Einige Beiträge der Festschrift zum 85’ten Geburtstag von Bert Heillinger in englischer Sprache. This edition as a pdf data file collects all articles for the Bert Hellinger 85th Birthday Commemorative Danke, Bert the editors received originally in English, plus a specific preface and an English translation of the introduction.
When translating the English or Spanish contributions for Thank you, Bert, we took great care to render them into German faithfully, but above all as closely to the author’s intentions as possible. However, as everybody knows who deals with translations, some part of the original always gets lost, or vice versa, something is added.
Initially, we intended to publish the original versions alongside the German translations. But the resonance to our call for papers was overwhelming. Even without including the original articles, Thank you, Bert has reached a volume of 220 pages. Consequently, we had to stop accepting further contributions, and also had to drop the idea of publishing bilingually.
A pity, of course. At Hellinger’s official birthday party it became clear that most of the guests couldn’t do anything with our commemorative publication – because they did not understand German. So, the purpose of this edition as a pdf-document is two-fold:
· German speaking readers of the book who also know how to read English or Spanish can enjoy the original texts, if they wish to.
· All the non-German speaking friends of Bert Hellinger can now read at least a good part of the 68 contributions.
In addition to the English and Spanish originals there is a translation of the German introduction by the publishers of the book.
Ursula Steinbach & Thomas Gehrmann
The Book Danke, Bert
is published December 2010 by
and available at the
Institut für Systemaufstellung und Meditation ISM
Grüner Waldweg 33. 34121 Kassel. Germany
This book centres the person of Bert Hellinger. Most of the contributions deal with questions such as: How do we experience his work? How did we experience our encounter with him? How did these experiences affect us?
For us, Bert Hellinger is a spiritual master, someone enlightened, a guru in the best sense of the word. Until now, no one but Turiyananda Höhne had advanced this view in a small article in a magazine five years ago. Besides this single instance we were quite alone with our view on Bert – or that’s what we thought!
Then we received a letter from a reader of Thomas’ book*). The sender wrote: “You mention Krishnamurti, whom I came to know personally. Bert and Krishnamurti are almost identical in what they say, even more, I think, than Osho.” Other comments showed that we were not alone in our views of Hellinger. And so we resolved to start this commemorative piece.
*) Über Psychotherapie hinaus. Die Entwicklung des Familienstellens nach Bert Hellinger. 2009. 362 Sn.
(Beyond Psychotherapy. The developement of family constellation work of Bert Hellinger. 2009, 363 pages.)
Bert Hellinger is not just a pioneer who once encountered and reclaimed virgin soil. In his work, he continually ‘goes further’. And he teaches us to do so too. This becomes beautifully clear in Joël Weser’s tribute article “Beyond the beyond”.
This process of ‘going further’ is not a matter of methods which can be grasped by means of theoretical debates. One has only to look at the man Bert Hellinger – to look into his eyes to be exact. Only then can one really understand the changes in his work over the last decade. We hope, that even for those readers who have not yet had the opportunity at first hand, that his ‘look’ shines through the many articles in this book.
We made it clear from the beginning that no one who wished to contribute to this tribute to Bert Hellinger needed to share our views of him. Nonetheless, some were put off. One of Hellingers old “road companions” declared that after some considerable thought he had decided not to participate in the festschrift:
“Almost 30 years ago, while Bert and I were going for a walk, I told him: ‘Bert, you are a great teacher for me’. He looked at me and answered: ‘How disappointing. I thought you are my friend.’ This cured all my cravings for a guru with one single blow that hit me to the core. He certainly knows how to apply the best interventions.”
Neither a good therapist nor a good guru tells absolute truths. They tell their client or their disciple whatever helps him to move on. They tell him whatever it takes to prevent him from settling down just where he is – for instance from becoming dependent on his therapist or guru. This is exactly what makes their statements an intervention.
Many authors in this book mention that they first ‘discovered’ Bert Hellinger around the year 2000. They started with Bert’s new development and his work. For them, what was ‘new’ was was not a break with what they saw and learned from Hellinger before. However, they were aware of the fact that this was the case for others, as Alejandra Pistorio describes in her text.
