top of page

THE UKRAINE CRISIS: Activating Our Collective Immune System

Updated: Jun 26, 2022

Thomas Hübl, edited by Giselle Charbonnier

We are contemporary witnesses. Because we feel we can respond.

On March 6, Thomas Hübl gathered over 6000 people from around the world on a live event to explore how we can activate our collective immune system to meet the challenges of this moment. As a key aspect of this exploration, he mentioned the need to find personal, relational, and collective practices that enable us to remain awake witnesses, capable of responding as adult global citizens to a crisis that belongs to us all, and capable of learning what is needed for us to grow into a resilient global community, able to prevent future escalations of violence, and to take care of other crisis like climate change, as well as of our evolutionary challenges. The following lines summarize some of the pearls and principles he offered us in this talk. You can also listen to the recording of the full talk here.


“I woke up in the morning, I felt a very strange feeling in my body, I looked at the news, and I learned about the invasion of Ukraine. I felt a tremendous shock. It affected me very strongly, so I needed a practice in order to be with the inner experience that I was going through, in order not to suppress it, and to be able to digest it.”

At the beginning of the talk, Thomas invited us to feel how this situation is affecting us physically, emotionally, and mentally. Whether we feel very triggered, numb, or indifferent, every experience is relevant. If we feel numb, or over-activated, there is nothing wrong with this. This just means that the current situation is resonating with my biographical experience, and/or the experience of my community and my ancestors which is still alive in me. We need to take this seriously, but without grounding in it. Instead of minimizing, judging, or denying our experience, we can find ways to stay present with it, to be able to process the indigested information that lies beyond the surface, and harvest the learning. In order to do this, we need practices and relational spaces that can help us, either to relate to our numbness, or to regulate the intensity of our experience.

For those of us who have roots in Germany or Austria, many of our grandfathers fought a terrible war in Russia and caused a lot of traumatization, so we are inherently connected to the situation right now. Within the collective unconscious, there is a large-scale trauma field that connects all of us. So the emotions, feelings, and even the shutdown and saying “this is too much for me” which is a very valid thing to say, is part of my current experience that I can bring awareness to.

At this moment when I see many people suffering I may think “what can I do?”, and this is very important, to see how we can support, but at the same time, we need to consider the inner experience we are going through and not seeing it as an obstacle in the way to act. Many people feel that the way we feel it’s in an obstacle in the way to taking action. But this is not true. Staying in relation to our experience, whatever it is, provides us with the exact resonance that is needed right now. It’s our learning edge. It’s our path to become active healing forces in the global crisis.

When we can create a personal space to be awake witnesses, we develop the capacity to put ourselves in the shoes of everyone connected to the situation.

Polarization arises from trauma, from experiences that we have not been able to integrate. The overwhelming experiences that we have lived in our lives or that our ancestors went through, are alive in us as fragmentation, as separation. In order to maintain our sense of integrity, human beings have developed the capacity to split, to shut down those parts of reality that are too much to be felt, but even if it’s hard, even if polarization is easier, with practice we can develop the capacity to take perspective, to bring space to our experience, and other people’s experience, and to enter a mutual space of collaboration and contribution.

We are contemporary witnesses. Because we feel we can respond.

The capacity to respond is an inner skill set. It’s a competence building. I can reflect, digest, and integrate my experience in order to feel more, in order to be more responsible towards my environment.


Having supportive relationships where we can speak about these things, either with friends or professional support, helps us to process what’s coming up in us. The power of real caring listening is very important in this time. Caring listening helps other people that we listen to regulate their nervous systems. Two nervous systems can co-regulate stress, they can take each other into a more relaxed state, so we can really move into problem-solving.

Human relation is one of the best remedies in strongly overwhelming or traumatizing situations. Listening and sharing are very powerful.