What are Systemic Constellations? And why should you care?
Updated: Aug 4
Chances are you’ve taken decisions based on intuition or you’ve felt you know something for sure although you could not rationally justify it.
Chances are you have been inspired to take certain actions or you have tapped into some invisible source of inspiration and creativity.
And no doubt, you’ve heard leaders and creative people referring to intuition and inspiration as mighty source of wisdom and creativity at the core of their prosperity and talent.
I refer to intuition as whispers of our heart and inspiration as promptings of our soul. Hence, Systemic Constellations are a way to amplify those whispers and get better at hearing those promptings. After all, why leave to chance something that important?
The fact is, we’ve always known to listen to intuition when making decisions about things that matter and we've always appreciated inspiration as a source of direction and creativity. We are also learning to listen to our intuition and inspiration when things are too complex to make sense of. They allow us to access our own deeper intelligence and the collective intelligence of any living system and human group we are part. Before we go any further, there a few terms I would like to clarify.
Intuition vs. Instinct
Intuition and instinct are often used interchangeably even by experts, but they could not be more different.
Instincts are behaviors which are performed without prior personal experience or personal learning. According to Richard Barrett, "instinct-based decision-making takes place at the atomic/cellular level, because the actions that arise are based on learned DNA responses, principally associated with issues of survival... In adult life, instinct-based decision-making kicks in to help us survive and avoid dangerous situations. It is also at the root of the fight or flight response common to all animals." And also, when we follow our instincts, "we are not consciously in control of our words, actions and behaviors. They are in control of us. Instinct based-decision is a faculty of the body-mind. The body-mind is where we keep the "institutionalized" DNA memories that keep our physical body safe and secure."
Intuition is something utterly different. When it comes to intuition-based decision-making, again according to Richard Barrett, "we reach this level of consciousness after we have aligned our ego motivations with our soul motivations and have become a self-actualized individual." At this stage, "judgment is suspended: no meaning-making takes place, either subconsciously or consciously, The mind is empty: thoughts, beliefs and agendas are suspended. You are living in the present moment. The mind is free to make a deep dive into the mind-space of the collective unconscious, and emerge with a deep sense of knowing."
Intuition vs. Inspiration
The only decision-making taking place at a higher level of consciousness is Inspiration based decision-making. To quote the same author, "inspiration is sourced from our soul-driven promptings. It is always very personal and directive. It is about what you need to do now or in the near future. It is a persistent thought that will not go away. It will keep prompting you to take action until you do something about it. The purpose of inspiration is to support you in fulfilling your soul purpose. Inspiration is different to intuition. Intuition is non-directive. Intuition is an idea or insight that seemingly arises from nowhere that either leads you forward in your life or provides a solution to a problem that you may not even be aware of. Intuition can best be described as a "eureka" moment, whereas inspiration is best described as guidance for staying in a state of "flow.""
How are Constellations useful?
Constellations are a systemic method based on indigenous wisdom and continuously innovated in the last few years which allows us to to tap into the same field of deeper knowing without thinking which feeds our intuition and our inspiration.
Systemic Constellations enable us to use human capabilities we've always had but we have forgotten how to use. I think of it as a way to circumvent the limitations of our minds and tap into intuition and inspiration- the wisdom of our hearts.
To circumvent the limitations of our mind, we need to first dethrone our rational mind as the only source of learning, decision-making, problem-solving, creativity, innovation and meaning-making. I can hear many asking why should we dethrone the rational mind — that is how we got here at the first place.
True, but there are three main limitations to pay attention to:
First, rational and linear methods has served us well and they will continue to do so. However, they have also done damage by disregarding that any human structure is a living system that does not abide by them. They have turned especially ineffective in the times of fast change we live in.
Second, we love to simplify things to a 2D model or a 'black & white" choice. Yes, that makes things easier, but it rarely represents reality.
Our mind loves stories and narratives, and they have also served us well in the past and continue to serve us today. However, some of these stories are like old "maps" which in these new times cause us to misinterpret things or even blind us to what’s significant.
