Thomas Hubl 2nd Interview Transcript

Thomas Hubl 2 Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done almost 500 of them now. It’s still around 470 something. And if this is new to you, if it’s the first one you’ve seen, you might want to go back and listen to previous ones. And if so, go to, B-A-T-G-A-P, and look under the past interviews menu. There you will find a past interview that I did with Thomas Hubl. And that was about five years ago. And someone, Thomas’s assistant or somebody emailed me and said, “Thomas is going to be at SAND and he’d like to have lunch with you.” And we didn’t get around to doing that, but I said, “Great.” I said, “Maybe we can do an interview too.” And we figured out when the best time would be. Here we are on a Saturday night, it’s nine o’clock. I don’t know what time zone you’re still in. It’s 11 in mine (laughter) But I love doing interviews in person when possible and usually it’s not practical, you know, I’d be flying all over the world, but the SAND conference is a good opportunity to get together with some people in person, often meet them for the first time in person. So, I listened to… Thomas was just telling me that he remembers our interview from five years ago and that he really enjoyed it and he thought we covered a lot of ground. I listened to it last week and I would agree. I’m not flattering myself, I just think it was a nice chemistry and we covered a lot of information. And so, if you like this one, you might want to go back and listen to that one. You could even listen to that one first and then listen to this one. But, in any case, here we are. And Thomas, I think we should just start for the sake of those who are unfamiliar with you, with just having you give a bio of who you are. It doesn’t have to… we don’t have to go through the whole thing of, you know… we covered like at least an hour of biographical information in the first interview, so we’re not going to do that. But just give us a sketch, you know, of who you are, how you got to be doing what you’re doing and what you’re doing.

Thomas: So, I started off as a medical student. When I was 26, I left my studies and I went on a four-year meditation retreat. And then, actually, it was almost five years and then a kind of a spiritual teacher came to town and somebody took me to his lecture and he said things about me and people started to invite me for workshops. And that’s how my work actually started. So, from being very quiet and retreated, I started… my life went totally 180 degrees the other way and I started with one suitcase and a computer bag, traveling the whole world, not having an apartment, I was just traveling and working with people intensively, giving lots of workshops. And then I got married and I lived in Berlin for five years and now I moved to Israel.

Rick: You’re married to an Israeli artist?

Thomas: Yes, artist, yeah. And so, I think we did so many things in these last 17 years. We have lots of training programs, we worked with tens of thousands of people all around the world. But I think one thing that I came to understand is, on the one hand, that a spiritual practice for us, like living in culture, needs to be… it’s a complex practice because we need to heal ourselves to be more embodied and able to function in the world and not run away from our problems into kind of a spiritual world, but to take the spiritual transcendence and all the kind of amazing capacities that come with it into, as a kind of a resource into our world, so that it makes us stronger and more resilient in dealing with what happens in the world. And I think that often we, often spirituality can be used to bypass those difficulties and to kind of run away from them. And so, yeah, that’s just the beginning.

Rick: I sometimes wondered why there are so many spiritual teachers from the East who come to the West and start out okay, but then they end up getting into trouble of some kind or another, usually involving women or money or power issues. And perhaps something you just said gave me the idea that perhaps it’s because in the cloistered environment in which they were raised in the East: ashram situation or whatever, they didn’t have to confront certain shadow issues or things that might have needed healing. They could get along just fine and actually rise to a high level of spirituality, but then when they came out into Western society, a lot of those things began to be triggered and issues they didn’t even know they had began to cause trouble for them.

Thomas: That’s right. And I think that’s what we see in all of us, that simply all the trauma points, all the strong conditioning and the unconscious parts of who we are, they don’t disappear usually. For some people there’s a, like for some people there’s such a strong breakthrough that it kind of transforms at least a lot of their kind of unconscious past. But for many of us, our spiritual practice is a path and we are waking up gradually, maybe in chumps, but it’s something that we need to put a lot of energy into our practice. And I think what we see often is that if shadow elements are not taken care of, the bigger a community becomes or the bigger a spiritual community becomes, the shadow of the teacher kind of casts a stronger shadow onto the community. And that’s why it’s not only do we see sometimes an isolation of teachers, because if somebody says, “I’m completely done and ready,” then they actually prevent that the universe can channel information to them about what they don’t see, because they put themselves in a kind of an unreachable place. So nobody can give them feedback. And I think that’s why I find it very reliable when everyone, doesn’t matter on which level of consciousness that works with people, has some kind of supervision process that if I know that there, or if I even don’t know, but I know there’s somebody in my life that will tell me, even if I don’t ask. And I think that’s a very important kind of element. And we see this that simply when, also in the different cultures, so when somebody comes into a different cultural field and is much more involved with people, so then all these shadows are important and they don’t disappear just like this.

Rick: Yeah. It almost seems hard to believe that anyone would have the audacity to say, “I’m completely done and ready.” But believe it or not, people do. It’s all too common.

Thomas: That’s right.

Rick: And the bigger they are, the harder they fall, unfortunately. It’s funny because I’ve, in the past year, gotten involved in the formation of this Association of Professional Spiritual Teachers.

Thomas: Oh, beautiful.

Rick: And we have been comparing all the codes of ethics drawn up by different other spiritual organizations and everything, and trying to craft something that could be a common denominator for the larger spiritual community of which we’re a part. and we gave a presentation on it today at SAND. But the point you just made came up, most of our presentation was audience interaction, and the point you just came up, may have just co me up, about the shadow of the teacher kind of casting, polluting really the whole collective consciousness of the group around him and taking on his shadow, and how crazy the scene can be. A friend of mine was just saying today about the town in which I live, which is a spiritual community, and how the younger generation has had so many problems with drugs and suicide and all this stuff. I know you talk a lot about trauma being handed down generationally.

Thomas: That’s right.

Rick: Unfortunately, I mean there are obviously exceptions to it and some beautiful bright people, but to a certain extent this seems to have been a case in point.

Thomas: First of all, I think the more teachers and communities will embrace the fact that we have kind of a higher development, a state development, and we have a process development and for people that live in a cultural context and not in a cave in the Himalayan mountains, we have to have a process awareness.

Rick: Define those two terms.

Thomas: So state awareness is when I meditate and I attain higher, let’s say higher subtle states or causal states or a non-dual state. So these are states, and through certain practices we can induce those states, some at the beginning maybe moments, and then our consciousness kind of gets stabilized on a higher level. So suddenly I have access, I live in the physical world, but I have more and more access to the subtle world. And so then I live in the physical and in the subtle world and something happens in my meditation. Because many people mix space consciousness like kind of a silent expansion with awakening. A silent expansion is one state of stillness contemplation, and then we drop into a deeper state that goes beyond the subtle world. And then I live in the physical world, in the subtle world, and in the causal world. So simultaneously, so my self is not anymore it’s just my physical, emotional, and mental self. It’s also not just my soul or my subtle self. It expands. So the center of identification gets larger and it contains more; includes more. Ken Wilber puts it as include and transcend, or transcend and include. It means what today is me, tomorrow is in me. It doesn’t mean that my emotions don’t exist anymore, but they don’t run the show fully because I have more capacity to witness. And this is a constant process. And I think so there’s state development and then there is also live interaction. There’s a lot of information flowing between us when we relate. And when we really pay attention, because meditation and contemplation are also a way to increase the resolution. It’s like you see a film and suddenly you see every photo. Every frame. And so there is, you see, oh, you see there is a person that I didn’t see when I saw the film moving, but I see it when it’s still, when I look at it clearly. And I think that’s what we do in relational contemplation. That relation, there’s so much information that we might miss when we relate to each other superficially. But if we really learn to attune, to use our whole body as if it had eyes all over, if we pay attention to the subtleties, the subtle movements in relation, so then we increase our process awareness. Because awareness means that I’m more aware of more of life. And this also means that I’m more aware every time I support an unconscious dynamic, I invest my life energy into the confirmation of an unconscious process. For example, there’s like one example that I often use, but it illustrates, illustrates it. Let’s say you came to me and you said, listen Thomas, I have a strong contraction in my back, I have a back pain. So if I’m a nice guy, I say, oh, I have a great massage therapist and I give you his number or her number. But actually in the moment I say that, I’m already participating in your unconscious dynamic. Why? Because you present your contraction in the back as if it’s an it. You don’t say, I’m suppressing my fear so strongly that I get, that tension over time hurts my spine.

Rick: Could be that, could be that you lifted the dog in the wrong way and hurt your back, you know, something I’ve done.

