“If you neglect your soul, demons grow in your unconscious mind”
Learning from Our Soul is a program of mental and spiritual practices designed to awaken our Inner Guide and to activate deeper resources that have been neglected. The practices come from an integration of Carl Jung’s vision of the human psyche with the methods of Family Constellations begun by Bert Hellinger. I list here some major points of the program. More detailed information is given on the Family Constellation page and the Jung page.
Each family has its own Family Soul that envelops all members in a collective BLOOD lineage — all of them connected, at times “entangled” in profound emotional bonds that can lead to suffering.
First we must accept the Fate of our family, and our own fate. Then we can go forward to create our own personal Destiny. The family Soul demands justice across generations. It seeks redress of imbalances; and atonement for “sins of the fathers.” The human mind in inherently split — between conscious and unconscious; Ego and Self; feminine/masculine, good/evil, etc. We live between many opposing forces that Jung called polarities. The conscious Ego and deeper Self/Soul compete and conflict
to determine our identity and behavior in social contexts. Feelings are messages from our Soul. When we follow our feelings, through our Shadow, they take us to our true Self, our Soul. We live in an era of evolutionary shift to greater awareness, integrating conscious and unconscious, Ego and Self/Soul.
The Self as the center of all consciousness is our Inner Guide. It encourages balance, wholeness, connection and creativity. It is the Self that conveys life purpose and meaningfulness to the conscious Ego.
The ancestral energy of the Knowing Field of collective consciousness activates our unconscious mind and our soul. Soul watches our life’s challenges and may overwhelm us with extremes of love or terror, and times of dramatic expressiveness, etc. Self and Soul are expressed in transcendent symbols found in The Knowing Field, dreams, fantasy, meditation, creative activity, chant, prayer, “falling-in-love”, and times of birth, death and near-death. “Soul is the gift my spirit bestows upon the other.” (M. Bakhtin)
Learning From Our Soul provides tools to respond to the challenges we inevitably face in life. Some practices calm us, some energize, several release harmful habits and painful states, many transform negative to positive states. The primary goal is to identify, clarify and follow what our soul is calling us to.
Although we may feel defeated at times, it is temporary. When we access our deeper strengths, we change set-backs into opportunities to create a life of energy, peace and success. No matter what issue we face, the soul deep within us has the power to resolve it. We need only to allow it.
The experience of living from our Soul takes us more deeply into our essential Self —beyond how we think of ourselves. It reveals unexplored resources that have been dormant. Getting to the soul level is a journey to the source of authentic inner power. Not the external “power” we see in the world, but the quiet personal power to follow our dreams and desires. The effort to live from the soul may be “painful at times, but the journey is essential. It is a deeply felt, risky, unpredictable tour of the soul, where memory is more important than planning, art more compelling than reason, and love more fulfilling than understanding,” as Thomas Moore writes in Care of the Soul. When we are willing to get more in touch with our soul, our deeper Self, we begin to experience an inner Guide. We discover parts of ourselves — talents and limitations — that had gone unrecognized. Responding from the level of soul surprises us with awareness and gifts our conscious mind had not recognized. In this process we find how we are all connected in the collective unconscious mind of humanity. Moreover, we begin to realize that we are all now involved together in an evolutionary shift to higher consciousness. (See Gary Zukav’s Seat of the Soul for an account of our evolutionary movement. This is our soul’s calling on the personal and collective level of awareness in our specie’s history.
On the soul journey we face difficulties. Some are challenges from the world around us — social pressures, economic hardships, the inevitable demands of others, etc. But more than we usually realize, many of our troubles come from within. We too often cause our own problems. Some come from our unconscious mind. Some we inherited, others stem from poor choices we made.
Learning from the soul addresses inner challenges in order to succeed with the issues we face in the world and in ourselves. In the soul journey process we must deal with our Shadow (see Jung page for details). Shadow contains those aspects of ourselves that we have repressed —rejected, avoided or ignored, whatever we find difficult to face, etc. It also includes what unconscious burdens we inherited from our family lineages.