In one of our seminars a participant told us that she had attended an event with Bert Hellinger and was considering asking him for a constellation. Then, during a break, she found herself suddenly and unexpectedly face to face with him. For a moment, they looked into each other’s eyes, and everything was all right. Everything was all right. There was no need for a constellation any more.
When we asked her to write down this story for our book, she refused. It was not such a big deal. At satsangs she often experienced similar things.
How could we have imagined being alone in our views on Bert Hellinger and in our desire to honour and to thank him as a spiritual master?
Furthermore, we were surprised by the fact that more than half of all contributors had chosen the literary form of a letter. It is not just because of the occasion – a birthday celebration – that calls for a personal contribution. It also reflects the fact that by meeting Bert Hellinger a kind of relationship is generated.
In his workshops, clients sometimes sit next to him and start talking. Hellinger, who was initially looking at them, now looks around into the audience – while his client carries on talking. Then Hellinger asks the audience: “Does he want something from me?” Obviously not.
As a constellation facilitator Hellinger exposes himself to his client and his issue. He opens himself up and he waits for whatever will happen – he does so on the level of the direct meeting of two persons as well as on the spirit mind level. The same applies to his counterpart. The other too, must open up himself, must present his being here & now for whatever might occur. For something that has nothing to do with the person of Bert Hellinger but can only take place in this atmosphere of mutual presence and openness.
Not all contributions to this commemorative have such immediacy. The articles in the first section reflect on the question of how to relate to Hellinger in a suitable way. Those of the fourth section debate Hellinger’s philosophy and constellation work in a wider context. In the contributions of Mayer and Giegerich the name Hellinger does not even appear. And there is no need. In Giegerich’s article (“The ritual mask dance and its teachings”) the author himself vanishes behind his theme, just like the dancer vanishes behind the ritual mask. Or, just as the constellation facilitator as a person vanishes behind his work when he follows the movements of the spirit mind.
Among the many letters there was not one that was not a letter of thanks. Words of thanks were so many and so insistent, that we were positively bound to choose Thank you, Bert as a title for this book. Just like in front of our parents we find ourselves in front of Bert as the little ones. We are not equals. We cannot compensate, we can only thank. The gap remains, and that is a blessing because then the river can go on flowing down to us.
There are only a few articles in this book where Hellinger is explicitly called a spiritual master. Ramteertha for instance, even explains why he chooses not to do so. Still, in many reports a master-disciple relationship is depicted even if not named so. They give an idea of the richness and blessing that flow down to us through him when we remain below.
In the same way we remain below in the constellation work, just as Bert himself demonstrates. The attitude, which is so important for a constellation facilitator has often been mentioned. More often than not, it remains unclear what exactly is meant by this ‘attitude’. Hellinger has given us hints, but most of all he has exercised, demonstrated, lived it. Osho said that the master does not lay down a specific direction for the disciple. On the contrary, it is simply his way of being, his presence, that points at something that the master has realized while the disciple receives just a hint. That is the direction.
In 2009 during a course in Barcelona Hellinger discriminated between ‘doing’ and ‘letting’. He said that he himself was not “doing”, and that this is the difference between his work and common therapy. Therapy wants to achieve something and does something for the purpose. He instead was “letting”. This means, he lets go, he drops any intentions. He lets himself be led by the movements of the spiritual mind. This is not a technique which can be learned, but is a basic attitude which can be trained. Watching Bert in his work, we can tune in to this way of being, this ‘letting’.
Thanks for everything, Bert.
Ursula Steinbach & Thomas Gehrmann
Bert Hellinger’s „85th Birthday“ Tribute
Wow! What can I possibly say about a man who I consider a dear friend, mentor and colleague? He is simply the BEST!
His courageous insights on the subtle consciousness that resides in every family system are, indeed, a profound gift to the world. In the movements of the Spirit Mind the healing energy of hidden truths are manifest not only within our families but throughout all of humanity as well. For developing this eye-opening Constellation process he truly deserves a Nobel Peace prize! Now, at the age of 85, he still is developing this tool to help unlock the mysteries found within our lives: the Movement of the Spirit Mind.
