Spiritual Family Constellations
Sometimes you have everything going for you: the talent, the education, the drive; but something is stuck. The life coach can't help you, nor the years of therapy. The source of your problem is elusive because it is beyond you. It comes from somewhere else. You are connected to something and it has you in its grasp. The source of your problem is out there, yet here you are, feeling as if it was your own pain or limitation. This is entanglement. Your fate is linked with an unresolved difficult fate of someone else in your family system. Someone else's trauma is still alive -- in you.
In the language of quantum mechanics, two particles are entangled when their separate quantum identities are blended so that a single equation represents both. They share the same quantum information. In family systems, entanglement means the same. It blends fates and destinies of two people into one. We become identified with our mother, or with our father's previous partner, with our grandmother, aunt, uncle, with a murderer, with a victim -- whatever the family soul requires to be carried towards resolution it will "assign" to those that come later. We carry it. Or our children. Out of love. As a result we live someone else's life and lose touch with our own destiny.
A woman feels unexplainable rage against men in authority, including her policeman husband whom she threatens with a gun. It turns out both her mother and grandmother were in a concentration camp during the war. The rage is theirs. A man feels angry, unwanted, betrayed, for no reason, until he finds out that his father had abandoned a woman with a child before he married. His feelings are linked with the woman's.
The Family Constellations Work, as developed by Bert Hellinger, is about resolving such entanglements. It helps transform the underlying structures that determine our lives. These psychic templates are often centered around a trauma in the family system that continues to be "broadcast" into the system, sometimes for several generations, until it finds resolution. The trauma affects the whole system but some members, especially the "sensitives" are connected to it more than others. They end up blindly repeating the pattern, unconscious of its source. We may look at it as the family soul's attempt to bring the trauma to surface, a way to remember what's been forgotten and to reconnect what's been separated.
A woman develops an allergy to sweeteners, she tells friends that even the smallest amount of sugar feels as if she ate poison -- the constellation leads her back to her grandmother who drank (sweet) crude oil when she was dying because she had been told it might cure her. A woman has unexplainable memories of being victimized and feels like a victim in her relationship with her husband -- the source: her mother's sister was victimized by a man who was supposed to take care of her. A young girl is described as "slow" and has problems in school -- her grandmother's sister was forced to have a lobotomy by her family.
We carry our family system within us, psychically linked to its strain, unresolved conflicts, pain and suffering. The system's need for balancing overrides our individual needs. Unwittingly, blindly, we are in service to our family soul. If you think that you chose your husband or wife (at least the first one) take another look and you may see that it was really your system that married your husband's system, for the sake of working something out, something you're not even conscious of, most of the time. But our family systems are also linked to us. When we bring about resolution by participating in a Family Constellation, the new image, new template, is broadcast throughout the system and benefits many.
There's little you can do to change your life if the past trauma that is lodged in the family soul remains unresolved. The template organizes your experience from a deep, unconscious level. Therefore the first order of transformation is to go and look at what's there: just the act of observing, as in quantum physics, changes something. It allows movement and opens up new possibilities. In the quantum realm, the entanglement is destroyed when one of the particles is observed, or measured. In the psychic realm which has many similar properties, the psychic entanglement can be destroyed through participation in Systemic Constellation Work, which exposes an unconscious inner image and brings it into consciousness.
Since the entanglements are with our ancestors, they are the essential element of the resolution. A constellation opens up a space for them to find what they need, so they can be at peace. When that happens, the inner template changes, and the new configuration transmits their love and strength. Then our lives can take a new direction.
A mother looks at her asthmatic child and holds a thought: I here. You there. My life. Your life.
After a while, something shifts in her, a sense of something changes, and there's a space now for the child to breathe on her own. A healthy boundary is established.
At the same time, the mother's grandmother's spirit withdraws in peace, blessing her and the child, and taking with her the pain of abandonment that she carried all her life. That night the mother has a dream: grandma comes to her and says: I'm tired, I need to go.
We are shifting towards multidimensional awareness. Expanding to the point where we can embrace multiple states of being without splitting up. It's not I am this or that anymore, it's I am this and that. In this light, to say "we are our ancestors" rings true. We don't exist as isolated entities, as someone said here on Reality Sandwich, but as relational beings, parts of a greater system. We are immersed in it and affected by it, more than we know.
