On October 25th, 2011 Thomas Hübl came and spoke in Vancouver for the second time that year. I wrote about his first public event in Vancouver (April 2011) here. Thomas, Ute (his personal assistant who took this photo), and Mathias (tour manager) spent a few hours at me and my wife Chloe's apartment. Also present was our good friend Sophia Ducey as well as Br. Juma. Chloe and Sophia prepared amazing food and after finishing our meal, Thomas very kindly agreed to do an interview which we recorded in the apartment. In terms of the audio quality--it's a little soft I've found just playing it straight through my laptop, but with earbuds it's quite good.
I have written a companion reflection on the interview, summarizing its central contours and topics. The interview delves quite deeply into the question of creativity in Thomas' teaching--what he calls downloading the future.
The transcript to the interview (with some corrected English grammar) is below. Words in brackets [ ] are my editorial additions.
Interview with Thomas Hübl on downloading the future (right-click to save).
CD: Thomas thank you for being here and agreeing to do this interview. Last April when you were here in Vancouver you spoke about four foundations to your teaching which were meditation, downloading the future, transparent communication, and service. The questions I've got since I wrote the [previous] article have largely been around the downloading the future piece. I was wondering if you might speak to that--what that is and how you see that fitting in terms of your teaching and how people can access it.
TH: So first of all...hmm, where to start? First of all let's talk about what is the future. There are different notions of the future. There is a mystical version and there is, let's say, a mundane version of it. For most people the future is what happens in the next five minutes or tomorrow or one year. For most people the future is actually the avoidance of the intensity of their lives. So when I live my life now and I don't like my life the probability is very high that I will constantly dream about another possibility that might be a little bit better. So for most people the future is actually an imagination of a better life because we are not literally living our lives fully here right now. So this is one version [of the future]. I'm not talking about this version.
What I'm talking about is the future of genius people--the future of the saints, of all the people who set milestones for human development. And this means people who are so present in what they do--these are scientists, saints, these are people who explore different aspects of human nature. By being so present that we actually live a fuller and fuller version of ourselves, we extend our awareness into the future territory of humanity. This means that the future we are talking about here is not what happens tomorrow because tomorrow can be a repetition of today. It can be the same pattern again and again and again. But if we tap into our future it means we tap into the future potential of what we can become which is a wider radius of awareness, a wider possibility and complexity and wholeness to what I live and experience today. It's actually taping into the superconscious aspects of myself. So everything that is in my awareness is my state of consciousness today. Everything that is above this [state of consciousness] is actually above the ceiling of the room. If there is a ceiling in the room I most probably do not see what is above the ceiling. And there are some people that are constantly digging holes into the ceiling and then there is a perfume that comes from the next level [i.e. from above the ceiling] and in this room there is suddenly a lovely fragrance and people come and say 'what is this smell, what is this here?' And then they start expanding the hole in the ceiling and in this way we actually reveal new levels of evolution of humanity.
So the greatest visionaries, the greatest saints, the greatest inventors of humanity have often been fifty, one hundred, even two hundred years ahead of their time. What that means is that their head was sticking quite far through the ceiling into the next level of humanity and they were simply sharing the fruits of where they lived. But they didn't live tomorrow. They lived in the same now, even in the same time zone actually, but their radius of awareness extended into other time zones.
So what I want to say with this is that we all have the ability when we literally care in our spiritual lives about both transcendence and this life equally--and if we really care to live and to express ourselves fully while we transcend this life that we are expressing fully--then we have the ability to become inspirational, innovation, and more and more connected to the future. This is becoming more and more conscious to the process of creation, the mystical process of creation. So some people call it the evolutionary impulse, some call it God-in-action, some call it Light, there are different versions of it, but what it means is that the driving force which is already in movement--because once we are in life we are in movement--and spiritual practice means to explore the movement. What set us in movement? So the original impulse that moves us now, the more we align with that impulse the more we tap into the future of humanity. This [moving force] will be our inspiration.
