The role of conscience

In a family constellation we can find emerging different consciences which are interconnected and operate in the service of our relationships



Personal conscience

The personal conscience is felt by the individual and serves our belonging to a limited group. It not only connects, but also separates excluding others who do not belong to the group. This conscience tells me what I have to do to secure my belonging in the group; it tells me what I must do to avoid punishment or exclusion. So I have a “good conscience” when I do things that allow me to belong, to remain close to and to be respected by members of my group. I feel “bad” when I do something that excludes me from the group, when I lose closeness or security.

To really feel belonging to our family system we follow our family and its values approving things our family approves and declining things our family declines.

Sometimes the price we have to pay for this is very hard (e.g. when children take over their parents business though they would love to do something else or when people renounce to marry a beloved person because he/she is not within the correct social class).

The personal conscience makes distinctions between “good” and “bad,” it acknowledges the right of some to belong while denying the right of others. For someone not belonging to the same group or family, this so-called “good” or “bad” may actually appear to be totally different, but for those within it, there is no questioning.

Collective conscience

The collective conscience goes beyond the personal conscience for it includes and loves also those within a family or other closed group who were rejected and excluded for reasons of personal conscience. Thus it follows special laws, especially the “Right of belonging” and the “Law of balance”.

The collective conscience is amoral. It doesn’t make a distinction between “good” and “bad” or between guilt and innocence. It protects all members in the same way, with the aim to protect everyone’s right to belong, or to restore it where it has been denied. No one is separated from his or her family through death. This means that collective conscience treats the dead members of a family in the same way as the living ones.

The collective conscience is mainly concerned with the completeness of a group or a family taking care of maintaining fundamental group laws. It is not so much concerned with the well-being of the individual since it is in the service of the survival of the group/family as a whole – even if this means that individuals are being sacrificed in the name of that survival (e.g. when descendants unconsciously represent excluded or forgotten members at a great personal cost).

The collective conscience is in the service of love — in the service of the same love for all who belong to this family. It intends to restore what has being injured and bring back what has been lost in order to heal the whole family system.

Spiritual conscience

The spiritual conscience overcomes the limitations of the other consciences. It responds only to a creative movement of spirit toward everything as it is and giving the loving attention to everything as it is. This love knows no boundaries – and there are no more distinctions between “better” and “worse,” between “good” and “bad.”

Everything in our life is subject to the movement of spiritual conscience, whether we want it or not, whether we submit to it or we try to resist it. If we remain in tune with the spiritual conscience, we move and think and feel and act only as far as we perceive ourselves to be guided and carried by it.

Sometimes the movement of spirit seems too demanding, too big, too frightening – and we pull away from it. What we then experience could be called a “bad” spiritual conscience with the effect of a sense of restlessness, as a spiritual blockage or a loss of harmony.

This spiritual conscience is the “Golden Compass” in a constellation guiding us beyond the boundaries of the personal conscience and supporting us in honouring the laws of the collective conscience. It prepares the ground for us to remain in the service of life, of love and of peace.