In spiritual constellations, there are few or no words. The words contain concentrated power. Representatives are chosen for the relevant members of one's family system and for the person who is bringing the issue to work on. Once they take the position of the ones they represent, something (call it higher forces, spirit-mind, the great soul) begins to move them in the direction of a resolution. As they follow the inner impulses, the movements are small and slow. The higher level of consciousness moves slowly; it's the lower that says: "something must happen, now." In constellations you learn to listen, to surrender to the wisdom that speaks through the body, to go with the inner impulse that comes from deep within. The spirit-mind functions multi-dimensionally, so the intellect is useless, with its insistence on this or that, on explanation, interpretation, closure, classifications, control, ultimately. Try interpreting and guessing, and doors close as the vision narrows. Stop the thinking and listen and feel, and you have a chance to be guided towards an all-embracing, multidimensional resolution.
In service of one another's healing. Open to everything. Embracing everything. Judging nothing, excluding nothing. Aware only of the next step, trusting the forces that move us, moving with the spirit-mind. We learn it in constellation work. It is the spiritual practice for today, since we really don't know what is going on.
A case study, heroin addiction:
A young heroin addict sets up heroin and himself, a male and a child. Heroin is holding the child in his arms. Possessively. The child is clinging to it. We set up a woman standing at some distance. She wants the child. Who is heroin? Who is the woman?
We wait... Nothing happens. It's obvious that nothing will separate the male and the child. The frozenness of this image suggests that it is only a mirror reflection, a resonance of something deeper. We set up a mirror constellation for that deeper level. And here the story emerges. According to the family history, the grandmother of the young man's mother came from a country in Europe. She had two illegitimate children with a married man, and was forced to leave for the United States, taking only one child with her. She left the other one behind. In the deeper level constellation we see the mother clutching the child, the child is clutching the mother. We see another woman who wants the child. The father of the child is looking away. After a while we witness the healing movement: the father slowly comes closer. He looks at the child. He acknowledges its existence. He takes it up into his arms and holds it.
Now we see the correspondence: the image of the father holding the child looks exactly like the image of heroin holding the young man. We realize that heroin substituted for the father of that child that was given away in the old country. Until he is included in the system. The system always tries to account for the excluded ones, and to reconnect what has been separated. We also see that the young man has been carrying the feelings of that abandoned, unacknowledged child. Heroin became a substitute for the father -- the father back there, and the present one who has not been available either: suffering from depression he left the family when the boy was only 6 years old. The fatherless son of a fatherless father -- grandfather was adopted and never stopped longing for his parents.
The theme of the child longing for the father lived in the family soul on both mother's and the father's side. Systems marry systems. Filling the void, heroin stepped in for the father (interestingly, the young man picked a male to represent it). It provided what was needed: erasing anxiety, holding the boy in his arms. Now the missing father's back, holding the child with love, the child melting into his arms. The new inner image all the way at the template level, a chance to move forward. Heroin has fulfilled its mission by leading us to the original trauma, and the destructive family pattern is broken. The young man now has a choice where before he didn't, caught up in something much bigger than him. Something in him relaxes, and a path to his father opens in the soul.
Danuta Jirik, Ph.D. is a holistic healer and a Systemic Family Constellations facilitator (certified by Bert Hellinger). She was born in Poland. From early on, she was called to work with the invisible reality: first as a dreamer, then theoretical scientist (her doctorate is in computational physical chemistry), and in the end, shamanic practitioner and systemic constellator. For the last 16 years Danuta has followed the path of the wounded healer. She immersed herself in a number of healing ways that are now part of her "spiritual medicine bag": spiritual mind healing, Jin Shin Jyutsu, bioenergy work, shamanic work, family constellations. Having traveled herself the intense path of transformation and emergence, Danuta facilitates with understanding and compassion born of her own experience. She has a healing practice called Holistic Resolutions that is anchored in the Chicago area. If you are interested in hosting a constellations workshop in your area, please contact Danuta through her website, http://www.holisticresolutions.com.
Image by mus, courtesy of Creative Commons license.