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Image by Ph?m Quang Hoàn

When unfortunate events occur in your life, patterns can suddenly come to your attention. Along with revealing entrenched beliefs, events also shed light on emotional patterns of rejection, betrayal, and isolation that get passed down through generations. Recognizing patterns, including emotional ones, is a first step in discovering the roots of why you act, feel, and think as you do, and why the same themes and types of events keep appearing in your life even when you swear off the past.

Through repetitive patterns, you experience emotions that your ancestors might have experienced. Emotions are the connecting element between two worlds, the physical world you live in and the invisible world that you cannot see. By working with your family energy field, you can transform these patterns or family karma so that you are no longer repeating them.

Ancestral energy patterns come in many forms and play out in different ways. For instance, behavioral patterns may be easily visible. As much as you don’t like to admit this, your behaviors do mirror those of your parents and generations prior. Some of us are frugal, others get angry quickly, a few are overly suspicious. You may also have patterns of being generous or feeling passionate about issues. Sometimes, themes remain the same in relationship after relationship. And in families, the themes reappear several generations in a row.

Patterns Repeating Across Generations

A “family curse” is real: it’s a repetition of an old energetic pattern passed down the family tree. Maybe you have known someone who vowed they would never again get involved with a certain type of romantic partner. Then you saw that, despite their falling for someone who on the surface was very different from their previous partner, the same old dynamic was at play in this person’snewrelationship.

Maybe you have experienced this yourself. You might say you will never again become involved with someone who is hypercritical only to end up with a partner who doesn’t openly criticize you but shows you through their actions that they disapprove of you. Or maybe you’re in a relationship with someone who respects and supports you but complains that you’re very critical of them. It’s as if you’re in the same relationship you were before, only with the roles reversed.

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There is another kind of pattern that I call “experiential patterns.” These are instances where you see the same kinds of experiences recurring across generations. A grandfather was betrayed by his business partner, and the same type of thing happens again to his son and to his grandson. Or someone faces constant setbacks in their professional pursuits, and this pattern repeats itself. While it’s possible to call this a “family curse,” if there are positive patterns, you call them “family blessings.” Or more broadly, you may even call this “family karma.”

Many of us accept these patterns as karmic—something you have to accept and live with. But what if there is more to this than meets the eye? What if there is a message behind these patterns? I call this what is it that is wanting to be seen. What if you need to unlock something to release yourself and also those who may come after you from repeating these patterns?

Triggers and Our Response System

As decades of research on the psychology of emotion has shown, each of us has a response system that is activated by a range of triggers. What if your emotional response system is a window into understanding some of these patterns you are trapped in? And what if, by developing an understanding of this system and these underlying family patterns, you can then start to unlock the cycles of behavior and experiences you may have found yourself in?

Does your frugality come from honoring the earth or due to a fear of lack? Does your worry about not having enough manifest in you holding yourself back and not taking some risk, thus putting a ceiling on your professional life? Or does this emotion and behavior make its presence felt by having too many possessions that clutter your home (hoarding), or by your demanding financial control of your partner? Do you feel that you are not enough? Who else in your family has felt this way? What is the origin of this story you tell yourself?

I encourage you to begin to journal some of the answers to these questions. If you stop to notice how your family energy field influences your life, you can be more conscious of any decisions you make in that moment of choice. Will you do what you’ve always tended to do, or will you pivot, breaking out of an old pattern of action and reaction?

Establishing New Habits

My own experience has shown me that letting go of old habits and establishing new ones can be very difficult. If you don’t consciously choose a new way of thinking, feeling, or acting, your unconscious chooses the familiar path. When I started noticing and working with patterns, I wasn’tawarethatIresisted makingplansfaroutintothefuture.Planningvacationsorsocial eventstoofaraheadoftimewasfraughtwithanxietyforme.

My parents didn’t like to plan too far ahead either, perhaps because of my father’s unpredictable travel schedule, but as an adult with my own children, I didn’t have to deal with this when making plans. My unease about looking at hotel websites to compare and contrast lodgings made no sense. It took me a long while to realize that I was repeating an old family pattern.

Replacing Old Family Patterns

In working with clients, I notice that knowledge of patterns, while important, very often isn’t enough to lead to significant personaltransformation.Someonemightbefiercelydetermined to leave behind old habits and work hard to change them only to find themselves in the grip of their family patterns again and again.Whentheymakeachoice,theymayfallbackintotheirold ways—often,withoutrealizingit.

