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Unable to pay respects to your ancestors during Qingming Festival? Here’s how you can honor them differently!

The Qingming Festival, one of the 24 solar terms, is also one of the four major traditional Chinese festivals, along with Chinese New Year, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival. It's a significant occasion for family gatherings and a time to express remembrance, gratitude, and filial piety to our ancestors. During this period, many families typically set a date to visit their ancestors' graves, where they clean, perform rituals, and offer prayers. After these activities, families often share a meal, catch up on each other's lives, and introduce new family members.

However, in today's fast-paced society, many people are unable to participate in the annual tomb-sweeping activities due to work commitments. Some individuals have lost touch with their families or ancestors due to changes in family structure or personal reasons. Others, having adopted different religious beliefs, find it inconvenient to partake in traditional rituals. In situations like this, are there any other ways to remember, thank, and show our love to our ancestors?

In systemic constellation work, there is a highly effective method known as the internal arrangement of the "Family Tree". This involves creating a personal family tree and expressing gratitude and love to each member through an inner meditation. When you can't physically attend tomb-sweeping activities, this can serve as an excellent alternative. Moreover, practical experiences in systemic constellations have shown that the Family Map not only helps us honor our ancestors but also opens the door to connecting with family strength, leading to personal transformation. Whether or not you participate in traditional rituals, we invite you to take some time this Qingming to engage in your own internal arrangement of the Family Tree. This will infuse new strength and blessings into all your activities this year.

Steps for Internal Arrangement of the Family Tree:

1. Identify Your Family Members and Draw the Family Tree:

The family members described here might differ from conventional ones as they are based on systemic constellation case studies. These individuals have been shown to influence our family systems significantly. When drawing your Family Tree, please try to follow these guidelines:

[Blood Relatives]

These include yourself, siblings, parents, parents' siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, and maternal great-grandparents. These blood-connected individuals are crucial members of our system.

[Non-Blood Relatives ]

  1. This category includes former partners who made way for current partners. These previous partners are considered part of our system, including the former partners of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.

  1. Those involved in incidents of killing, murder, or accidents with family members: these perpetrators or victims of life-and-death situations are also included in the system. For example, if family member A is involved in a fatal car accident with a stranger B, then B should also be included in the Family Tree.

  1. Those who have gained undue benefits: When we gain significant benefits or others gain significant benefits from us, a form of entanglement arises. For example, if a grandfather in our system inherited a vast fortune from his father, but this wealth was amassed through the opium trade, which had caused harm to many families, the inheritance often comes with a price. As such, these individuals should also be given a place on the Family Tree.

[Forgotten or Hidden Members]

This includes family members who died young, were given away or adopted, illegitimate children, or those who were miscarried or aborted. These members should also be acknowledged.

If you're unsure about certain details, try asking elder family members. If you can't gather more information, include what you know on the Family Tree.

2.Meditation on the Family Tree

Find a quiet, undisturbed place. Place your Family Tree within sight and light a candle for your family. Sit comfortably, with your feet grounded, and feel the support of the earth. Begin by focusing on the members in your Family Tree. You can start with your great-grandparents and express your respect and love, and thank them for passing down life. If you feel that you have something else you want to express, you can express it yourself, and so on, from great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, to siblings. Acknowledge all of them and express your love and respect, especially those you previously did not know or had not met. Tell them that they now have a place in your heart, and you will carry forward the family's love.

For non-blood relatives and those who died young, were given away, adopted, or were miscarried or aborted, look at them with love and respect. Say to them, "I see you. No matter what happened, I respect your experiences and fate. I will cherish my life and do good in the world. Rest in peace." You can honor them by bowing or sending a blessing in your heart, in a way that is appropriate for your relationship with them.

For miscarried or aborted children, say: "Dear children, I see you now. We took your lives, and we accept the responsibility and guilt. You are free now. Though your time in this family was short, you are part of us. I give each of you a place in my heart. Your sacrifice will not be in vain. I will live a better, more successful life, share my success and happiness with you, and leave my love for you. Be blessed with peace and joy wherever you are.”

Now, allow yourself to see further and further... let your gaze extend beyond this group of children to a higher, more distant place—the source of life. You can imagine an immense golden light radiating joy and blessings there. This is the origin of life. Watch your children happily move towards this life source, returning to where their life began, carrying our blessings as they merge into this golden light. Wave to them or bow, happily sending them off. As they merge into the infinite, radiant source of life, bring peace and joy back to the present moment.

When you finish the meditation, place the candle on the Family Tree in a safe place until it burns out. Keep this Family Tree safely. You can look at it and offer prayers every Qingming or whenever needed, keeping the family's connection, love, and support always with you.


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