February 20, 2024

Becoming and Belonging

Thomas discusses two forces that drive us as human beings: the will to become, and the will to belong. He explores how our formative parental relationships can either encourage or subdue our drive to become our authentic selves and how our early strategies to compensate for scarcity can influence our path as adults. Thomas emphasizes the relationship between becoming and creativity and notes the harm caused by inhibiting a child’s freedom to be themselves. Ultimately, we all seek nourishing relationships imbued with supportive energy. And although trauma tends to reduce our spiritual energy, we can learn to reconnect to the source and get back to a place of abundance.

This episode was recorded as part of the 2018 Celebrate Life Festival.

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“What you did get good at in order to deal with what was missing?”

- 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 new book Attuned: Practicing Interdependence to Heal Our Trauma—and Our World is available now wherever books are sold. Visit attunedbook.com for links to order it online.

For more information, visit thomashuebl.com

Notes & Resources

Key points from this episode include:

  • How we constantly “download” new versions of ourselves to stay connected to the creativity of the universe
  • The pendulous relationship between belonging and freedom
  • The fountain of life energy supplied by our ancestors, and how it can be reduced by trauma, and regenerated
  • A call to reflect on areas of abundance and scarcity in our lives

Episode Transcript

Thomas Hübl: For some of you, you heard me talk about this, that I believe in human development. There are two forces that are very important to all of us: The one is the will to become and the other one is the will to belong, so that we are all becoming so there is a natural developmental stream through all of us, and I think that never ends. We grow up, but then we keep on growing. There is a natural wish in a soul to keep on expanding and developing our kind of perspective, our interior landscape, the complexity, and our kind of wholeness within the universe. 

There’s a force in all of us that becomes, and, I think, the moment that force gets reduced, we feel less and less happy. And if that force is free to become, then we feel naturally happy and creative. So the force or the will to become is inherently connected to our creativity. Becoming and creativity go hand in hand. If I can become, I have a perspective, I am creative, I am innovative. There are many qualities that come with it. 

And that’s also important for relation. And you can see, maybe, how in your own childhood, your will to become, has been seen. I think a few very, very important aspects of parenting and one of them is that we feel and relate to the intelligence that is growing in our children, that we really feel and see what’s growing in our children, not what we want to have there, but what is there. And that’s already challenging for many people because it means that they really need to feel, relate, look, and support even if this is contradicting my own conditioning. That’s already delicate.

So when you see, how did you feel supported in your becoming, in your uniqueness, in your motivation, your interest, in the things that you were interested in, and how is that today? Did you feel that you have enough self-contact, did you feel what is the drive, that becoming in you? And do you live a life that allows you to become? And to follow that, becoming has something to do with kind of feeling our next step, moment to moment to moment. 

The mystics’ work in the marketplace is that we feel that we intuit or we feel the next update. It’s like updates for your cell phone, OS 730,000. You download constantly new versions of yourself to stay connected to the creativity of the universe, so we all feel when our works, or whatever our lives updates, new updates, it feels fresh, it feels we are developing, we are expanding, we are creating new versions of what we are doing in the world. And maybe we also know how it feels when that gets a bit sleepy and the energy is a little bit like standing water. So one force in us, and that’s something that we can feel, that’s also what I said on the first day, the energy that calls us onto a path, onto a spiritual path is also connected to that force of becoming. 

And then there’s the second one: the will to belong, the will to be related, the will to be part of something, the will to be intimate. So there’s intimacy and there’s freedom. There’s intimacy and there’s freedom. And so when you look at your will to belong, to create satisfying intimacy, of course, with your partners but also with other people, meaningful relations in your life that are nourishing. But you feel you have to exchange it, that really nourishes you, that inspires you, that also supports you when you need support. So belonging creates a social network, not just Facebook. But kind of a network of meaningful relations. And so when you look in your life, how do you see your belonging, your will to belong? 

I believe when we go through our development, as we heard before a little bit. There are different phases, and there are always kind of a pendulum movement of creating more freedom and the new version of belonging. More freedom and the new version of belonging. When a child grows, we reach out, there’s an impulse, there’s autonomy. We create our own interior space, our own autonomy, and then there is relation. So there’s fear and curiosity, resistance and anger and autonomy, and then there is relation, the capacity to relate. So there’s a pendulum movement. I belong to something. I create a new level of freedom, and then I can relate from that new level of freedom. 

And I believe what we heard in the morning is also connected to the moment when we get really tight in relation, when we hit our traumatized parts, when we hit our shadow parts. What we actually hit on the deepest level of our being is a lack. Something is missing, a lack. Something is missing. There is not enough. And I find it interesting when we look at consciousness development. Basically, we could say that the nature of the ego is that I need to get something. The will to receive. What do I get when I talk to you? What will I get from it? When I do this, what will be the outcome? 

