Constellations according to Hellinger
– what does it really mean?
Constellations have spread all over the world since the 80-ies when developed by Bert Hellinger. There are so many facilitators offering constellations nowadays, sometimes under a different name and often with little connection to the original approach. Even though Constellation Work was in the past inextricably linked to Bert Hellinger, most of what is currently being practised as Family or Systemic Constellations does not have much to do with his original approach. So much so that if you are staying true to that approach, one needs to specify that it is about “constellations according to Hellinger”.
What does it mean to stay true to “Hellinger’s approach”? Does it mean imitating, or following a guru, or being stuck in the past, frozen without allowing for further development?
I don’t think so. It doesn’t mean wanting to stay with what he was doing and trying to emulate. It doesn’t even mean we have to use the same method, whether so called “classical” or the so called “new constellations”, as more of us are finding different methods to be with what is essential.
For me, part of the essence of Hellinger’s approach is exactly that of constant change. It means openness, constant movement, new insights, changing according to these new insights, constant breaking our ties that bind us to our limiting and limited groups of belonging, outgrowing the boundaries of our “lesser consciences”. If we continue in this way, it means we will not necessarily be doing exactly what Bert was doing or even using the same method. And if we apply Hellinger’s approach, we will not be able or willing to do so.
We go further, like the river always keeps flowing, always further, always responding to what is and always being drawn by the ocean, by the future destination. Always following the guidance of the Spirit. That is how we apply Hellinger’s approach. We don’t follow Hellinger or walk his path – we walk our path, following this guidance, just like he did.
His path of insight was opened only to him. So, if we want to stay true to the phenomenology of Hellinger’s approach, we each have to find our own path. And we have to let it continually develop as it unfolds before us – for each one of us in a slightly different way.
If we allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit-Mind, as Hellinger himself did, we can all be originals, on our own path, no better or worse than anyone else, including Bert. All equally big among peers and all equally small in the face of something greater than us. That is the essence of the phenomenological path that Bert so beautifully described for us, in words and in action.
Can we improve on this attitude, improve on this way of proceeding? No. And we don’t have to. Each one of us will be guided on our path in this way as Hellinger was, if we surrender to it and also do what it takes, what it requires of us. If we choose to take this path, we won’t be following anyone, making anyone a guru, try to copy or to become a guru ourselves. And we certainly will not be stuck frozen in time, as some are fearful about.
It is not necessary to take Bert’s insights face value, to adhere to them as to a dogma – Bert was never dogmatic himself. But we can rely on his approach of gaining these insights, using the same phenomenological method he did: we can open ourselves to receiving these insights in our own souls through the in-forming field. Hellinger not only conveyed his insights to us, but he gave us the method and the map, so that each one of us can undertake this journey for ourselves.
Bert Hellinger is not god. Constellations are not a religion. We must not be “followers” either of the method or the developer of the method. It is through this method that Bert was pointing to something greater for us to focus on. He never wanted to be a focus. Neither he ever demanded that constellation method becomes the religion we follow. Who ever approaches it this way, has not grasped the essence of Hellinger’s teachings, in my opinion.
It seems to me that nowadays constellators celebrate the constellation method and many interesting ways in which “they developed it further”. In a sense it is as if we made the method our god. My feeling is that this is not a real development or a development in the forward moving direction. It is as if these many varieties come from our intellect, our mind, our previous knowledge and experience, our rational thinking and our intention, often guided by our belonging to our professional reference groups, rather than through opening ourselves phenomenologically to the guidance of the Spirit. But it is these “developments” which take the spotlight of the constellating world at present. And they claim they are taking it further, not following the supposed dogma of sticking with Hellinger’s approach. I believe that by staying with the phenomenological way of the Hellinger’s approach we get much further, but maybe in a slower, not so obvious and less ego-affirming way.
Many are critical of Hellinger and the whole new schools of constellations, as well as constellators’ associations, have been developed as a result of that criticism and in opposition to Hellinger, publicly distancing themselves from Hellinger, his teachings and his way of working. There are so many constellators nowadays offering constellations, promoting their particular way. It is my impression that very few though have the courage it takes to truly surrender to the phenomenological path of insight the way Bert did. So, we have “great diversity” but little depth. Our intellect, our will, our reason, learnt skills and our intentions can only take us that far. A few dare to venture beyond these boundaries and into the land of Hellinger soul-scape.
But, by choosing the phenomenological path, we can trust it, we can relax into it, not work so hard and not take the responsibility which is not ours to take. As a river, we flow effortlessly by sticking closely to the ground, not worrying about what is our source and what our destination.
So, this is the position I take in regard to this issue of developments in the field of constellations as well. Nothing to worry about. Everything has its place and everything develops as the Spirit-Mind wills it. Our job is only to agree with everything the way it is.
Our opinions and our differences matter little, because in the end, as Bert said, everything will be shared with everyone else.
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