Peace is part of the picture.
Nobody doubts that. Yet we are at war for years. German soldiers are actively involved in several military conflicts abroad, traumatize and are traumatized, kill and are killed. Peace in our country has begun to crumble, war comes back to us as a terrorist attack like a boomerang. This applies to many countries in the world at the moment.
Peace is part of the picture.
We must not permit, that it disappears and a new wartime is awakening.
What can we do?
The systemic constellation „Peace and war“, which I facilitated with Anngwyn St. Just Ph.D. (Social Traumatologist, USA) in the workshop „Men, women and peace“ during the recent Sowelu Institute Congress for Systemic Intelligence in Mexico City on the 21st of May 2016 gives some surprising answers.
Women repulse the peace of men
This statement surprises in a male-dominated, patriarchal world and dismayed many of the present women. One female participant put it this way:
„I felt a deep pain in my soul. It was very painful to acknowledge my own violence, that violence born many years ago before my existence, where pre-Columbian Americans didn’t have the opportunity to take care of their women and kids. The violence in which women had to exclude men to take care of themselves.“
Perhaps this is the key for the understanding of this phenomenon. The women in Central America had to experience that their men were not able to protect them in pre-Columbian times from the repeated raids of hostile neighboring peoples and later from the conquest and the attacks of the Spaniards. Many of the men lost their lives and the survivors lost their dignity. They declined in the esteem of women. Men could not be relied on, they died in recurrent wars and still die today in the street fightings of the drug cartels.
Women who have been traumatized for generations in this way, apparently cannot engage themselves wholeheartedly in a relationship with a man. The man will anyway go to war again, a war which he cannot win, where he will die or from which he will return as a broken, traumatized something and it will be the women, who will have to take care of him like a child. The women had to be the strong ones. They no longer did rely on the strength of men.
Declined in the esteem of women in this way, men could not find peace in the union with women any more. The rage of women caused by the collective frustrations of the past stands in the way of a peaceful fulfillment.
This is not a purely Central American problem, but a global phenomenon with regional differences. In Germany too, it would not be surprising if the traumatizations of the last world wars would still play a role in the relationships between women and men. Perhaps German women may not only be disappointed that their men could not protect them from the bombs of the Allies and from thousandfold rape and thousandfold death, but also that their men have brought this suffering to their wives and children by previously pouring exactly the same suffering a million times over the people of the neighboring countries.
What respect can women have for men who forgot the basic rules of humanity and are too weak to follow their conscience?
Since the cause of the problem lies in the experiences of previous generations, today’s women can feel free to lay down the burden of mothers and grandmothers and establish respect for men in there souls again, no matter what may have happened in the collective past of their own people. Then they can dispense with the idea that men are too weak for a blissful relationship among equals. Women can give up on seducing men in order to dominate them later on. By disclaiming this type of domination women get a great advantage, namely a relationship that happens at eye level, a real encounter, which provides a delightful peace for both in a happy relationship.
On the other hand, men who were exposed to the humiliation of the defeated warrior over generations can become aware of their value and their strength and regain their inner dignity. This process gets complicated by the unduly strong binding of men to their mothers who tied their sons emotionally to close to themselves to compensate for the actual or emotional absence of fathers and grandfathers.
It is the duty of mothers, to find their own dignity despite all the disappointments and to release their sons from this emotional dependence. In turn the sons have the task to say good bye to the too close nearness to the mothers, by giving up the idea that they could replace father or grandfather in any way.
For this, of course, the sons need the fathers. In a field of lost dignity the contact to the father is difficult. Maybe a disregarded man perceived his son, who was treated by the mother like a Prince, as a potential rival and in turn suppressed and devalued him. Perhaps the son who was misunderstood by his father in this way, had no other choice as to devalue the father as well after mother’s example, as to deny his dignity and thus to deprive the respect for his own male strength.
It is the task of the fathers to find their own dignity inside despite the humiliations experienced by the lost wars of the past, to see the son’s innocence of the youthful Prince and to recognize the dignity of the later, adult male in him. It is the task of the sons to connect with the graceful core of fathers and forefathers and thus to find their own dignity and self-respect, no matter what kind of life the fathers have been leading and what mistakes they may have made. This process also includes giving back the burdens, which arose from a possible personal guilt of fathers and forefathers during wartimes.
