Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 145 – Healing Collective Trauma, w/ Thomas Hubl

For the 145th episode of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with teacher, author, and facilitator Thomas Hübl.

For the 145th episode of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with teacher, author, and facilitator Thomas Hübl.

Thomas has been facilitating large-scale events and courses that focus on the healing and integration of trauma. Over the last decade, he has facilitated dialogue with thousands of people around healing the collective traumas of racism, oppression, colonialism, genocides in the U.S., Israel, Germany, Spain, and Argentina. In November of 2020. In the Fall of 2020, Thomas authored his first English book, “Healing Collective Trauma,” published by SoundsTrue.

In this conversation, Thomas shares his perspective on what constitutes trauma, whether it be acute, complex, or chronic forms and how trauma causes simultaneous over-activation and freezing within us, leading to internal fragmentation. They discuss the difference between personal trauma and collective trauma, as well as the genealogical trauma that is now being verified by the study fo epigenetics. Thomas also shares some wisdom about the trauma that many are currently facing due to COVID and closes the conversation with a 7-minute guided meditation practice. Learn more about Thomas’ work at

Healing Collective Trauma

Sharon welcomes Thomas to the Metta Hour, and asks about his path to working with the concept of collective trauma. Thomas defines trauma and the different categories of trauma that exist. They talk about the traumatic effects of poverty and racism, and developing the resource of inner coherence.

“I learned so much in these 18 years, of course about trauma, and about the fact that we are sitting in a collectively traumatized world. Collective trauma is thousands and thousands of years old, and it keeps happening in different parts of the world with massive impacts that often hurt millions of people.” – Thomas Hübl

Francesca Maximé and Ruth Lanius explore racial trauma on ReRooted Ep. 43
An Inner Coherence (19:37)

Sharon and Thomas discuss the differences between healing personal trauma and collective trauma. Thomas talks about how healing trauma creates an inner coherence between mind, body, and emotions, and how trauma can lead to being susceptible to misinformation and fake news. Sharon asks about the role of the nervous system in understanding trauma.

“In my understanding, there is part of our nervous system that is personal, and then there is part of our nervous system that is collective. That we carry inside our nervous system the legacy and the achievements of our ancestors. It’s like a huge library that we are living in.” – Thomas Hübl

Warm Virtual Spaces (37:22)

Sharon brings up the Coronavirus pandemic and how people are longing for change right now, prompting Thomas to speak about how isolation affects trauma and the need to find some resonance through technology. They discuss what inspired Thomas to write his book, Healing Collective Trauma, and Thomas ends the show with a meditation on inner coherence.

“I think through really using our body and getting some basic training in how to feel each other through the virtual spaces, we can create warm virtual spaces that are more nourishing than distant.” – Thomas Hübl


Images via and @SmitBruins on Twenty20