June 4, 2024

Cultivating Wisdom

Thomas dives deep into the foundational concept of wisdom – exploring what it takes to cultivate wisdom within ourselves, and how the individual effects of wisdom are deeply intertwined with the whole of humanity. Thomas believes that wisdom arises when we grow and mature through difficult circumstances, integrating what we learn from these experiences and allowing ourselves to expand.

Practicing presence can be challenging for many of us, but the more we integrate the past, the easier it gets. Presence, as Thomas explains, is a beautiful gift that transcends time. And learning how to live in presence and connection with the whole of existence, the good and the bad, is how we develop wisdom.

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“Wisdom is the capacity to host the world inside of ourselves.”

- 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:

  • Learning to stop pathologizing fragmentation, and recognizing its purpose in the moment
  • How unifying with the earth helps us be more conscious in the present moment
  • The importance of noticing where it’s difficult to be present
  • How transcendence doesn’t mean becoming indifferent or aloof, it means caring more, growing, and expressing more unconditional love
  • The intelligence of and value in stillness

Episode Transcript

Thomas Hübl: Hello and welcome. My name is Thomas Hübl. This is Point of Relation, my podcast. And I want to invite you today to explore with me what’s wisdom. There’s a lot of talk about wisdom, about wisdom traditions. So let’s explore a little bit together what actually generates wisdom. What’s the expression of wisdom? How do we live a wiser life? And what are the components that we see in our spiritual and worldly practice to generate more of it? So one way I would describe wisdom is that wisdom is the capacity to host the world inside of ourselves.

And what does that mean? How much of the world can I host inside myself, which means how much of the world arises in me as an interdependent whole? Which means I do not feel separate of, and where I don’t feel separate from that part of the world. And so the qualities that we often see or feel or experience when we walk through the world is that there is a good part to the world that we feel may be closer to. And then there are difficult parts of the world that are parts that we either avoid or that we experience some distance towards and they’re harder to handle. And living a life of wisdom is like a deep commitment to become an ally of life.

And here’s what that means, because when we take the principle of trauma, what trauma is is that in the traumatic moment when an overwhelming situation happens that we cannot process or compute, we could say “Here and now, life is not good for me.” The childhood experiences, trauma, people, war situations, violence, neglect, here and now, life is not good for me. So either fragmenting space and time and not being here in time and space is the better option because there’s a notion that being present is great, which I think on the one hand, yes, being present is definitely great, but pathologizing not being present is not helpful.

And why is that not helpful? Because when we pathologize the parts of us that actually fragment or are fragmenting time and space, that it’s better not to be fully in my body, that it’s better not to be fully in my emotions because that’s where I experienced overwhelming pain. In that moment that was intelligent, that it has after effects, that create suffering, that is true, but it doesn’t mean that the intelligence that is at work here is not good or bad or wrong, not at all. The intelligence is actually very intelligent. And so on the one hand, we could say the art of healing, the healing art or the healing arts are designed to create a collaboration with the part of us that left life that not here, not now is better than to be an ally of life, to be fully in the world, but consciously.

And so some of the wisdom traditions, they are designed to create a lot of transcendence and transcending our experience through subject-object transcendence, inducing practices is very important, very powerful. And I think we have a lot of wisdom and knowledge on the planet how to do that. And everybody who is a serious practitioner of meditation can find whatever we need to find in order to practice that and I will speak more about that. So transcendence and different states, deep states of consciousness are very important, yes. And to be able to do the healing work that unifies my being with mother earth, with the principle of our roots, with where we come from, with nature, with the biosphere, with our deep embodiment, that makes us a deep ally of life. Why? Because the promise is not later.

The promise is coming closer. The more we can be here. And here it became like a word that has been overused. The more we can be in the experience that is happening right now and not just in the part that we experience, that we can be here because we also examine the part that we cannot experience, where we don’t even know that we are not here. We just see certain symptoms in our life all the time happening. And then we say, “Yeah, but living in an unconscious world is hard.”

