Reflections on a Workshop in Devon
by Grahame Blackwell
Last weekend I was a number of very interesting people, including:
- A highly-placed religious zealot with a dark secret;
- A descendant of victims of the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s, whose experimentation with drugs was an unconscious attempt to escape from the horrors hidden deep in his ancestral memory;
- A gentle spirit who saw perfect beauty in everything his eyes lit upon, from the colours and textures in a vase of flowers to the patterns in the cracks between the floorboards.
I say 'was' rather than 'played the part of' because in Family Constellations work you don't just play a part; you are the person that you're representing, in a very real way, whilst remaining at all times truly yourself. It's not something that you can fully comprehend unless you do it – but once you do it you know it's utterly real.
In that respect it's rather like dowsing, an activity in which I've seen the expressions of confirmed sceptics turn from scornful amusement to total bewilderment when those rods twitch unbidden in their hands – even more so when it's pointed out to them that they've just 'rediscovered' a well-mapped ley-line or watercourse. In a similar way, a Family Constellation is full of those 'Wow!' moments, when a representative who knows nothing of the family member that (s)he's representing spontaneously adopts an action or behaviour that's uniquely characteristic of that family member.
I offer you one example from many in my own experience. In a Constellation some time ago I was representing a Jewish immigrant to the UK who had fled from Germany to escape the Holocaust. I was placed on my own, away from the main action; for some unknown reason I was feeling quite stressed – and I found that I was unconsciously rubbing my hands together in a strange way, as if trying to clean something off them (a very practically motivated action, totally different from wringing one's hands in fear).
So what was going on? I soon found out. It transpired that this immigrant was a baker by trade and in a crucial incident he had gone to his door at one time to defend his family against an angry mob – ironically, having heard that there were 'Germans' living there (during the war), they'd come to drag them all off to an internment camp (or possibly a lynching). With hindsight it was very clear: this baker was rubbing the dough and flour off his hands as he hurried to the door to reason with the mob. My feelings and my unconscious action fitted this scenario perfectly.
In the Workshop this last weekend I experienced several situations, all quite different but each in their own way as remarkable and clear-cut as this. Having been involved in quite a few Workshops now, I no longer find these occurrences surprising – but I do experience a sense of wonder every time as I see the situation unfold and hear from the Constellation subject how true to type each portrayal has been.
These experiences are by no means unique to me. I have seen many others in Constellation workshops 'become' the person that they are representing, with no conscious effort or foreknowledge whatever, and with no loss of their own identity. So again that question: what is going on?
For the answer to that question we have to go beyond the frontiers of known science – but maybe not as far beyond as we would have needed to 100 or 150 years ago. There are plenty of self-styled 'skeptics' out there (spelt here to reflect the international nature of this pastime) who are all too ready to leap on such observations like a ton of bricks and declare them 'unscientific', AKA 'woo-woo'. But many of those skeptics are themselves about as delicate and refined as that ton of bricks in their application of rational thought processes. EVERY recorded scientific 'truth' is based on observation, and from my own observations I have absolutely no doubt that the experiences and phenomena that I've referred to are real; as a scientist it would be intellectually dishonest of me to ignore or discount them.
The long arm of coincidence/synchronicity reached out and tapped me on the shoulder just the day after this recent workshop, as the latest issue of the SMN journal dropped through my door that morning. The very first article was an excellent piece by Charles Eisenstein entitled 'A State of Belief is a State of Being'. The last sentence of Eisenstein's preface to his article states: "Indeed, the 'experimenter effect' in parapsychology, as well as mounting problems with objectivity in mainstream science, suggest a need to reconceive science and the Scientific Method in light of the crumbling of the assumption of objectivity upon which it is based".
In short, any scientific 'truth', no matter how objective it may seem, is inherently founded upon some subjective attitude or belief, a belief which cannot be denied even if it is shared by several thousand people of like mind. For example, 'dark matter' is talked about as if it were fact, whereas it is actually a belief, albeit a belief shared by thousands. It's not totally inconceivable that effects attributed to dark matter might one day instead be explained by yet-unknown features of the 'rules' of gravitation as they apply over vast distances. For me, here, now, the truth of Family Constellation effects is more scientific than dark matter – and no matter how sceptical and derisive the skeptics might be, I know what I know and, as the song says, they can't take that away from me. I'm with Galileo who, after he was forced to recant his belief in the motion of the earth, said under his breath as he turned away "And yet it moves".
Science and Family Constellations
So how do these observations on Family Constellations sit with regard to 21st Century science. Rather more comfortably than one might at first think. First, the twin phenomena of quantum entanglement and quantum non-locality, well established since Einstein's time (he referred to them as "spooky action at a distance") confound our very notions of space and time. The fact that two sub-atomic particles can influence each other over apparently unlimited distances, in zero time (faster than the speed of light), with no known form of connection or communication, whilst predicted by the equations of Quantum Mechanics, has absolutely no explanation in terms of present- day physics. In other words, even our conceptions of space and time are woefully incomplete: effects that go beyond those conceptions are not only possible, they have been physically observed and documented many times.
More than that, investigations into the nature of time have revealed that beyond the not-quite-impossibly short interval known as 'Planck time', time itself just drops off the scientific agenda. To put it another way: if you put time itself under a powerful microscope and look at it in finer and finer detail, at some point time just ceases to exist. So any argument against an observed phenomenon (such as we see all the time in Constellations) that 'it breaks the rules of time' can be countered with the fact that 'there are no rules of time' (other than our own beliefs).