Even Charles Darwin himself would be jealous of Hellinger’s discoveries concerning the interconnection of all living things on such a cosmic scale. Bert is always seeking to know more, experience more, and to push the boundaries of the exploration of consciousness even further, whether those benefitted agree with him or not. He continues to enrich all who experience any of his workshops or training intensives, imparting a breadth and depth that few have ever attained.
Each time I have the opportunity to be with Bert, I am always amazed at his sheer joy and excitement at taking others on the journey with him, working together and sharing the symbiotic experience. It is also very fulfilling to see him in love with his dear wife Marie-Sophie. She compliments him as yin is to yang, water to fire, and husband to wife. She also has a fierceness to go deeply in mind, body and soul, with a thirst for the truth that will help manifest healing and change at the most profound of levels.
Bert deserves ALL the love he could ever receive from her and from their growing relationship. Personally, I have a newfound and deeper love for my own family system and their challenges than I ever had before I discovered Bert and his amazing processes. It seems that the deeper the pain, the deeper the strength to endure it, and ultimately the deeper the capacity for love. I never would have been able to say that without the wisdom that Bert has helped me to experience. He is of true service to life, to something greater, even with its ongoing dance of perpetrator and victim.
The question is, can we accept the courageous insights he offers? One of his latest and most profound involves accepting everything AS IT IS. I find that when we are truly able to accept our parents, our fate, our lives and our destinies, we are given a newfound freedom and inner peace. Simply put, it ends the struggle to make things NOT as they were, and leads to the acceptance of things AS THEY ARE, allowing us to carry that clarity into the future. To me, this is one of Bert’s most important and profound insights to date.
In seeing the greatness of those who came before, we release ourselves from childish feelings of pettiness, and attain true adulthood all in one fell swoop — and with our tender hearts left intact! This greatness also extends to Bert himself. I see him much like Columbus in 1492, proving the world was not flat, but round. He too sought something greater than the limiting beliefs of the day, just as Bert does with his courage and conviction to see what lies beneath the invisible forces of love and life.
Bert has shared what he has discovered and learned with great zest and compassion, giving us a glimpse of something that can alter and impact us to our very core. He has been, and continues to be, a groundbreaking guide into the unseen realms ruled by the unknown forces that affect us all. He has allowed us to consciously follow our unconscious, our „spirit-mind,“ and to witness its movements of expression with deep compassion and reverence, allowing us all to be humbled by something greater.
Bert, I consider you my teacher, my mentor, and my friend. I too am humbled, and am in awe of what I’ve learned from you throughout this past decade. I happily and lovingly celebrate your 85th year of life on Earth with great joy, seeing Marie-Sophie at your side as you both smile, saying YES to life AS IT IS!
The honor and privilege has been mine. I feel truly blessed by your insights, and the experiences and methods that I learned in my „Spirit-Mind“ training, I am expanding here in America on your behalf, with great love and with great appreciation.
CHEERS to you, Bert, as you enjoy your Golden Years with your wife at your side in beautiful Europe, knowing you’ve spread the light of unconditional love to so many worldwide. Love, health and wealth to you both!
Mit Gross Liebe, Gary Stuart
With love and respect.
You know, sometimes you move so fast it looks as though you are flying. But, in fact, it seems to me that you have taken every single step, each heel to toe on the earth, grounded always, even when appearing ethereal. Because of this, we who are behind can follow, even when our paths diverge. For this reason, and others, I have grown up under your tutelage, or more accurately, have grown out. Grown out from the narrow possibilities that devotion to old information ensures, out into the wider envisioning that is related to creativity, not just as a task but as a life.
I wonder if I have thanked you for this.
In 2008-09, the loss of my cousin, my husband, and my mother were difficult to bear. Still, in the spaces, the question came, emptiness or reason, vacancy or room? Another lesson, bring them with me gently, ask nothing more, let them be and carry forth the love they gave.
And before that, the idea that my father and my brother could stand beside me – that it could never be too late – invigorated my heart. I had erased their remembrance. Now I could see that erasure was a violent act, requiring my energy and depleting my sense of self. It was a revelation. I thought they had abandoned me, but then I saw it: I had abandoned them. And then, there they were, with me, helping me, allowing me to carry their love too.