Thomas: That’s true, and at the same time, there is already most probably like a weaker part of the back. This is just an example. But we don’t say that the tightness in my muscles is actually an active process that I learned maybe as a child to control my fear in tensing up.

Rick: And it gets repressed and stored in certain parts of the body.

Thomas: Right, and so, and if that tension stays for a longer time in the body, over time it’s going to be painful, it hurts the physical body.

Rick: The chronic development.

Thomas: But it’s not so much about the back pain, it’s more about that, that’s a simple example how if I’m not aware, so I confirm your language, and with it I confirm your unconscious process, and then I’m already an investor in that unconscious company. But if I say, okay, I have a massage therapist, and at the same time help you to point out, okay, maybe there is a lot of emotional stress right now in your life, and that charges that area up, so we can also look at that. And this is only one of thousands of examples how shadow language is crystallized shadow, and we agree on many elements of shadow language that are already part of our regular way of talking. For example, another one is that a stranger is, in our cultural convention, a person that we don’t know. But a stranger, in fact, is a process in me according to a person that I don’t know. But we accept that it’s something to do with the person that I need to get to know, which is not true. This distance that we sometimes feel when we check somebody out, when we don’t know the person, has nothing to do with the person. Except, let’s say there’s a serial killer coming into my house, but then I feel that there’s a danger. But I don’t need to suspect the danger. Most of the friends that I have today aren’t serial killers. So maybe, why was I afraid? They never hurt me. And maybe at the beginning I looked at them as, oh, who are you? So that’s part of our trauma history, I believe, that initial distance. So we are overcoming a lot of fears that we know, because we killed each other and we tortured each other as humanity, quite often, over thousands of years. And I think today we are sitting in the consequence of it. And that has something to do with the passing on of trauma, as you said.

Rick: Yeah, boy, I could ask you about 20 questions based on everything you just said. One is that you were talking about as consciousness rises, if you want to phrase it that way, then we may end up becoming much more acutely aware of things, like the individual frames of a movie. Are you suggesting that that might happen automatically, or are you suggesting one might need to do something in order to be so much more aware?

Thomas: We have to do something.

Rick: So you can’t just meditate and expect that to happen automatically. There must be something else you need to do.

Thomas: Yeah, we need to practice relational precision, like that when we relate to each other, that we learn that my whole body is like an antenna. There’s a lot of, my body knows your body. My emotions know your emotions. So your emotions communicate with mine. So this means, in the moment I ask somebody, how do you feel, actually I’m already part of an emotional fragmentation, because my emotional field should know what you feel, because it’s being communicated.

Rick: If you’re attuned enough to pick up.

Thomas: Yeah, right, but why are we not attuned enough? That’s already, because we are living in a very traumatized world. And so what we can learn is to heal our own trauma and then come back to a state that we are naturally more and more attuned. So I can practice relational attunement and I can, of course, practice meditation to be more present. And then I heal my own past, because then I’m more and more open and available for life and human interaction. And then we could say that basically our deepest humanity is also our highest possibility. Because when I’m open and vulnerable and available in the world, that’s where most of spirit can come through me.

Rick: Now some people have said to me that they’ve had openings which make it very difficult for them to go out in public. They can’t walk through a Walmart without reading the thoughts of everybody and feeling the feelings of everybody. It’s like, it’s too much Information. They don’t want all that. So, to what extent is being shut down to all these potential perceptions an advantage rather than a handicap?

Thomas: Yeah, so if somebody said that to me, I would ask, I would have a look why they don’t have the capacity to regulate this. So, because there’s a difference between free regulation, shut down, and overexposure. So, there’s a lot of new research about hypersensitivity or highly sensitive people or high sensitivity. So, where we say the nervous system of some people is more receptive or perceptive than of other people. And I think there’s a truth to that, that some people are simply naturally more sensitive.

Rick: Some are pretty checked out.

Thomas: Yeah, but if somebody has been born with that nervous system, that nervous system is a gift. That person for their incarnation, they need this sensitivity. So, when they are suffering, then it’s not a matter of the sensitivity, then it’s a matter of the grounding. You know, when a tree has good roots, the tree is stable. When a tree doesn’t have good roots, the wind is dangerous. So, when a lot of information comes in, this means that my nervous system is too open, of course, people suffer, but that’s not what we mean with a professional attunement. So, I can go and see people deeply, and at the same time, I can be in a supermarket and I don’t need to look at everybody deeply. So, that’s a regulation. So, then I think there’s something that we, maybe somebody had a big opening, but then we need to learn how to regulate that that’s not a burden, but a gift, that you can use this as a gift for the world.

Rick: I think maybe, ideally, I think, it would develop in a way that the regulation would be sort of an automatic function.

Thomas: That’s right.

Rick: You wouldn’t have to be manipulating it, but when it was hand, like Superman, sometimes he wants to use his X-ray vision, and other times it wouldn’t be practical.

Thomas: You see, Superman can also do it.

Rick: Yeah. So, you can kind of…

Thomas: That’s good.

Rick: Okay, so we’ve covered so far, well, we’ve covered a bunch of things. You’ve alluded to trauma or something of that nature being inherited or handed down, and a lot of traditions talk about this. I think Native American traditions do. I know that the Bible says something like the sins of the father are visited upon the sons or something. In the Vedic tradition, they say things like that, and they also say, conversely, in several traditions, that if you can resolve those traumas and perhaps attain enlightenment or whatever, that it’s going to… there’s going to be a ripple effect. Some say even in both directions, forward and backward, to other generations.

Thomas: That’s true.

Rick: And I know that, from what I know of your work, and I’m not as familiar with it as I would like to be, that’s been a big focus of yours is healing trauma. For instance, I think just today I heard you say that people in America don’t know what it would be like to be born in a society which not that long ago had slavery, and people in Germany don’t know what it would be like to be born in a society which not that long ago had the Holocaust. And that these atrocities have left a deep impression in the collective consciousness, which influences us all, whether we like it or not, and that it’s in our own best interests, individually and collectively, to somehow dissolve or heal or resolve that residue that’s been left.

Thomas: That’s right. And I think that’s a fundamental thing that has too little attention, I believe, because it’s so important. We see, for example, there’s trauma healing in somebody, so there’s a frozen zone, and there’s developmental energy caught up, usually, especially when it’s something that happened earlier in our life. So trauma is a very intelligent function that protects the rest of the organism to be able to continue its development, and it shuts down a part of the nervous system, and it’s kind of a hyperactivation and a numbness. So when we heal it, what happens is a deeper relaxation and grounding. So one impulse, as you said, goes back down, and not just in the body, it actually goes back into the past, into the family system, and maybe into former generations. And that’s the principle of grace. So God inserted into creation, after some time, grace. What is grace? Grace means that the future has the power to rewrite the past. The future has the power to rewrite the past. I am the future of the traumatization of my parents, my grandparents. People who live now in the US are the future of the people that were affected or were part of prosecution and slavery. So through our consciousness work, we have the power to literally rewrite history, because when we talk about the past, usually like in the mystical understanding, the past is only the energy that is unresolved that affects my moment. Because if there is no unresolved energy, I am present. With unresolved energy, I am present, plus there are all kinds of fears or thoughts or body sensations overshadowing my present moment. That’s why when people meditate, it’s not that usually the beginner in meditation sits down and is in bliss. Usually the beginner of meditation sits down and thinks a lot. Why? Because the battery is so charged that there is no presence at the beginning. There is a lot of energy that needs to discharge itself. That’s why I think meditation is first of all kind of a psychological hygiene process. And then when we discharge all the information that we couldn’t process, we come into deeper states and then slowly become more quiet and more expanded. And I think so that when we have a big fight now and then we both leave and you think about our interaction and I think about our interaction, we both have a little karma. Maybe it lasts for half an hour. So you’re not fully present with the people that you talk to and I’m not fully present because I still think about you while I talk to her. So that’s a little karma. But like when there’s a holocaust, then that karma keeps life busy over generations because it takes a long time until we detox so much pain and so much atrocities. And I think many cultures around the world have some sort of kind of big impact that we need to process. And the second thing is also I think in the understanding of collective trauma that let’s say one person gets traumatized, two or three, within a stable society. So the society is a resource for the trauma process. But let’s say there’s a war or there’s a big something going on and then many people are traumatized around me while I’m traumatized. That’s a whole different thing because then the society has a social trauma regulation and every individual has an internal trauma regulation. So the individual trauma is entangled with the collective trauma and that’s much more severe and also in the treatment I think it’s more severe.