Many people are inspired by their past, by their experiences, by their likes and dislikes, and desires from their past. They are motivated by their past mostly. Many of my thoughts as a person or my feelings are simply the expression of thousands of years of human evolution. They express themselves right now through me and through you and through all of us. This is not so original, this is just an expression of the past. But what literally makes people inspirational or unique is when they transcend this level of consciousness and they become the future fragrance of what we can be. And there actually only ever a few people, it's a small group of people who are on top of the pyramid. But I think it's a natural principle that it is like this--at least in our time.
So when we look at the nature of innovative people in all fields then we will see there are certain components that will lead us to understand the future more. One is most of them are very much with whatever they are doing. If they are scientists they are fully into it. Like Steve Jobs he was fully into it, people like Jesus, Buddha, whoever, they were people who were really into their driving force. And therefore they extended the human territory in one aspect in fields that many people cannot see because it's above their ceiling. Some people are actually two floors above our ceiling. You know literally when they talk into the room you cannot see them. For example, imagine somebody is more highly developed in the intellectual line or in mathematics than I am. So when I go to the university and I see this board with advanced [mathematical] calculations, for me these are just signs. I have no idea how they got there. I have no idea what they mean, but of course they mean something to some people and some people do amazing things with this. I have no idea. So I see the professor at the university who is doing all this, I can see the effects of his/her intelligence but I don't know how it works.
And so we have different lines of development--we have spiritually evolved people, emotionally evolved people, socially evolved people. When I meet these people and they are more highly developed than me, it means they live in my future. So when they walk into the room I see them up to the belly but I don't see their head. Their head is walking on top of the ceiling [is up above the ceiling]. If I know this this gives me a lot of humility and surrender to life because it means we can all be teachers to one another, we all can have amazing developments and we can all have parts of ourselves that are not so developed. So when I am developed in one part and I get a bit arrogant then I will meet people who will show me that there are other parts of me that are not so developed.
So first of all it gives me a holistic perspective on development because there is not only one thing but there are many areas we can develop in. But it also shows us that we are not equal because all of us are in different levels of development and there is, I think, a deep surrendering in acknowledging this truth--that we all at times will have teachers and we all at times will be teachers to other people. Like the water is coming down the mountain and we need to be able to receive, meaning we allow ourselves to learn from competence and development. Then we let the water go through us and then we pass it on. So we don't stop the water when it flows above our heads and we don't stop it when it flows down the mountain because both will create imbalances in humanity. It will create sickness in culture. I think when we are living in this we understand the flow of the future. The flow of the future is not tomorrow it is actually the potential we can develop into and the ability to allow that there is a lot that we don't see.
Even if think we see a lot, there is a lot we don't see. And if I live my life humbly moment to moment, I can know a lot and I don't know a lot as well, so then I always keep the space open for new information to come in. People who are too full of themselves they block more information from coming in. We see this sometimes even with amazing artists. When they start they are super-creative, even genius and some of them keep this way of creativity but others when they become more famous then the ego starts taking ownership of the creativity. [They think] "it's my creativity" and in this moment they start shutting it down. Some people have amazing breakthroughs and then they stay on the same frequency and they and continue doing the same thing. And they publish it in all versions but in this way we miss the new thing a bit. Where is the new thing? Where can I see that your creativity continues to develop? Some artists maintain this [creativity] and some simply stay stuck on their fame. This [stuckness] happens when people start knowing things, when they become a someone. Even spiritual teachers, when teachers become a someone then their community and their title becomes their new identity--and when it becomes like this, they lose it. This [same process] is true in many areas [of life].
So this is first of all a clarification of what we mean when we talk about the future--which future are we talking about?
CD: That's very helpful. I appreciate the pieces around a sense of presence and deep focus, also humility as well as the recognition that there's never exactly an end point--that one may sacrifice even the great things one has created because there still could be further things. Are there other elements? When you mentioned that if we study great innovators or artists or spiritual teachers we see common patterns that tend to show us what it is that allows for the ceiling to come off--are there other elements that are central to that?