I wonder if I have thanked you for this.
I look at my son, my husband’s son, our son, calm and open, knowing that there is nothing I need from him, and that what he needs comes through me not from me. His father, too, is present always. In that way, he can lean if he needs to; more important, he can stand straight and tall, ready. His dad is so relieved to witness; I think he rests well.
I wonder if I have thanked you for this.
They are not small things that have your attention. The movements you articulate, find ever-new ways to communicate, are akin to the tides, to the ebb and flow of all of life, everything swept up into the “what is” in all of its vast variety.
The philosophers and poets of history are your colleagues, your fellow participants in the “great conversation.” But brilliance is so often aloof, not deigning to interact with people leading common lives. Thus, in addition to sharing your insights, your contribution is in showing us how to live them. And the echoes can undoubtedly already be heard in generations yet to come.
The Constellations are access, allowing people to move back and forth in time, to gather their resources, to lean into an attunement with the essential life-force. This level of attunement is beyond any notion of “therapy,” beyond the specific moment or particular issue, inviting people to change their life forever, not by altering any aspect of it but by including all aspects of it. Once freed from the specialness of despair, compassion for self and others is the natural expression being one among versus one alone.
I wonder if I have thanked you for this.
I have several memories of being at the beach, indistinguishable, of being overtaken by a wave and slammed into the dark underneath. As I struggled to find direction – light, air, life – I was pushed deeper and deeper still. Only once I gave in to that force over which I had no strength or will, let my body and mind surrender, could the wave deposit me on the shore. As your student, this is what I have gained beyond all else, or more succinctly, including all else: to always move with the current rather than against it, to bathe in its holding, to trust it even when I am overtaken momentarily, so that I can be deposited once again on the shore – or carried out into the great distance when the time comes.
Well, I am taking this opportunity to join so many others in thanking you now… for being my teacher, for guiding me back to my original teachers, for your great love and wisdom and generosity. Happy Birthday, dear Bert.
Happy birthday, I am delighted to be part of this “Festschrift” to honor you on the anniversary of your birth.
The 16th of December is a very special day for me. It is the day our daughter Holly was born in 1983. On that same day in 1925 another woman had been in labor giving birth to you. You have such a special place in my life and the lives of all our family, my husband and our children. The day Holly was born I rejoiced in all mothers and the gift of life as it comes through to all of us. I honor your mother today and your father and all of the people through whom life came to you. I want to also mention your wife Sophie, without whom, as you have said, your work would not have continued and developed in this later new phase ‘the Movements of the Spirit Mind’, or Tao which is the word Bert uses in China to express ‚ The Spirit mind‘; some people find it easier to understand.
You have taught me how important ‘everything’ is and ‘nothing’ is, just as it is, exactly as it is. How life comes to us from far away and how our relationship with Mother reflects our relationship with life itself and so with the source of everything. I have learned first to receive and then to give. I bow.
You taught me that there is no such thing as a mistake, I agree! Meeting life fully as it unfolds, journeying to the core, that’s the walking, waking meditation. I have received from you the continuously deepening wisdom of the principles of relationship; inclusion, reciprocity and order. Thank you.
You have opened up a meta space, a place beyond the confines of conscience. A place where everything ‘is’ and efforting rests, as in that space, there is only meeting. Life lives me… if I can just follow. It is like following the meditative breath of life at the most simple and the most profound level ‘bringing together that which has been separated’. Yes.
For your birthday, using your name, I have written a little poem.
I give thanks and wish every blessing for you. So many gifts I have received and it is your birthday!
With love and gratitude, Colette
B alance comes when all’s included
E verything is in its place
R eciprocity grows such riches
T imeless truths of every race.
H elping hands are clean of helping
E ntangled in the web no more
L oyalty reaches destination
L ove needs no conscientious whore.
I dentified is lost to present
N ow the soul will move at will
G oing towards its greater landscape
E ffort halts the movement till
R est becomes the daily rhythm, Grace becomes the daily state.
One day you came to Spain and sowed the seed of your knowledge about love orders .It gave so many fruits and such different types that lots of souls have had the opportunity of being fed by them and go on growing with it.
