July 18, 2023

Collective Healing Through Attunement

Thomas shares practices, theories, and more from his new book “Attuned: Practicing Interdependence to Heal Our Trauma―and Our World”. Pre-order now at attunedbook.com to receive a new guided meditation, book excerpt, and help alert booksellers to the strong interest in the book to ensure that it’s stocked widely and accessible for people to find.

Amy Elizabeth Fox of Mobius Executive Leadership conducted this interview with Thomas.

According to Thomas, “Resonance is the universal language of life,” and the resonance that occurs between our nervous systems is what allows us to connect with each others’ experiences. He and Amy explore attunement practices that we can use in our daily lives in order to practice transparent communication and create safe environments where undigested trauma can begin to be processed and healed. They discuss the systemic and intergenerational nature of trauma, and how the deep benefits of practicing relational attunement ripple out into the larger world and are felt by future generations.


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“We only hurt each other when we don’t feel each other.”

- Thomas Hübl

Guest Information

Thomas Hübl

Thomas Hübl is a renowned teacher, author, and international facilitator whose work integrates the core insights of the great wisdom traditions and mysticism with the discoveries of science. Since the early 2000s, he has been facilitating large-scale events and courses that focus on meditation and mindfulness-based awareness practices, as well as the healing and integration of trauma.

His non-profit organization, The Pocket Project, works to support the healing of collective trauma throughout the world. He is the author of the book Healing Collective Trauma: A Process for Integrating Our Intergenerational and Cultural Wounds.

His next book Attuned: Practicing Interdependence to Heal Our Trauma—and Our World will be published in September 2023 by Sounds True and is available for preorder at attunedbook.com

For more information, visit thomashuebl.com

Notes & Resources

Key points from this episode include:

  • How transparent communication helps people practice attunement
  • Attuned relational environments contribute to the self-healing mechanism of the world
  • How contemplative practices help us to consciously digest what the nervous system was unable to process
  • Relational mysticism and the need to adapt the essence of mystical traditions to fit our modern lives
  • The layers of individual, ancestral, and collective trauma and restorative processes that address them
  • Every individual is inherently interdependent with the ecosystem that they arise out of

Episode Transcript

Thomas Hübl: Hello and welcome to the Point of Relation. This is Thomas Hübl. This is my podcast and I am delighted to discuss today my new book, Attuned with Amy Fox, a longtime friend and colleague and fellow spiritual journey companion. So, Amy, most welcome to the podcast.

Amy Fox: Thank you, Thomas. It’s so wonderful to be here and have a chance to learn more about the forthcoming book.

Thomas: Hmm. Yeah, I’m happy we’re having these conversations here and deeply steeped in our work. And so you know it from inside. So it’ll be a rich conversation, I guess.

Amy: Wonderful. Why don’t I start by just asking you, what do you mean by “Attuned?” And given your decades of work as a healer and as a teacher, what inspired you to write this book at this time?

Thomas: Yeah, because I see that, you know, we talk a lot about relationships, but actually the real relating when we say relationship – it’s not like a concept, it’s a noun. It’s actually a moment-to-moment process. And the moment-to-moment process is a data flow. When I relate to myself and when I feel my body, for example, it’s like I’m putting my hand into a river. When I feel myself, I feel data flow. My nervous system channels a lot of data up and down my body in order to know how I’m doing, what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and so on.

And so attunement is like hitting a tune with your own voice. So let’s say you sing a song that you like and you sing it at the exact level of the singer, so you match the tune. And then it creates a feeling of coherence. More than two singers on stage are very well attuned with their voices, you hear it as one bigger composition, not these two separate things. And so relating and connection is actually an active process moment to moment. It’s not just because we are sitting here, we are related or connected. It means that I tuned in with you, and you tuned in with me. So I feel you. You feel me. And we both have a representation of each other inside our experience.

The more coherent is that inner representation – we call it intimacy or closeness or openness. And so attunement is like you have two cars driving on the highway and you match the speed of the other car. You can open the window and talk. But if one is faster or slower, you can’t talk because it’s too fast. And I think that often we don’t attune to each other. And that creates all kinds of issues in relationships because we actually are too fast or too slow and we don’t have real time to talk to each other because you’re not driving at the same speed. But it’s maybe a short beginning of what’s attunement.