Rick: Yeah. I just want to interject that you and I were talking before we started the taping. I was asking you about the motivation of people who get involved with you. I said are some of them like primarily interested in spiritual enlightenment or are most of them primarily interested in just sort of the trauma healing. And I think you said basically just both and sometimes one of the other. There could be some who are interested in both and others are on this end of the spectrum and others on that end. But I think it would be fair to say, see if you agree, that well it’s like you pull one leg of a table and all the other legs come along. If you’re interested in enlightenment and you pursue it, it’s going to somehow at some point entail healing trauma. And if you’re interested in healing trauma and you do so successfully, it’s going to be conducive to your becoming more awake. And maybe even if you weren’t initially interested in spiritual awakening, you’ll get interested because you’ve begun to have a taste of it.

Thomas: That’s exactly how it is. In the kind of traditions it’s described as many people get onto the path through the fire. The fire means that there’s a pressure in my life, either difficulties in my relations or the difficulty in my work, or I don’t know what to do in the world. Like something is a kind of a pressure or a problem. And then I go to look for answers. But then when we do enough and the good in our work, so our energy becomes more free, we loosen up certain stagnations, and we become more relational, so then our life starts to flow more. And we are able to connect our intelligence to the world and receive feedback from the world and become a fluid process. And then usually life gets lighter and more beautiful because things start to flow and they become more successful. And then the next challenge is that when the original motivation to be on a path drops away, then it’s interesting who really has an inner calling. Because some people I see, they heal and then they stop their path. And then there are some people, they heal and actually they are very committed to their path. So not everybody is going to be interested in deep enlightenment or mystical practice. For some people that’s a way to use the wisdom to heal themselves. And then we will see who are the people that are really interested in the deeper mystical exploration.

Rick: I think that pertains to the value of knowledge, because if you don’t know that such and such is possible, then you’re not going to be interested in it. And conversely, you might think that you are finished or that whatever level, like you were saying earlier, people think they’re finished sometimes, or that whatever level of development or attainment you have reached is adequate. But if you could compare that with what might potentially be possible, if you could suddenly snap to what some of the really great sages of this world were experiencing, you would be thunderstruck, awestruck by what you were now experiencing and you would be just like, if it were taken away from you again, your every breath would be like, “I got to get that back, I got to do something.” So it’s sort of like ignorance is bliss, but that phrase doesn’t really mean that it is bliss, it means that you’re kind of settling for something less and you don’t know it.

Thomas: That’s right, that’s right. And often we read books, even if we read a lot of books, we don’t know yet. You know, this is intellectual knowledge, but the knowledge becomes, wisdom is when knowledge really walks itself. And what I say and what is inside, the state of consciousness and how I talk about it is the same.

Rick: You’re walking your talk.

Thomas: Right. And only then it’s real. And it’s good that we are informed, but only the practice or cosmic lottery, but that’s not so common, really makes it real. And I think that’s for all of us. And it’s true, not everybody is, even if people know about higher states of consciousness, sometimes life seduces us

Rick: it can be very distracting.

Thomas: Yeah, yeah. That’s why I say often, like, we will see who is kind of being pushed by the fire and who is this and kind of hears the echo of the original creation. You know, who hears the echo inside, because a calling is that we hear already the voice that calls us back into the source.

Rick: There’s an interesting story in one of the Vedic literatures. I forget the name of the master and the disciple, but the master was sort of like supposed to be an avatar, incarnation of God or something. The disciple was a very high being and the disciple says, “Teach me about Maya. I want to understand Maya.” And the master says, “Sure, I will, but first I’m thirsty. Would you get me some water to drink?” And so he runs off to the local village to get some water and then he meets this beautiful girl by the well and he falls in love with her and proposes marriage. They get married, they have kids, he starts farming, he gets involved in this whole thing. And then this great big flood comes and his family is washed away and he’s about to drown himself and suddenly he remembers the master. He says, “Master, Master, save me!” And then all of a sudden the whole thing disappears and he’s standing there with his master and the master says, “Well, where’s my water?” It’s meant to illustrate how completely absorbing the world can be and how Deepak was talking last night about how what we’re actually perceiving is really a far cry from the reality of life.

Thomas: That’s right, that’s right.

Rick: When I used to teach meditation we had this mechanics that we explained of how the mind and body are interrelated and when the mind settles down in meditation, because they’re interrelated, the body settles down. And when the body settles down that means deep rest and in deep rest healing can take place. And when the healing takes place that means some physiological change is occurring and that physiological change is activity. And because again they’re interrelated that uptick of physical activity creates a corresponding uptick in mental activity and you begin having thoughts. And the thoughts in meditation are therefore not a bad thing, they’re indicative of some sort of beneficial change taking place. And then when you realize that you’ve been off on thoughts it means the physiological change has subsided somewhat and you can take another dive. Does that kind of concur with your experience and understanding and how you teach?

Thomas: Yeah, what definitely happens is what you said, that’s beautiful and that’s I think a very important thing for our time. Because when we go into deeper meditation we go into a yin state, we go into a feminine state. So we dive into that yin state and that actually activates our self-healing capacity. But that’s something, especially in a world that is speeding up like crazy because of the speed of data, I think for many people a prerequisite to have. So meditation nowadays is not just a spiritual practice, it’s actually a balancing that we can digest the experience that we have every day. And that’s because it’s like our brain has this kind of short-term memory where we stick it, push all kinds of data packages into. But if once that’s full we call it very stressed. And so when we sit in meditation afterwards, so it goes, we go in and then it goes plop and one part of it comes out. Yeah, and then we digest it and we sink in and then plop and another data package comes back and another data. So that’s maybe also a bit correlated to what you said.

Rick: It’s the same thing.

Thomas: Yeah, and then after some time when we learn to really digest life as it’s happening. So because we are living in a culture, we say okay, you do your work for a few months and then you go on holiday. But do you go on holiday with a red battery? Yeah. You know the battery is empty. But actually a healthy spiritual practice means that I have the peace within the movement. I have the regeneration within my life. So when I go on holiday, I enjoy my holiday, my family, my traveling, whatever I do, my meditation retreat. But I don’t come with the last retreat and then I need 3 days to charge my battery. So that’s why we are saying if like karma means to postpone energy. So karma means I cannot experience the experience right now, so I postpone it. And this can be a small interaction, but this can be a huge atrocity. It’s the same. So through meditation and spiritual practice, we kind of bring the karmic delay back into presence. And that means that we learn more and more to live a life that is sustainable in every moment. So that every moment will be digested. But if I’m pre-traumatized, the digestion goes only up to a certain depth and then it cannot heal. That’s why we need to clear our trauma so that the new, the current experience can really run through. And so for people that live in culture, our spiritual practices, we see that the less we postpone, the clearer we get. The less we postpone, the clearer we are really in every present moment and that becomes a state. It’s not just happening a few times a day. This happens more and more and more often. Because when we work, we’re not supposed to be tired. I mean we are supposed to be biologically tired, but many people when they say they are tired, they get tired in team meetings, they get tired in therapy sessions, they get tired in many moments where tiredness is a reflection of the unconsciousness. So then it looks like, “Oh, I need a coffee because I sat in the board meeting and three people were tired in the board meeting because we didn’t really say what really was going on.” And then when we suppress life, life energy drops.

Rick: I think one thing, idea that triggers in me is the notion of naturalness and nature’s principle of least action. Nature operates that way. I think I might have used this metaphor in our last interview because I remember hearing it recently some place. But if you throw a ball, there are an infinite number of paths that ball can take, but it will actually take the path of least action according to the laws of gravity and other laws. So if a human being, I think it’s possible for a human being to be in tune with nature or not, and if they are not, then their action is very inefficient, even the way the nervous system functions is extremely inefficient. It takes a whole lot of energy to do a certain thing and a lot of energy is consumed that could otherwise be used for something useful and so on. And this is probably evident in athletics. A really great athlete moves in such a perfect way as to not expend energy needlessly and performs in a way which is actually beautiful and very effective in terms of what they’re trying to do. And it carries over into every field of life, not just athletics. I mean, you could be a businessman or an academician or something, and your mind and body can function inefficiently and with a lot of gear grinding and wasted energy, or just smoothly and efficiently. And the people who are incredibly productive in this world have very often mastered that ability.

Thomas: That’s right. I totally agree. And the Tao Te Ching calls this “Wu Wei Wu.” Like it’s said, you make the water in the river flow, or you push it, or you don’t resist it. You’re as fast as the river.

Rick: Yeah, you flow with it.

Thomas: You flow with the flow of life energy through your system. Right, and that’s beautiful. That’s in tune with nature, because we are nature. Right.