When the relationship to mothers and fathers has been clarified in this way men succeed to recognize their adult power and their full dignity. Then they will no longer permit being seduced by women who want to gain control in the old power struggle of gender, but will feel attracted by women for whom mutual respect in a relationship is important, and who are capable of it too. Of course, this includes respect of men for women and the respect for the peace that women provide in their hearts.
Peace is part of the picture.
The next finding of the constellation was also surprising:
Women find war attractive!
When I saw this in the constellation it came to my mind that some women are fascinated by uniforms, parades and marching music. A heroic warrior, who is decorated with the insignia of strength and power, has effect on women for sure. Because the powerful warrior or soldier promises maximum protection for women and children against enemies. A man who can protect children is attractive. It makes sense to have children with him.
This fascination of the warrior and the readiness for war arises from the feeling of protection and security. At first it refers to the defense case when the community or the people is actually attacked by an enemy. There it makes sense. But apparently this fascination remains even when the defense case is only faked by means of war propaganda, but in reality is a war of attack. Even the biggest aggressor must pretend to the people and the women in the country, that men only defend their country. Every army only „shoots back“.
The beauty of strong, proud warriors who are able to defend women and children at home, often persists in the eyes of women, even when the misguided warrior „defends“ the peace of the homeland in a faraway country and kills women and children there. Only when war comes back into the homeland, the picture is changing. But then it is too late.
But it would be easy to distinguish a defensive war from a war of aggression. Whenever a soldier passes the border of his own country in full armor, without the country having been attacked, it is a war of aggression. So Germany wages aggressive wars for years.
To the question of how women can withdraw their favor from war, the Mexican Constellation had only one answer: The insight into the true relationship between peace and war. Only then women can take the soldier’s so admired uniform off before he crosses the border of the country to fight in foreign lands.
The relationship between war and peace
There was a phase in the Mexican Constellation, in which war was standing at the center and kept man and woman away from each other. Though peace circled around this center, it did not have access to the operative center. Only when many people appeared and formed a community, a society, the situation changed. Communities, which are formed by normal people, who are not stirred up against each other, obviously search for peace all the time. Peace is strengthened by communities of this type and can oppose war. The more the basic relationship between peace and war shows up, the more the true nature of the relationship between women and men can become evident. The closer peace comes to war, and the more peace and war can clarify their relationship, the more women and men approach each other. This happens in the midst of society and through it.
An individual couple, which is kept apart by the aftermaths of wars of the past and the present, does not succeed in this.
Transmitted to the meta-level, this means that one can only understand and heal relationship disorders that have this background, when one considers the large social context of society and the relationship between peace and war on the level of international relations.
In the Mexican Constellation the following developments took place in the relationship between peace and war:
By the approach of peace war developed the ability to feel itself. War felt its heaviness plus a deep wound in its center. Every thing is always what it is in the center. Therefore, one can also say that war itself is that wound. This means that war as a wound mightily shows up again and again until it finally gets healed. My intuition tells me that this wound is a primordial injury, maybe it is the first deadly stab that a brother had inflicted on a brother.
It was interesting that war saw peace as a partner. Only when peace approached, war could feel its wound and show it. At first peace did not understand this. It had not yet realized the real center of war. Though peace moved into the relationship between man and woman and strengthened their connection, war was only a step or two away.
At this point peace laughed about war. Peace thought: „Why? Why do they want to suffer? Why is this necessary?“
In addition to the relief that the eruption of a long held-back energy offers, there also was a touch of madness in this laughter, a madness that seems to be inherent in a false, superficial peace. In men, this false peace provoked aggression. They wanted to aggressively silence this still superficial peace in its eruptions of cheerfulness.
So it was war again, who took the next step. He embraced peace against its will with the intention to eventually show its wound. It was a surprise at this point that during being embraced by war peace felt at peace. Although peace doesn’t yet perceive the wound of war consciously, the mere closeness to this wound in the center of war brings peace to peace. This may explain why at the war-outbreak war somehow feels right for some people, and that despite the knowledge of the coming suffering and death some relief arises that „it finally starts again.“ This phenomenon especially became obvious at the outbreak of World War I. The eyewitnesses Carl Zuckmayer ( „A part of myself“) and Ernst Jünger ( „Storm of Steel“) described this phenomenon impressively. The feeling that something might be right on war, perhaps has its roots in the central wound to which war repeatedly points by its appearance, the primordial injury, which a brother inflicted on a brother far back in time, and which calls for healing so bitterly.