And becoming equal to the nature of the divine is the will to give. It is becoming a creative outlet, becoming kind of an overflowing well. So, many of the issues that we see in our world are based on the lack. There is something missing. Conflicts arise when there is not enough. Not enough of natural resources, not enough attention, love, not enough sex, not enough something. When you revisit a little bit of your own development, and you look for abundance and scarcity.

Especially, let’s talk today about relational scarcity. So scarcity, in the family system of attention, relation, potential-oriented support or safety, security for some people. The basic safety wasn’t given. So then fear is a natural element of my further life. 

When you revisit your own time of development, a childhood time when you grew up, and you look for scarcity and abundance, and you just see whatever comes up in you, the first things that come up in you – what was abundance, and where was the lack? Where was energy missing? And what did you do with it? How did you compensate for the scarcity? Or what did you do for it to get more of what was missing? So when there was a lack of safety or there was a violent environment, what did you do to be more safe? If there was a lack of attention and relation, what did you do to get more attention, relation, and awareness? So where was the lack and what did you develop as a strategy to get more of the cake? Also, when there were siblings, when you weren’t the only child, there were others that also needed resources, what kind of strategy did you develop to get more of it?

When I look at the family system, parents are usually pipelines, in the most unromantic version. As parents, we are pumping life energy into a system, and within that system, our kids are growing. So we are providing safety, we are providing love, attention, nourishment, nurturing, all kinds of things: limits, guidance, and everything that goes with it. What I want to point to is that a system has a certain amount of energy. When that system starts off with traumatized parents, most probably that system doesn’t have 100% energy, but it has maybe only 80% or 60%. So everything needs to happen in a system that has already less energy to start with. 

And less energy means stress; less energy means tension; less energy means, did I grow up with a certain feeling of scarcity? And with the fear that something is not going to be enough. And that’s, I believe, a basic issue that we face in the world in general, that many people carry inside a fear of something not being enough and the more we are disconnected from the divine, from the spirit, that gets amplified. If we come back to our relational capacity, so when we heard today that the work is often to reconnect and to find out how we can grow together into different levels of intimate relationship, but what we actually do is that we fill the parts in us that live in scarcity, in one way or the other.

In the energetic understanding of a human being, we could say we come from our roots. So the notion of Qi is like this. It’s a fountain. A fountain of energy. So if this was water, from our roots, our ancestors, energy comes up. It goes up the spine and it nourishes the whole nervous system, the neocortex, and becomes a fountain. But when there is trauma, or if there was an original lack in the system already, that fountain is lower. But in order for us to have our higher functions, especially our higher consciousness functions in line, we need that energy to energize all of us. But if that energy flow is reduced, we function on the reduced level of ourselves. So if there’s not enough energy coming up, and a lot of the wisdom traditions work with this core stream of Kundalini energy or life energy that comes up our spine and different centers of consciousness, but eventually, it goes back to feeling energized.

First of all, it’s good to know that when I am reactive, I don’t have enough life energy flow available to energize another function. So when a trauma gets triggered, usually the energy crystallizes around that reactivity and I am not anymore fully connected to that higher function that can embrace it. And that goes back to a lack, that goes back to something that’s not enough.

I would love to just have one trial, where everybody has a little time to share about abundance and scarcity in your own history, and also how you experience this maybe in a relationship. And what are your strategies that you built on top of the scarcity? So one would be, for example, if I feel often threatened in my family system and I found out that I get my place by helping and supporting my mother or my father to feel more safe. Maybe today, I’m a therapist or a doctor. Or if I knew that in order to stabilize the family system, first by managing it as a seven-year-old or eight-year-old, I already managed my family system, maybe today I am a CEO. 

And it’s not that every CEO has that pattern but tendencies are higher that people feel motivated to do something in their life, that they have trained already for many years. As long as I support you and you are happy I feel safe, so that becomes a pathway in me, that becomes something that I become good at, and I can support people, and they feel happy, and I feel happy until I have a burnout. Because I cannot support, my happiness cannot depend on if you are happy or not, as we all know. So, I learned how to bridge the scarcity in me. There was a lack of safety or maybe attention, love? So, I started to do compensation. 

So how did you do it? What you did get good at in order to deal with what was missing? Maybe there was nothing missing, so you’re here to serve as a Buddhist Zatma, everybody in the room? That’s also good. We need more of those. When you see your intimate relationship dynamics, maybe you start from there or you start from your family system where you come from, family of origin. So, the abundance, the scarcity, and how did you deal with the scarcity?