Or “I’m still dealing with that issue. Well, how long does it take to heal myself?” Or “Where are the fireworks of consciousness? Where is the almost entertainment of extraordinary states that we are looking for?” So there are many symptoms that not here and not now create. And these symptoms are often collectively normalized. And the path of wisdom is not just a path of getting into high-spiritual states. A path of wisdom is to bring this very profound states of consciousness into every step, into every moment, into a world of polycrisis, into deep issues in relationships, into deep, deep ethical issues in corporations, in our marketplace, in different institutions.

It’s the complexity of life that we don’t want to get out of. But actually if we want to bring higher consciousness into, on the one hand for ourselves, that our whole energy system starts to really embody higher states so that from the mat, from the state of consciousness we transfer higher consciousness into our daily life. And that means that I’m not shying away from difficulties, as in Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching, it says, “And when the master runs into difficulties, she stops and she gives herself to it.” So it doesn’t say that the master doesn’t have any difficulties, and it doesn’t say that the master doesn’t want to have any difficulties. It says, “When she runs into difficulties, she stops.” What does that mean? Slows down, creates space and gives herself to it, really wants to be there and really want to be there means I bring consciousness, I bring sensing, I bring seeing. I bring deeper compassion and presence to the difficulties and like that I begin to induce a reorganization of those difficulties into a new movement.

And so the more we are committed to not just compulsively to seek out difficulties, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is if difficulties already come into our life, if we are confronted with stuff that we don’t know fully how to handle, and interpersonal conflicts and ethical conflicts, how should I do this? How should I do that? What’s right? What’s wrong? And also seeing climate change in the world, seeing wars and conflicts in the world. So these are possibilities for all of us to become wiser and to find a deep relationship to those moments, to those issues, to those parts of life. And that’s why I also called my podcast ‘Point of Relation’, because that’s in the point where we are related in the place where we are related to each other, but also to certain situations. That’s where the magic happens. That’s where transformation happens.

That’s where vertical alignment and horizontal alignment meet in the open heart. And that’s where I believe wisdom grows. Wisdom grows when we go through something that is challenging or difficult and we go through it and we integrate the difficulty, and it turns into growth, it turns into maturation, it turns into an expansion. So in that moment when I integrate something that’s challenging for me, my whole experience grows and I’m able to host more of the world than I did before. So I feel less separate and more inter or intra-connected with that part of life. So there’s more data flowing. And on the one hand we could say trauma, individual, ancestral, collective, trauma is a disorganization in life.

It disorganizes life and creating healing and integration, embodiment and wisdom is bringing back the natural order of life. So things start to line up, things start to make sense. We can understand things come back into more of a flow. The separation between inside and outside starts to melt away and life becomes an integrated or interdependent whole. That’s the development of wisdom. And that the deep embodiment work that I want to bring the light of my soul into my daily life and I see how the light of my soul and that journey really transforms my being, but also transforms as an interdependent property through my relationship with the world, the ecosystem that I’m part of. So we have an ecosystemic effect that light starts to spread around us, not because we are preaching something just through the way we are living, just through our authenticity, vulnerability, openness, agency, willingness to contribute, motivation, creativity.

We are co-creating an ecosystem. So what naturally grows as wisdom inside at the same time becomes like the ecosystemic wisdom because we are putting new substances into the bathwater that we are bathing in. So the ecosystem that we are is growing wisdom with us because it’ll affect all our relationships. And as the relationships also grow and develop, as our interactions with the world grow and develop, as we take a little bit different decisions and we make different choices, the reality that we co-create with the world is expanding, changing, growing, becoming wiser. So wisdom is not just an in-house individual thing we cultivate that just lives in me, the cultivation of wisdom is naturally, ecosystemically relevant, culturally relevant, societally relevant, globally relevant.

There is no difference. It’s not just something that happens in me, it’s something that happens in the wholeness of me and the world. And that’s a way to describe wisdom, a wholeness of me and the world is wisdom. And that’s also the experience that can flow through and that creates intimacy on different levels of relationships. And that’s why the combination of spiritual or mystical practices that induce subject-object transcendence, so what I’ve identified with today will be in me tomorrow. So what I don’t see, the me that is looking when we slowly differentiate and are able to transcend that part of our perspective so that’s still part of me, but it’s not just me because I’m able to witness that. So from the moment, from an unconscious identification to a differentiation into that that becomes an object in my consciousness, something that I can be aware of, feel, but not be fully in.

