Freedom and Responsibility

Freedom is a word that has been on everybody’s lips in South Africa for decades. I often ask myself the question: what does “freedom” really mean? Freedom from prisons? Freedom from the oppressor? Freedom from the past? Outer freedom? And what about inner freedom?

We are seeing how people are battling to free themselves from the consequences of the Apartheid system, we see adults struggling to free themselves from perpetuating the patterns of their families of origin. Many know that freedom from the outer authoritarian rule and parenting does not necessarily mean that we can free ourselves from invisible loyalties, from our genetic coding, and from the inner voices that continue to imprison us. Why do we keep falling back into the same patterns and have the same symptoms re-appearing, even when we thought we were finally free of them?

The science of epigenetics tells us that even though our DNA are laced with the codes of our ancestors, we can also inherit memories of their individual experiences and losses, and ultimately it is our environments that turn on or off the potential realities contained in our DNA. Similarities in the DNA of children of mothers who have lost a child before they themselves where born have recently been identified. In family constellations we see the effects of our parent’s and our grandparent’s un-felt emotions, excluded family members, and unfulfilled lives.

Field theory and quantum physics tells us that we are all connected, that there is an underlying heart-beat by which we have access to all the experiences of every other living being over space and time. Of course this is nothing new to Jung and most indigenous and pre-industrial cultures. In essence it has now been mathematically proven that we are all connected. So where does individuality come into the picture? Where do I end and you begin? How do I become more myself?

And what of astrology and other predictions of events before they happen? What does this mean for free will? Are we just playing out our parts in the planetary cosmic play? riding out our genes as we find our parents words coming out of our own mouths? Or at the other end of the continuum, are we really able to truly create our own reality?

Family loyalty is a powerful force in everybody’s lives. It makes it difficult to move beyond the financial experiences of our fathers and grandfathers, and the un-fulfilling love relationship experiences of our mothers. These are the unwritten rules of the family system. And what are the consequences when we do it differently? Do we unconsciously disrespect our parents when we become more successful and have happier marriages then them? Love in the child’s loyalty to their parents is blind. Yet, even when we see the loyalty and leave the difficulties of our parents with them, are we then free? Is it really possible to turn and look towards our future with all the wisdom available to us from our parents and grand-parents to take forward to our children and grandchildren?

I’ve seen and experienced Family Constellations give the insight to both make it possible to acknowledge things as they are – those things that we cannot change, the natural laws of life and survival, of family hierarchy and natural progression. And I’ve also experienced the slipping back into the old family pattern, into the same old symptoms, and the efforts to free oneself again and again into new ways of being.

I’ve also heard family history change as the work is done by the children and grandchildren. There is a beautiful saying: “when we heal ourselves, we heal seven generations forward and seven generations backwards”. Now, what does it say of freedom when we consider that the present affects the past and the future…

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