Amy: So you talked about some of the practices of attunement, feeling yourself slowing down to just sort of catch the rhythm of the other person. Can you say a little bit more about your methodology of transparent communication and how it helps people to practice attunement?

Thomas: Mm hmm, yeah. One is self-contact. I think in order to be attuned to somebody, if it’s not a very strong defense mechanism that we learned as children, being hypervigilant and hyper-aware of the outside because that’s what kept us safe. So there are some people that don’t feel themselves, but they’re very aware of what other people feel because they had to develop that defense mechanism not to get hurt. So we need to say that too.

But usually, my self-contact, which means self-attunement that I am aware of my inner process, that there is an inner world that I can really deeply get to know my body from inside. I can get to know my emotional richness. I can be attuned to my mental process. I can also witness my own inner process. So it’s not just completely identified in me that I’m stuck in my thought, but I can witness what I’m thinking. What’s the part that’s witnessing the thinking and what’s the part that’s witnessing my emotions? So there’s a kind of awareness also that needs to be added. And so we call that coherence.

I also write in the book about the coherence of my physical, emotional, mental data flow plus awareness is what we call the synchronization of the three –three sync. And we also have a three-sync practice (also in the book.) It helps us to synchronize the physical, emotional, and mental experiences more.

And so I need to first be aware of myself. But then also now between us, there’s not only air – there’s information flowing. I feel you. You feel me. We can feel how open we are with each other or how closed we are sometimes. So that is, is this data between us. So it’s not just an empty space and it shows because when we are very open, our nervous system allows a lot of data to flow. When we are afraid or protected, then there is less data flowing. We feel more isolated. Even if there’s another person in the room, we don’t feel connected. So the space in between us shows us the dynamic of relational openness or closeness.

Also when I speak to you, I’m also feeling you because feeling you is that I get a sense of like how things land for you, which things don’t land for you, what’s actually happening in you when I speak. And so often we think, okay, self-expression is I throw into the room what I need, what I feel, who I am. or I am expressing myself, but I feel you at the same time. And so transparent communication talks about the entire system of a relationship or a relational space or group space and the dynamics within that relational space. So that’s the short, maybe framing of transparent communication so that the process becomes more and more transparent to us, so that it becomes more and more visible, palpable, of what’s actually happening in the room.

Amy: Yeah, I’ve heard you sometimes talk about that as “I,” “you” and “we,” that sort of an awareness of all three dimensions of the relationship. You mentioned that sometimes that kind of hypervigilance or over-attention outside costs us the self-contact aspect of presencing and of attunement. And I wondered if that’s a partial window into the link between your first book on Healing Trauma and Healing Collective Trauma and this book on Attunement. Could you talk a little about the relationship between trauma and how it interrupts attunement?

Thomas: Yeah. When we look at trauma, it is an overwhelming experience. What we call trauma is what happens within us in the face of an overwhelming experience. So there’s an overwhelming experience, my nervous system that holds the capabilities of thousands and thousands of years of living because we are not the only ones that got traumatized. Many of our ancestors got traumatized, too. So life developed what we call a trauma response. So the nervous system can basically, in this very stressful situation, shut down a part in order to survive better as an individual and also as a species. I think it’s a very intelligent function for very adverse moments.

But what happens when we shut down a part of ourselves? We actually shut down the function of our nervous system to resonate with and to feel life. The second thing is that most of the trauma has been created through inappropriate relationships, like when a parent abuses a child, there’s sexual abuse, there’s all kinds of trauma that happens. These are inappropriate relational spaces or conduct or actions or activities and so hurts relations. So we actually pass on like an echo, we are passing on the hurt from one generation to the next generation, from one person to the next person. When we hurt each other, when we violate ethical boundaries or when we violate human rights, we are actually shutting down a relational capacity that then has a lot of after-effects. That’s why any kind of violence, any kind of war, like you would take the Ukraine war at the moment – there such a tremendous damage being done to life and any other world, of course, too in Sudan, in Yemen, anywhere in Afghanistan. There is such tremendous damage being done through the trauma. It will affect many generations to come. We are still sitting in the after effects of this trauma impact. And I think that’s why it’s so important to work for world peace, to work for nonviolence, to find other solutions. But also where I don’t feel life I am actually also distant, numb and disconnected from certain processes. So that’s why the immune system in the world is also not activated, because when that part is shut down, we actually don’t do what we have to do sometimes in order to take care of things.