Rick: And it’s interesting that if there’s a rock in the river that’s impeding the flow of water, that rock gets pushed and pushed and pushed by the water until it eventually wears down.

Thomas: That’s the nature of trauma.

Rick: Yeah, so traumas are like the rocks in the river.

Thomas: And many interactions might trigger my trauma, my internal process. So my trauma gets hit again and again and again until I really take care of it. And it comes up again and again because life says, the self-healing mechanism says, “There is something. There is a rock. There is a rock.”

Rick: Yeah, stop ignoring it.

Thomas: And we call it problem. When we say, “I have a problem,” life Tells me , “Look at that rock. Look at that rock.” It’s kind of the nervous system wants to detox the pain of the past.

Rick: Now since you use the term detox, and from what you said just a second ago, I’m reminded of the terrible problem of opioid epidemic in the United States, where I don’t know how many tens of thousands of people are dying every month from overdoses. And I often think of these people, and there’s often stories on the news, and I’m thinking, “Why don’t they get it that it’s such a short term and hopeless fix to try to just blot out whatever it is they’re feeling? Couldn’t they somehow be helped to feel, or whatever it’s going to take, to resolve the stuff that they’re trying to block out, and thereby learn to live happy lives and not die? Have you ever talked to such people, or what would you say if you did?

Thomas: Yeah, I’d say that every process in life, once it exists, it’s needed for something. And so, and that leads me, before I answer that question, it leads me to something else, because we live in a culture where it’s, at least in certain parts of the population, it’s, we call this part of me a strength, and this part of me is a weakness. And so, naturally, we want to get rid of the weakness, and we want to hang out where is the strength. So we constantly split the world in two, in a good world and into a bad world. And then, and then that split perpetuates itself in many situations. When I have opinions, usually, I like the world, or I dislike the world. In the spiritual practice, we need to get through our practice. When it’s successful, we somehow kind of transcend that level of likes and dislikes, because I start to examine, okay, actually, why do I not like that person? Instead of taking this as a fact, I take it as a process question. And if I do this, and the same is with my weaknesses. Weaknesses are childhood heroes. So if I say, “This is my weakness,” the weakness is a symptom of an intelligent process that I needed most probably as a child. So there was something overwhelming in my childhood. I established a certain function, but now that function doesn’t serve me as a grown-up person. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t have a weakness. It was an intelligent process. So when we stop framing life like that, I think that’s a very helpful thing to do, that we don’t split the world into these two. And now when we look at people that have drug abuse, we see more and more that the amount of the addiction rate goes significantly up with the more adverse childhood experiences one has. Significantly is the rise of addictions.

Rick: So do you think that somehow or rather, there was a rash of childhood abuse or something, and now those people are coming of age and becoming drug addicts? Or is it more something in the collective consciousness now? I mean, a lot of these people end up being veterans who have come back from war and they have post- traumatic stress disorder, but not all of them. There’s just a lot of people these days getting addicted to opioids. Why this epidemic?

Thomas: Because I think that massive social trauma impacts get detoxed over generations. So every generation after will show certain symptoms. They might change, but they are basically still bound to the original traumatization. So for example, after the Second World War, we saw a lot of domestic violence later in Germany. So when people experience wars, it’s not that when they come back it’s over. No, they just kind of keep reproducing that violence because they are so traumatized when their kid needs something or freaks out and it’s too often, then the parent cannot handle this. So then they punish the child, which is a trauma for the child, and then it kind of keeps on perpetuating itself. It just passes on. And I think we simply are not aware yet, like there are more and more studies on adverse childhood experiences, how epidemic is domestic violence. And it’s not only domestic violence, it’s just simply painful attachment processes that are also very traumatizing for people. And I think if we see a high level of addiction rate, I think we need to think, okay, what’s the underlying cause? What is underneath that the person is not regulated? Because addiction is a dysregulation and trauma always causes dysregulation. And so when I’m not regulated, I don’t know how much I can eat, what I can eat, how I relate, and where are my boundaries, and where is my freedom and intimacy kind of pendulum. These are all regulated function of a grown-up being. And when somebody is in an addiction, usually there is a dysregulation before, and then there is a substance abuse and a substance addiction. But the substance addiction is mostly not the problem. The problem is that it’s the boat underneath, that’s the sail, but the boat underneath is a dysregulated nervous system that when the people stop, they simply start to feel a lot of pain. And in order not to feel that pain, there’s something on top of it.

Rick: I wonder if there’s, you know, you always hear that the pace of life is increasing, and you drive around California here and the traffic is so horrendous, and people are so stressed out. And people, friends have been telling me how everyone is so materialistic and $10 million isn’t enough for them anymore, and stuff like that. And then obviously so many people have very little and go up to Oakland and all the bridges are occupied by tents, and people are sleeping in the parks in a sleeping bag with no other shelter. I don’t know, it seems like there’s sort of a crisis situation that’s becoming more and more critical, at least in the United States. And the United States is heavily compared to Syria or Somalia or some of these terrible situations. So it almost seems like there is a greater degree of trauma. I mean, we’re not in the middle of World War II, we’re not firebombing Dresden or dropping H-bombs on Japan, and we’re not in the middle of a civil war like we had. And Steven Pinker and some people like that outline all kinds of indicators of how things are actually a whole lot better than they used to be. But it almost seems like things are, maybe if Pinker is right, it almost seems like, yeah, he’s right, but at the same time, other things are much worse than they used to be, as if the polarities are increasing.

Thomas: Right. And there are two things. I think you mentioned something very important. You said, on the one hand, the speed of data channels more data through our nervous system. So we need to deal with more data. More data also means, for example, more global news. Through the Internet, we have an amazing collective learning process. And we have an amazing collective trauma trigger. You hear what happens in Syria, you hear it 10 minutes after it happened, or five minutes. And so, we are embedded in a lot of impulses that kind of come to our nervous system. And trauma is always a reduced movement. So when there’s more data flow and a reduced movement, the reduced movement gets triggered much more. So that’s one thing. And the other thing is that I believe there’s one function, and I’m not sure that collectively we are aware of this, that when somebody is traumatized, what is trauma? Trauma says that this is overwhelming, and I shut down part of my nervous system to contain the overwhelm so that the rest of the person or the being can continue and survive. But, so this is now in my nervous system somewhere. It sits in my body. So this stays there, stays there, stays there. And this is what I’m saying is also true, I believe, over generations. So if something happened like a war, this is such a massive trauma. Like they tried to do therapy with Holocaust survivors, and in Israel they stopped after some time because they had a too high suicidal rate. So when you open the trauma, it’s so overwhelming that somebody cannot handle it. So the best is to keep it that way sometimes. But then, and stabilize the00:48:02.000 –> 00:48:05.000 So when you open the trauma, it’s so overwhelming that somebody cannot handle it. So the best is to keep it that way sometimes. But then, and stabilize the person around this, but not open this Pandora’s box. But then after generation, when the nervous system feels safe, for example, if we have a good trauma therapist that gives us a safety, then that information releases. So sometimes we see after two or three generations only the release of the trauma and the massive rising of symptoms. But now we are in a good time. Why are you all drug person around this, but not open this Pandora’s box. But then after generation, when the nervous system feels safe, for example, if we have a good trauma therapist that gives us a safety, then that information releases. So sometimes we see after two or three generations only the release of the trauma and the massive rising of symptoms. But now we are in a good time. Why are you all drug addicted? Yeah, because now the nervous system starts to detox information that it couldn’t detox before because it didn’t have the right preconditions. And that’s also important, that I see there is a delay in the detox until this information can be let go because it’s safe enough today to detox that part. So we have two things. We have an enormous speed of data that creates a pressure, and we have also maybe because it’s a good time, now there is more of it out there. And then if the good time continues and we work on this, maybe then in two or three generations we have a really good time without addiction and without the side effects. And that’s why people say, “Oh, when people feel too good, then they have a higher suicidal rate.” It’s not because they feel too good, but because deeper stuff is allowed to come up.

Rick: Yeah, it’s interesting. So the way you’re phrasing it, it’s almost like karma or trauma, or whichever term we want to use, is like financial debt. And it has to be paid off sooner or later. And if it’s not paid off by this father, then his son inherits it, he’s going to have to pay it off. And if he doesn’t, then his son. But sooner or later it’s going to have to be paid off. And I don’t know if it’s accruing interest in getting bigger or what. But it kind of rings true, what you’re saying. There’s a sense that once something… And it might be interesting to ponder for a minute how it’s stored, because I don’t think it’s just stored in our neurophysiology. That’s the grossest level perhaps, and perhaps there’s a neurophysiological representation of it in terms of certain impressions in the nervous system, which possibly physiologists could understand. But I think you would agree, and I think I’ve heard you say, that there’s a subtler field, which is all pervading, more or less, and that we’re all sort of living in that field, and influenced by it, and we influence it. And that’s where the stuff is stored, kind of like the national debt, you know, we all have to pay taxes to help to pay it off, but it’s not the sole burden of any one of us. And so what we need to do is figure out ways of paying off that national debt of karma, of healing the collective field, and really, like, yeah, I think I’ve made the point, you can elaborate.