TH: There are two things. There are some books that you read that are eternal, like The Tao Te Ching. You can read it 2,000 years ago, you can read it now, you can read it 2,000 years from now and you will feel that it applies, that there is an application of it to all times. And there are effects, let's say there is the glimmer of the clothing of the time that we are living in. So there are small ripples that arise that become a bit more famous they appear and then they disappear. The closer you come into the depths of reality, the more you merge with the mystical and transcendent aspect that rests in the depth of reality, the more timeless you become. There are innovators that are out on the surface. They are like surfers on the ocean. Some surfers they hit the wave of consciousness which takes them and then some of them stay stuck on their wave. The wave has already gone down but they are still on the wave. So these are people who create a company, who have a good insight, but then they don't get when the next wave is coming and then there wave goes down. But there was already another wave but they were holding onto the former wave because of the safety of fame or success or the fear of doing something new or whatever.
So there are people who catch the wave of our time, so this is one part. And there are very good people who have a nose for what's next and they jump and they jump and they jump. And some of them get very successful by doing this because they innovate something and then once it takes off they already innovate something new and it takes off. And then there are people, the deeper they go, the deeper they are immersed in life, the quality of what they write about, their art, however they contribute to humanity, it becomes more timeless. Then you get more the principles of life and you can apply the principles in every age. It will look different. We will talk about it differently but it will be the same source code. Like once you know how to program a computer you can program many programs and they all look different but how they were programmed is actually very similar.
So there are actually two versions of innovators. One group knows how to jump, they have a good intuition of where to jump to and then there are the ones who are more, let's say, they penetrated into reality deeper and their contribution comes from a deeper place. This will last much longer, this is a deeper contribution to humanity. And what these people have in common is they are mostly very present. It can be, however, that in their private lives they are not very present, but when they start working they are really there. And therefore they penetrate life in this certain aspect very deeply--so this is one thing.
The other thing is people learn somehow to open the space between the molecules. Most people are stuck in the habits that they have created for themselves. So the more the structure of who am I is closed the less new information can come in. The more I manage to live in an open structure, so that I create structures when I need them and drop structures when I don't need them anymore. And then I open another structure when I need it and then I can let it go. These are people who constantly develop with their evolutionary drive.
[Otherwise] People create a structure and get familiar with it and then see it as their safety and then they get stuck in it, then a pressure from evolution builds up but they don't let go and create something new, rather they stay stuck on this. This [stuckness] can be habits of behavior, concepts about life, how we see reality, how we interact with each other, or a value system of a society, and so on. What we see now in the world is that society's structures are shaking because they're too old--they're simply too old. For people who are creative this the best time; for people who want safety this is the worst time. Because the more you want safety in this time the more you will create pressure in yourself. And the pressure is literally in our bodies, in our emotions, in our minds. So we will feel more frustrated, more stressed, more burned out--all of these are just symptoms of a dysfunctional society. But they are good symptoms because if we listen to them we realize we need a different educational system, we need different ways of doing economy, we need different ways of creating community, we need different ways to address shadows in our communities and in our interpersonal interactions in companies and so on.
So life calls us to another level of development. Some people get it and they move with it and they simply move forward. They release the tension and they create a creative movement. Some people try to hold what they've got and this creates more pressure, and these people will get more and more unhappy. And we will see that more and more structures will fall apart anyway because we create a crisis in order to let go into something new.
People who are connected to their future they hear the future before they create the crisis in their life. So they hear the future and they follow it. There are some people who are mostly motivated by their past; they are mostly motivated by what is around them--the impulse for them is from the horizontal, from the outside. So if something happens in my life, I respond to this. And there are other people who are more connected inside to this--however we call it God, Light, Evolutionary Impulse, Creation Force--and these people develop before the pressure builds up because they are motivated by the future potential. [In this case] You see and hear and intuit the future potential in the moment when it is necessary to move if you aren't too stuck on what you have in life or the noise around you. So when the inner connection is louder than the noise around you then you listen to this and you move with your life to this [inner connection.]
