How can a systemic outlook help you overcome your issues?

Whether you’re struggling with bureaucracy, your  job, family or a health issue, you are basically dealing with some kind of system. 

The Austrian biologist and one of the founders of the  General Systems Theory  Karl Ludwig von Bertalanffy stated that “a system may be more than the sum of its parts if it expresses synergy or emergent behavior.

This hypothesis represents one of the key pillars of Bert Hellinger’s Family or a.k.a. Systemic Constellations whereby we need to look towards the systems we belong to or are entangled in,  in order to understand ourselves or an issue we may be dealing with. 

The idea of a system being more powerful than the individual can be seen in various scenarios we deal with throughout our entire lifetime. How many times have we witnessed  a politician with progressive ideas who gets eaten up by the system before they even attempt to make a difference? How many times have you had to navigate through endless bureaucracy? How many times have you felt scrutinized  for not being in sync with your company’s /country’s / community’s /social circle/ family’s etc. collective mindset? 

If you ever tried to fight any of these systems, you will have probably experienced how hard it is to go against them as an individual and most likely ended up being labeled as a “black sheep”, “complicated”or “conflictive” and in some way, excluded from the tribe.  

So clearly if you are dealing with an issue on either a personal or professional level, you will need to integrate and understand the system you are in before taking a sensible action. One of the key principles in martial arts can be defined by Carl Jung’s famous saying “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”  

Apart from a system being greater than the individual it is also important to understand that when one part of a system changes, it will usually  affect  the other parts.  A common example of this dynamic can be seen within a corporation.  Let’s say an employee was fired unjustly or left abruptly. Some of the employees may, out of an unconscious and hidden loyalty, be tempted to  follow the one who left and quit.  Others  may feel upset and destabilized (or even fear being laid off themselves) and of course, some will inherit more workload or even the conflict / problem that was the reason for the first employee to leave. This is why Systemic Constellations have become an invaluable tool for resolving issues within a corporation.  

Even if we want to understand how our body and mind work, we can’t avoid mentioning the different interconnected and very complex systems that form part of our physiology. 

In yoga and its sister science Ayurveda we  aim to understand how our personality, physical constitution, diet, lifestyle and environment  influence our well-being systemically. And although for those who haven’t been familiarized with  yoga, the practice may come across as some form of flexibility training, it actually promotes our wellbeing by positively affecting the different systems of the body.  Boosting one’s digestion, refining the nervous system, optimizing the respiratory system, strengthening the skeletal and muscular system and calming the mind are just some of the benefits diligent yoga practitioners experience.   However if your nervous system is out of whack due to constant stress and you don’t do anything about it,  it will probably take a toll on your health and cause different ailments in the long run. This is why it’s paramount  to develop a holistic mentality towards our health and always look at the big picture. Even if we look at our bones alone, we find that they are held in place, by  systemic  pressure of muscles and fascia known as tensegrity.  

Systemic  Constellations sessions will often reveal the interconnectedness between the life we are living, our core beliefs and our family system, sometimes  even as far back as our great grandparents. These phenomena are often explained through the concept of Morphic resonance which Rupert Sheldrake, biologist from Cambridge defined as  follows: “Morphic resonance is a process whereby self-organising systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems.” 

Therefore if you aren’t always sure why you react the way you do, why certain scenarios keep repeating themselves at work or in your personal relationships, or why you can’t seem to accomplish your goals, you may want to look into your whole family system in order to understand yourself better. Please note though, that this is not about shifting the blame on your ancestors and not taking full responsibility for your life, but simply acknowledging the blind spots in your perception and the fact that not everything started with you.  


Functional Anatomy of Yoga – A Guide for Practitioners and Teachers (David Keil),

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