If that sounds bizarre, try getting your head around the Quantum Zeno effect. Named after Zeno's Paradox (from early Greek times), this effect is based on the principle, again derived from Quantum Mechanics, that observation of a process can inhibit quantum transitions from taking place. This very real manifestation of the old adage that 'a watched pot never boils' has been demonstrated as an example of what's referred to in Quantum Mechanics as 'the observer effect' – in brief, you can't separate the observer from the experiment, the observer is part of the experiment.
This in turn pinpoints consciousness as a key player in quantum effects – and every effect in every aspect of everyday life is a quantum effect, or a cascade of quantum effects. Ergo, any attempt to explain any scientific phenomenon without reference to consciousness must be incomplete (this isn't a view that those skeptics would agree with, but that's down to their limiting beliefs). As soon as we allow for time and space being rather less rigid than we'd thought, and for consciousness being involved in real-life processes, those phenomena observed repeatedly in Constellation workshops begin to look distinctly less woo-woo and distinctly more substantial.
Just one more thing that we really ought to give a moment's thought: the Bose-Einstein Condensate. No, it's not a new rock group (though it'd be a great name for one!) or some sci-fi horror from another galaxy, it's just an alternative state of matter – just as solids, liquids and gases are states of matter. Except that the dear old BEC has some pretty bizarre properties (for example, superfluidity in Helium-4, which crawls up the sides of its container and spills out over the sides).
Embodying a principle proposed by the Indian physicist Bose and further investigated by Einstein, the BEC is a state of some types of matter at temperatures just a tiny fraction of a degree above absolute zero. At these near-zero temperatures the vibrations of atoms are pretty well totally stilled – and dozens, hundreds, even millions of atoms can enter a state of oneness that would make even the most adept group of meditators green with envy.
In essence, all of those atoms become one united whole, one super-atom. This is shown by the fact that the statistics of the behaviour of those atoms changes dramatically when they enter that state, as if they no longer each have an independent existence. Those hundreds, thousands, millions of atoms become in effect one combined pool of energy from which individual atoms can emerge as the temperature rises again.
Another way of seeing this is that the whole of our physical reality is one vast interplay of energies, and that our idea of separate particles and separate objects is a subjective impression, an illusion created by movement. From this perspective the manifestation of one person's consciousness through another person (as in Family Constellation work) is simply the flow of consciousness-energy from one part to another part of the energetic whole. Such a view would be pooh-poohed by those skeptics, who choose to believe that consciousness is simply a function of the physical brain – but various eminent scientists, from Schrödinger (father of the Quantum Mechanics wave equation) onward, have observed that this isn't a feasible proposition.
In brief: when we factor in quantum entanglement/non-locality, the Observer Effect (including, for example, the Quantum Zeno Effect and the Pauli Effect – named after the Nobel Physics laureate Wolfgang Pauli), and other-worldliness of Bose- Einstein statistics, the claim that Family Constellation effects have no place in our mechanistic particle-based universe begins to look a bit outdated.
So, back to last weekend. As is usual, each Constellation centred around one individual and traced its way back through the ancestors of that individual, represented by others chosen by him/her under the expert guidance of Sarasi Rogers as Facilitator. In every case some deeply significant, often traumatic, event in the ancestral line was identified and it could be seen how that event or circumstance had trickled down through the generations giving rise to the issue that had been brought to the Workshop by the subject for resolution.
As also is usual – or at least, not uncommon – identification of the root cause of that issue led in each case to a re-evaluation of those circumstances by one or more parties, creating in turn a re-evaluation of those past experiences that could likewise precipitate knock-on consequences down through the years into the lives of present generations of the families involved, and beyond. This is the stuff of Family Constellations and it is wondrous to behold, even more wondrous to be part of.
[Those who encounter difficulties with the idea of reaching back into the past to engender healing for the present, please see previous observations above on time and consciousness; there are various indications that consciousness is not subject to the dictates of time, and it's consciousness that we're dealing with here. We're not sending people – or DeLorean cars – 'back to the future', we're tapping into ancestral threads in timeless consciousness.]
So it is that subjects of last weekend's Constellations saw root causes, and likely resolutions, of the issues that had brought them to the Workshop. All present also saw and experienced a tremendous outpouring of love, a love that arises from intimate sharing of all-too-human frailties, a love that can face those frailties squarely and bring out of them something truly beautiful. So it is that lives are transformed, that ancestral traumas visited on the children "down to the third and fourth generation" (and sometimes way beyond) can be remedied and fragmented lives can be made whole.
Interestingly, looking back, for me this latest Workshop had an added dimension that I haven't seen before in such sharp relief – possibly a sign of the times that we live in. In at least half of the Constellations resolution of the issue involved a showdown with a representative of some massively influential power bloc: the Church, corporate Big Business, a Government in collusion with 'robber baron' landowners (all in historical situations). In each of these situations that representative came to see that the wrong that they had perpetrated (or been part of) had, in effect, cost them their humanity. That realisation in each case opened the way to resolving the issue at hand.
We live in a time when there is a massive, and widening, gulf between the obscenely rich and the desperately poor, when the power of life and death over whole nations is held by a handful of people – in many cases by a single individual. Could it be that, at a grassroots level, Family Constellation work has a part to play in healing this 21st Century global malaise?
Grahame Blackwell is an independent researcher into the nature of material reality and the role of consciousness in shaping that reality.
Information on his work may be found on his two websites: www.transfinitemind.com and www.ihs. ac (including details of three books published on that subject and various free downloads – articles, talks & presentations for SMN, Wessex Research Group and others – plus various other open-access resources).
Reflections on a Workshop in Devon, January 2014, with practitioner Sarasi Rogers - first published on www.scimednet.org