Thomas: So that’s beautiful what you said. So when we say the debt, the debt is often suppressed unconscious information that is not in our awareness, because once we are aware of it, it’s already starting to resolve. So what we are saying is that when we come into life as a soul, we actually, when the light of our soul gets connected to the conception, it needs to go through collective layers of information, more family, until it meets the DNA of that conception. So when we come down, we collect subtle information that has already tendencies, and that tendencies fit to the certain situation where we get born into. And that means that the debt is always like an unconscious field that is charged with information. Now, when you look at this, the Enzo, the Sand Circle, what does it say? It says once energy has been born, it needs to fulfill its cycle, like when you throw the ball, it will fly, fly, fly, fly, boom. When the energy is discharged, it rests. Like when energy is being born, it needs to fulfill its cycle until it returns into nothing. Like in the Tao Te Ching, everything is used from it, everything returns to it. So when energy returns, we have peace. And so that means that once pain is created, even if it’s not the physical, if the person that experienced the Second World War is not alive anymore, that energy is still around because it hasn’t been fulfilled. And that’s why it’s being passed on. And recently, last year in the festival, we invited a professor from Zurich for epigenetics, and she spoke about her mice experiments, and she can show that sperm cells transmit trauma through epigenetic changes. So it’s literally also in our cells, in our bodies, there are tendencies so they can show that mice that got traumatized have offspring, like five, six generations, that express the same symptoms without the trauma. And that’s pretty amazing because that confirms what was written in the Bible a really long time ago.

Rick: So it implies that the trauma is stored in the DNA, because that’s the only thing that in a sperm cell is going to be transmitted.

Thomas: Or the epigenetics, yeah.

Rick: What is epigenetics?

Thomas: It’s kind of what the machine that activates the genetic code. When genes get expressed, there is another layer of whatever, like a computer that activates the…

Rick: So whether it’s in DNA or something on that level, very fine microscopic fundamental stuff. And is there anything, because you just gave that kind of explanation, but you also just gave a rather esoteric one about a soul coming in from between life stage or something. Do you believe in reincarnation? That’s an interesting theory at least maybe.

Thomas: Of course. I mean… So when we talk about reincarnation, I mean, of course there is reincarnation, but there are different models to interpret reincarnation. And so many people interpret reincarnation from a very personal standpoint and say, “Oh, I was this. I was that person.”

Rick: Joan of Arc

Thomas: And I don’t think that that’s true, because this kind of human life form is unique, and this human life form was not that before. So my personal experience was not that before. So many people look at reincarnation in a kind of a personal frame, and that’s not true. But that there is an information field that gets charged with a lot of information, and that there is a continuation of that information field, that’s for sure true. But it’s not that personal, I think, as many people like to talk about it or talk about it in some of the reincarnation therapy work that has been done.

Rick: But there are a lot of stories where some little kid will remember his name, in his previous life he’ll remember what kind of fighter jet he was flying, and he’ll have all kinds of… what town he lived in, and there are stories where kids go to the town and they know some people there, and they know all kinds of information. So are you thinking that these kids are just picking up a handful of information from the collective field and arbitrarily, and it’s not necessarily who they were?

Thomas: Yeah, who they were, that’s what I mean. That person was not that person, but that there is a connection between these two lives, that I think we interpret as we like to think like a person, because that’s usually what we know. But I think reincarnation from a higher level of, seen from a higher level of consciousness is not that personal. But that a person is a person, and there is a composition moment to moment of different levels of information that compose one reality right now. And so we are connected, nobody is ever separate or alone. So this means that we are all in an interconnected field, and we are continuously, every generation is a new potential update. And so there is a connection, but I’m a bit, I think we have to be careful in how we frame it, but that there is an interconnectedness that’s for sure true. There’s a transgenerational data flow, and there are many things that are true.

Rick: Yeah. My attitude toward it, and toward a lot of questions like that, is that it’s an interesting hypothesis. And I don’t think you or I can necessarily prove adamantly whether it’s this or that, but it’s interesting to contemplate how it might work and consider the mechanics. But if we really want to be scientific about it, then it’s a hypothesis, and it’s subject to revision, and it’s subject to more learning and information and everything. That’s probably true of just about everything we’re saying here, wouldn’t you say? I mean, ten years from now you might have revised or deepened or clarified a lot of the things you’re saying now, and maybe even changed some of the things that were there.

Thomas: Hopefully. Hopefully. Yeah, because I see that if the way we look at the world kind of stays stagnant, we are not anymore fully participating in the movement. Like when you swim in a river, you know, you swim in a river, and the landscape is constantly changing, because the water is moving, and our life is like that. So I think a creative life is a life that keeps on updating itself. And then you find out new things, you do things differently. I think that’s a good sign. I think it’s also a good sign of a successful spiritual practice, whatever that means, is that when you speak and you surprise yourself more often by what you say, that’s a good thing, because that’s a sign that we become more open, that more information can flow through, that we didn’t premeditate, that we spontaneously allow to come through. That’s a good thing.

Rick: It is. Knowing what you know, and thinking about this kind of stuff all the time as you do, do you pay much attention to current events, and do you find that the familiarity with the concepts that you teach gives you an interesting angle on current events? Do you find it gives you a way of interpreting things that is not commonly being used by other interpreters?

Thomas: Of course I pay attention to what happens in the world, and I think also that spiritual practice means that we constantly increase the resolution of how we experience life. And so we deepen, and the more we deepen our awareness into life, of course, the deeper we go, the more connections appear, the more the interconnectedness of everything kind of arises moment to moment, and I think that’s helpful in looking at stuff. And I think also what I said before, process awareness also means that I’m less and less hypnotized by symptoms, because often what we describe when we suffer are symptoms. And so my awareness goes more and more to the… I often say, “There’s not much help if we cough together in the smoke. You’re breathing smoke, I’m breathing smoke, we’re both coughing.” So it’s at least one of us, or some of us, should find a fire, you know, and take care of the fire so that there is no smoke. And I think that’s simply what process awareness is, that we more and more listen to the essential aspect, and mostly to that which is not being spoken about. So when a client comes and tells me about his or her issues, I’m much more interested in what you don’t tell me than in what you tell me, because what you tell me you’re anyway already aware of, but I am the one that needs to be aware of what’s not being communicated. And I think that’s also true for the social process. So there’s a lot of dealing, for example, in the political landscape, that we deal a lot with the symptoms.

Rick: Yeah, but what are the root causes?

Thomas: But what is actually the root cause that needs those symptoms to be there, or needs that process to be there? That’s much more interesting, because there is the change possible. The change is never possible in the symptoms, but the change is possible in the creation of this, what creates that symptom. And I think that’s true for an individual, but that’s also true, for example, if you coach a company, or that’s also true when you look at whole countries. Yeah. Well, let’s take a case in point. For instance, in the United States, there’s a high degree of polarization now, between left and right, between Democrats and Republicans, political polarization, that Congress can’t get anything done, because they can’t talk to each other. And in Europe, there’s a lot of right-wing backlash against the policies that have allowed for this huge immigration influx, and stuff like that. So, when you look at things like that, which are symptomatic of something, what ultimately do you think they’re symptomatic of? What is it on a real deep level that is causing this greater polarization?

Thomas: Yeah. So, let me speak a little bit about Europe. So, what we see, I mean, let’s say Europe is for sure a part of the world that is very affluent, like the US. So, a few million people coming to Europe, into a functional collaboration of many kind of wealthy countries, per se, shouldn’t be a problem. I think if Europe had worked together, and collaborated, and everybody would participate, then Europe could easily deal with the stream of refugees. But what happened is that only a few countries participated, and many countries didn’t. So, they got overloaded, and then they had to carry the whole burden, and that created already like an imbalance. So, that’s number one. But I think the more interesting thing is that, okay, so why does that…

Rick: That’s like a political analysis, but what deep in the collective unconscious does this signify?

