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The Science behind Qingming Festival. Did you know?

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

“祖德流芳” (Continuation of Ancestral Virtues) is not just a myth!

The Chinese has always valued their ancestors. In the past, it was customary for traditional households to have an ancestral altar. Besides regularly offering incense in the morning and evening, on traditional festivals such as Qingming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Hungry Ghost Festival, and New Year's Eve, ritual offerings such as food and fruits had to be prepared. If there were important decisions to be made within the family, it was necessary to light incense and report to the ancestors before proceeding with further actions. The elders in the family usually have a strong belief in the existence and influence of the ancestors. However, due to influences of Western-style scientific education or diverse religious perspectives nowadays, the newer generation tend to see rituals like this as a tradition or superstition, thinking that ancestors are just a spiritual support and do not have a substantial impact on future generations (except for inheritance). But is this truly the case? Through the Systematic Constellation method derived from German philosophy phenomenology, and developed by German psychologist Bert Hellinger, perhaps we can gain some insight into the answer to this issue.

Observing the flow of energy in the family system through systemic constellation

In systemic constellation, there is a highly important core concept called systemic thinking. Systemic thinking informs us that as individuals, we not only possess our own consciousness and choices but are also influenced by the collective consciousness/subconsciousness of the system we belong to (such as the family system, social system, or national system). The interaction of various consciousnesses can lead us to the decisions and directions we make in our daily lives, aiming to maintain the balance and development of the entire system. This implies that most people are not entirely free. In fact, our perceived awakeness is intertwined with many unconscious influences, often leading to unexpected life scenarios.

How does the above information relate to our discussion on ancestors? In truth, the life, issues, and emotions that our ancestors went through are continuously accessed and replicated by future generations, through the states described within the systemic perspective, in a collective subconscious manner. In the context of systemic constellations, when it comes to common cases concerning wealth issues, it is often seen that ancestors who gained wealth through inappropriate means tend to have descendants who struggle to achieve prosperity. This is because the descendants, in their subconscious, constantly seek to "balance and repay" for their ancestors. Hence, they would unconsciously make choices that cause them to lose their wealth in real life. For example, investing in a company that foiled, lending money to people with no repayment. On the other hand, if the ancestors have ever played a beneficial role for certain groups or made contributions in specific fields, the descendants would have a higher chance of receiving support, opportunities and blessings in these groups or fields. This phenomenon shares a similar essence with the Chinese saying "祖德流芳 (continuation of ancestral virtues)", which emphasizes the lasting and positive influence of ancestral virtues. Regardless of good deeds or misdeeds, they all become apparent in the subsequent generations. This conclusion showcases the wisdom and observational abilities of our ancestors. It is impressive that our ancestors were already familiar with this phenomenon theory thousands of years ago, which aligns with modern philosophy/psychology/phenomenology.

Since we are now aware of the profound influence our ancestors have on us, how can we ensure our lives thrive under the influence of such diverse conscious parameters? In truth, the cultural practice of ancestral worship is an excellent support system developed by the Chinese people, but its core essence is often not understood and merely carried out through ceremonial practices. If we can implement the principles of systemic thinking and systemic dynamics, we can produce significantly different outcomes. For instance, when paying respects to our ancestors, it goes beyond just worshiping them. We should genuinely respect them wholeheartedly, acknowledging and honoring their past decisions and choices. At the same time, we should also recognize the goodness and love they passed down to us, and we can reciprocate by doing good deeds in our own lives as an expression of gratitude. When we worship our ancestors in this manner, our lives that we inherited from our ancestors will begin to resonate positively, leading to new opportunities for further development.

Start building a legacy of ancestral virtues from yourself

Since we now know the truth behind the continuation and legacy of ancestral virtues, why don’t we take action ourselves and create a bright future for our children and future generations? Since the family dynamics of our ancestors flow towards us, our generative force will similarly flow towards our children, and their children thereafter… To ensure a better future for your children, besides providing them with support in life and education, you can further stabilize the collective subconscious by elevating your own life. When we start to face and address the challenges and issues in our own life and inner self, we are dismantling the potential burdens and motivation that our children may inherit in the future. If you have the capacity to continue doing more good deeds for society and the world, then you are sowing even more seeds of goodness for the family! Perhaps, we are currently unable to have these additional resources as our ancestors did not have the knowledge and understanding of “systemic thinking”. However, we can start creating this from ourselves, and pass on this knowledge to our children. With that, our family will gradually thrive and prosper for generations to come! Imagine every generation in the family living their lives to the fullest and finding happiness, how wonderful it is! And this step lies within your current thought, for once you have understood the truth about ancestral virtues, you become the key that unlocks this hidden treasure!

Further Reading (1) – A Story of Money Disputes

Further Reading (2) – An Assessment of Family Relationships

Learning Recommendations: Systemic Constellation Workshops


文章: Blog2 Post
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