Why aren’t 3 billion people getting up and saying, “We don’t do this war, we will find another solution for this. We shouldn’t do this,” but it’s not happening. And it seems utopian when I see that. But I think the reason why that’s not happening is because we are collectively so traumatized and all around the world. And that’s why the natural response to natural ethical response to protection of human rights is partly working.

Amy: It’s just very touching what you’re saying – the repair of attunement will enable me to feel more of my life and to metabolize more of life. It will allow me to be more intimate with those around me, and it will activate my responsiveness to what’s happening in the wider world. I mean, it’s very dimensional, what you’re saying. It’s very beautiful.

Thomas: Oh, very much so. Attunement is the number one. Attuned relating is the number one remedy for trauma.
Attuned relationships give a traumatized nervous system the ability to recalibrate itself because they are safe and attuned, they are not pushy. They are not distant. They’re committed. They’re warm and generous. So in warm and generous, committed, clear relationships that are not pushy, like my nervous system can start to detox the trauma because suddenly it feels safer.
When we feel safer, we can let go of pain. We digest pain, We integrate pain. We grow post-traumatic learning. And then if we create more attuned relational environments, we are actually constantly contributing to the self-healing mechanism of the world, because that’s based on attunement and presence.

That’s why I think attunement is so important if we want to create also, because for some trauma, we need professional therapists that are trained for years and do this work for a long time. They can work with complex trauma. Also, they need attunement in their work and they often train for this for a long time. But I think we can also have a much higher collective competence of attunement that millions and billions of people in workplaces, in families, in our education system, in our medical system. How often do you see in hospitals that medical professionals are completely unattuned to their patients, and the patients are kind of lost in the health crisis, and there’s no real attunement to create safety? It seems like that’s a soft skill, but I think that’s a complete misunderstanding of human relationships.

Human relationships are not a soft skill that you learn, by the way, if you’re a leader. Because as a leader, a medical professional, you need relational skills to meet people in difficult situations, in crisis, when they are worried, when their health is not good. We need somebody who feels us to feel safe. Neuroscience says that your nervous system recognizes when I feel you while I talk to you, it’s registered as safety. Because when we feel felt, we feel safer. Because when somebody feels somebody, the chances to hurt somebody are way, way less because we can’t hurt somebody that we feel – we only hurt each other when we don’t feel each other.
Amy: That’s beautiful. I mean, when you were describing Thomas the qualities of patience and listening and receiving, I thought of your model of sort of reflection, digestion and integration, sort of these three dimensions of being the healing force for someone else, metabolizing their fear or metabolizing their hurt.

I wonder if you could talk a little about that process, but before I pass it to you, I really just want to honor that in your work with people, you give them that generous, unconditional love in such a beautiful way. Many of us have had a chance to really refine our ability to be that medicine for other people through working with you, so thank you.

Thomas: Yeah, that’s beautiful, thank you. Yeah, it’s exactly how you said that many of us are very busy. We have full lives. Life gets faster and faster, from morning to evening it’s like we can’t feel our day. So, digesting even our daily experience sometimes doesn’t happen because there is no time for it, because the day is packed and then you are tired. Of course, when we sleep and dream, we digest things, but we often don’t have practices to consciously digest what stays and digest it and what cannot be digested, the nervous system can pick into a compartment and keep it there and like a storage. But from time to time we need to empty the storage. Otherwise, it gets very crowded there and then the chronic stress level goes up and we can’t relax anymore because our system is too full.