Then we all felt the need of being together and we acted upon someone’s own initiative (leaded by the Gestalt Institute in Barcelona) and decided to establish an association throughout Cataluña, that later was the AEBH: Asociación española de constelaciones familiares Bert Hellinger.
Since then our aim is to arouse interest in studying and investigating about this subject. We are the point of information and we ensure that the training has got high quality. For this reason we promote different activities in fields like medicine, therapy, education or organizations amongst others.
Our own works with family constellations have been a very important push in each member of the Association in our family and social relations.
Life goes on driving us into the development of this marvellous tool, through the soul movements.
The spirit goes on giving us the knowledge, through you dear Hellinger and all those who are already in the right road.
To walk with the family constellations is more than a traineeship. It supposes to look at the place where the family constellations live: above, looking at each one and at the whole at the same time.
In the eyes of this Association are included all the eyes and at the present time Bert Hellinger’s eyes are essential to surpass what we know until now.
And this is the aim that moves our Association.
Something is changing in the World. Perhaps it is our way of looking at it. Perhaps this is really what changes the World. The way we look at it when we breathe deeply with a smile in our face.
For all these reasons in the name of all the members of AEBH, the Board wants to say you:
Thank you for being here, thank you for all the knowledge you have given to us and sure you will give.
HAPPY 85 BIRTHDAY!
Verity and Justice
Bert Hellinger is Verity and Justice. Being a Christian he developed an understanding of the Truth – acceptance of everything happening in life with Gratitude to the Creator.
He doesn’t criticise as nobody else. He never judges. All the more he doesn’t try to make requital. He sees life as the greatest creation of God and accepts it with Gratitude.
He explains events in the Present believing that their place is in the Past. Present is evinced Past, the result of actions that did or did not take place in the Past.
Bert’s genius constellations prove two truths – God is and energy of the past lives never disappears, it is “written” in information field of the Earth, can be read and forms the Future.
Bert Hellinger is not an idiologist and religious mystic. He faces the Truth and is not weary to say aloud what he sees and understands. He doesn’t have stereotypes about life. He is objective and honest with himself. He is one of the discoverers who can see and understand things as they are not as he wants to or it seems to him.
Bert Hellinger reads the Past as if he doesn’t have the past, the experience that would tell him how things should or must be. He is like a child looking at the world with astonishment and gratitude and he is not horrified, not scared, he doesn’t moralize. Purity and Love is his starting point of perception of life and dialogue with the world.
He is a great Thinker. He thinks as God would think. It is no mere chance that one of his books is called “With God in Mind”. He is one of a few people in the world who love this world with endless joy, the world that was created by God and where there is God.
We have interest to his books because first of all there is a dialogue with God and love to God in them. He realized long ago that pain and misery is nothing but way to cleanup and enlightenment and that God is just and endlessly merciful. All happening on the Earth is being born from Truth and Love. Babies are born in blood and pain and we realise that it is the most beautiful moment in life and Bert appreciates this beauty of creation. And he brings us the light of this great Truth. The light of Gratitude.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude for your work, and wish you all the best in this special birthday. As president of the widest Association in organisational constellations (www.eurasyc.eu), with members at 22 countries across four continents, be sure that your work is also impacting public and private organisations across the globe.
And at a personal level, I am one of the thousands of Family Constellation facilitators across the planet that owe much to your work, as well as our clients (many of mines, for example, cured many heavy problems, such as Anorexia, and the vast majority solved their personal issues). Few single individuals have impacted our society across the history of mankind as you have.
From my desire that you live a still long and prosperous life, I recall the history of my Master, OSHO, who once commented that in the old ages, some wise men decided to leave the common society, for living at the very few places on Earth where there is no mental conditioning about the usual dying age of a person (about 80 years old). In those very few places, it is demonstrated that the human body is designed to live some 150-200 years old, and therefore in those places (some virgin regions of Cashmir, in India, and others around the globe) everybody lived over 120 years old, and with good health and much physical energy (they looked young).
