Global Social Witnessing at the Mind and Life institute Europe
“Kinship, Conflict and Compassion” was the topic of a summer research institute (ESRI) hosted by the Mind and Life Institute Europe on 20 – 26 August 2018 in the beautiful mountain scenery at lake Chiemsee in Bavaria, Southern Germany. Scientists, peace builders, facilitators, and educators engaged in a cross-disciplinary dialogue which focused on the roots of human inter-group conflict, social connectivity and the ways that we can transcend conflict and enhance healthy connections through various approaches, including contemplative training. Read More
The Mind and Life Institute was founded by the Dalai Lama and Chilean biologist Francisco Varela to foster the dialogue between science and contemplative tradition. Thus, Mind and Life has paved an evolutionary pathway on which today the Academy of Inner Science Graduate Program is also contributing to. In that respect, AIS Graduate student Lukas Herrmann presented the concept of Global Social Witnessing through a poster which was received with a lot of interest and appreciation from many sides. In a personal conversation with Lukas, the Dalai Lama’s former consultant on international law in the negotiations with China, highlighted the timely significance of fostering practices of Global Social Witnessing for leaders in our age. After the third day of the conference, which was dedicated to silent meditation practice, day 4 took off with powerful presentations on racism, conflict, and forgiveness.
The presentations were followed by a panel discussion between the presenters – Masi Noor, social psychologist at Keele University, UK, who came to Germany as a refugee from Afghanistan and focuses his research on forgiveness, with Sabina Čehajić‐Clancy, who is an Associate Professor and Dean of the Political Science and International Relations Department at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with Bryce Huebner, philosopher at Georgetown University who focuses his research on racism. They discussed questions of our current human experience, e.g. how to work with power asymmetries in one’s communities and pointed to the necessity of valuing our collective traumatic affects, feelings of injustice, as potential driving forces for conflict and its transcendence, and of contemplating not only our minds within a spiritual bubble, but also changing the deeper hidden structures that sustain current injustice, racism, and inequality. “I think we are in danger of psychologizing too much and thereby neglecting the material dimension. It’s all good to philosophize, psychologize, theologize …, but if it takes you hours to get your sick child seen, or if you are that statistic that makes you more likely to be shot dead as you go about your business in the US or elsewhere, than you really need to take those material dimensions seriously,” Noor put forward. He explicated his perspective further responding to a question asked by a German in the audience who honestly spoke his mind and expressed tiredness of being held responsible for the Holocaust having contributed nothing to it. Noor’s response embodied a gesture of global social witnessing. It began with his question “What we need to bear in mind: Are we still benefitting from that industry that was built on the Holocaust? Are there other privileges that we have access to as a result of our ancestors colonizing and oppressing other groups?” and was received with applause from the audience.
On the last day Heather Grabbe, who has worked on the Balkans and Turkey as political advisor to a European Commissioner and now is an advocate for democracy, justice, rights and the open society, spoke about current day threats to democracy in Europe, bringing back to our awareness the urgency of responsibly co-creating healthy societies.
This summer research institute proofed how the Pocket Project and it’s work on multiple levels is right at the heart of contributing to the world’s current situation and enable the changes that we wish to see and witness in ourselves, our communities and our cultures.
Restoring a fragmented world – the Celebrate Life Festival
The Celebrate Life Festival was born in 2004 in Germany and became one of the most popular and dynamic consciousness events in Europe. This year the Festival opened for the first time in the United States and was deeply dedicated to explore and inquire into essential practices of healing and restoration in response to the intensity of the fragmentation we are facing in our world. Find more information and an introduction to the speakers here. Read More
A main focus of this year’s Festival was on race. “The honored speakers, Konda Mason and angel Kyodo williams, graced the audience with their centered kindness and firm resolve to help us see how the healing will start with a recognition of the lies we have been fed and the responsibility we need take in understanding how we continue to perpetuate these lies. The doctrine of white supremacy and privilege was intentionally created as a cultural standard and was written into law as a means of gaining status and wealth. Once the painful reality that “I am a white supremacist” is grasped, the subconscious is freed and, though there is still much work to be done, it is a liberating and enlightening experience for which I am deeply grateful. The magnificently soulful and uplifting musical performances at the end of the day certainly helped ones body, heart and mind regulate the shifts in consciousness which facing these realities opened.” (Elissa, Pocket Project volunteer)
The proceeds from the Festival will go to support the Pocket Project. This was a beautiful beginning and we are looking forward to all the projects, ideas and impulses that will arise from the Festival and help spread the work of the Pocket Project.