In a world of separateness, disconnection and polarization driven by old and new stories and our desire to simplify and rationalize, Systemic Constellations offer us an opportunity to tap into the essence. That brings clarity which has the power to touch, shift and transform. We develop the capacity to listen with our heart, think on our feet, speak truth to bullshit, and act sacred, not scared.
How did the Method of Constellations develop?
This method started first as a way of gaining understanding of family systems. It was founded in the 1990s by Bert Hellinger, born in Germany. Bert Hellinger combined knowledge and practices from several different fields- family systems therapy, phenomenology and the South-African Zulu beliefs and attitudes to family. His ability to come with this approach was the result of his exposure to different cultures and the courage to venture beyond the usual borders and limitations of science, cultures, methods and beliefs.
He used the phenomenological approach. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "the discipline of phenomenology may be defined initially as the study of structures of experience, or consciousness. Literally, phenomenology is the study of “phenomena”: appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in our experience. Phenomenology studies conscious experience as experienced from the subjective or first person point of view. This field of philosophy is then to be distinguished from, and related to, the other main fields of philosophy: ontology (the study of being or what is), epistemology (the study of knowledge), logic (the study of valid reasoning), ethics (the study of right and wrong action), etc." The phenomenological approach has been invaluable With the method of Systemic Constellations which ventures beyond the borders of what science could prove at a certain point of time.
Today, we apply Constellations as a way of working with issues within any level of the human and living systems: individual, group, organizational, community, society, and Nature, as well as with abstract concepts such as money, time, values, purpose, etc.
Using the method, we open up a field which allows us go straight to the point and reveal profound insights related to where the real challenges lie in any living system- in the hidden dynamics, relatedness and interconnectedness of its parts.
This practical intervention shows the invisible loyalties and dynamics, the repeating patterns or the real source of stuckness or conflict. Such awareness of the deep patterns and dynamics allow us to connect to the best place within the system from which to live well and lead change with ease.
Systemic Constellations are a quick way to get an overview of the current situation and understand the nature of relationships and patterns that often otherwise remain invisible. That initiates a shift in energy and a new beginning putting us at the forefront of innovation, creativity, and transformation. That's why many call it "indispensable" and "the method of the future".
Systemic Constellations in Business
Most people assume that the method is too unconventional for most businesses which are dominated by rational, quantitative, and classical science-driven decisions. At the same time, progressive companies such as Daimler-Chrysler, IBM and BMW, to name just a few, have been using this method successfully and there is now a track record of its enduring benefits. Many more progressive organizations use them today to make both strategic and operational decisions.
Application of Systemic Constellations
I use Systemic Constellations to support you in:
GETTING UNSTUCK: Achieving significant breakthroughs and shifting difficult relations and persistent challenges.
DEEPENING YOUR KNOWING: Deepening your understanding of yourself and the world by making invisible dynamics and patterns visible.
RECONNECTING & REGENERATING: Finding healthier and life-affirming ways of joining, belonging and leaving systems.
GETTING AHEAD HEALTHILY & WISELY: Tapping into your intuition to make way wiser and out-of-the-box personal and professional decisions.
Here are some of the areas on which I usually focus:
JOURNEY: Getting clarity on the next steps of a life's journey or career transition and reconnecting to purpose.
UNSTUCK: Making progress when stuck in drama, persistent challenges, or being easily triggered.
PROSPERITY: Re-establishing healthier relationships with money, authority, wellbeing and success.
ZEST: Getting back your energy and zest for life by reconnecting to the essence.
CLARITY: Making progress by bringing clarity to complex, multi-layered and difficult to understand context.
CONNECTION: Re-establishing healthier relations with self, with others, the systems you belong to and Nature.
CHOICE: Getting new perspectives on choices and getting empowered to make the choice that feels right.
CHANGE: Getting to the heart of transformation and change, facilitating it and dancing with it with ease.
At the End
We live in a world which is fundamentally different from what it was just a few years ago. Many stories, beliefs, narratives, stucknesses and entanglements keep us connected to the past. Systemic Constellations helps us with what's probably the most difficult part of learning and that is Unlearning.
Think of Systemic Constellations as a sacred door leading to a deeper wisdom, as a new set of eyes or a way of using bigger parts of our innate capabilities of energetic beings in human bodies.
The best way to understand how this method works is to practice it.