Uncomfortable feelings and thoughts are pushed out of awareness into our unconscious Shadow. This hinders our soul journey, temporarily, until it is transformed. The practices of Learning from Soul provide mental and spiritual tools for transforming shadowy parts into fresh energy for the soul journey. These psycho-spiritual methods of transformation yield enormous energy, courage and wisdom.
Jung called our Inner Guide the Self - the center of all consciousness. When we learn from our Soul to trust our core Self, we find confidence within, and we are much better equipped to thrive in the world around us.
FEELINGS AND THE PATH TO SOUL
Following the path of Soul, we go beyond the surface of the daily roles we perform. The fleeting feelings we experience in performing daily functions, especially those we avoid, I call “persona emotions” as distinct from deeper feelings. These are the routine emotions we express in the roles we play.
In learning from soul we choose to stay with our feelings, going to deeper levels, allowing them to move toward the deepest layer of forces comprising our soul. In Jung’s vision individual souls arise out of the primal archetypal forces in the collective unconscious mind that we inherit. Experiences of soul concern intense depths of love and fear, and issues of life and death. While the often lives in fear, Soul thrives on love.
So, how can we thrive in our work projects and in our love relationships? The conscious ego-mind must make all decisions. But it needs to remain stable. So we must be able to tune in to deeper wisdom. Listening to the guidance we can receive from the Self in our unconscious reveals how to respond to the difficulties of love and work with strength and calm effort.
It takes willingness, courage and commitment to try new practices. Are you willing to make adjustments in your thinking? to shift your attention to a higher level of awareness, beyond the limits of our ordinary mind? If so, ancient practices and recent research offer useful and powerful ways to release what holds us back from the full potential of our mind and heart .
Living from the Soul requires that we “watch” the automatic activity of our ego-mind — the mental chatter and troublesome feelings that lead us away from deeper awareness. This awareness goes beyond thinking and activates the authentic power waiting within. The power to create a life, love, laughter and the work that our Soul calls us to.
If we ignore our soul, as Jung warns, we lose touch with the Source of vibrant life within us. All the social roles we perform can harden into a “power politics” of relating, even in our marriages and families. We forget to express the love that we are made of. Without the strength of our soul we become victims of the world
Soul is the source of love. Rilke, in Letters to a Young Poet, advises us: “Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” realm
In the inner work of learning from soul this program combines three wisdom traditions to re-connect our mind to heart and soul — to achieve full health and mental peace. These are family constellations, Jung’s vision of the human Psyche (mind-body-spirit) and the “Knowing” energy field of our ancestors. We follow the sacred path of deeper feeling through levels of the unconscious to arrive at Soul.
THE LARGE FRAMEWORK:
Family Constellations, Jung’s Vision and the Knowing Field
Family constellations (see web page) release unconscious blocks to our growth and happiness by settling unfinished emotional business in our self and with our family. We become conscious of all that we inherited, so that we can own it, release or transform it, and then empower ourselves to heal our own psyche and our family wounds.
Activating Carl Jung’s teachings (see Jung pager) and practices about our true Self, as well as our Shadow and archetypes, takes us into the deeper feelings that are waiting to make us more whole. We transform Shadow to Light, using its energy to balance conscious and unconscious mind. We become more creative with our life and work. We become more compassionate to ourselves, with our family and with others.
When we enter the shamanic “Knowing Field” (see page) ancestors bless us with energy, strength and wisdom to live a better life. In turn they become more proud of us, and can then rest more in peace. In constellations we release the "soul entanglements" that we blindly "carry" for love of family. This family soul demands justice across generations. Constellations re-balance the family system.
When we invite the presence of ancestors into the energy circle of our efforts in constellations, their wisdom guides us, blesses us and gives us strength. Jung’s vision of the natural psyche sheds light on the journey. And the “Knowing Field” stimulates the rise of our emerging consciousness.
The process requires our willingness to open up to deeper parts of us. We need to be willing to allow whatever feelings come up, and to commit ourselves to staying with them. We need to simply be curious about and notice what comes up. We need to notice what appears on the screen of our mind.