With my best wishes, Oscar Rodriguez
When I met you in 1999 in Washington, DC at an alternative cancer care workshop, I had no idea that my life would soon be transformed in so many ways. I thought I was just going to another weekend workshop. I had read ‘Love’s Hidden Symmetry’ and had a general idea of what you were going to present, but the experience of actually feeling the dynamics unfold in a constellation and the unique experience of being a representative opened new doorways of perception.
That first taste of Constellation work initiated an intense few years of study and immersion into the world of systemic thought and the application of Family Constellations. My work as a chiropractic physician and energy healer began to transform in remarkable ways. I no longer looked at my patients, or myself, as solely individuals. I realized that we are all embedded into larger systems and groups. It showed me that most of the symptoms and issues that we all have are really extensions of deeper soul patterns.
The ideas you patiently taught us began to unfold into new ways of working the body, with my patients, and in my own personal growth. I will always be grateful to have ‘grown up’ enough to realize the greatness of my parents.
Bert, the healing principles that you taught in your life’s work continue to inspire and lead me to deeper understandings of self, and Self. Not a day goes by that I don’t find a deeper understanding of how the flow of love works in my life and the lives of those around me. I continue to explore the effects of family bonding patterns on health and the spiritual awakening process.
Hindu teachings say that all of life is God’s ‘leela’ or Divine Play. The Constellation work reveals to us how some of the roles we play are scripted. Thank you Bert for lifting the veil so that we might more consciously take our place in the Divine Play.
I send you my love and blessings on your 85th birthday.
How we remember Bert Hellinger
The teaching staff at the Bert Hellinger Center in Argentina held a meeting on September 1, 2010, to honour Bert Hellinger on his aniversary. We began to talk about our experiences with Bert and it felt as if he were there with us. We taped what we said and here it is in written form:
Something that I find wonderful about you, something I’ve seen from the beginning of your work, up to what it still is today, is that there is something that never comes to a halt. You never stop. You never stay put. There is never something that is in itself. There is something that has changed all the time.
I remember Palma de Mallorca in 2002; it was the first time I saw you working with the Movements of the Soul – I think it still didn’t even quite have that name yet, but you started there to work with the Movements of the Soul at the congress on psychosis. I remember people were very angry because you began to say things that were very different from those you had said before. So, I remember one person in the audience saying to you, “No, you said such a thing in an article and now you are saying the opposite…” (I think she was referring to abortion). Then you said a phrase I hold really close and which was, “This knowledge is like a flame, like fire; whoever grabs it and holds it too tight puts it out.”
This is what I most hold dear about you – your capacity not to remain tied to anything of what you have already discovered, instead you seem to be in a process, which is the process of life, in which everything changes. Even with regard to your discoveries, those which we could hold up as maxims, in your view there is always a further step. And if there is something about you I’d like to keep for me, for my life, it’s that possibility of always going one more step.
I was always struck by your gaze. At your seminars and training sessions, as you transmitted your insights to us, I used to look at the depth of your gaze and felt you transmitted much more through it than through your words.
When I stood in front of you and we greeted each other, shook hands, I felt that the greeting took place through the gaze, that we communicated with each other at the level of the soul. Your presence communicates at very deep levels.
I admire your open, empty gaze, through which you exposed yourself, allowing the discovery of the marvelous gift you gave us at each encounter. Your compassionate regard your sly look, that look that locates, that global regard.
In sum, I might say I admire your multi-dimensional gaze. Thank you!
One of the things I carry away as a memory are the meetings we had with you after the workshops, when you got together with the team. You were always generating something while answering all our questions. At a given moment, when the round with everybody had ended, in energy terms something had happened. I felt in a state of grace.
One of the things I admire in you is your capacity to evolve in the sense of love. The way it was along these eleven years I have been seeing you, how you opened up your heart over the course of this time and transmitted such a profound and important quality of love. I think you have modified us all.
The first time you came, in the year 1999 you made all of us who were there at the Gandhi forum do an exercise, which consisted in going to the kingdom of the dead to say farewell to all our loved ones. The exercise consisted in closing our eyes and approaching each one of our dead. When I finished doing the exercise I couldn’t recover because I saw people, many people, who were in a place which wasn’t either the realm of the living nor the realm of the dead. Then I had the idea or the understanding at that moment that I was with the “disappeared” people of Argentina.
