heath was channeling the energy far darker then his usual domain.
When channeling, we completely open ourselves to the energy that is flowing through us, which makes for a very real and excellent performance on the screen. Heath’s problem began when he tried to stop the flow of dark energy through him. It is usually difficult to disconnect from the source of a dark nature. This resulted in his disturbed sleeping patterns, giving him nightmares, causing restlessness, and a general dis-ease.
Due to our technological and scientific minded society, many people are not aware or refuse to acknowledge that many dark and disturbing energies come from the spirits among us. Most people have written such things off as superstition, or a bunch of rubbish. I am not surprised. After all, we can not detect spirits with our physical eyes, and anything you can not see could not exist, right? Of course, we can not see God, our Soul, the wind, or an electric current, and many other things that a lot of us believe in. Spirits do exist. There are both good spirits and bad spirits. They are interconnected to us not on the physical level, but on a soul level, ultimately affecting our physical state of being.
This is what I believe happened to Heath. Being an excellent actor, he was an excellent channel. Playing the role of the Joker in The Dark Knight, he was channeling some dark energies, bad spirits, since they would be in alignment with the character he was playing. He had to become that character, assume all traits of their psychotic mind, to deliver such an unprecedented performance. The problem was, when the role was over, it was much harder to get rid of THEM (dark spirits). Heath was noticing all the physical symptoms that people experience when in the company of dark spirits: restlessness, agitation, insomnia, uneasiness and such. The most dangerous thing was that he lost himself in the darkness and could not find his own peaceful soul. This is not uncommon with actors, who spend much of their time pretending to be someone else. The ones that are really good at pretending make it so real we believe them, and they themselves transform into the character. But, if you loose yourself in the process, and have no real anchor to bring yourself back from the darkness, your may never recover from a dark role.
Some time ago, an actress came to us seeking help. She just finished playing a drug addict and was very pleased with her performance. The problem was, she began to hear voices, could not sleep, her body felt very hot and itchy. She was very disturbed by these symptoms, as she never experienced them before in her life. Before she came to see us, she’d already tried various prescription drugs with little success. She was afraid she was going crazy. What would you think if you were hearing voices whispering in your ear? It was clear to Liza and I, she was in a company of some bad spirits. Her excellent ability to channel had exposed her to these unpleasant symptoms. Many good actors go through a similar struggle, unaware of what’s led to their addictions, dramas, and many other symptoms and misfortunes in their lives. Many promising actor’s lives were cut short in part because we do not acknowledge the ‘unseen forces’ and the affects they have on our well being.
Heath lost himself in the role, which was great for the performance, but not for his life. He probably did not know how to get in touch again with his true essence, could not find his True Self. It was not the role of the Joker that killed Heath Ledger, it was our society’s inability to acknowledge that unseen spirits can affect us here, in the physical.
As you race off to see the premier of The Dark Night, don’t forget what the actors go through to bring you such an amazing experience. You should also be aware that actions in your life can also be affected by unseen forces. Maybe we can use the unfortunate passing of Heath Ledger as our wake up call to acknowledge unseen forces, and heal their affects so they do not prevent us from living a long and joyous life.