is central to the
purpose of Bert's work.
This may be within one person or a family, between warring parties,
and finally with our relationship to life and divinity.
"Reconciliation only comes about through the pain,
not through any commemorations and admonitions and accusations."
Bert's talk about peace at the Würzburg conference 2003
find this statement difficult, ponder on it.
As Bert works in many countries, war- and conflict- torn, the problems of the people show a background of the most painful wrongs that human beings have inflicted upon others.
In many situations, to get to the phase of reconciliation,
For deep reconciliation to occur, the perpetrators
need to feel the pain about what they did and grieve for the victim.
We may feel we only have a choice of condoning or
condemning. In fact, neither of them bring us closer to peace. Condoning does
not return the guilt to the perpetrator, and neither does premature
"forgiving". The guilt must fully return to the perpetrator.
Yet condemning, and its lighter forms, indignation, admonition, and only formal commemoration simply do not bring reconciliation of heart. They point at the perpetrators, not allowing a change of heart in them. They do not help the deep pain to emerge. And only there, in the shared grief, with all its consequences, does the abyss shrink.
Those who identify
with the side of the victim alone, without being one, feel superior. But they
have not paid the price that the victims paid, not looked into the abyss of
their own being. They have not been in the situation, for example, of the
perpetrator, in his real situation as it was then and as it is now.
Only for the victims themselves, and their close ones is it appropriate that they go through the range of all their feelings. For those who want to be helpful it would be good to already be in those feelings that can bring resolve. People who can do this are the ones we instinctively recognize as great, even though they may have a hard time amongst the keen co- warriors.
If the friends of the victims could first honestly grieve with them, and
then, from the victims' perspective, try to find out how the victims feel they
would best be served, more helpful attitudes of heart might result.
Secondary feelings serve the function of defence against the primary feelings.
Because the pain may be so strong, people fear being totally overwhelmed by
them, even dying if they felt them. So a whole array of avoidance feelings
exist, probably as old as humanity, and who knows, aspects can be seen in
animals as well. No wonder we struggle with it. The secondary feelings are all
feelings that somehow seem more bearable- while in truth perpetuating the
Spontaneous anger when under attack is a primary feeling. Primary feelings are
intense, but don't go on for ever. Afterwards, some emotional balance is
restored, and a degree of thinking and decision making, based on direct
relationship, rather than on churning feelings.
Anger, even hatred towards the aggressor, supported by action like revenge are so
deeply engrained that in most cultures they still have a certain moral value.
The indignant ones see
themselves as the righteous ones. If they are indignant in a culturally
permitted way, siding with the culturally appropriate subjects, they can assume
aspects of vengeance as well, even publicly. So, the secondary feelings of the
indignant ones have found an outlet. In it, they can cover and avoid their own
In old stories the wise man lifts his eyes
up to the mountain from which help cometh.
He may even go up the mountain himself.
The air is fresh and clear, and so is the view.
From here, he can see it all, everything.
He sees the love of humans in its many forms,
many of them sad, and dark, and confused, and ignorant,
unsuccessful in the great task of letting love grow.
Knowing it is all love, he takes heart and asks
for blind love to be turned into the love of the seer.
He knows he has to leave behind all lesser allegiances
when he is requesting to be taken into service by the Great Soul.
And with a heart full of awe and trembling,
he asks the Great Soul for help.
The answer comes: "Remain in the Great Love!"
And the gift comes as he knows the full meaning of surrender.
that which stood on opposition, finds one another;
that which excluded one another, recognizes one another
that which fought, injured, was at war, and perhaps even wanted to destroy each other, unites in grief about the victims on both sides and the suffering that was inflicted on all.
|The most important topics
Peace begins in the individual soul
Peace continues on in the family
How can we support peace in other fields?
peace does not avoid conflict
Peace is never completed
Peace is threatened especially by groups
Peace between peoples
Peace between religions
|What does peace accomplish?
Those who claimed superiority over others, considering them to be inferior or hostile, acknowledge one another as equal. They confirm the speciality that they have for each other, take from and give to one another.
The peace between them widens their personal bondaries, within these boundories it allows them the diversity and the respective peculiarity, and it permits joint actions.
|This peace begins in the
That which we have thrown away inside us, denied and regretted, may now take a place equal to that which we have been affirming. It will be acknowledged in its importance, in the consequences that it had, in what it contributed to our growth, and it will even be loved for it.