Shyly I raised my hand and told you this. You made me come on stage and asked me to choose five people for the disappeared and three people for The Mothers (of Plaza de Mayo). I did so, I took up position among the people – I didn’t know anybody – and what you did was to place the people and do nothing. I wonder if it wasn’t a first Movement of the Spirit. Nobody said anything. There were no phrases – nothing. There simple were movements. One of the people I had chosen as one of the disappeared had something like a seizure, and began to move as if it were a convulsion.
It was a very strong experience for us; it was the first time we were seeing this. The exercise ended and when we returned from the pause you made at that moment (you made us all go out), that person who had been there as a representative, who had had that reaction, said she was one of the disappeared, had been kidnapped. I, at that moment, didn’t know where I was, what this was. It made a very great impression on me, which I’ll never forget. I also feel that my life and my husband’s life have changed; my life is no longer the same since I met you. I am very grateful, very grateful.
I first met you personally in April 2001, when you came to Buenos Aires for Holy Week. I had already begun my instruction previously and the only thing I knew about you was what I had read in “Reconocer lo que es” and in “Felicidad dual”. There were many subjects in the books that led me to ask, “Why do you say this? Where do you get this from? Why such certainty that things are this way?” At that time I had a lot of inner struggle between what you proposed and what I believed and the ideas I had.
When you began there, at the theater, I remember that it was with a visualization and that you told all of us there, “Well, close your eyes and imagine that behind you are your parents and behind the parents are the grandparents, and behind the grandparents the parents of the grandparents” and in that way an enormous line of people. And we were there, the four hundred people, with eyes closed, feeling moved, everyone moved by imagining all the generations before us and that they all passed something down to us and that this thing they had passed down had touched us in some way.
In fifteen minutes you generated that special atmosphere that allowed one to feel that one was beyond ideologies or words. From there I followed you almost immediately to Mexico, to Toledo, all in a row. It was in 2001; after that we fell into recession in Argentina. I described, as an anecdote, a personal thing: in Toledo I handed you a book to sign and you greeted me there and said, “Hello, Miguel,” and I said to myself, “Hello! Where do you know me from? How could you possibly remember me?” That is the feeling; I always felt very close. Although, internally, I struggled a lot with many proposals, I ended up like a dog belly up and you could do anything with me.
The last time I saw you was in Ecuador 2009 and I was very close to you all the time. You used to ask me to summarize what had taken place so that you could put a title on that part of the event. At one point you had worked a lot with the blows on the back and then I went up on stage – I was laughing a lot and said you could title it (that segment of the work) “How to learn to strike blows in the middle of the back.” You understood the joke, although I didn’t translate it for you and neither did Rosi (Steudel, Bert’s current translator for Hispanic America); you looked at me, put your hand ready, gave me a blow in the back, laughed a lot, and I felt fantastic.
I met you in Buenos Aires in 2001 during the first supervision you carried out in Argentina. I remember that on arrival with Tiiu you came to greet me because I was working on the sound and the recording of that event and I found it incredible that you should come to thank me for the work I was doing, when it was I who wanted to thank you for the work you were doing with everyone. That humility and that feeling of recognition made a strong impact on me and today I realize how much I learned just from that gesture of yours.
Because of my work I was unable to be there every day but I arrived at the theater on the last morning so as to be able to enjoy your work. It was Easter Sunday.
Later I was lucky enough to see you at other seminars in different parts of the world and furthermore to be always here when you came to Buenos Aires. Invariably, on your arrival you came to greet me and to continue teaching me the value of recognition.
Today, almost 10 years after meeting you, I would like to tell you what I thought when I came to know you: “Thank you for all that you do for us.”
There is a lot I could say about you but at this moment what comes most strongly to my mind is your generosity. Since 2001 when I got to know you and afterwards when I have followed you to one place at least once a year, what always fascinated me about you is that when you have a new perception you share it. Everything that comes in, you hand out. You don’t keep anything. And if you make a mistake, you later correct yourself. You are so transparent, so genuine and so generous. You never shielded yourself; you always gave priority to sharing what you were receiving with everybody. That always moved me. I am very grateful to you.