That’s subject-object, transcendence. So it’s in me, it’s a quality that I also am, but not exclusively. And I’m aware of it, this space, this inner space. And so everything that we can hold in and as inner space, everything that’s arising, body sensations, emotions, thoughts, imaginations, relationships, the world, is being held in more spaciousness. And that has immediately an impact because we have a different level of hosting of the world. Things are not anymore so tight and so without space, that many things can become too much, I have a much higher capacity to let things flow through and respond versus react.

Reactivity, there is not much space, I have to react or I distance myself. I have nothing to do with this or it doesn’t matter to me. But that’s not intimacy. It doesn’t matter to me, it’s lonely, and it doesn’t matter to me I’m a bit back. I’m distant or I become indifferent. Oh, what will happen will happen. That’s not a sentence that comes out of transcendence. Transcendence has even more care. Transcendence has the freedom to care more, has the freedom to turn to words even more. And that’s when we cultivate love, the freedom to turn to words. Growth means I’ll express more and more unconditional love.

Because if the promise is not later, if the promise is coming closer, if the promise is more and more here, then you are not an obstacle for me to get there. Then whatever my life is not an obstacle to get there to the wisdom, to get there to enlightenment, to get there to the paradise. Because the promise and the revelation more and more are part of my life, are in my life. The revelation is not later, the revelation, I’m living a revelatory life. So revelation is happening versus is going to come. And that’s when more and more of the past or the karma we carry gets integrated into the living process.

That’s amazing. And that means, as I often say, when we walk forever, when awakening, healing, enlightenment, our path is not any more defined by our mortality, is not any more defined by death, is not any more defined by time. I have time for you, I have time for this moment, when I walk forever, I have time for now because now is not anymore a distraction. Don’t need to get now out of the way to get there and that’s a tremendous liberation. That’s not just an intellectual idea as we can also carry that as an intellectual idea. Oh, so I should be all the time here. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is through a really committed exploration of our experiences and where our awareness is and ourselves, being here is not anymore a ‘should’ and effort, being here is the most effortless state.

It’s only because of the trauma and the trauma stress and the tension that creates that trying to come here sometimes might feel more effortful. Trying to meditate, trying to be more mindful might be sometimes a bit like an effort. But the more we integrate the past, present moment deepens. And that’s wisdom. I think we all know how it feels when you’re really bothered by something or you’re really hurt by something or you really need a friend to listen and somebody is there. It’s not that their clock is always in the background, how long is it going to take? It’s like the quality of presence transcends time. I’m here with you, I’m here.

And that creates a strong magnetism. And I think we all know how that feels when we really need support, a listening ear, when we really need somebody to feel us and be with us. If somebody is really there, that’s very healing, that’s very grounding, that can open up a lot of new perspectives. And we start to participate in the revelation together. Life wants to reveal itself, but it needs us when we are constantly running somewhere so then a lot of the revelation is happening, but we are not there where that’s happening. But when we come here, and that’s why deep, deep meditation states, they’re magnetically here.

The here-ness is so palpable. It is so strong. It’s like that almost nothing can evade the here-ness, like deeply magnetic and deeply peaceful and still. And as that stillness, life is super intelligent, it looks like stillness is just so simple it’s just still, deep silence or deep stillness is supremely intelligent. But because we are so used to complexity or complicated situations, we are hypnotized by those that sometimes we don’t anymore fully feel and appreciate the deep residing intelligence in stillness. That a lot of insight, a lot of information, a lot of revelation happens in the simplicity of first space and from space to magnetic presence, a lot of intelligence reveals itself.

And so to combine the wisdom of the meditation practices and to combine the healing arts with the spiritual dimension and all the wisdom from different healing modalities is a tremendously powerful couple. And in our next episode that follows this one, we will talk a little bit more about the generation or generating wisdom, and we’ll also talk about some other factors of the wisdom traditions and the trinity of awareness, creating movement and ethical alignment. Three big fields that the wisdom traditions provide us to study and to grow inside of ourselves. So more about this next time, and I wish you a beautiful time and see you then.