With deep gratitude to everyone who was part of making this event possible!
Creating a virtual home base for the Pocket Project
The Pocket Project is a global initiative with the goal to contribute to the healing of collective and intergenerational trauma, and to reduce its disruptive effects on our global culture. As a global initiative, it needs an infrastructure to connect the members of the Pocket Groups and Competence Center, the public and researchers. The ‘Lab’ is also needed to share selected and approved research data, knowledge and experiences gained in the Pocket Groups and Competence Centers through the community and public Knowledge Gardens. Read More
The Lab will bring together the communication tools commonly available in social media into one website and support the growth of a global collaborative learning environment. Our aim is to take the next step in community building and an invitation to an interactive creation of wisdom and knowledge. Visit pocketprojectlab.org
Do you feel drawn to this initiative? Do you wish to support the development of this innovative learning platform. Join us as a volunteer or support us with your donation. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Grounding the Pocket Project – Diana Chambers: our new interim COO
The Pocket Project is growing into a global organization and this process needs sensitive and mindful guidance. Since the beginning of 2018, Diana Chambers supports the Pocket Project as an interim COO with her extensive knowledge and wealth of experience. We are full of gratitude for her support and working with her is a great pleasure!
Diana’s early career included almost a decade as a strategic planner for a global corporation before she moved from the UK to the USA and subsequently directed three different charitable organizations. She then launched her own successful practice as a philanthropic advisor and family wealth mentor, where she helps her clients to optimize the role of money in their lives and relationships. Diana has a deep commitment to spirituality and integrative health and is a student in Thomas Hübl’s Timeless Wisdom Training. She lives in Switzerland.
Trauma Transformation in Community – a new teaching series has just started
In June 2018 the Pocket Project, in association with the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), facilitated the first pilot training for “Trauma Transformation in Community” in Findhorn / Scottland. This training was born out of a deep calling to bring the vision and teachings of the Pocket Project together with trauma neuroscience and therapy skills (Giselle Charbonnier), and community building skills (Kosha Joubert), in order to have a faster, more effective, and sustainable reach into those places where therapeutic aid is scarce and trauma healing is most needed. Read More
This first training was a deep and enriching journey into the understanding of collective trauma both for the facilitators and the 14 participants coming from various countries, such as: Colombia, Lithuania, South Africa, Mexico, Germany, Mianmar, Namibia, Norway, Spain, and UK. This was the starting point of a new training series that will take place in different regions around the world to support the growth of a community of skillfully trained people to enable sustainable change on the ground, in regions where it is most needed.
Here is a report by Gabriela, one of the training participants from Colombia, whose attendance was made possible through a scholarship. Some of the Pocket Project one year training participants and other donors through Betterplace and GoFundMe gifted generously. We wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the donors.
“The Trauma Transformation in Community training offered a beautiful integration of tools based on Thomas’s teachings on group coherence, transparent communication and intergenerational and collective trauma, within a sensitive setting. The training was supported by the somatic trauma theory approach, together with a broad experience of community dynamics and resources. The workshop presented a solid framework as well as careful attention to the group process and coherence, which brought my attention to the subtle natural unfolding of relational dynamics in which collective trauma gets expressed and the identification of opportunities to repair this memory through supporting connectedness and promoting the awareness of the energy movements in the relational field.
This experience was a clear starting point to work with essential and practical tools to bring light into the collective memories and their driving forces, within a community setting, so important for my homeland, Colombia, during these times and taking into account the challenges of the peace process. In a practical way, for me the integration of these teachings is taking place through the work developed by Corasoma, an NGO created to work with social transformation processes, using integral approaches to be able to heal the points of pain, conflict and trauma of individuals, communities and territories in Colombia.”
