In the ’90’s I came across the writings of Bert Hellinger and then heard him speak at a Congress for Psychotherapy in Vienna in 1996.
He was talking about the Orders of Love: how Love is enabled to flow when certain orders are respected in a family system. This was later broadened to apply to any functional system, not just families.
The subject he spoke about which made my head reel was the subject of conscience. Until then, I had had it unquestioningly as a mental concept that
“ everyone has a conscience, everyone knows right from wrong.”
This is of course true in principle. But what is conscience and where does it come from?
And what I learned was that conscience comes from whatever system you belong to. If you belong to a Christian system, your conscience will develop accordingly: as a set of beliefs around how you are to behave if you want to remain belonging and loyal to that group. If you belong to a family of thieves, your conscience will be dictated by your success in following the norms of that family and you will be loyal to that. Of course there exists an unconditioned awareness of what is Love – but we are mostly all programmed through our parents, teachers and peers to develop the kind of conscience I describe above which is based in Fear. It is the conscience born of the need to survive. For there is nothing worse for a human being than to be excluded from his clan which assures his survival. There is nothing worse for a human being than to be ostracised for her views when she is not yet able to make her own way. Few people have the courage to withstand the pressure to join in that loyalty. For that to happen requires a conscious connection to the Divine, a remembering of who we really are.
And so we conform. In this desire for conformity, we give up our powers of thinking autonomously, for they link us with our fear of dying. We become loyal to a system. The system dictates our conscience.
In this kind of climate, truth cannot be voiced. Feelings are hidden and stored away and we become entangled in unconscious bonds with the people in our family systems, even with the dead. We apply our false interpretations of traumatic events which have been passed down the family line because they remained unresolved and we take things personally. A system always seeks balance, just like life, and so will find the link in the system where this balance can be restored. This will be a person with issues around the family, someone who like me has picked up on some obscure or less obscure theme and is pulled towards resolving it.
My quest for the Truth goes back to ancient times. I came into this life with it and from an early age I remember desiring the truth, wanting it from my parents, from all around me and being eternally frustrated that it was not acceptable to speak it or live it. I also conformed but the cost of this was intense resentment and disappointment and sooner or later this imbalance had its effects and played out in my life, through illness and through dysfunctional relationships.
The turning point for me came when a beloved member of my family, my daughter, turned away from me resolutely and refused to have anything more to do with me. The emotional pain was such for me that I had to do something about it. This is a typical example of how life events conspire to bring us to our knees and really get us to recognise our part in the suffering we are experiencing.
I will share the resolution to this conflict in a new post. Stay tuned into the frequencies of Love and Forgiveness!