Commentary re criticism of 

Bert's work and person

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Dear Lisa Marie,


even though I consider the article reasonably pointless, I still felt inclined to respond, understanding your concern.  But Bert says, it all belongs to the field. 
And sad for me to see it was our good old Tom who volunteered the translation of the so called Potsdam Declaration. It has not been talked about that much, though. 
For a start, as far as your connection to your client is concerned, I always advise people to come and experience a constellation for themselves, so they get their own impressions. When they are comfortable with it, they can be a representative themselves, and only do their own constellation when they feel comfortable with the process and the practitioner. If they are not coming to me and where they are there is no practitioner that I know, I even suggest to go to more than one practitioner as the differences are huge, and to see how it feels. 
There is no way of "convincing" people of the value of constellations, or of Bert's integrity. It is easier to do the opposite because Bert's way is different to what we are used to. Constellations are clearly a matter of experience.

I do not think it is worth it going into the details of this article. 
The article is from 2005, probably the peak of controversy, or more precisely, the parting of ways. 
Clearly, the article is largely enraged rhetoric and slander, with many less than half truths and outright wrong connotations (like saying Bert tells an abused child to kneel down before the abusive father and thank him- this is outright perversion) 
Much of what he says is garbled up hearsay. Like, the Reichskanzlei is no villa, rather a house with 14 small flats. He never intended staying there for any longer than what it took to have the newly bought house renovated. His home is not a "large therapeutic centre", he does not do workshops at home). He does what he can to leave no traces behind, other than those in hearts, souls, a minds.
The article is written by someone who has not exposed himself to the phenomenological approach. For anyone who has not done so and who believes the intellect is the only trustworthy source of information, of course Bert's method is rather dubious and potentially dangerous.
Also this man has not yet faced the issues of reconciliation in their depth. The German part in me understands the unresolved feelings some Dutch people still have. Some are not ready to reconcile, and I feel Germany should have done a lot more to help that process. But then again, being so burdened by guilt, one feels helpless, gets clumsy and shy.


The way I see it, this man, and others, Germans, who also wrote critical articles at the same time, only see the surface of the constellation process which says very little about the content, they hear only the words without their meaning in a specific context, and they have little experience of the world and reality of the soul.

Bert has no doctrines. For he acknowledges change and growth.


Bert's key question is : How can what was separated, come back together? How can conflict heal? How can peace be supported? How can love succeed?
I think it would be a good idea for all helpers to have these issues at heart.
So two issues are the core targets of the criticism:
1. the phenomenological approach, answering the question: How can we have a first hand experience about something rather than a recipe? How can we find out what helps in a specific situation?
2.1. a different philosophy, answering the question: What is truth, what does it do for us, how do we find it? 
2.2. and following o from there, a different spirituality, answering the question: What is the nature of deep spiritual connection? How do we find it, and what consequences does it have in our lives as individuals and as members of large groups and nations?
3. A third one is not directly mentioned, but usually included in the criticism: The idea of the autonomy of the individual is dismantled by Bert, not in theory, but through the phenomenological approach, and through the depth of spirituality.

So I feel, also from some German articles of the same time, the criticism and anger is mostly about what Bert has discovered about  conscience.
He has written a lot about it, again especially in the latest books. I had translated a handout of his from the end of 2006 which is about the different forms of conscience'

I believe at the heart of the matter is one central issue:
The question of conscience.
How do we relate to perpetrators and victims?
Bert's work is about reconciliation.
His books from the last few years all deal with the philosophical and spiritual foundation of his work, with his phenomenological approach where one can find out what actually works, rather than what is righteous.
Some of these books will come out in English soon. One is out already, "With God in mind". It contains Bert's inner dialogue with Hitler.
Now that dialogue makes him a true heretic in the eyes of many Germans, mostly of the post-war generation. Because the descendents are sometimes inclined to show their righteousness as  Germans by expressing strong anti-sentiments against the perpetrators, especially the Fuehrer, of cause.
Many post-war Germans also felt obliged to sit in judgment over their parents' and grandparents' generation who did not join the resistance. 
For the same reason Germans are particularly cautious about "following" anyone ever again. The person might turn out to be a little Fuehrer again. But thank God the Dalai Lama is not seen as a danger. 