So contemplative practices, yoga, tai chi, meditation, like even taking a walk, like having some space, taking a walk, listening to music, and letting your inner world digest your experience is a very important detox practice. I believe it’s the same like taking a shower to keep the body clean is to have some kind of contemplative practice to keep our psyche clean and in a nervous system healthy and our body healthy. And then on a deeper level, trauma means that the experience that people have or that we had couldn’t be digested after they happen.

It is actually a package of undigested data that’s circling somewhere in the person’s unconscious, creating patterns because it’s stuck in the time where it has been hurt. So when somebody gets hurt at the age of three, there’s a stuck data package somewhere in the complexity of the nervous system, stored with pain, with fear, with stress, with overwhelm. And we notice it when we get triggered and when we get triggered, somebody pushes that button, it explodes or we become very distant and numb. Some people, when they’re triggered, they’re just numb and they don’t speak or they are not related anymore because they’re pulled out of the relationship.

And so that’s why we say trauma healing in a way, is a process of attunement together stresses the system enough and creates enough safety that a digestion process of the undigested material can start. And when the nervous system feels safer, when we feel safer, we also allow more stuff to come up. So if you have good relationships, we can digest together and feel together, which means that undigested emotions are separate. They seem they’re stuck in me. I’m scared often for no reason, but I’m scared. That fear has nothing to do with many moments in my day. That fear is something that replays itself like a stuck CD that I walk with maybe for decades. I have these fears, but then they don’t confirm. You know, it’s not that it was really a tiger or a terrorist. And then that’s why I was scared, often being scared, but for no good reason. Life shows us many times that the fear wasn’t connected to the situation.

So that’s why hurt emotions seem like privatized. Healthy emotions are the connective tissue between us. So when you’re afraid or I am afraid and you feel me, I feel met in my fear. And the fear becomes part of the connection. When somebody is angry and we can stay, we feel the person while they are angry. Then the anger can become part. The sadness, the shame, whatever can become like a healed tissue, not a separate wound, but a healed tissue. So emotions are actually the connective tissue in humanity and most probably in animals, in mammals, for example.

But the point that I’m making is that when we recreate spaces together, we’re relational capacities where we feel “felt” again. Then we begin to reflect together, we can become aware of stuff, we can slowly digest that stuff, and we can then be digested like with food. Food gets integrated into the body, the nutrients become the body. So the trauma content, when it’s getting integrated, actually gets integrated into the nervous system and becomes post-traumatic learning. From my perspective on life grows, I become wiser, become more mature, become more open, more relational. Many things that many people really desire in their life actually happen when we have an appropriate environment to integrate these old wounds.

Amy: You talk about one of the costs of us not having that sort of quality of transparency, community belonging is that we don’t feel each other and we don’t feel the planet. I wonder if you could say a little bit about the lack of attunement to the wider ecosystem.

Thomas: Yeah, it’s the same like where I’m related. I care for my environment. I’m a caring citizen in my community, in my country. Every parent, you need to be part of a healthy food system. You need to be part of a healthy education system. You need to be part of many systems. So you start to care as a mature citizen, how is the level of education? What actually is happening there? What’s happening with the food that we consume? What’s happening in different systems in order to create a healthy environment for children to flourish?

And I think that that kind of care comes when we feel something, when we don’t feel something, or when we’re constantly bombarded through news with all kinds of trauma. The war here, the war in Yemen, the war in Sudan, the crisis here, the climate crisis impact there. There’s the school shooting here. There’s so many traumatic information packages that are circulating with the speed of light around the planet.

We need to have a certain practice, not only that we carry trauma, we are bombarded with trauma content. And the way to deal with this is to not feel. I’m intellectually engaged, I know what CNN says. But it doesn’t mean that I feel what CNN says. Because to feel emotionally and in my body, not just my own upheaval or my own disturbance about it, that’s one part. But to feel the situation, that’s often not what’s happening because it’s too overwhelming and it’s okay that it’s too overwhelming. I think we just need to create more collective awareness that a lot of the processes that are happening in our society are happening with our collective felt awareness. And that’s the recipe for it to continue the way it is – because unconscious processes are bound to repeat themselves. Freud already said that there’s the repetition compulsion of trauma. “What we are not aware of is bound to repeat.”