I would like to tell you the experience of having been close to you on stage as master of ceremonies. What I recall is the warmth of your hands and what very much drew my attention was that, when greeting you, you didn’t squeeze the hand you shook; I even felt I was squeezing your hand too much while you continued to maintain a natural tension in the hand. This happened to me both with your hands and with your regard, because in your regard there was no intention to delve into me or to do anything so as to see further. And nevertheless, that non-intention in your regard was as if something opened up in me in my meeting with you. This is what I shall always remember.
I remember something similar to what Alexandra told us: in Mexico a man stood up and said, “Bert, you said something in your first book that totally contradicts what you just said.” At that point you adopted your smile of always, that sly smile, and said, “What do I care what I said ten years ago?”
One thing that I recall is very personal. When you came in 1999 we had organized the event at the Gandhi and I invited you to a barbecue at my house. You came with all your team.
At that dinner you asked me how I had managed to buy that house. I began to tell you the story, how difficult it all had been… and you immediately stopped me and said, “No, no, don’t keep on talking. This is not important. You need to read the Letter to the Philippians. You’ll find some advice there that’s really important.” I thought, “The Letter to the Philippians. Where am I going to find it now?”
Luckily Ruth Junker had a Bible in German, because I wouldn’t have understood it in Spanish at that time. It was a quite long text. And suddenly I found it. In the text 3:14 of the Philippians Apostol Pablo says: “ …forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead I continue my pursuit toward the goal“ That phrase has accompanied me all these years. Always reaching forward.
I remember that once we went to eat at the grill-restaurant of my husband, together with Miguel and Néstor. And you looked at every detail of the restaurant and said, “How nice, what Leandro has achieved here, what he has done.” And I said yes, and that I hoped he could take that success and keep it up. And I told you he came from a humble family and that they aren’t used to achieving such a success. At that point you looked me in the eyes and said, “He should tell his parents, ‘I am your success’.” I remained thinking about what this meant and you were watching me. Then you said, “I can see you didn’t understand. It’s a phrase you should also tell your parents, ‘I am your success’.”
I am very grateful for all you have taught me over these years; from the first moment in 1990 I met you until now. I’ve had my moments of resistance because I didn’t always instantly understand what you were passing on. It took me time to experience what you were teaching and until it makes my own knowledge and I could teach it to others. So I understood the importance of walking with the spirit because it releases us from taking decisions which we are unable to take. Thank you for everything.
At this time of his 85th birthday, I reflect back on meeting this remarkable man. I first met Bert Hellinger when he invited me to present at his conference in Wurzburg, Germany. At that time we had a brief encounter. We discovered that we had a number of students who were studying with both of us. He had wanted to learn more about my approach and what I was teaching. So some time later, he sent word that he wanted to observe one of my trainings. Bert arrived for my advanced level Somatic Experiencing trauma training in Switzerland. I wondered what he could possibly comprehend without the background of the previous courses. However, during that time I had the uncanny experience of him observing me teaching. It became clear that he was taking in much more than the content of what I was presenting; he was observing its essence, and seeing into my soul. I was deeply touched by this. And when I did a demonstration, he seemed to be tracking it at a profoundly deep level.
During the time of the class in Weggis, we shared many of our meals. During those memorable encounters, I got to experience both the pioneering brilliance of this extraordinary man as well as his compelling quality of innocent curiosity. I was of course honored that he had the interest in what I was doing and so grateful to learn from his profound simplicity. What became clear was the vast wisdom of this man and our varied but shared conception that deep healing does not come from the retelling and rehashing of an individual’s “story” but from universal archetypes operating through the ether of ancestral memory. Most compelling about meeting Bert was his passion and tenacity to go to the root of a solution, to take the journey of the soul. The I Ching (the Chinese book of changes) says:
“We must go down to the very foundations of life. For any merely superficial ordering of life that leaves its deepest needs unsatisfied is as ineffectual as if no attempt at order had ever been made.”
Bert Hellinger’s commitment to this principle is unwavering. He is a seeker of truth and of the journey of the soul as it lives through us. Thank you Bert.