To all the Actors in the Drama of Life -
and in Memory of Philip Seymour Hoffman.
By Raphael De Mohan
Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in a New York City apartment Sunday morning the 2nd of February 2014. He was one of the most gifted, talented and sensitive actors of our time and he gave himself totally in all the parts he played.
Many of the great actors of our time are quite experienced and highly developed souls that have reached the point where they can activate a considerable number of past life fragments, which they are able to get in touch with and express through their acting. Actually you could call them Rainbow Souls. Because they have been through so many and very different aspects of life during their many lifetimes - and those aspects, or past life fragments, are available for being transformed as well as serving as inspirations in many different ways to the audience. Their level of development and the number of past life fragments available comes with an extremely high sensitivity and an ability to get in touch with very deep levels of emotion, and the need for expressing themselves.
But when we look at many actors’ lives it doesn’t seem to be uncomplicated or have many happy endings. And one could ask why that is so? The following is based on the inspiration I got when I read about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death in the newspaper.
Acting is an aspect of creativity that goes under what we call The Third Ray’s qualities, also called The Yellow Ray and The Mental. This doesn’t mean that the actor’ soul-personality composite necessary is Third Ray, it can be very different, but all actors serve under The Third Ray. Some actors have the extraordinary capacity of acting different ray qualities out, exactly because they have past life times in those different ray qualities. Their palette of ray-color qualities can be very narrow or very wide. Every ray-color is a step into new areas and aspects of life, or archetypal life patterns.
We can all relate to actors, because we are also like ‘actors’ in the drama of our own life, sometimes we are spectators to our life too, and sometimes we can experience seeing ourselves from outside acting out certain archetypal patterns or psychological patterns or past life fragments, providing us with insight and the possibility to transform. And aren’t we all on an explorational journey towards deeper integrity, authenticity and spiritual manifestation of who we are meant to be? And aren’t we changed every time we go through a crisis, peeling off yet another layer of who we thought we were? Every time we peel off a new layer we can actually redefine who we are, we can see our personal history in a different light, and it goes on until everything is transformed into The White Light. The White Light contains all the other colors, so in order to achieve this we have to experience and go through all the aspects of all colors. And as Elias De Mohan used to say: All colors are qualities of Life.
Actors unify different levels.
To dive into a characters personality, motives, emotions and circumstances the 20th century has provided what is called Method Acting, first developed by Constantin Stanislav, and then modified and developed further by others.
In this method the actor uses his/her own personal history and emotions. And then transplants those aspects to the character, this is also called substitution.
This method also includes working with the archetypes of life; such as archetypal figures and archetypal patterns.
This means that the actor is involved in the drama of his/her own life and the collective life in order to express and act out a certain character. This is a journey of discovery into the secrets of the actor’s life, but the motive is to use these discoveries for acting. This is very similar to the personal work of psychotherapy and certain spiritual systems, but with Method Acting it goes without the psychotherapeutic/spiritual system tools of transformation. So the actor is left alone in dealing with the emotional and important events of his/her life without the tools and the context for transformation. This is a major reason why some actors turn to psychotherapy and/or spiritual systems for transformation, and it is also why many actors become addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Many actors seem to have an intuitive sense of psychology, but that doesn’t mean that they have an experienced knowledge of psychology. This can only be learned, not by reading books on psychology only, but by going through our own personal pain, wounds and sufferings in therapy. Though psychotherapy is limited, it still contains so much vital knowledge of how our defense mechanisms work as well as knowledge about how our physical, emotional and mental patterns work – in other words the knowledge of how the ego-personality functions. Without this knowledge we are all amateurs, even actors, when it comes down to how to process, transform and expand our consciousness. And as amateurs we are bound to repeat our mistakes until we eventually learn it the hard way, life after life, and we are bound to fall into the traps of our own defense system, and often still thinking we are on a higher path – we are bound to fall into glamour, illusions and narcissism – all because of our ignorance, our resistance and fear of facing our shadows. This is the fate of being on an amateurish level. In spite of this age being the age of information, it seems paradoxical that the knowledge of the process of transformation is a deeper secret than ever to the majority of humanity.
As persons involved in New Age spirituality we should have a foot planted on Earth and the other planted in Heaven. And psychotherapy is extremely well-suited to plant our feet on Earth, to get us grounded, because it doesn’t allow us to escape into dreams, glamour’s, illusions and grandiosity – and it helps us to confront our shadows, where the greatest potential for transformation also lies. Many of the principles of transformation are the same in both psychotherapeutic and spiritual systems, and they should complement each other. And a spiritual teacher should have a very deep knowledge of both worlds.
When you open up to deeper levels of your emotional history, experiencing emotional polarities, conflicts, traumas and other strong material from the shadow, you can become extremely sensitive, and most of all you can lose track of who you are, your identity can start to weaken or be fragmented – this can also be referred to as the process of ‘disintegration’. When you are in this process, which is a normal process on the path of transformation, you will have great difficulty holding yourself together without the knowledge of what is going on and without the tools for transforming yourself. This leaves an open space for unresolved past life issues to enter and possess your center or come in the form of an obsession. It could be a highly critical fragment or a fragment of grandiosity – all depends on the karmic situation. When a fragment takes possession of the ego-personality, the personality structure can be said to fragmentize instead of being in a state of disintegration. This is similar to what C.G. Jung called ‘inflation’; “….when the ego falls for any length of time under the control of an unconscious factor”.