So what to do with the perpetrator(s)? The traditional approach, at least in patriarchal culture is to despise, hate, exclude, kill them. This then shows those who are doing the despising, hating, excluding as righteous people. 
I remember something in a German newspaper when I was little where a man had murdered a child. The parents wanted to speak to the murderer. This caused uproar. Some people were totally enraged about these "disloyal" parents. 
So Bert is disloyal in this sense. Strange, because what he does is simply following Jesus in his love for all people. So to be a follower of Christ in this sense is not necessarily being a good citizen. but once upon a time murdering in the name of Christ was. Understandably enough though, because the Nazi era did not only leave other nations badly traumatized, but the Germans as well.

Germans after the war were quite helpless in what they could feel, express and do. Grieving over what Germany had collectively done is not easy when the guilt feelings are so overwhelming. Really facing it: Yes, this is what we, our parents etc. have done, that is equally overwhelming. So the first sentiment can be anger at the ones who forced the rest to do it, or in the next generation, at the whole generation before them, judging them, as if they could have all been in the resistance.
Even the recent statement of our chancellor Merkel still showed traces of frozenness, much as we were all glad about what she said. She said "It fills us with shame," Yes, of course it was a shameful thing to do. But how does that help us heal, how does shame touch the hearts of the Jews, and the Poles, and so on. Bert says, only grief does the healing. We need to feel the pain that was caused and weep and weep, finally together with those it was inflicted upon.

So back to the article. The criticism clearly comes from someone who is still frozen himself, not in the state of reconciliation. Living in his thinking, living in the conscience that judging the wrong makes us right.

Just about the most touching moment for me was when professor Haim Dasberg said in a small talking circle that he and Bert were holding together in Cologne at the conference in 2005. He said: "If only the Germans knew how homesick we are for Germany. But they don't miss us." At the end of the seminar I went to him, he was sitting i n a chair, I knelt in front of him and said: "You are wrong in what you said. Since I was a little child, I heard a voice inside me: " Oh how empty the streets are without our Jews." He looked at me. I added: "We do belong together after all!" He said: "I am not denying that".

So the point is not wasting energy, not forever getting stuck in hating the "culprit(s)", in a recital of "Never again". 

But rather feeling the unbearable pain underneath. Eventually the perpetrators will feel it, too. What is hated too much, cannot move. Tears unfreeze us, especially those that we shed together, and most of all those that are shared by people from the different sides of the severance.
When we are in that space, there is no need to criticize Bert for some rather minor human errors or simple idiosyncrasies, but every cause for taking ourselves there, where the hearts can heal and have a future together.
















 

           

Dear Lisa Marie,


even though I consider the article reasonably pointless, I still felt inclined to respond, understanding your concern.  But Bert says, it all belongs to the field. 
And sad for me to see it was our good old Tom who volunteered the translation of the so called Potsdam Declaration. It has not been talked about that much, though. 
For a start, I always advise people to come and experience a constellation for themselves, so they get their own impressions. When they are comfortable with it, they can be a representative themselves, and only do their own constellation when they feel comfortable with the process and the practitioner. If they are not coming to me and where they are there is no practitioner that I know, I even suggest to go to more than one practitioner as the differences are huge, and to see how it feels. 
There is no way of "convincing" people of the value of constellations, or of Bert's integrity. It is easier to do the opposite because Bert's way is different to what we are used to. Constellations are clearly a matter of experience.

I do not think it is worth it going into the details of this article. 
The article is from 2005, probably the peak of controversy, or more precisely, the parting of ways. 
Clearly, the article is largely enraged rhetoric and slander, with many less than half truths and outright wrong connotations (like saying Bert tells an abused child to kneel down before the abusive father and thank him- this is outright perversion) 
Much of what he says is garbled up hearsay. Like, the Reichskanzlei is no villa, rather a house with 14 small flats. He never intended staying there for any longer than what it took to have the newly bought house renovated. His home is not a "large therapeutic centre", he does not do worksops at home). He does what he can to leave no traces behind, other than those in hearts, souls, a minds.
The article is written by someone who has not exposed himself to the phenomenological approach. For anyone who has not done so and who believes the intellect is the only trustworthy source of information, of course Bert's method is rather dubious and potentially dangerous.
Also this man has not yet faced the issues of reconciliation in their depth. The German part in me understands the unresolved feelings some Dutch people still have. Some are not ready to reconcile, and I feel Germany should have done a lot more to help that process. But then again, being so burdened by guilt, one gets clumsy and shy.


The way I see it, this man, and others, Germans, who also wrote critical articles at the same time, only see the surface of the constellation process which says very little about the content, they hear only the words without their meaning in a specific context, and they have little experience of the world and reality of the soul.

Bert has no doctrines. For he acknowledges change and growth.