Thomas: Yeah, that’s what I want to come to. So, then, let’s say there’s Europe. Europe is maybe two generations or three generations after kind of a major catastrophe. So, there is a war trauma that is kind of cold. It’s resting in the collective subconscious. And now, there are people coming from a war situation, coming into that country. So, what was lying dormant in many people got activated by people coming with war trauma. So, there’s an unconscious element, and every time something is unconscious, it runs me, which means many people got afraid, many people got… So, many people started to project their inner discomfort onto the refugees. So, suddenly, they are the bad ones. And maybe there are also some people that are doing criminal things, and they are like everywhere, but it’s not that all the refugees are like that. But I think there is a strong reactivity now, because we are actually not dealing with the trauma. We are dealing with the polarization. And I think there is a similar thing that really the racial question in the US, the whole slavery topic that hasn’t been properly dealt with. And that creates continuously a strong polarization, because I think if we were really to open that up, a lot of social structures in the US would change. And that’s not, I think that’s not allowed yet. Like, psychologically, many people subconsciously don’t allow this. Even if we are very liberal, it’s still not fully allowed. And I think that’s a strong process. And as long as that information cannot move, and it’s unconscious, it will create polarization. And at the moment, we see this very strongly. But that’s always when the legacy starts to run the show. I often say, “Unconscious energy is destiny. Conscious energy allows for a new possibility.” And I think, and often like with ourselves, when we get very afraid, we project it often onto other people, because it’s easier to think, “You are the cause of my discomfort, and I need to take it back.” Because if I can get you out, I feel better. But this doesn’t mean that I dealt with my discomfort. But then another person like you comes, and I feel again fear. So I need to deal with my fear first, and then relate to the world.

Rick: A lot of people both ancient traditions and these days, spiritual people, new agey types, and all feel that some kind of age of enlightenment is coming. That we’re going to shift, perhaps even abruptly, into a much more enlightened world. And if we do that, then I guess a lot of things that exist in our current world really won’t fit anymore. So if that’s actually going to happen, then somehow or other they’re going to have to cease to exist. Do you ascribe to that kind of notion that we could be on the brink of some radical shift into a better time? And if so, do you feel like these prophecies of tremendous turbulence taking place as we make the transition? And perhaps in light of the kinds of things you say, would that turbulence be symptomatic of a kind of a stirring up of the mud, and a rapid resolution of a lot of long-held traumas, latent traumas?

Thomas: I think we are already in the middle of it.

Rick: In the middle of it now.

Thomas: Yeah. Because there are two elements that kind of support it. One is that we see many people around the world that do some kind of consciousness work at the moment.

Rick: Many. Increasing all the time, I think.

Thomas: Yeah. So certainly something is calling those people to do it. So there is one thing. The other thing is that we created a global brain, like the Internet and the whole communication technology, now AI. So we are creating a new thing that hasn’t existed before. We never had something like that. So this creates kind of a much higher synchronization around the world. And I believe that the consciousness awakening, the collective consciousness awakening, is connected to the development of technology on the one hand. So they are interconnected. And then, but what the new perspective does, because we speed up energy, there is more pressure onto these dark lakes of collective trauma information. So this starts to come up more and more. And we see this when it comes up unconsciously, it will create a lot of turmoil. If enough people start to understand how to work with this, we can in a way release the brakes of awakening, because this also kind of is like karma. It’s kind of, it’s a weight. And it doesn’t allow certain processes to happen. And the last thing is, I believe that a consequence of the traumatization is that we are to a certain, sometimes to a high degree, disembodied. We are not anymore connected to the fact that we are the planet. My body is water and carbon and whatever that is the planet. And so because we are separate, we don’t care enough. And because we don’t care enough, we start to produce a catastrophe. And if that continues, then you have really a turmoil, because suddenly you have people that lose massive, massive amounts of people who lose their jobs through technology. There will be a massive amount of climate refugees, because in certain parts of the world it will be harder and harder to live.

Rick: Oh yeah. And if sea level rises 10 feet, there’s going to be hundreds of millions of people evacuating the cities.

Thomas: And scientists keep updating their predictions. So it’s coming closer. Like the plagues in Egypt, you know, the plagues in the Bible in Egypt, means that at the beginning change was a whisper, it was out there. And then it comes closer and closer. Like in our lives, often we don’t change our lives until we really have a problem.

Rick: Until we really have to.

Thomas: And we have to, or we suffer in our body. And so we see that all the pollution that we put out, this is like 20, 30 years ago, we put it somewhere out there, but now we suddenly discover in this whole global brain that out there is in us. Yeah. You know, there is no out there anymore. It doesn’t matter where I dump my waste and all this toxic stuff and all the pesticides, they slowly come back into my body.

Rick: Sure. It’s the same. I mean, the oceans are full of plastic and the fish are eating the plastic. Totally. And they’re saying that within 50 years we won’t have any fish, or negligible amount. So that’ll be the loss of a whole food resource.

Thomas: That’s turmoil.

Rick: And the droughts and everything else could, you know, decimate the land, food resources, and then we’re really going to have refugee crises.

Thomas: Sure.

Rick: Boy, aren’t we getting pessimistic here?

Thomas: But that’s a possibility. The beautiful thing in the mystical understanding of reality is that because I am not on the planet, but I am the planet, because of that I understand that I am part of the game board, and not a player on the game board.

Rick: Right.

Thomas: If that’s true, then all the inner work that we do is part of the change of reality, and that means that the world is not a fixed entity. The world is being fixed by our collective state of consciousness.

Rick: Yes.

Thomas: So, it’s not that we will end up having no resources. In that possibility of reality, we won’t maybe have resources, but that doesn’t mean that that’s the only possibility. If many of us grow and progress, or we learn to unleash more, or like integrate more and more of the collective stuff, maybe there’s a whole other planet with a whole different intelligence of collaboration, contribution, support, care for each other, that the whole system becomes much more intelligent, and then, like we see this when we work with clients, if there is a certain inner condition, the person goes that way. But how often and how many therapists see that when you heal something, the person suddenly goes that way?

Rick: Yeah.

Thomas: So, there’s a course correction in life for that person, and I think that’s also true for us. The planet can end up in a catastrophe, but the planet can also end up in a whole new level of realization, and it will never get there.

Rick: Yeah. You know, I’ve been thinking the last few days, and I’m sure others have thought this too, but it’s just become more clear to me, that this is…we’re living in a time…I mean, ever since the invention of atomic weapons, there’s been the possibility of wiping out life on earth for the first time in hundreds of thousands of years, that has been possible. But we managed to keep that at bay. But now we’ve found other ways of doing it, and we’re looking at the very real possibility of that happening through climate change and other such things, and it’s almost as though the earth has an immune system, and we are agents in that immune system, as if white blood cells or something. And the way that that immune system is kicking in, the way we can see that it’s kicking in, is that there’s this spiritual upwelling taking place, you know, this epidemic of interest in spirituality and actual genuine awakenings. So it’s almost like that’s the way the earth’s immune system is rising to meet the challenge of the possibility of mass extermination and the suffering that that would entail. And so that gives me optimism.

Thomas: That’s right. And I think what we need to maybe add is that more and more people that use their spiritual practice to bypass the difficulties of the world start to become interested and resourceful to meet the difficulties of the world. That the world is not an illusion, but the world is part of our repair. So our repair is in the engagement with the difficulty, and the more we embody ourselves, this here holds, this body is not whatever 47 years old, this body is millions of years old. That’s the difference. So the whole achievements of life from the very first cell up through the plants and the animals and everything, everything is here. Yeah. And that means that our awakening goes back through here. And so when we look at the realization of Christ, and then we look at what has been said in the Bible, so on the Judgment Day the dead will rise. Right. What does it mean?

Rick: Zombie apocalypse.

Thomas: Yeah, right. Hollywood’s full of it. What it means is that in here there are thousands of lifetimes of life that led up to this moment, to this conversation. So many lifetimes developed that we can have this conversation, that sit in us. So if our awakening kind of like grace, ripples back in time, ripples back through this body and we really embody our enlightenment, then we actually ignite all those souls that were part of the process that led up to here are being unified. So they are alive in that realization because all of it leads up to this moment and to that realization. And I think that’s the possibility of a collective revelation, that enough people practice.. an embodied spiritual practice where we download the light of Spirit into ourselves, and that’s actually igniting a massive awakening, because then it’s like a wildfire. Then it’s not one person after one person after one person, that it’s your body transmits a lot of light into every cell in the room. That’s a different, that’s a game changer. And I think if I don’t escape anymore, I say, “Oh, I cannot hear this. I need to be in peace. I need to be with my green smoothie somewhere.” If it doesn’t matter where I am, because where I am, that’s where life wants me to be. And then it doesn’t matter if life brings me to the green smoothie, perfect. And if life brings me into a war zone, also perfect. And then because I say often to people, because sometimes in our groups we talk about causal meditative states, and then maybe an hour later we need to deal with stuff that comes up from the Holocaust. But actually it doesn’t matter, because all of this is life. And the more fluid I become, I’m not fixed into one thing, one state, one part of myself. Whatever life brings, there’s a fluidity to be with, and I think that’s beautiful.