So when we culturally are not aware of certain parts of our society, because we are living in this box of hyperindividualism, especially in the West, often then many things like human trafficking, criminal raids, racism, anti-Semitism, these things like these are continuing because we are not there. We are not fully engaged. We are not fully engaged to stop certain things that are not okay, and that recreate the vicious trauma cycle around the world. And so that’s true, that it’s also part of my attunement is not just to myself or to other people. It’s the attunement to my workplace. When I feel my workplace, I’m much more engaged in my workplace because I feel like I’m part of it. I’m not just coming, doing my work, living, I’m creating relationships. It’s meaningful. I’m belonging to a social network. And the same is true for society.

Either I’m just complaining about what’s happening in the world or I’m taking responsibility. I see when I complain, I don’t move. I often say: “People that complain don’t move and people that move don’t complain.” If I contribute something creative to society, then I’m moving. If I see an issue, what can I do? Or what can we do? What can I support in the work that can help with that instead of complaining about it? There’s no Big Daddy that should save us. We are mature people that need to take certain things into our hands or support other people to do things that they can do better than us, but at least be supportive to building solutions.
Amy: It’s very powerful what you’re saying. I’m sure for many of us listening, there’s many things that are happening in the world that are alarming and weigh heavily in our hearts. And to start to understand that cultivating this quality of attunement is to start the repair process, not just in my own life, but in what I can serve in life. It feels very profound to me.

And in the book you talk about relational mysticism, which is really, in a way, a phrase that encapsulates the depth and wisdom of the work that you’re bringing these sort of links between repairing trauma, repairing the world and bringing in more light to the world. I wonder if you could talk a little about what you mean at its depth about what relational mysticism means?

Thomas: Yeah, I’m a big fan of practicing spiritual practice, mysticism and mystical science. The core of all kinds of big traditions had a mystical core. These are the people that they’re very connected to, the essence of the practices and why the work they did. They understood why these practices make sense, because they put a lot of energy and their whole life into practicing, and that develops like a certain competence.

So some of these mystics are in different traditions and you see descriptions in Christianity, in the yoga tradition, you see it in Sufism, you see it in Kabbalah, you see it in shamanism, you see it in all kinds in Daoism, Tibetan Buddhism. They’re the inner teachings that are really about the deep practices to deepen our conscious awareness, to grow as people, to develop more love, more compassion, to change our inner worlds into a more free, open, connected, awake, inner world. These practices are not just happening by accident. There is a kind of what I call the inner science of these practices. I believe, like some of these practices have been designed for monasteries, for caves, for people that in a way renounce their life in the world and then spent a life – they made a decision to go into solitude or into a monastery and to practice something very deeply, which is great. I think making that decision is great.

But many of us that are hearing this now and not sitting in a cave, we are not sitting most probably in a monastery. So we are living in the world, we are living in society. We are living with our parents, we have jobs here. We are dealing with climate change.
And so we need, I believe, a spiritual practice that is deeply relational and that makes relating and our life in the social body, our practice. And that’s why I think that sometimes a different practice is needed. That’s why I think living in the world needs a trauma integration practice, because otherwise they get constantly triggered by people, by situations. It’s difficult. I dislike certain people, I polarize, and I can do many things that I’m sometimes not even aware of how biased I am and what I contribute to the world without even knowing that I am doing that. And so I think that when we take the essence of the mystical traditions and apply it to the marketplace, what I call the “marketplace life,” our daily lives in society, we have to adapt some of the practices.

And some spiritual practitioners, they practice practices that are actually designed for monasteries, which can create in their life a bit of a disturbance. And it actually makes us weaker in life. It helps us to develop certain consciousness capacities, but it doesn’t necessarily help us to ground doors and become a change factor in our society to support the evolution of our world. And I think when we commit, everybody can decide to go to a monastery and that’s not an easy decision for most of the people. So that’s why only a few do it. And then it’s great. Then you have a set of practices. But in society, I think being in a relational environment all the time and being at work and your parents and being lovers, then we are citizens. I think relationships and relating have to become a central part of our practice.