Bert's key question is : How can what was separated, come back together? How can conflict heal? How can peace be supported? How can love succeed?
I think it would be a good idea for all helpers to have these issues at heart.
So two issues are the core targets of the criticism:
1. the phenomenological approach, anwering the question: How can we have a first hand experience about something rather than a recipe? How can we find out what helps in a specific situation?
2.1. a different philosophy, answering the question: What is truth, what does it do for us, how do we find it? 
2.2. and following o from there, a different spirituality, answering the question: What is the nature of deep spiritual connection? How do we find it, and what consequences does it have in our lives as individuals and as members of large groups and nations?
3. A third one is not directly mentioned, but usually included in the criticism: The idea of the autonomy of the individual is dismantled by Bert, not in theory, but through the phenomenological approach, and through the depth of spirituality.

So I feel, also from some German articles of the same time, the criticism and anger is mostly about what Bert has discovered about  conscience.
He has written a lot about it, again especially in the latest books. I had translated a handout of his from the end of 2006 which is about the different forms of conscience'

I believe at the heart of the matter is one central issue:
The question of conscience.
How do we relate to perpetrators and victims?
Bert's work is about reconciliation.
His books from the last few years all deal with the philosophical and spiritual foundation of his work, with his phenomenlogical approach where one can find out what actually works, rather than what is righteous.
Some of these books will come out in english soon. One is out already, "With God in mind". It contains Bert's inner dialogue with Hitler.
Now that dialogue makes him a true heretic in the eyes of many Germans, mostly of the post-war generation. Because the descendents are sometimes inclined to show their righteousness as  Germans by expressing strong anti-sentiments against the perpetrators, especially the Führer, of cause.
Many post-war Germans also felt obliged to sit in judgement over their parents' and grandparents' generation who did not join the resistance. 
For the same reason Germans are particularly cautious about "following" anyone ever again. The person might turn out to be a little Führer again. But thank God the Dalai Lama is not seen as a danger. 

So what to do with the perpetrator(s)? The traditional aproach, at least in patriarchal culture is to despise, hate, exclude, kill them. This then shows those who are doing the despising, hating, excluding as righteous people. 
I remember something in a German newspaper when I was little where a man had murdered a child. The parents wanted to speak to the murderer. This caused uproar. Some people were totally enraged about these "disloyal" parents. 
So Bert is disloyal in this sense. Strange, because what he does is simply following Jesus in his love for all people. So to be a follower of Christ in this sense is not necessarily being a good citicen.but once upon a time murdering in the name of Christ was. Understandably enough though, because the Nazi era did not only leave other nations badly traumatized, but the Germans as well.

Germans after the war were quite helpless in what they could feel, express and do. Grieving over what Germanz had collectively done is not easy when the guilt feelings are so overwhelming. Really facing it: Yes, this is what we, our parents etc. have done, that is equally overwhelming. So the first sentiment can be anger at the ones who forced the rest to do it, or in the next generation, at the whole generation before them, judging them, as if they could have all been in the resistence.
Even the recent statement of our chancellor Merkel still showed traces of frozenness, much as we were all glad about what she said. She said "It fills us with shame," Yes, of course it was a shameful thing to do. But how does that help us heal, how does shame touch the hearts of the Jews, and the Poles, and so on. Bert says, only grief does the healing. We need to feel the pain that was caused and weep and weep, finally together with those it was inflicted upon.

So back to the article.The critisism clearly comes from someone who is still frozen himself, not in the state of reconciliation. Living in his thinking, living in the conscience that judging the wrong makes us right.

Just about the most touching moment for me was when professor Haim Dasberg said in a small talking circle that he and Bert were holding together in Cologne at the conference in 2005. He said: "If only the Germans knew how homesick we are for Germany. But they don't miss us." At the end of the seminar I went to him, he was sitting in a chair, I knelt in front of him and said: "You are wrong in what you said. Since I was a little child, I heard a voice in inside me: " Oh how empty the streets are without our Jews." He looked at me. I added: "We do belong together after all!" He said: "I am not denying that". 


So the point is not wasting energy, not forever getting stuck in hating the "culprit(s)", in a recital of "Never again". 

But rather feeling the unbearable pain underneath. Eventually the perpetrators will feel it, too. What is hated too much, cannot move. Tears unfreeze us, especially those that we shed together, and most of all those that are shred by people from the different side of the divide.
When we are in that space, there is no need to criticise Bert for some rather minor human errors or simple ideosyncrases, but every cause for taking ourselves there, where the hearts can heal and have a future together.