This expects from us that we take leave from the ideal if innocence, which neither demands nor imposes, which rather suffers than acts, which prefers in childhood to growth.
|This peace continues in the
Many families wish to remain innocent. For example, they place great importance to their reputation, and even keep secret, deny and dispose of that which they believe would destroy their ideal of innocence. In this way they become guilty in order to protect their image of innocence. They expel family members, are ashamed of them, and suppress the memory of them, because their burdened fate causes fear and because the memory of them is painful. In this way the family atrophies and isolates itself.
Peace in the family is not that which is simple and comfortable. Those who want peace here, face the burdens, the pain, the guilt. They give all family members a place in their soul, even if they are different, to what others would like or believe them to be . They face the challenge and the confrontation which in the end has the result of acknowledging others as equal and loving them
|How can we bring about
peace beyond this even in other fields?
First of all, perhaps only in samll circles, such as with neighbours or in the workplace, and later also where we carry greater responsibility, such as in an organisation or in politics.
Here we can only help peace if we honour the dignty of all involved, and their special qualities; that which they are and achieve and what they have contributed to the whole. This also makes it necessary that we honour their guilt and leave the responsibility for the consequences of their actions with them - for this also, belongs to a person's dignity.
|Peace does not avoid
For in conflict, people show what is important to them and were they feel threatened. In conflict they bring up their own concerns until such time when they have to admit, where and to what extent the concerns of the others act as a limit to their own. Only then, balance and exchange between them come up as an option. This allows everyone to mature and to be enriched through the particularity of the others. In this way, conflict is a requirement for peace and prepares it.
|Peace is never completed.
The eternal peace that many dream of would be a standstill. And yet, peace does bring completion to something: what exhausted powers in conflict before, can now step back, appeased. but we must allow conflict to recede, or else, it can be revived, even after solution. And what revives conflict? The memory of it! Therefore, what is in the past, must be permitted to be in the past.
|Peace is threatened
primarily through groups.
When we do not meet another human being from person to person any more, when we perceive ourselves primarily as a member of our group, and the other person as a memebr of his group, we become blind to the individual. As a part of a group we are easily alienated from ourselves- as if unconscious, and dissolve into the collective.
|Now the question is: How can we further peace between groups? For against the collective forces the individuals are largely powerless, even if they remain collected. What kind of options are left then? They must wait for the right time, when the destruction has exhausted itself. But they can prepare the way for peace in smaller, more intimate circles. This demands of them in the meantime that they endure the conflict, and even accept, and agree to it as unavoidable.|
|In my new book :"Peace
begins in the Souls" I document with examples from the last two
years, what perpares the peace in the souls. This concern on the
one hand the peace between peoples: for example between the Greeks and
the Germans in relation to WW2, the peace between between the Armenians
and the Turks after the persecution, the peace between Russia and
Germany, between Japan and the USA and between Israel and its
The book also talks about reconciliation between religions, such as Christianity and Islam, about the reconciliation between the conquerors and the subjugated, the reconciliation in the civil war in Columbia and the reconciliation between masters and slaves in Brasil and the USA.
|Often the conflicts lie way
back in history, but are still have their effects in the souls of the offspring.
With the help of family constellations, via representatives one can
bring face to face those that were involved originally. Then, perhaps
for the first time, they look into each other's eyes, see each other as
human beings who are similiar, with the same rights, the same dignity.
They come to see what they have done to others, what others have
suffered through them, and begin, to mourn together, for all that is
lost, they reconcile and find peace.
Only then are their offspring free to choose reconciliation, to give honour to the dead, and in memory of them they try to make up for past injustice, as far as that is possible. Then, finally, they can leave the past behind and take constructive actions in the present.
|Beim Familien-Stellen beginnt das Werk der Versöhnung in der einzelnen Seele und in der Familie. Wenn dort die Versöhnung gelingt, breitet sie sich auch auf größere Gruppen aus. Daher bleiben wir beim Familien-Stellen bescheiden und sind uns unserer Grenzen bewusst. Der tiefe und bleibende Friede entzieht sich der Absicht. Wo er gelingt, erfahren wir ihn als geschenkt.||In family constellations, the labour of reconciliation begins in the individual soul and in the family. When reconciliation succeeds there, it spreads to larger groups as well. Therefore, we remain modest in family constellations, aware of our limitations. The deep and lasting peace eschews our intentions and remains beyond them. Where it eventuates, we know that it has been given.|