Rick: Yeah, it’s interesting that a lot of times I think people who are trying to come up with practical solutions to the problems, regard spiritual people as being a little impractical. Because, oh fine, you meditate and you get into some nice high level of consciousness and you feel groovy, but what’s that going to do about the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, or the melting of the methane in the Arctic, or the mass dying off of the bees and whatnot, which could decimate our whole agriculture system. But what I think is that, obviously, meditation and spirituality and spiritual awakening is not just some groovy subjective thing where it’s all nice and enjoyable, but it has tremendous influence on the way one interacts with the world and one’s creativity and so on, if it’s genuine. We saw a presentation at the Sand Conference today by this guy who’s figured out a way of restoring the bee population, and he gave this whole thing about the interconnectedness and this whole chain of events that takes place between trees and bears and animals of various kinds and bees. He’s actually got this contraption that has some little, you put a bunch of honey water or sugar water and then a few drops of this stuff that’s derived from mushrooms, and the bees love it and it cures the stuff that’s killing them. And the Norwegian government just bought 40,000 of these things.

Thomas: Oh, wow, that’s amazing.

Rick: Yeah, and it’s kind of like, it could really take off. So it could be that these dire problems that seem insoluble, and there are actually environmentalists and people saying that we’ve got about ten years left to live and it’s too late, nothing can be done. I think there could be eleventh hour solutions that come about, which as in most cases are unforeseen, we never see the brilliant breakthroughs that end up taking place, and that the engine behind those, the impetus behind those, will be this upwelling of creativity that results from the upwelling of collective consciousness.

Thomas: That’s right. And then in the mystical understanding you say there’s always the light that potentially has the power to turn around the difficulty, but often it’s a fish that’s swimming around our legs, but we don’t see it. So often the information of the solution is already somehow here, but we are not able to see it until we uncover it through some kind of process. And I think that’s the same for, I think all the people that have the answer to solve climate change are already around. It’s like a puzzle piece. All the people that are interested and feel called to work on it, we just need to see how this forms an answer in the world. And so I think what you say is very true, that often some revelatory kind of inventions or insights change a lot of the game, but I think the combination, we call it the combination of inner and outer science, doing enough inner work to be able to do the outer work that’s needed, the scientific breakthroughs, the technological solutions or breakthroughs, to help us to deal with the current situation.

Rick: Yeah, and some might say, “Great, yeah, technological breakthroughs, look how much good those have done us, that’s what’s gotten us to the brink of destruction.”

Thomas: No, the question is not if we have brought ourselves to the brink of, not technology.

Rick: No, but the tools we’ve created have had very…

Thomas: Or how we use them.

Rick: How we use them, which is where spirituality comes in. Because it hopefully gives us the intelligence, not the intelligence, the wisdom to use them intelligently.

Thomas: That’s right, that’s right. And the good thing is that AI became like, it’s the welcomed alien, suddenly humanity has another. You know, before it was always the aliens, we thought, “Oh, the aliens will come and kill all of us.” And now we don’t have that, but we have suddenly AI, it’s kind of a kind of alien that landed here, and suddenly we think, “Oh my God, this will kill us, this will torture us, this will…” So suddenly we see on the face of that alien our own evilness, because we also contribute a lot to the extinction, and so how we treat animals is torture, at least in some food production, that’s torture.

Rick: In Iowa it is.

Thomas: And now we look at AI and we see our own past on the face of a potential future, and I think if we are wise enough, then we do what every good psychologist would do, we learn to deal with our projections. So we really look at the way of the ethical behavior, how we live, and then maybe we also come with a pure motivation to develop technology in a way that will not be harmful. But I think that there is something very interesting right now going on, when you read a lot of writings, I think that’s a perfect projection onto another, and I think that’s a very healthy process. If we are wise enough as humanity, then we use that moment to really self-reflect as a species, and I think that would be a very powerful process.

Rick: Yeah. Well, we’ll probably wrap it up pretty soon because it’s getting late, but one thing you just said about, you used the word ethical, I mentioned earlier that I’ve been involved in the formation of this thing to hopefully increase awareness in the spiritual community about the value of ethical standards in addition to merely developing consciousness and so on. It’s been a bit of the wild, wild west in terms of all these spiritual teachers doing whatever the heck they pleased, and so many people have been hurt and confused and disillusioned and so on. But I mean, I’ve kind of made it sound that spirituality is going to be this great savior that’s going to save humanity from disaster at the last moment, but some would take a look at what spirituality has been like so far and say, “This is the thing that’s going to save humanity,” because there have been so many crazy situations in so many spiritual communities and among so many teachers and gurus and everything else, it doesn’t seem like they can save their own community, much less the world. So, I don’t know, maybe you would say that this too is … well, go ahead and comment on that. I don’t think I need to say anything more for you to comment on it.

Thomas: Yeah, I think what we see is that there is a lot of spiritual trauma in the world, and it didn’t start now. I think we went in human history through many, many very traumatizing events connected to spirituality or religion. And I think it’s our job to start looking at that, to say, “Yes, you just read here something happened in the church, here something happened there, here there are fundamentalists doing this and that.” And when you look back in history, so many things actually were connected to the spiritual world or the religious world. And I believe what you say is true. We are here. We can stop the recreation, because trauma often has a recreative cycle. So it takes some time, and then it shows up again. And I believe our calling maybe is that we say, “Okay, yes, there are many things going on, and we are hurt, but we will take a break and really look at that hurt, look at that spiritual traumatization.” Doesn’t matter if it happened in religious communities, but there is definitely a yearning in humanity for something higher. And I think that’s because we are kind of spiritual beings also. But we need to look at the hurt that happened in order to restore the healthy, ethical life that you are talking about. And everywhere where there is trauma, there is numbness, and numbness creates side effects. And so I don’t feel, it’s like trauma is like, imagine you’re swimming in a river, and you’re in the water. Life is swimming in the water. Every one of us swims in the intelligence of our soul’s path. Like there’s intelligence, well this intelligence is life in movement. And so we’re in the river, and then suddenly there is ice. So you need to get out of the water, you need to walk maybe a few hundred meters, and then you can go back into the water.

Rick: Hopefully with a wetsuit.

Thomas: Yeah, but what I’m saying is once you are on the ice, you are not getting wet. Right, right. So you’re not connected to life. So when I’m not connected to life, or when somebody is a parent for example, and is not connected, that’s the zone where we beat our children, where we hurt our children, where we hurt other people. We don’t hurt other people because we are connected. We hurt them when we are disconnected, because everybody who is in the water respects water. Everybody who is healthily connected to the body will eat and do things in a way that they are in alignment with the body. If I don’t feel my body, I do stuff that will hurt it. And I think that’s the same with spirituality, that there’s a lot of hurt that is connected somehow to it. And that’s what we did in the past, but we are the ones that can restore it. And I think for your process, I think with the ethical rules, I think that’s going to be an important part to take some time out and look at what is the spiritual trauma in the world.

Rick: Yeah, I think that it’s sort of an effort to encourage greater self-scrutiny, both individually and within communities, to have them sort of take a look at what they are doing and how things are happening there, and whether that’s really kosher.

Thomas: Kosher is good.

Rick: Because a lot of things are taken, a lot of things happen and then people assume that the teacher must know better than I do, because he seems so enlightened and therefore I will just sort of abdicate my judgment and discrimination and then things get really far off.

Thomas: And I think what many teachers, I mean there are some that do this anyway, but I think there’s a higher degree where we, I often say, spiritual teaching is, we start in kindergarten and we go up through school, through high school, to university, which means everybody who works with people needs to know that some people hear me as a grown-up, some people hear me as a three-year-old, and some people hear me as a twelve-year-old. And I need to be aware that I see exactly where you come from, especially when your trauma or your early attachment wounds are active. And that’s why that’s a very complex process, because even if you talk about mystical or spiritual teachings, I need to be aware who listens to me. And many people, you know, there are, for example, sexual admiration of spiritual teachers, many people take this as real, whereas it’s a process that is not…

Rick: What do you mean, teachers take it as real?

