‘Trauma’ is a big word and deserves to be normalized in our everyday language as it is more prevalent in our lives than we think. Collective trauma specifically was the theme of an 8-day online summit, that included excellent speakers, organised by Thomas Huebl. Thomas, who is a contemporary mystic teacher, has created some significant work around trauma in many parts of the world.
We often believe that trauma is only present when something ‘terrible’ happened to ‘us’, but life, even when not being extraordinarily hard, brings painful challenges of loss, violence, war, and so many other possibilities for trauma. And those events leave scars that are repressed and often hidden from our awareness.
The summit dealt with the origins, effects, and treatment of ‘collective trauma’. This simply means that I personally, my family or my culture experienced trauma due to war, exclusion, persecution, etc., and that has a ripple effect on the collective. This also means that individual trauma always has a collective component to it and vice versa.
Personal trauma is a complex theme to heal and so collective trauma is all the more hard to tackle. I found this summit a powerful beginning to bring this reality into the broader consciousness and find creative ways to address individual and collective healing.
After listening to all speakers, I felt inspired to share some of this wisdom in the form of quotes (actual, marked through “” or paraphrased, marked through**), as well as some personal insights.
To start off, a quote by Lily Tomlin left really touched me with its depth and wisdom. She says: “Forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past.”
I hope you find some of this work created by people around the globe inspiring and encouraging to ‘normalize’ trauma in our language today, and become part of a collective healing field. Here are some of the speakers that especially resonated with me and some selected ideas they shared. Enjoy!
By Jack Saul
- *Healing moral injury and distress is a collective responsibility, especially in times of war when soldiers are sent to fight. The moral disassociation of the public opposite the victims and soldiers presents an enormous challenge to collective healing. To question the nation or army is not allowed when it comes to war, which blocks collective healing.*
By Daniel Siegel
- *When you have to be silent about events and bear secrets the trauma continues to affect your and others’ lives.*
By Donna Hicks
- *Trauma often cannot be approached due to the feeling of, ‘How dare you treat me this way?’ It’s about hurt dignity.*
- *Our dignity is very vulnerable. An alternative way of addressing trauma instead of using the word trauma (as for some admitting to being traumatized is not possible) is to ask them/ ourselves, ‘Where was my dignity violated?’*
- “Physical and emotional injury show up in the same area of the brain”, which essentially means we don’t know the difference between physical and emotional injury.
- *Men experience more trauma due to wars/ similar events, but women have a stronger tendency to develop PTSD.*
- *The opposite of vulnerability, which is the basis for healing, is righteousness.*
By Thomas Huebl
- *Collective trauma healing today is possible because of the technology that connects us.*
- *Healing requires our willingness to participate without wanting to finalize healing the trauma.*
- *When we slow down, we can become present and available for information, wisdom and the mystery and the Divine.*
- *When something becomes whole again (healed), it also marks something holy; the end of separation.*
By Isabelle Mansuy
- *Research on epigenetics shows that traumatic experiences can resonate onwards up to 4 generations later, displaying the same or similar behavioral patterns and physiological responses.*
By Stephen Porges
- “Trauma bodies become survival-oriented and limit physiological functioning.”
- *Saying and hearing nice things is important to our nervous system.*
- *Reciprocity through face to face communication (co-regulation) is essential for our well-being and through texting this option is disrupted.*
- “When we position ourselves as victims, we are no longer part of the solution.”
By Claus Otto Sharmer
- *Hate, anger and fear are more easily activated in us and tech companies benefit from it.*
By Pat MaCabe – Woman Stands Shining
- *All the institutional systems that exist in our modern world like education, the judicial system, and others, never intended to include mother earth and don’t know how to address the climate issues we face.*
- “There are these people who are engaged in spiritual activities that are just kind of off on their own. So, in that sense, they have an opportunity to go rogue, if you will. Because they don’t have to be accountable to grandmothers, grandfathers, little children, sisters, and brothers all around them. In the scientific realm, in academia, in institutions, and in every way, we really, really emphasize and reward individual achievement so that scientists are willing to do so many things to be ‘the one’ that made the discovery. That competitive way and that rewarding of the individual acting on their own, I think, is an example of how the breakdown of community, the breakdown of the way of the circle has become difficult and in fact, traumatizing to us.”
By Rev Angel Kyodo Williams
- *There is no organized and encompassing teaching on love and so we are exposed to small, mostly romantic understandings of love. It’s a hyper-individualized love that lacks the potential for collective healing.*
By Paul van Zyl
- “I think that it’s pretty clear that doing nothing is never an option, that people always look back. There’s always a memory. There are always ways of thinking about the injustices of the past. I’m very firmly of the view that if you don’t engage the past, and you don’t seek to embark proactively on the process of healing, the past will deal with you. When the past deals with you, it will do so on terms of its own choosing. Those terms will be, almost always, worse than you seeking to engage with the past.”
By Terry Real
- *The male holds women in contempt because it judges all female qualities in himself.*
- *Practice kindness above all.*