Amy: Beautiful. It’s like a wakeness in the fabric of life.

Thomas: Exactly.

Amy: When you talk in the book about individual, ancestral and collective fluidity as one of these competencies that you’re sort of pointing to and describing, that feels like a very important new idea in the healing world, because one of the things you’ve been pioneering is really asking us to look not just at our own individual life story, but to look longitudinally at our lineage and to look more broadly at how we’re part of a collective, both carrying lineages of trauma but also potentially part of a repair process, a restorative process. Could you talk a little about what you call IAC?

Thomas: Even the term trauma is still making its way into our mainstream society, let’s say, although neuroscience, trauma, science, psychology, social sciences, some of them started to adopt this term because we see or also medicine started to adopt this term deeper and deeper in the last decades – because it’s so significant for many health issues, mental health issues.
So trauma is a really important understanding of certain processes inside that we can work with once we understand them much better than before. So it’s making its way into society. Now, though, I think trauma is being related to soldiers, people who have accidents and people too, that went through severe traumatization in their childhood. I believe that’s all true, obviously. But when we see trauma in the hyper-individualized world, there’s a tendency to see it as an individual process.

And I would say that’s not true. Trauma is a systemic issue that has individual consequences so that, of course, individuals get hurt often. As we speak here, most probably it happens millions of times around the planet. But for example, when children experience attachment trauma from their relationship with their parents because they’re neglected, they’re hurt by domestic violence, alcoholism, abuse. So that happens because the parents are traumatized. Most probably their parents were traumatized. Look at how many postwar societies actually have high rates of domestic violence. And there are all kinds of traumatization so that the echo of the word trauma and and or racism, 400 years of ongoing traumatization, it’s super painful and it’s still going on. It’s not that it stopped and now we’re just dealing with the wounds no, it’s happening and so there’s this recurrent cycle that I believe needs to be seen as a systemic issue. Trauma is a systemic design factor. It designs our societies and we have to learn to see trauma as a systemic factor that we all live in.

It’s like there’s a substance in the water that we all grew up in. Some of us inhaled more of it, maybe some of us less, but it’s systemic and it’s in different cultures around the world. You find it is not, Oh, this part of the world is great. There is no trauma in this part of the world. No, it’s universal. And I think only when we see that we normalized because we grew up in a partly traumatized society, our teachers had some of it, our parents had some of it. Our grandparents, politicians – we see it all the time. So we see trauma sometimes, but we say sometimes, oh, that’s how life is. And I would say, No, that’s not how life is. That’s how life is when it’s hurt.

Many things that we see in daily life and you watch the traffic, when you see how people treat each other on the street or in supermarkets or in all kinds of places in institutions, how foreigners are being treated in in different countries, how we treat people that have different color of skin, that have a different cultural background, like there’s a lot of stuff happening and that trauma is systemic. And only when we begin to see trauma as a systemic factor and as an inter-generational crisis that many people that were in the Holocaust and survived, that you can see how the next generations carry the trauma residues in themselves, although they haven’t been in the Holocaust, but they get it with the mother’s milk. You know, or the sperm. Through epigenetics, we get it through the way we relate to each other and we get it through the psychological environment at home. And we got it through the psychological environment in the country.

So that trauma is actually a multifaceted, layered experience. It has an individual process, but it’s always, as I say, I, infinity, E. It’s like collective. I, infinity, E. Which means every individual is inherently interdependent with its ecosystem that it arises out of. That means all the resources we carry inside that the ecosystem has, but also the trauma that the ecosystem has lives inside of us. It’s not just in an individual box, it’s the whole individual, ancestral and collective.

And I think if we can expand our vision, I think we will accelerate the collective healing process much more. I call it fluidity, because I don’t like the word method, because method puts us often into a box. I learn this method and then I apply it. No, it should be: I learn process capabilities and capacities and skills and the process is fluid. Methods become a bit of a stuck concept. And then I try to apply a concept onto a situation that actually needs more attunement to be refined. And of course there are still things we can learn about trauma, collective trauma, ancestral trauma, and we have to learn it. But the application is a fluid relational process.

