Last Sunday on Beyond Awakening, we broadcast my conversation with Thomas Hübl entitled, Higher Consciousness Under Fire: Where’s Your Samadhi When the Bombs Start Falling?
Thomas Hübl is a fresh and original contemporary spiritual teacher. His work focuses on what he calls “spiritual competence” — increased awareness and freedom in relation to the subtle animating energetics that create the gross world and everything we experience. He works with both individual and cultural shadow with a special focus on inner cultural healing. He has organized and led several large healing events in Germany focusing on the Holocaust, bringing together thousands of Germans with many Israelis, including Holocaust survivors, to acknowledge, face, and heal the cultural shadow left by the Holocaust.
He lives in Israel with his partner, Yehudit Sasportas a prominent Israeli artist, and their baby daughter. When I learned that he had experienced a series of air raids during last summer’s 50-day war between Israel and Hamas, I felt relieved that he and his family had come through safely. And also curious. I wondered how a practitioner like Thomas, whose work is about tuning into and evolving individual and collective spiritual competencies and healing cultural shadow, had processed the experience of being under bombardment.
The hope for practitioners like me has always been that these predicted crises will open up windows of opportunity for positive change. But what if the disruption is so overwhelming that instead we respond from the least free, most contracted part of ourselves?
During our dialogue, Thomas and I explored this topic transparently through his experiences during the 50-day war, where he sometimes awakened with just 90 seconds to gather his wife and toddler and get them all to safe shelter. I’ve highlighted a few of Thomas’s observations below, but I also invite you to listen in to the full recording here and consider this soberly inspiring perspective on what it takes for higher developmental stages to hold in times of global crisis.
On applying his own teachings to himself during the air raid:
I could feel in my system how the existential fear starts to jump and at the same time there was a sense of presence—years and years of contemplative and meditative practice…I experimented with how much of my work I could use in this situation, keeping an open field, grounding the situation first in myself and then in my surroundings and also staying connected to the collective dimension. I was able to stay present and not dissociate.
On the power of the collective field to lower the center of gravity in us all:
I’ve never experienced such a collective survival instinct and…contraction in the following weeks—the seeming polarization in politics, in demonstrations, and in the way I heard people speak about it. Some people could manage to keep their value system and perspective quite high, [but] the higher functions of inclusivity, compassion, taking someone else’s perspective started to fall apart.
On the stability of higher developmental stages in times of crisis:
The question I’m asking now after this situation—is it really true that stage developments are so robust? Or do they start to crumble? How stable is that perspective if it’s fairly young, versus “primitive” functions that have been there for thousand of years?
On our ability to deal with collective, large scale trauma:
When you are in these conditions for a long time…there is a deep impact in the human energy that has serious consequences…this crystalizes itself and generations and generations of lifetimes are needed to deal with this. We need to find more effective ways of working with these things on a collective basis. We are still in the Stone Age with how we deal with collective wounding.
On the practices we need to hold our higher stages under collective duress:
The shadow work and the integration work is so important so that we can really trust that the foundation that we live on is stable, [also talking] to emotionally mature people around us who are able to take responsibility in those moments; and to have a higher practice in place that will enable us to stay open and connected and combine the inner science with the outer science so that we are able to do all the actions and projects that are needed in order to establish another way of living together in communities. At the same time to be able to get the energetic work going that helps us to transform situations, to break cyclic patterns.
On what makes the Wise Hero:
Being heroic means that my presence is stronger than my fear and being wise means that my light is stronger than my fear, so if light and presence (the causal and the higher subtle functions) are still on while I’m in a crisis as a human being, that’s what I think makes a wise, heroic leader.