Euphory in Germany at the outbreak of World War I
In this context, a statement of the position „War“ in the Mexican constellation becomes understandable, which was expressed in the beginning phase in which the representatives did not know whom they were presenting:
War is full of love for everybody.
This statement surprised everyone present. It is understandable not until war is seen as a wound of humanity searching for healing, as a disease which only wants one thing: to point out that something is fundamentally wrong, that the idea that we could be enemies for each other is an evolutionary error in human thinking and that it is time to switch to a higher level of evolution. Viewed from this level, war brings together brothers of humanity over and over again, war leads brother to brother, so that they, instead of shredding each other like for thousands of years, recognize each other, embrace and find peace with each other.
At this level war and peace belong together. They are a pair. War understands itself not before peace is approaching. And peace realizes its deepest essence only if it is surrounded by war. When they part again, peace can see the real face of war and give it respect for its strength. This respect is not only directed at the extraordinary strength and force of war, but rather, albeit still to some extent unconsciously, at the fact that this force is at the service of healing the deep and ancient wound of humanity.
Although peace respecting war leads to the result that war is overestimating its power and tries to suppress peace (because its wound is still not seen), peace recollects its strength in this moment and re-erects to its full size against the resistance of war. War loses its power, implodes, withdraws from all areas, leaves the society and goes to a far away place.
The reassuring insight is:
Although the nature of war is not yet fully understood, peace has the greater power. If we allow peace to erect fully in our midst, war withdraws automatically.
Like light dispels darkness, peace dispels war. Such the systemic position „War“ in the constellation, standing far away from the center of the community, saw a powerful, mighty light in all human beings, which blinded it and further weakened it.
At this time, war was hit by the piercing eyes of the dead, who were lying on the floor in front of it. Thereby war recognized itself completely and felt enlightened.
This corresponds to a phenomenon that often shows in family constellations, when it comes to wartime events: True peace is achieved not before the victims are seen and respected and the perpetrators and murderers lay down side by side with the victims and become like them.
But even if all this is done, if peace is erected in the middle of society, if war, recognizing itself, is already far away, if man and woman stand together as a united couple in love, there is still a serious threat waiting:
For the young men war continues to have a magical attraction.
War was part of man for a long time, was part of his self-image. When war retreats so unceremoniously, man feels an inner emptiness that he can only fill by leaving woman and going to war. To avoid this, obviously a ritual goodbye to war would be needed, a conscious and in front of the whole community outspoken sacrifice of profit and loss, a ritual farewell.
The individual woman does not succeed in preventing man from moving to a far away place and to war again. This requires the entire community which, in form of many men and women, seeks close contact with the leaving soldier and takes off his combat uniform, before he leaves the country. The old, wise men play a vital role in this process. They can see the lack of experience in the young men and feel what they need. At the chest of grandfather young man can find home, stay at home and detect the advantage which home offers: The quiet, peaceful connection to woman.
It is crucial to stop the young soldiers at the border, to take off their uniforms and leave them in the country and in the peaceful arms of women. This aim is worth all the effort. If we do not reach this goal, new wars cannot be stopped and cannot be controlled.
The wisdom of the old men lets the young soldiers look at the dead people they will be killing in war, at the dead comrades too, who will be killed next to them, and also at their own death, which they might find on the battlefield or carry home to burden it onto their families. This awareness may stop them from going to war. The old men’s wisdom realizes what soldiers really are, young men, who are at risk to run in an old trap in trance, boys who do not know what they are doing.
This works out through solidarity within the center of society, in standing together of many like-minded people who want to preserve peace out of conviction.
We have to keep an eye on war.
We have to keep an eye on war, even if it is far away at the moment, otherwise it will explode. That’s one of the messages of the position „Peace“ in the Mexican constellation. The knowledge that war exists, what nature it carries and which consequences it has, and that it can come back at any time, if things are not nipped in the bud, safeguards peace. Memory of the victims and respect for their fate plays a crucial role. Memory of the past and mutual respect in present times are serving peace.
Make peace with yourself
If the ancestors of one’s parents fought a war against each other, one carries a very personal potential for conflict. The result is dispeace with oneself. Inner restlessness, dissatisfaction and inability to find a home and to entirely belong somewhere are typical phenomenons of this condition.
Only after the Mexican constellation I realized that I am personally affected. My grandmother was Czech. I am Czech and German at the same time. The history of warfare of these two peoples is still young and well known in its details.
