GUIDING SYSTEMIC PRINCIPLES
Belonging, Order and Balance
There are three guiding systemic principles for constellation work: Belonging, Order and Balance. These principles are the “Orders of Love” that Hellinger discovered by observation as constellations were developed. Although these principles are particular to Constellations, it is a systemic therapy and therefore follows a similar logic to that of Systems Theory. The founder of Systems Theory, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, said that a system is the sum of its parts and that systems are open and interact with their environments. He said that it is the organization of the system—its connections—that makes it a system and at the same time, the organization is independent of its parts. Systems alone seek balance and a problem in one part will throw off the balance throughout the entire system. When a change is introduced, it affects the entire system, therefore all the parts since they depend on one another.
We are all part of a larger system we call the “family system”, and our deep need to belong is what bonds one another in the system. Some examples of this that appear in constellations are a child who is willing do anything for the love of a parent (blind love), or the fact that an illness or other difficulty can manifest as a result of someone being “excluded” from the system they belong to. No one can be excluded from a system they belong to, and breaking this guiding systemic principle will cause other “entanglements” (difficulties) in the system and will weaken it. This is essentially because the “flow of love” is interrupted, since the connections that come from bonding and belonging are a source of strength. When all parts are included, energy and love can flow naturally. In summary, the entire family system and each individual in it will be impacted by members who remain "unseen", lost or excluded.
Anyone born into a family system belongs to it, no matter if they lived a short life, are living today or passed away generations ago. Ancestors belong and play an incredibly important role in our healing. This was one of the major learnings of Hellinger during his time with the Zulu tribe in South Africa. He saw that the Zulu people included their ancestors in healing rituals which was different to that of the western world. The systemic principle of Order means that everyone has their specific place in the organization of the system and the system works best with the correct order. The parents take care of the children and therefore come first in the system, and their parents took care of them, so they would be placed before them. As with children, the first born child takes first place, then the second born, and so on. Young children who live short lives or miscarriages still have their position in the order, despite not being “physically” present.
When the family has been brought into its natural order, the individual can leave it behind him while still feeling the strength of his family supporting him. Only when the connection to his family is acknowledged, and the person's responsibility seen clearly and then distributed, can the individual feel unburdened and go about his personal affairs without anything from the past weighing him down or holding him back. – Bert Hellinger
Balance of Giving and Receiving
Finally, any system works best when each part assumes its role or function. A family system is the same and having a balance between giving and receiving ensures that members of the system are comfortable and that love can flow naturally. A balance is developed over time by exchanges of giving and receiving. Some examples include a child being able to "take" (receive) from his parents or acknowledging someone in the system and what they have given to the rest. This systemic principle is broken when the balance between giving and receiving is broken, or unbalanced. The restoration of balance and justice in a family system comes by acknowledging the right of previously excluded members to belong; acknowledging those who died young or had a difficult fate; and/or acknowledging victim/perpetrator traumas that occurred. By restoring balance and/or acknowledging imbalances, it brings a new order and equality to the system, therefore allowing love to flow again in a natural and uninterrupted manner.
These three systemic principles guide a constellation and give clues to the origin of pain, entanglement or difficulty. By re-establishing the natural order, sense of belonging and balance between giving and receiving, new possibilities, news ways of living and new “images” that are more appropriate for your life can be achieved.
OTHER GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Presence, Willingness, and Non-judgment
The systemic principles described above direct and guide constellations. These additional guiding principles are like “attitude principles” because they will influence and have an impact on the lasting effect of a constellation for you.
Presence: Without being present, no real change can happen or we can miss the change before us! We can’t change the past and the future is undefined, therefore the only real change that can happen, happens in the present moment.
Willingness: No one knows what will appear as a constellation unfolds. Sometimes there are secrets in the family system affecting our present or some difficult circumstances that debilitated several generations. One must be willing to see what comes, because by being willing, we are taking a step toward acceptance, and by accepting, we are saying yes to the present moment and putting ourselves in a position to heal and make real change.
Non-judgment: It is just as critical as the other principles. We are all products of the systems we pertain to and it takes real courage and desire for change and answers to face the unknown. In a constellation, there is no judgment for what comes out. Participants know that we are all the same: members of a family system that is imperfect, such as is life. Groups usually bond and grow together during a workshop as they are working on each other's benefit and openly sharing together.
Where the answers are found and where the healing takes place
A biologist, Rubert Sheldreake, discovered something called the “morphic field,” which is a field of shape, structure, patterns and order. These are the same fields that organize crystals, molecules and flocks of birds in the sky without colliding with one another. Like in Systems Theory, morphic fields recognize a hierarchy and an order within the system. The field is made up of several parts but work together as a whole. The unique aspects to this field is that it holds information and memory, not energy. It is also free of space and time, which is why it doesn’t lose intensity from the moment of its creation. The morphic field is the base of our mental activity and also perception. Our own morphic fields are not confined to just our heads and extend outside of our mind with our attention and intentions.
The Zero Point Field is a discovery of quantum physics. In classic physics a field is an area of influence in which two or more points are connected by a force, like gravity or electromagnetism. In the world of quantum particles, however, the fields are created by the exchange of energy. This Zero Point Field implies that all of our actions and thoughts can be felt and heard everywhere and that because of this, we must see ourselves as something more than simply an entity with limitations who doesn’t affect anything else. It's a paradigm shift about how we and our own thoughts affect our surroundings. Particles interact and exchange energy, and it is through these energetic movements that the Zero Point Field is created. The American physicist Hal Puthoff proposed that the Zero Point Field is like a universe of shadows, a universal memory bank of all that has occurred throughout time. This means that between us and all of space there are invisible connections. Recognizing the existence of this Field offers an explanation of why someone can pick up on your thoughts from thousands of miles away; it gives scientists an explanation about life after death. The quantum theories of Bohr, Heisenberg and others say 1. That all things are connected; 2. That nothing has an isolated meaning but instead is part of an interrelated and dynamic network; 3. That reality is changeable and something like human intention can change it.
The "field" (campo o sistéma in Spanish) can be understood as the "family soul", the "family unconscious" or a "spiritual energy field." As described above, there is a scientific basis to this field and a constellation translates the language of it into meaning for healing purposes. The field is what holds both the information and the keys to resolution. It has memory, such as a morphic field, and therefore when traumas or entanglements have occurred, they remain in the system and take affect later. The field wants to bring consciousness to the family soul, and it is working on your benefit to bring healing and correction. A facilitator has learned how to guide and read the signs to interpret the message. It's your field that has the answer. A participant taking on a role is giving form to the field and showing visually the relationship between the parts. The true beauty of constellations is the field because it's where everything happens and happened.