There is no doubt that we are constantly forming and expressing our opinions. But have you ever asked yourself, I mean really asked yourself, where your views and opinions come from? Most probably your instinctive answer will be: “Well it’s based on facts and the truth”. So my next question is; How did you come to an understanding of your belief as the absolute truth?
In Progressive Systemic Constellations we work with so-called Internal Images, that is, unconscious beliefs that a person forms in their childhood and cultivates throughout their life.
Internal images are a reflection of values acquired within a family, society, political system, religion, etc. from our earliest age.
These internalised beliefs influence all aspects of a person including their work, relationships and life experience. Internal images can be understood as the point where the unconscious communicates with the conscious.
Basically, we are constantly projecting these internal images onto the environment and unconsciously looking for validation of our so-called truth. It is our bias that distorts reality. It is our need to defend and protect. It is our need to ally with those who have the same values and discriminate against those who don’t. It is our fear of rejection for thinking differently from our family, friends or society.
Based on these initial internal images we formed in our childhood, we go through life semi hypnotized and unaware that our unconscious part of the mind has been creating our perceived reality all the time. And don’t misunderstand me, life happens, tragedies occur, injustices exist, trauma accumulates and these should be dealt with accordingly. However when these aren’t addressed or healed properly, they will linger on in forms of limiting beliefs that don’t allow us to grow and live happily.
Tapping into these internal images is one of the key aspects of Progressive Systemic Constellations, in order to overcome various professional and personal obstacles due to personal or family trauma.
There is an old saying that “There are always two sides to the story”, but I think it would be more accurate to say that there are multiple angles of how the truth can be understood. Although it is easier for us to interpret our experience in “binary language”, that is, it’s either 0 or 1, our perception is much more complex than this. It’s no wonder that society constantly tries to appeal to our internal images by generating conflict and trying to divide us into this nation vs. that nation, women vs. men, vegetarians vs. meat eaters, the left-wing vs. right-wing, the religious vs. atheists (and not to mention the divisions between the different religions), etc. I even see this kind of friction in the yoga world and teachers disputing over this lineage vs. that lineage or this asana technique vs. that technique, the spiritual and enlightened vs. the ordinary and materialistic people,etc. I am sure you have more examples.
On a systemic level a typical example would be when a couple divorces and then one or both of the spouses try to manipulate their child into believing that the other parent is the “bad one”. So depending on the story fed, the child grows up to hate one of the parents, despise all men or women, or unconsciously repeat the same patterns in their own relationships.
Internal images can be dysfunctional in terms of how we view other people, relationships,money, certain professions, physical appearance, different nations, ethnicities, and so on. You get the idea. Our thoughts and opinions are not our own. They are a combination of what we were indoctrinated into believing at an early age. This is also the reason why some people who DO become aware of this dynamic, often rebel against their parents’ beliefs or a society, not realizing that for as long as they are rebellious they are still stuck in their mental images. When there is no more friction within us, that is when we have truly overcome a limiting belief.
I myself started becoming more aware of my own personal bias when I started doing yoga. Spending hours in asana practice and meditation made me aware of how judgemental I have been although I had always considered myself to be “tolerant, altruistic and free-spirited”. Not to mention that living in many different cultures really opened my eyes in terms of understanding that what is normal in one society is completely alien in another. I have always felt proud and grateful for the enriching friendships with people from different countries, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religious backgrounds, political views, that I still cultivate today. All these people have allowed me to grow, learn and become the person that I am today.
And yet, I still catch myself judging. Those tiny little thoughts that pass through the mind in the blink of an eye. Do you know what I mean?
That tiny bit of smugness that we feel when we think our views are more important than the views of others, that we are somehow better than the other. That nagging resistance towards a person who thinks or acts differently from us.
This is where the hard work comes in ,on the journey of consciousness. Doing yoga poses is the easy part, and so is making bold statements about being tolerant or pointing out who is not tolerant enough.
Cleaning up our own backyard is where the hard work is.
It’s easy to put all the blame on external factors but much harder to actually do our own internal work to become more loving, tolerant and compassionate individuals, not just globally, but also at the deepest levels of our being.
To summarize, none of us own an absolute truth on any matter. Our perception is only as good as our mental clarity. And in order to get to the point of mental clarity, we need to be able to let go of our deeply wired beliefs and allow our headspace to welcome a plethora of colours and numbers, not just black-white, 0 or 1. Observe your thoughts, notice if they are really as coherent as you seem to believe and remember that your perception is likely to be corrupt at times. Becoming aware of this is the first step to understanding how complex our mind really is as well as the interaction with our environment. As human beings we are far from perfect and therefore don’t expect perfection from yourself, your family, your partner, your friends, your bosses, politicians nor gurus. But do work on embracing this imperfection, and grow from there. That is where true integrity, compassion and wisdom lie. Meditate. Don’t be afraid to accept another person’s viewpoint. That’s how you will put things into perspective and see the bigger picture.
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