Sharing an essential moment at the Heiligenfeld Congress in Germany
At the Heiligenfeld Congress 2018, “Kairos – Shaping Change“, in Bad Kissingen, Germany, Thomas Hübl gave a lecture and workshop about presence, collective traumatization and the possibilities of healing. In his talk “An essential moment” Thomas spoke to more than 1000 people about non-duality and how traumatization hinder us from being fully present in each moment. Drawing on mystic traditions, he outlined the complex nature of time and explained how trauma works as a frozen life force, keeping us in the “aftertime” of trauma, until healing may occur. Thomas emphasized the collective nature of traumatization like the Second World War as something we are born into and which we are often unconscious of. He stressed the importance of addressing these traumatic events collectively and pointed out the possibilities of an enhanced group consciousness in order to heal and integrate the past.Read More
In the following two-hour-workshop, Thomas elaborated these thoughts further, depicting how trauma happens now, in every moment, even if the actual traumatic event happened decades ago. He acknowledged the response to traumatic events as an intelligent resource by the nervous system of each individual and pointed out, how trauma can be healed by offering “precise relationships” which effectively deal with traumatic events. Due to the omnipresent nature of traumatization, Thomas spoke about the importance of addressing trauma collectively and spiritually rather than individually and made it possible for the participants to experience group consciousness and response directly.
In his warm and insightful talk, he introduced many new and pioneering ideas in this important field and presented the Pocket Project as an international initiative to further address and explore collective traumatization and integration. The workshop closed with an extensive Q & A. I personally found the notion that we are not alone in whatever our experiences might have been very helpful and am looking forward to further exploring and sharing the methods, tools and knowledge facilitated by the Pocket Project.
Inga (Germany / Pocket Project volunteer)
In May 2018 we completed the Pocket Project’s first one-year training in working with collective and intergenerational trauma. The program began and ended with a five-day seminar in Israel with Thomas Hübl and his assistant team. In between seminars there were online classes, as well as mentoring and supervision groups to support and shape the mutual work. A group of 152 participants from 39 countries formed to explore collective and intergenerational trauma and the different dynamics related to this topic.Read More
Thomas is deeply inspired and touched by the Pocket work:
“We have finished a very powerful time in Neve llan with our group from 39 countries. It is clear that we are all very passionate about the importance and the enormity of the collective trauma issue in the world. We had two direct experiences with Colonialism and the Holocaust where we felt the power of the collective unconscious and how it affects every one of us. Only when we have a direct experience of a collective trauma process, can we really get a glimpse of the effects that such a denied field of experience has on us – even if created many generations ago – as individuals and culture. Before that I believe we have a mental, rational understanding – but we can’t refer it back to a felt experience. That’s why I see this as a pioneering field of exploration.” (Thomas Hübl)
One year of intense exploration and involvement is coming to an end, and for most of the training participants it is already clear that this is just the beginning of a new movement. This movement has a clear focus on contributing to the healing of collective and intergenerational trauma, and to reduce its disruptive effects on our global culture.
Along with the involvement and the dedicated study of the teaching materials that were provided by Thomas Hübl and the mentors, many of the training participants were included in the ongoing effort of building and establishing the Pocket Project Organization.
Different streams of activities and groups are forming to continue the work and deepen the teachings around newly forming Pocket Groups, Competence Centers, the online platform and the overall structure for the Pocket Project global organization.
Nicholas Janni, one of the assistants and mentors of the training as well as a member of the Core Team of the Pocket Project, describes his experience during the training and it’s after effects:
“As Thomas said during the training, our nervous systems literally went through an expansion, because of the ‘size’of what we chose to open ourselves to. That is no small thing! And while I was personally at first a little disoriented and depleted after we finished, I experience more and more how I am now clearly living in a different and ever changing reality to the one I was in, on April 28th.”
Marlene, one of the training participants, relates her experience during the training:
“The Pocket Training revealed to me the essence of our connection with Earth in a new depth. I am deeply touched by the truth of this connection, and by the truth of the pocket work.”
There will be a continuation of this powerful work, the details are still being worked on. It is certain that a second training will follow. As soon as the details and dates are clarified we will share this information with you.
