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whose karma is it

Ever since the emergence of ‘alternative’ healing in public awareness, conventional medicine has questioned the efficacy of treatments not based in Western science. As research has begun to catch up ancient medical treatments such as acupuncture, herbs and teas are being validated. Now, researchers are expanding our knowledge about the human brain, how it develops and the impact of individual experience not only on the individual but on subsequent generations. This, too, is consistent with alternative healing processes.

Mirror Neurons

karma and family constellations

Scientists[1] have identified what are called ‘mirror’ neurons. These neurons are active immediately after birth and cause the baby to mimic what it sees and hears. This is how babies learn speech, behavior, and to make sense of their world. Witness a 2-year old playing and you witness this phenomenon in their interactions with teddy bears, dolls, and inanimate objects.

This early learning is encoded in the brain. Neuroscientists say, “what fires together, wires together.” In everyday parlance, “practice makes permanent.” That is, repeated experiences set off the same set of sequences in the brain time and again. Repetition assures what is learned is retained. A child who witnesses his parents’ affection for one another builds one set of expectations about relationships while a child who watches his parents continually spit fire builds a different set. This isn’t news; we know that the example of parents has a lasting effect.

healing ancestral lineage

So, children are formed by the behavior of their caregivers as well as the biology of their DNA. Through research we also know that DNA is not a fixed package. While the genes are set before birth, it takes many genes, working together, to determine specific outcomes related to health. Life experience is also a critical factor and can cause the production of hormones and other biochemical messages that activate or deactivate genes. That is, an individual with a gene set that predisposes them to certain illnesses, such as various cancers, may or may not develop the illness.

Healing Ancestral Lineage

spiritual law of karma

However, when a life event changes the behavior of a gene, turning it off or on, that change can be passed on to the next generation. One study of mothers who experienced famine during pregnancy showed increases in heart disease and obesity among their children. Another showed the effects of unheated homes during a period of extreme cold.[2] Epigenetics is the study of such genetic alterations that can be inherited. Now, some researchers suggest “the prospect that ancestral experiences are written in our epigenome.”

While that idea may be new to science, it has long been part of the cultural understanding of indigenous people and the Bible notes that the sins of the father are visited upon the sons for three or four generations.

Constellation Healings

karmic awakening

Constellation healings, developed by Bert Hellinger, are also based in the belief that the individual is affected by his/her ancestors through several generations. Hellinger speaks of a family soul and conscience as well as the individual soul and conscience. Violations against laws of family love may prompt a child to suffer, seek resolution and make amends for earlier generations.

The struggle and difficulties of the individual occur within the ancestral family group. Families are affected by their country, ethnicity and movements of history. These consequences, for good or ill, can pass to later generations. An individual may feel guilt, shame, hatred or mistrust not just because of their own experience but the unspoken, hidden and untold experience of parent or grandparent. The goes also for an ethnic group or nation. War, crimes, even great good fortune left unresolved can have repercussions for the descendants.

Whose Karma Is It?

karmic connections

So, whose karma is it? Family karma? Ethnic? National? If we are part of a greater karmic scene, what is our role to resolve what is unresolved? Can an individual ‘escape’ his heritage? Is it his/her responsibility to heal?

Whatever the bigger picture, what’s important is: what does this person need now to find peace? In a Constellation setting, relationships are made whole and suffering is alleviated through the power of the spoken word within the field of the family’s energy. Whether Constellations are a form of prayer or a psychological ‘emotion-intervention’, what matters is the efficacy of any healing process. Alternative healing isn’t magic or ‘woo-woo’. There are conventional treatments as well as alternatives. With research, the best of both may emerge.

[1] Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D., The Body Keeps the Score, (New York: Viking, 2014), 56-59.

[2] B. A. van der Kolk, M.D., The Body Keeps the Score, 152.


If you’re looking for spiritual guidance in Scottsdale, reach out and contact Dr. Sandra Egli at Center of Intention to start your holistic journey. Call 480-582-3374 today!

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Meditation: Sandra Egli
Music: Torey Ronhovde

The wisdom of a thousand generations guides you today. Only listen. Without a sound their voices reverberate in your cells. Settle within and choose your path.

All of us come from strength, fortitude, perseverance. No matter how difficult their lives, our ancestors made it through and passed on life for the next generation. Over and over, until it came to you. The intelligence that guided them has also come to you.

To Thine own Self be true.

If I could present you with a single blessing, it would be the gift of Mindfulness. Awareness of yourself: body, emotions, and self-talk, all the time. Our immediate experience is the ultimate exploration that only grows richer with time. What we do or don't do, and the roots of our behavior, are accessible with the simple practice of noticing immediate experience. It is this practice that makes it possible to know and be true to ourselves.


Sandra's graceful way of listening & non-judgmental demeanor allowed me to open up effortlessly. I was certain, as I left her office, that I had received precisely the healing I needed.

Female client, age 44
Phoenix, Arizona