In spiritual transformation, it is one of the major works to dissolve our attachment bit by bit to our identification with our ego-personality. And even if you are working in a psychotherapeutic or spiritual context, this particular work can be most difficult and painful. Often a student wants to run away and hide, going through a palette of desperate feelings and emotions such as helplessness, hopelessness, meaninglessness and powerlessness. When such a point of crisis arrives we have to discover the means to constructively handle the situation and our feelings, but many times we regress and start to use coping strategies of our past, which mostly is about hiding, forgetting, escaping to an imagined harmonious world, becoming fanatic, doing drugs, alcohol and food, all seem to deliver a sort of safety, at least in the short term.
The difference between traditional psychotherapy and a spiritual system like Vibrational Sound and Color is that in psychotherapy the deep traumas and emotional conflicts are considered very influential in the building of our personality structure in childhood and are also the cause of many of our dysfunctional behaviour patterns, conditioned responses and habits. But in a spiritual system the causes are found in the past life fragments that are meant to manifest in our present life. Many times the psychotherapeutic search for traumas and their causes leads to yet deeper causes, and then a deeper one and so on, until it stops when we reach the traumas of birth. Without the spiritual context of past lives we are not really getting to the roots in order to transform our consciousness.
Self-images and secrecy also belong to the domain of The Third Ray. Actors may believe they can control their public image in hope that there would be at least some privacy left. But magazines enjoy revealing as much as possible, and the audience seems to love the private lives of the famous actors as much as seeing them on the screen.
The actors thereby serve the public or the collective both by their acting and their private lives. In both areas the drama of life is exposed. And the audience are presented with deeper emotions and actions that reflect life in so many realistic aspects. We can, so to speak, see our own lives reflected on the screen, we can be confronted with our deeper aspects that we do not dare to confront ourselves. The actors show us what we reject and they show us how we could handle our own shortcomings. The actors, play writers and filmmakers become a mirror of the audience. And this is a true gift to humanity.
Acting is like the saying: “The map is not the landscape”. Yes, acting is not the real life, but the actor’s ability and talent to project his/her own emotions and motives into a character makes us forget for a moment that what we see on the screen is not real life. And makes us for a moment feel our own inner landscape and experience what is difficult for us in the ordinary daily life. They take us to another dimension, we project our own inner reality to the actor and the movie. And if we don’t like what we see (our own projections) it is quite safe to criticize the actor or the movie etc. They expose a vast range of games we are playing ourselves and by which we can fool ourselves. They are the games of the ego-personality. We are allowed to see our own conflicts between our self-images, our roles, beliefs, ideals and our deeper emotional nature, the conflict between our actions and what we actually meant or intended to do. So it invites us to explore how to work on ourselves, and to explore how to work on making our maps correspond to our inner landscape in more constructive and appropriate ways.
But that is not all – you can also get a pretty good picture of different past life fragments and developmental themes of the ego-personality.
Imagine one of your favourite actors and remember him/her playing the different characters in different movies. Now something makes us recognize them, like their physical attributes, facial expressions, the looks in their eyes, the qualities of their voice, their unique style or way of acting etc. Their roles change, but something about them doesn’t change so much that we don’t recognize them – and here we are talking about the essence of the person behind the actor, some of his/her soul qualities.
So we watch this actor’s soul-personality composite acting through very different characters, portraying totally different personalities with their different emotions, motives and actions etc. Here we can get a glimpse of how past life fragments and the developmental themes of the ego-personality can look like. The process is very similar to how they work in human life. The different themes that come into our lives have different degrees of difficulty, have different duration of time, and some come in early childhood, some come in later. And by using this particular way of looking at actors in different movies we can use this as an analogy to human incarnations; each lifetime the soul creates a different personality with all the fragments and issues we have to go through in order to expand consciousness. And when you are able to see a glimpse of these fragments, you have the opportunity to at least momentarily detach from them, and this represents the spiritual way of looking at the ego-personality, and then you can get the sense that the ego-personality is like an actor, playing the different parts of our fragments in order to transform and transcend ourselves.
You can compare an actor’s life playing different characters with the incarnations of the soul:
The actor’s essence or soul qualities continue coherently throughout his/her lifetime, reaping the experiences from each performance as he/she portrays many different personalities, dealing with many different emotional issues and situations. Just like the soul has its essence and qualities, which also develop from incarnation to incarnation as every incarnation’s experiences are integrated. But when the soul incarnates it creates a personality specially designed to reap certain experiences and expansion of consciousness. But the personality is not the soul. Just as a certain character is not the actor. So the personalities that the soul creates are similar to the characters or roles that the actor creates. Out of ignorance many people say “my soul”, but it actually is the other way around – it is the soul that rightfully could say “my personality”. Because our personalities are like an actor’s characters and roles - they are just coming and going, while the actor and the soul continue to exist and they are the creators.
Now isn’t that a gift to humanity – this is how theater and acting always have worked. And nowadays it is available to everyone on the planet.
I honour this unique media and all the courageous actors for this great potential they bring to the table, not least of all Philip Seymour Hoffman, and I think the best way to honour them is by using it for our own development, self-reflection and inner work.