Do you want to become part of the Pocket Project? Join us as a volunteer
Trauma Transformation in Community
International Training with Kosha Joubert and Giselle Charbonnier, June 23 – 27 2018 in Findhorn, Scottland. This training is organized by GEN – Global Ecovillage Network.
Our lives and relationships are often unconsciously shaped by trauma – lingering remnants of deeply distressing experiences in our personal and collective histories. In this training, we take a step towards the freedom of awareness and choice, learning skills for recognition, prevention, co-regulation and integration of trauma within our communities.
Trauma is frozen life force – in order to melt back into the river of life it needs the compassionate witnessing presence of the other.
The Nexus conference – The art of impact in a fragmented world
Thomas Hübl visited the 4th annual NEXUS USA Summit 2018 in February in Washington D.C. Nexus connects the financial, intellectual, creative and social capital of the young generation in an action-oriented, solutions-focused and safe space. It aims to inspire learning and collaboration between a uniquely powerful network of peers.
Thomas was one of the keynote speaker at the conference and offered a workshop and a meditation where he deepened his approach to the art of impact in a fragmented world. In his workshop, Thomas shared mystical principles that deepened participant understanding of their own impulse to create authentic impact in the world and how best to relate to the most challenging situations at one’s growing edge. He shared awareness tools and practices to build competencies as we explored cultural change and the connection to innovation and leadership which impact social structure.
Pocket Groups Report
The Pocket Groups are at the heart of the Pocket Project and are supervisioned and guided by senior students of Thomas, Nicholas Janni and Hilorie Baer. To give you an impression into the nature of the Pocket Groups and their ongoing development and a deeper insight in the work, here is what Nicholas Janni wants to share with you.
We have said from the beginning that there are two types of Pocket group:
- Groups that conduct research into the historical, intergenerational and cultural foundations of a region’s trauma imprints
- Groups that intend to conduct process work with the energetics of collective trauma in a context of healing and restoration
The two of course sometimes overlap, and the forming of Pocket groups in different parts of the world is naturally a slow and emergent process. Read More
This is in no small part due to the fact that, while many people have a natural desire to work with collective trauma, and indeed may already have significant facilitation experience, we are discovering through the Teaching that Thomas brings, with its unique marriage of timeless mystical wisdom and cutting-edge psychology, that in many respects a whole new paradigm and a whole new set of competencies are unfolding. And that these are exactly what give the Pocket Project its very particular depth and potential.
To date groups have been established and/or are forming in Argentina, Israel, USA, Germany and the UK.
I myself facilitate the Israel and UK groups, as well as a group in a country that at present cannot be named for security reasons. One of the most significant things I can report is that, even in the Israel group which has been meeting for well over a year now, we are edging our way gradually and carefully towards collective trauma work. We have begun, also in the UK group, to engage some intergenerational work, but the key focus is on building the Presencing capacity and coherence of the group. What this means essentially is building the individual and group capacity to feel ourselves, each other, our lineages and more directly through our nervous systems, as opposed to our cognitive or imagination functions.
And here we must have the patience and tenacity go step by step by step, so that as we begin to turn towards the intensity of bigger collective trauma fields we are ready to face and host them in our individual and group ‘body’ as precisely and spaciously as possible. In fact, we discover along the way that all desire to be somewhere else or ‘further ahead’ in the process is itself exactly one of the symptoms of the underlying trauma fields on which our cultures sit.
We are preparing now for the final in person part of our one-year training – six days with Thomas in Israel at the end of April. We are confident that after this meeting the way forward for many of the global Pocket groups will also become clearer.
We all engage this work with great commitment, joy and humility, taking our part in this magnificent healing project, which is in itself a part of the bigger project and challenge that humanity finds itself in at this epochal time in our evolution.