But habits of mind —mental chatter, judgments, emotional reaction, without expectations, comparisons, any avoidance of feeling — all these interfere with the inner path to soul. The process also involves various breathing techniques to prepare ourselves for successful journeys. We need to notice how sensations cluster up in parts of our body, how feelings deepen our awareness, how surprising images flash in our mind, and how intuition leads to solutions.
EGO AND SOUL COMPETITION
A wise-guy character in David Mitchell’s The Bone Clock glibly quips:
“power is crack cocaine to the ego and battery acid to the soul”
Our conscious ego mind (who we think we are) creates our dilemmas. Our unconscious (dreams, etc.) can solve our problems. Living from the deeper consciousness of soul, we respond to difficulties with a calm sense of inner power. We can simply choose to allow our conscious ego-mind to receive input from the deeper Self in our unconscious mind.
The Ego has worked well for us to help us survive as a species until now. But when we want more out of life, we need to allow more of our greater consciousness to arise and become integrated into our consciousness. Ego has at times protected us, but it has also kept us limited.
While staying good friends with our ego, we can safely expand our horizons. With some effort we can expand exponentially. Authentic personal power comes from within, from tapping into resources that have been in our unconscious mind. True wisdom comes from our dreams, fantasies, intuition, faith and surrender to higher guidance, perhaps from the god-of-our-understanding.
Both the ego and the unconscious constantly try to influence our thought and behavior. We are their playing field, or battleground if you like. Which parts “wins” depends on which we pay attention to and trust. At the deepest level of mind we “find” our soul. It was never lost, but we lose touch with it. We can choose to follow feelings deep within, through shadowy levels, allowing powerful archetypal forces to arise and go through us. When we face that challenge, take that leap of faith, the pay-off in energy, courage and wisdom is enormous.
Family Constellations are a fairly new and unique way to heal discomfort, to resolve conflicts, and to solve problems. It is one kind of systemic constellation. In our Tucson Wednesday Meetup group members take turns being clients and supportive representatives to have a family constellation, a constellation for a big dream, one for social justice issues, current events or for some big decision. Constellations release blocks in our unconscious mind that limit our health or growth or happiness. A constellation is recommended as an effective solution for:
Constellations activate the natural healing process within us, and bring solutions into our awareness. They reveal negative images in our unconscious mind that causes us to suffer or stay stuck in a problem. We inherit and "carry" these images as unconscious blocks out of love for family members. For example, failure, illness, conflict and other problems are often revealed to be connected to past family events such as adoption, accidents, abortion, secrets, abuse, crime, early deaths, major crisis or trauma. In constellation work two powerful forces operate – one is a group conscience and the other the love in the "child’s heart" within us. These forces combine and lead to personal problems and to their solutions. The group conscience in every family system operates like a memory that demands justice across generations. When an ancestor has been excluded (ignored, scapegoated, etc.) an "entanglement" often arises in a future family member. A child’s blind love unconsciously identifies with that ancestor and suffers for or with them, as if to atone for the exclusion. It is a more conscious love, revealed in a constellation, that leads to resolution.
The principles guiding solutions in a constellation are called “orders of love.” Observing these orders allows love to flow in a family. Violating them causes suffering in future generations. Some examples of these orders of love are:
In constellation groups people volunteer to be clients, and they are asked to be clear in their own mind about the issue they want to resolve. The facilitator encourages the client to ask group members to represent the client and the issue (whatever that may be) and sometimes to represent the spirit of other family members. [The facilitator may add additional representatives (e.g., a resource, illness, corpse, guide, etc.] The client, by intuition about “how it was,’ places the representatives into the first scene in the field of family energy. This reveals the deeper family problem, and often the client’s unconscious block. The constellation works toward an image of resolution for the client. Representatives are asked to relax and center themselves, to leave their own feelings behind and to open up to experiencing another’s inner reality. They almost always take on some of the feelings, behavior and images of those they represent, without knowing much about them. This is the great advantage of this work. As the scene unfolds, the entanglement is usually revealed, and the facilitator intervenes by changing the positions of representatives and offering them the “language of the soul” to say to one another.
Copyright © 2015 John Dore. All rights reser