If they’re conscious of being at a fork in the road, able to step out in a new direction, they can find themselves unconsciously resisting the change they vowed to make and moving back to familiar territory. Or they procrastinate. Or they make a mistake and accidentally sabotage themselves. They deny the truth that’s obvious to people around them who aren’t caught in the pattern: that they are once again putting themselves in the same position they were in before.

What Happens When Your Ancestors Fail to Move On?

Your physical features, your health or ill health, your talents, and many of your beliefs can be linked to your parents, grandparents, and probably to your ancestors. Indian spiritual teachers believe there are also strong blood karmic ties not just between previous and current generations, but also future unborn generations. Indian astrological charts also show traits and patterns that are shared between the grandchild and grandparent.

How does this connection express itself? You might think you are acting independently of your past, but it shows up in your life anyway.

It’s almost as if the dead remain attached to their family in the physical world. Indian spiritual teachers might say that their souls roam unsatisfied, unfinished with their worldly desires, craving a taste for the material world. In India, the Sanskrit word maya is often loosely translated as attachment to the material world and the illusion that life is nothing greater than these attachments. Yet, the ultimate journey of the soul is beyond these illusions, toward freedom from attachments and into enlightenment.

So, just like us, your ancestors, or at least some of them, can be trapped by their desires and attachments in the field of illusion instead of a movement toward enlightenment. In my Indian traditions, a key part of ancestral rituals are prayers for the souls of our ancestors. It is believed that our ancestors going back seven generations influence us and can impact seven generations to come. Many Native American traditions, such as those of the Iroquois, believethistoo.

The basis of this ritual is gratitude—for your life on this earth and for what you have received from your ancestors. How many generations of ancestors can you recall? If you counted all of your ancestors going back seven generations, you’d have two hundred and fifty-four mothers and fathers responsible for you being here today—all who would be in your family energy field—the details of whose lives and names are lost to time. If you go back twenty generations, you have one million ancestors!

In fact, many Indian teachers argue that most souls are not able to transit out of the earth plane and are restless and stagnant, unable to ascend to a more peaceful realm. Buddhism also acknowledges the existence of a realm that is populated by suffering souls. The term earthbound, an expression in older English writings, is also used to refer to the spirit of a family member that did not move out of the earth plane.

Clearly different traditions point to varying levels of awareness among those who have passed on. In India, you even have rituals to clear the land and space before starting construction or moving into a new home or office. These ceremonies help the healing of the earth and those souls who may still be connected to that physical space.

Working with Family Energy and Healing Your Roots

When you work with your family energy field, you heal your roots. You release the unconscious patterns that act as a ceiling on your life, on your potential, and on your happiness. As you heal your roots, your life can blossom. If your family has been a source of pain or trauma in your life or if your recently deceased ancestors were abusive or dysfunctional, it’s hard to imagine wanting to honor them. But you certainly don’t want their energies hanging around.

Paradoxically, the act of honoring family keeps them from doing additional damage to your life. When you reject or disrespect them out of fear or anger, you never resolve the unconscious patterns of poverty, violence, depression, and unhappiness. And it’s not just you, but also your ancestors who stay stuck. When you heal your roots, you release the family patterns that hold you back.

Copyright ©2023. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Findhorn Press, an imprint of Inner Traditions Intl..

Article Source:

Heal Your Ancestral Roots: Release the Family Patterns That Hold You Back
by Anuradha Dayal-Gulati

book cover: Heal Your Ancestral Roots by Anuradha Dayal-GulatiA practical guide to releasing the burden of transgenerational legacies and reclaiming your power to create the life you want. The book explores the principles that govern family energy field and the many ways this ancestral field can support you as well as how it can hold you captive. It also provides exercises and tools to help you recognize and release negative family patterns and heal ancestral trauma. The author discusses the importance of honoring your ancestors, sharing suggestions about altar creation, prayers, and the Vedic ritual of Tarpanam.

Click here for more info and/or to order this paperback book. Also available as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

photo of: Anuradha Dayal-GulatiAnuradha Dayal-Gulati is an energy practitioner and transformational coach with a Ph.D. in economics.

After fifteen years in finance and academia, she began a new path of helping people release the past and reclaim their power. She is trained in flower essence therapy and family constellation therapy.

Visit her website at FlowerEssenceHealing.com