Pocket Project core team member
Conference on Institutional Change
Resonance, Institutional pathologies and collective Trauma
Impressions form the 4th Witten Conference on Institutional Change
As part of the Pocket Project volunteer group and PhD. students, Lukas Herrmann and Adrian Wagner presented their recent research in the context of collective trauma integration at the fourth Witten Conference on Institutional Change. Can institutions become pathological? What are pathologies in institutions and how do they relate to collective trauma? Read More
At the fourth Witten Institutional Change conference on Institutional Pathologies from 1st to 2nd February 2018 a heterogeneous group of scholars, researchers and practitioners came together to find answers to such questions. Prof. Matthias Kettner and Dr. Kerrin Jacobs began with an introduction of the medical model of pathology in medicine and how such a model could be translated and slightly modified for institutions. A lively debate erupted due to the high diversity of disciplines such as medicine, psychology, political science, organizational studies, management, philosophy and sociology. The difficulty to choose amongst the different topics in the parallel sessions was a proof of the quality of the multi-layered content.
Particularly relevant for the work of the pocket project is the new theory of resonance by sociologist Hartmut Rosa. In the tradition of the critical theory he explained in his lecture the underlying acceleration mechanisms of our late modern capitalist systems. In his opinion the underlying forces are understood through a “triple A engine”: Acceleration, appropriation and activation. Acceleration is triggered through innovation and technology because of the inherent need of capitalism to grow. Similar to a bicycle that is stabilized through movement, capitalism needs to move faster to not slow down and collapse.
The ideology of neoliberalism and market mechanism in addition are more and more embedded in our society leading towards the appropriation of the cultural and other sector of society. In addition, human and environmental resources are activated, resulting in burnout and ecological destruction. Rosa, one of the most important contemporary sociologists in Germany, pointed out that talking about climate change, or the idea of slowing down seems insufficient. “We have been talking about climate change for 40 years, and we are still flying more every year” he said. His conclusion is to look at deeper societal dynamics, shifting away from the classical critical theory, and including a phenomenological perspective.
One possible path to new solution is his recent work about a sociology of resonance. While slowing down will be almost impossible in our complex societies the question is more how to tune in and come into resonance. Resonance, for Rosa is a practice beyond rational, economic ideology and therefore needed in a fragmented world. Where resonance is lost, alienation takes over, a common feeling in our modernized and technologically governed worlds. Interestingly, Rosa also named trauma as one of the barriers to the experience of resonance. In a parallel session particularly focusing on collective trauma, Kerrin Jacobs gave a phenomenological overview on loneliness and the social roots of the phenomena. Subsequently, Lukas Herrmann (who is currently working on his PhD with Prof. Kazuma Matoba related to the pocket project) shifted the perspective to an organizational level looking athow generative fields and the hidden potential of collective traumata can be accessed.
In addition, Adrian Wagner, also PhD student of Prof. Matoba, showed how from a societal perspective how collective trauma can be perceived as the underlying cause for pathological institutions and how the integration through practices such as conscious social witnessing are fundamental in relation to the global transformation towards sustainability. In a dialogue with the participants, such as Jacob Dahl Rendtorff from Copenhagen Business School, the topic of collective trauma was not only discussed intellectually but also a resonance field emerged showing the need and possibility of transdisciplinary research in the future.
Photos with kind permission from Heikki J. Koskinen, Docent of Theoretical Philosophy, Ph.D., University Researcher, Member of the Centre of Excellence, Reason and Religious Recognition (Academy of Finland)
Partnership between the Pocket Project and the Global Ecovillage Network
The partnership agreement between the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) and the Pocket Project was officially signed in November 2017. The cooperation has been successfully under way since the beginning of 2017, as GEN and the Pocket Projected joined efforts in a crowd-funding campaign which raised a total of 19.979€ and enabled seven candidates to join the Pocket Training, who otherwise could not have participated for financial reasons. The candidates have leadership roles in their homeland communities in the DR Congo, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Colombia and Palestine.
Further endeavors of the cooperation are:
- GEN and PP will collaborate on developing a training for ‘Trauma-informed Community Regeneration’ in order to support community resilience. GEN and PP will also collaborate on developing a ‘First Aid Trauma Relief’ training, empowering people to act in acute situations in crisis
- GEN and PP will collaborate on coordinating electronic devices gifting and distribution to community leaders in vulnerable regions from the GEN network areas
- GEN will advise and support the PP in the process of reaching UN Consultative Status
- PP and GEN will host events together in order to raise awareness and to deepen the understanding of the nature of collective and intergenerational trauma, and its multiple effects in our culture
Interview with Neema on the Pocket Training
My name is Neema. I was born in a remote mountainous region of Eastern DRC. I contracted polio at the age of two, but with my Mom’s support, I became the first handicapped woman from my tribe to graduate from university. Later, I worked as chief advisor to the Minister of Gender and Family. Read More
It is my passion to work alongside my Congolese sisters at the grassroots level, to lift them into a different future. I founded the Maman Shujaa (Hero Women) movement, which has spawned a number of transformative programs for women, girls, and their communities. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take part in the Pocket Project training through a scholarship where many people interested in the Pocket Project donated for me. If you want to know more about our work in Congo, you can visit our website at www.HeroWomenRising.org.