Thomas: Yeah, some teachers.

Rick: They’re flattered by it?

Thomas: They’re flattered by it and they take advantage of it, or they think that sexual, whatever, attraction…

Rick: Is legitimate.

Thomas: Yeah, is legitimate and true, or it’s being even sold as, “Okay, my sexuality will help you to get enlightened.”

Rick: Right, “I’ll give you my Shakti.”

Thomas: Yeah, right, and I think that’s really dangerous. That’s really dangerous, and because we don’t see where this impulses, the sexual impulses come from. So, I think that the desire to have certain rules that make it kosher, in a way, is important, and also a sophistication that we can see what kind of projections we get, and that we have enough awareness not to get entangled in those projections. And so, I think that work is very sophisticated, because it includes the developmental process of a human being and the emotional process. And so, I think the more people include basic psychological and trauma and developmental knowledge, I think that’s going to be good for a process that can unfold well, where people can heal and transcend themselves.

Rick: Yeah, it’s interesting, when I was listening to you earlier today, over at the conference, I was putting myself in the shoes of some of the neo-Advaita types, who like to boil everything down to, “You are that, and you don’t exist as an individual, and the world is an illusion, and give me 20 bucks and we got it, it’s all figured out.” And they listen to someone like you, or many other teachers, who are talking about all these psychological things, and cultural things, and collective unconscious, and “Oh man, the guy is just over-complicating it, really all that stuff is illusory, and we shouldn’t even think about it.” But I think, personally, that what you’re doing is very valuable, and that this stuff can’t just be dismissed as illusory, actually a deep understanding of it is essential for really making progress individually and collectively. Spirituality is a nuanced thing, you know, it’s not, I mean, in a sense it’s very simple, but it’s not simplistic, it’s nuanced, and there’s great richness and complexity, if you really want to understand it thoroughly.

Thomas: And you said it beautifully, I think that there is simplicity and complexity.

Rick: Yeah, both.

Thomas: And like in the Bible on Mount Sinai, even the voice of God appeared for the whole group, there was kind of a mass awakening, and it says when the voice spoke, everybody felt it spoke personally to me. But what is the meaning of this? These are just metaphors, but the meaning is that the most universal is expressed through the most individual, so that your individuality and the beauty of your crystallization is part of the non-dual reality. That’s different than your, this is an illusion, this is an, no, this is beautiful, this is beautiful, and all of it creates all of it. So energy and emptiness is not two, means that the energy that runs through me, and all the stagnations, they are part of my repair and my enlightenment. So the personal karma that I took on is part of my repair. And I think because that’s very complex, that’s not so easily accessible. Because then it becomes also very sophisticated. It’s very simple, and it’s very sophisticated. And I think, and we have, we are living in a more and more complex reality, and the reality, I think, I think actually it’s dangerous when people say the world is an illusion. I think that’s a dangerous, ethically, it’s a very dangerous thing. Even if, when on a very high level of development, of course we are looking through the world. We transcend, but it doesn’t mean that it’s an illusion. We transcend the illusion is the separate perception of the world. That I perceive myself as a separate particle in the world, that’s an illusion. But the world, the movement and the stillness are not two. That’s non-duality, not the stillness. Hiding out in stillness is not non-duality. The stillness within the moment of, every moment of life unfolding. And I think that means that we need to be deeply embodied and transcendent. And that’s, I think..

Rick: Multidimensional.

Thomas: Multidimensional. Which doesn’t mean that what the teachings of Advaita, they are very beautiful and Ramana Maharshi, but Ramana Maharshi had a practice. He said, “Inquire the root of the thought of I.” Which is, every meditation does the same thing. You inquire the current moment until you come back and get absorbed in the source. But I believe for us living in culture, that means also that we do this while we live our life. While we are parents, while we have a job, while we, otherwise we need to go to the cave, like he did. Ramana Maharshi sat in a cave, and that’s very important to see, that most of us are not sitting in a cave.

Rick: We’re not constituted that way.

Thomas: Yeah. But that’s very important. We take this as a role model, but we are not living that way. And so, if you’re not living that way, that’s only partly our role model. But the state that Ramana Maharshi was in, of course, was amazing, and I think there’s a lot of truth to that.

Rick: Yeah, there’s a saying in the Gita that one’s own dharma, the lesser in merit, is better than the dharma of another. So, perhaps Ramana Maharshi was living the highest dharma, but that would, it goes on to say, better is death than one’s own dharma. The dharma of another brings danger. So, if everybody tried to live the life of Ramana Maharshi, it would retard their evolution. It wouldn’t necessarily accelerate it. And for those of us who are suited and constituted to be active in the world, the world can be a very evolutionary place, full of all kinds of lessons that we wouldn’t otherwise learn.

Thomas: That’s right. And I believe that there is an importance in practicing our stillness meditation into deep, deep states of stillness. I mean, that’s inherently important.

Rick: Do you have a daily routine like that? Some kind of meditative routine on a daily basis?

Thomas: Yeah, it changed over time. I meditated over almost 30 years, and I was on a four-year meditation retreat in a way. And so, yes, I have a practice, but my practice became more and more like part of my work with people and all my groups, and also became more and more like a kind of a healing work for people.

Rick: So, you don’t just get up in the morning, meditate for a while, then start your day?

Thomas: And if I meditate, then that’s also often including someone or some people that need it.

Rick: Yeah. Well, I’m sure that what I know about you and your work is much less than what there is to know. So, this has just been a little snapshot that we’ve been able to do in the time allotted. But is there anything that’s important that I haven’t even thought to ask you or that you haven’t so far had a chance to say?

Thomas: First of all, to thank you for the work that you do, because you bring together lots of great people and lots of different, maybe different perspective onto the essence of life. And I think that’s important for everybody to hear and then see what deeply resonates and learn to follow resonances. I think that’s why you’re doing a great job. And I always enjoy our time. There’s a deep, thoughtful exploration that you induce, and that’s lovely.

Rick: Well, and you induce that in me. I mean, it’s very enlivening to talk to you. I get my mind working in ways that it wouldn’t ordinarily work. I appreciate that. In fact, everyone I interviewed does that in their own way, but each one is different. So, it’s cool because it sort of gets different cylinders firing.

Thomas: Yeah, that’s right. And I believe that maybe one last thing is that all of us that do enough inner work to become grounded and present enough in the world, and have maybe the capacity to expand that awareness into the cultural process and partake in the cultural process, but also help that we together walk into the jungle of our collective legacy. I think that would speed up our evolutionary process, and I believe that’s also partly the reason why our response to climate change is so slow, and because trauma has a hard time changing. Trauma is frozen, and frozen parts usually don’t change so fast. So, trauma is often afraid of change because trauma in itself is already unsafe. And so, when we want to change as a culture and adapt to different circumstances right now, I think we need the energy that is stored there, and I believe that’s something that we can do only together, because it’s a collective legacy, and we need to take care of our life base together, like an orchestra.

Rick: Yeah, we’re all in the same boat.

Thomas: That’s right.

Rick: If it sinks, people in the front of the boat aren’t going to be any better off than people in the back of the boat. Well, thank you, Thomas. I’ve really enjoyed this. I’m sure you have a, I know you have a website. I’ll be linking to it, and I guess people can go there and find out what you’re doing, but you want to just sort of say in a few sentences the kinds of things that people could get involved with if they wanted to get more involved?

Thomas: So many things. We do, of course, lots of online classes. I mostly, I don’t do much on like open retreat, many open retreats. I just do two-year committed programs, because I love to work with committed people.

Rick: Do people have to quit their jobs and somehow…

Thomas: Right, come with me to a cave.

Rick: Two years? How do you do a two-year program?

Thomas: No, like they have weeks, multiple weeks in a year, but it’s a committed program.

Rick: Other things are online in between those weeks and stuff.

Thomas: Yeah, right, right, right. But it’s more committed programs, and then we, of course, we do like a big annual conference, like our Celebrate Life Festival, and we brought into life, my wife and I, like a non-profit, a global non-profit organization to deal with collective trauma around the world. And so, everybody who feels called to it and wants to contribute to that kind of non-profit in one way or the other, there is enough trauma in the world that we can take care of, and it needs a lot of people. So that’s something definitely that is a more socially oriented activity.

Rick: That’s great. Well, I’m sure that’s all described in detail on your website and everything. People can just go there and read about it and get involved if they feel so inclined.

Thomas: Thank you, Rick.

Rick: Thank you very much.

Thomas: Thank you.

Rick: It’s a joy. So thank you to those who have been listening or watching, and we’ll see you for the next one.