The other reason why I call it fluidity is because trauma healing is liquefying the ice in individuals to intergenerational data streams and society. When the ice becomes fluid, then there’s more change, there’s more responsiveness, there’s more response-ability, there’s more participation, there’s more relational coherence, there’s many things, there’s more presence. So we are actually liquefying the permafrost in our cultures or in ourselves. And the more fluid they become, the more we can literally change with life.  We see now with climate change, we are actually changing kind of too slowly, because of the gravity of the systemic trauma, it can’t respond to change. It doesn’t want to change because it wants to be frozen. That’s its purpose.

Amy: Now, that touches me so much. It’s like you can’t help heal frozen life with a mechanistic application of a methodology. You have to cultivate the aliveness and the vitality and the attunement to be emergent and dialogical with what you’re trying to heal or respond to. Beautiful.

Just to close, Thomas I’m sure many people will be very moved by what you’re sharing and look to the book for rich resources. Could you give us just one thing people might do or start to practice to increase their kind of attunement you’re inviting us to – with themselves, with each other and with life?

Thomas: Yeah, I think there are two things. First, it’s like a curiosity in matching movements. So when I drive with a car, there’s another car on the highway and I play with driving a bit faster, a bit slower, and I get a feeling of what that means. I get a feeling of what it means that we are at the same speed and at the same speed it looks as if you’re standing beside each other. Even if you’re driving at 100 kilometers an hour, it seems like it’s still between the cars. So matching movements, when you sit on a plane – feel the movements of a plane. When you listen to music and you want to match a tune with your own voice and you learn to match, that’s attunement. That’s the organic language of life.

Resonance is the universal language of life. When you feel a tree, when you feel a situation, when you listen to somebody that speaks and you feel the person deep and you listen deeper, you are actually attuning to their movement, to their life experience, to the inner movements, to the outer movements. So you get a sense and be interested in that movement, like when I feel you, my movement, which is perception, data flow. All I know about myself is flowing data, and all I know about you is flowing data too. So my perception is data flow. So one data flow communicates and feels and other data flows are actually like in a river, you’re actually merging two rivers into a mutual flow and that’s precise attunement. And that applied for therapists means we are precisely attuned to different levels of development that our clients bring to us. So that’s one practice.

The other practice is that in order to attune more, I need to learn to develop more presence in myself, which means I learn to maybe slow down a bit, make exhalations. I connect with every exhalation through my body. I feel how staying one, two, 3 minutes just exhaling it slower, longer. It comes from the nervous system and then I can feel more of my body. As my nervous system relaxes, I start to feel more. I become more reflective. I can digest better. So I learn to do this multiple times during a day, just for a few minutes, or even just for one minute to breathe. Slow down my breathing a bit, my body noticing that my body is the most lively, most energized, present.

If I feel myself well, which parts of my body I inhabit well, and I create a deeper connection. It’s like when you play a guitar or like a piano, you need to tune that piano. Because if it’s not tuned, it doesn’t sound good. So we need to learn to use the instrument of our body to practice attunement, because my whole body is like a music instrument, and because my whole body is full of my nervous system. And when my body feels your body, I start to be in tune with your physical reality. And my emotions resonate with your emotions – I feel what you feel before you tell me what you feel. And then if you tell me what, it was great. But if somebody is afraid, we can feel that the person is afraid. I don’t need a translation like a Google Translate through my mind and it can happen directly. And I think all of these are lovely practices to get more grounded, to become more present, to become more mindful. The more presence we experience, the easier it gets to be in tune with life, to sing with the music of the orchestra of life.

Amy: Wonderful. So thank you so much for this rich conversation, Thomas And for anybody listening, Thomas’s new book, Attuned, will be available on September 12th. We hope you’ll look for it and share it with your friends and community. May it be a deeply restorative healing instrument of this work, finding its way to many more people.

Thomas: Thank you, Amy, and thank you for this conversation. It’s very generous. Thank you.