How was the first part of the training for you?
In the beginning I really didn’t understand that we were talking about spiritual things. The discussion was about the impact of such things as the holocaust in Germany, their work with Israel and Palestine. I was able to relate to the type of suffering and trauma being discussed, because we are still living these things today. Our country was colonized in such a way that by using Christianity, women were and still are considered weak, obliged to serve men. We are wives and mothers ending up as servants to the young sons in our own homes.
The real impact of my work through the years has been to use our various programs as vehicles to bring women from all tribes and backgrounds together in an effort to reshape the current and future realities for women and our communities. Thomas was great to always answer my questions, to help me get on track with the historic trauma that has been suffered, and which contributes to our present reality. I began to consider and actually felt myself being equipped to introduce the topic of spiritual and psychological healing into the discussion of our gatherings in order to change the cultural paradigm in our communities.
What has changed for you since that time? What is the deepest impact that you notice in your life through the training?
I have learned that a lot of what has shaped who I am has developed through the various traumatic situations I have experienced in my life. Now, I understand myself clearer: for instance my unquenchable passion, energy, and desire to change the realities for other women in Congo. On the negative side, I am sometimes too forceful. I sometimes forget that others don’t perceive things how I do.
So what has changed is that now I understand why I am different and how I am different. This understanding allows me now to go into a situation considering whether or not I can have some positive impact. If I think I do not, I just become quiet for the time.
Are there any concrete projects or attempts that you are involved in?
I haven’t created “projects” in this regard; it is just the nature of my work: 24/7 with my Congolese community. All are traumatized. It is our day to day intention to lift ourselves out of the mire of wrong thinking and into the light of who we really are in essence.
Is there a message that you have for our Pocket Project Community?
First of all, I want to thank all of you who gave a donation that enabled me to participate in this powerful training. It has been so insightful and illuminating for me, supporting me as well as my community on its way to healing.
I invite those who are interested to come to Congo to work with us and to experience my work with my Congolese community. If you like, please contact me at Neema@HeroWomenRising.org.
Amman, October 12th-14th 2017
6th Annual Conference on Transgenerational Trauma hosted by Common Bond Institute (CBI)
Nicholas Janni, core team member of the Pocket Project, attended the 6th Annual Conference on Transgenerational Trauma in Amman on 12- 14 October 2017. About 80 people attended the conference, 16 being presenters. One of the presenters was the impressive Myron Eshowksy. Born mostly deaf into an Orthodox Jewish family, Myron ran away aged 12 and has forged a deep connection with indigenous and shamanic healers, bringing that wisdom into all the areas he works in. For bios of presenters, please see: www.cbiworld.org/conferences/tt/bios/ Read More
The 75-minute presentation that Nicholas gave on The Pocket Project, attended by about 40 people, was well received. The Pocket Project brings a special depth in perspective and practice to the table, and the conference was an opportunity for people to get a taste of this. Nicholas was also able to make some strong contributions from a mystical perspective to group circle and discussion sessions.
Many engaging and engaged conversations were had with the other participants, including inspiring accounts of really excellent, often courageous work being done ‘on the ground’ in challenging circumstances. Nicholas was particularly touched by the eagerness for new perspectives from the young Muslim women in attendance. There is a good possibility that Nicholas will assist with, if not lead, a local Pocket Training group with some of the young Muslim social workers and medical students.
Jordan itself has 2,000,000 Syrian refugees, and CBI, the conference organisers, are involved with a number of initiatives in the region. In the week following the conference they ran several two-day trainings for local people, as well as working in one of the women’s refugee centres.