To make peace with oneself in such a situation, one has to disarm the „soldiers“, whom one brings into action against people of the other country, right on the border which goes through the midst of one’s own personality. At this level the „soldiers“ are thoughts, prejudices and attitudes that one maintains about people of both sides. In my case this means that I set under close scrutiny every thought that I have about Czechs, and every thought I think of Germans. Did these attitudes evolve from my own experience, or were they developed by the one nation against the other nation out of bitter experiences of war?
Only when you have found peace in yourself, you are ready and able to truly and wholeheartedly get involved with a relationship.
Peace between man and woman
Anngwyn wanted me as a partner for the workshop „Men, Women and Peace“, because as a German I would be a „former enemy“. It took some time before I understood what she meant. She is from England, her ancestors fought against Germans. In the English soul apparently former wartimes still rub off on us contemporary Germans. We are the „former enemies“. I did’nt take that serious at all. My direct ancestors did not fight against Englishman, at least during World War II.
However, as I write this, it crosses my mind that my grandfather had been at the Western Front in World War I, thus could have fought indeed against the English. With my Czech great grandfather this also is not excluded. Anyway, I’ve never had anything against the English personally, on the contrary, I like them.
Anngwyn is a friend of mine for over 15 years. We respect each other in our professional skills. So at first I really did not know what she meant with „former enemy“.
With the constellation „peace and war“ in Mexico City, however, the quality of our relationship changed. I noticed this, as we sat in a circle with the group after the constellation and traced what we had experienced just now. Sitting next to Anngwyn I looked at her and felt a new relaxed atmosphere between us. I have’nt been aware of any tension or problem before. And yet something was gone, which previously had disturbed. Intuitively I understood that this something was a result of former wars and that real peace was arising now. We were no longer Englishwoman and German, we were two friends who meant well for each other. I crossed my legs, leaned back and made jokes with her. In front of the group Anngwyn invited me to come with her to England, to celebrate a peace ritual at a war memorial. After some hesitation, I agreed. The way to England, to London, which I have never visited so far, is all of a sudden open to me.
What I am saying with this little story is that one can overlook a warlike disturbance in a relationship if it exists from the beginning. One can get used to a certain level of mutual distrust, a certain level of defense preparedness and can consider the warlike atmosphere or the lack of real peace as normal. Only the complete absence of warlike potential lets us know what deep peace feels like.
If this has a significant impact even in a professional partnership, how much more intense this effect might be felt in a love relationship, in which true peace can be passed to children and grandchildren.
In every relationship between men and women it is worthwhile to search for war potential, so that peace can arise. If the fathers or grandfathers of partners have been fighting against each other, if the ethnic groups or peoples of the partners were enemies, you normally will find something. Then it is necessary to pull the combat uniform of the next soldier, the one who wants to attack next.
In a couple relationship in which you become the aggressor yourself, you have to solve this problem by yourself. You can only achieve this when you gather the community of your ancestors, the wise elders, when you look at yourself through their eyes, and break the old pattern of recurrent war this way, which ultimately is directed against loved ones. Mutual respect is the path by which this goal can be reached.
The Kiss. Sculpture of Auguste Rodin
Peace of children
We were all children once. Discord in current relationships you normally learned as a child in the family home. If we succeed as adults, to end war within us and in our partnerships and let peace move in, we also create peace for the children, who in turn can pass it on to their children and grandchildren.
Without knowing, families got in a vicious cycle of recurring aggression and mutual devaluation by the effects of past wars. By recognizing this, we can get off the carousel of always the same thing.
The children will thank us for it.
For peace within yourself:
Ask yourself whether the ancestors of your mother have fought a war against the ancestors of your father. If the answer is yes, imagine that you are standing on a large field. Representatives of the one nation arrive from one side, representatives of the other nation approach from the other side. Watch how they shake hands and make peace after all this time.
For peace in your couple relationship:
Ask yourself whether your ancestors fought against the ancestors of your partner. If the answer is yes, imagine that you are standing on a large field. Representatives of the nation of your partner arrive from one side, representatives of your nation approach from the other side. Watch how they shake hands and make peace after all this time.
For peace in the world:
Imagine, you are trolling the streets of a big city by foot. You come across many people, even from other countries, with different skin color or with other religious preference. Consider yourself and everyone you see as a citizen of this earth.
Greet each person with: „I greet you, brother“ or „I greet you, sister.“
Perceive in calmness what happens within you doing so.