I think continuously innovative people are not just taking raindrops, they are living in a waterfall [of creativity]. So some people when they are creative they collect once a drop of light, that is a new idea, and then they say 'Oh I copyright this'. Then they put a copyright on it and they make a business from it. I believe copyrights are actually a reduction of our intelligence. We need copyrights because many people are not able to honor and respect the things that people bring into life. But actually it reduces our intelligence because so many people are stuck on their copyright that we miss the point--that no idea belongs to nobody and when we bring fruits it's not a personal thing, it's an impersonal thing. So there is no one there who needs to take a copyright. But as long as we are motivated by our existential fear we are living in the world of the taking people. Taking people are people who constantly look at situations for what they can get for themselves. In this [taking] world you will never have enough because everybody is always looking for what they can get. In the giving world, which is the next level of evolution, people, because they are so rich from within, they become creative wells, like pools where water comes out. If you live in a world of giving people you will always have enough because everybody is just overflowing. So resources in the next level of development will not be a problem--global warming will not be a problem. All of these things will not be a problem because we will be much more intelligent. But if we are so separate like we are today, in this hyper-individualized, postmodern society then it's a problem. But it's not a problem of the outside world, it's a problem of our consciousness.
People who are more developed are simply people who are more and more connected either to this rain and they continuously collect drops of light, drops of inspiration or they are people who through inner openings or through former crisis they went through or through their strong spiritual drive are connected to a stream. And these people live what I call online. Once you live in this stream you are online, you come from the future because your motivation comes from the future of humanity and you capture the essence of situations, of communications, of interactions, of things that happen in your life. You more and more see the essence of things not the symptoms. Many people deal only with the symptoms of their life but there are other people who are so present and connected that they live more in the timeless depth of reality. And from there everything arises so you are no longer busy with the symptoms because you are busy with where the symptoms arise from. So these are people who when they speak they simply hit the point, you know they come to the core of things. These are people who solve situations, who solve conflicts, these are people who bring new innovations, who know how to deal with global situations from a different level. And I believe that, for example, in politics we need politicians that are able to speak from the evolutionary intelligence that wants to unfold, not from my idea of what a country needs. My idea of a what a country need is very limited because I most probably cannot even really see the country--because I only see my personal version of it. So if people could open themselves so they could embrace a whole country or the whole globe in their consciousness then they can become the voice of the evolutionary intelligence of the bigger community. And this I think is innovative. We need such politicians. These are not egos who are on top of society; these are the voices of the intelligence of society. This is a very different thing. But for this you need a certain level of transcendence.
And if you look at great artists, even if in their personality they can be quite stuck, when they are doing their art they are very open. Some of the musicians or film producers or painters--when they paint they are in a total different space. And this shows us again that we are not only open once or open totally [in our being]. It can be that just in this one line of development we are very developed and then we are the future to many other people in this one line of development. Some people might say 'Well look at these artists, look how they live their lives, look at the scandals, look at this ego that jumps on them..." But when they are on stage they are not there. They are not in this ego structure; they are beyond it. When they go off stage, then the fame comes, then the ego comes and they take ownership. But while they play they are in a different space.
CD: Thomas, you mentioned there are one point that when we hear the future calling more than we hear the noise of the world we will follow the call of the future. Are there certain ways that allow us to tune our hearing so that our hearing for the future is better, so we can tune out the fear and not be as drawn to the scarcity and the habits and the fear and reactions we are conditioned to have, but to put trust in this future call and to follow it? Maybe for some of us we are just hearing like a faint echo or its very muted, so are there ways that make the sound become clearer?
TH: Definitely there are practices to make it clearer and one of the practices is that when I live my life everyday in the same busyness, with the same things, with the same patterns in my life, with the same relationships stories, career stories, work stories, friends stories, society stories, I read the same things in the newspapers everyday just with different actors...so I am the whole time in a field of information that seems to be the same. Its just psychically changing. So I can be very stuck because I think this is life. If you look for example into the Kabbalah tradition, they say 'six days you do what you do, one day you don't do what you do normally'. [Instead] You rest. Some people interpret this mythologically, there are all kinds of stories related to it but the essence of it is that you have an open spaciousness that reflects on the structures you are in and [brings] awareness to the structures you are living in. So if you create, let's say, a Sabbath every day for half an hour, if you have times where you just don't do what you do normally. You just rest and resting means you listen. At the beginning when people listen because they are so highly charged with thinking and feeling and so on there's a lot of energy that runs, so some people when they start meditation they are full of thoughts and feelings and they just want to stop it or do something else because it seems stupid.
But if you create the art of listening, that is you first of all become aware of structures--thought patterns, emotional patterns, physical patterns, patterns in my life--but then there is also an awareness of a kind of spaciousness that is all the time here. It is like the paper we are painted on. Most of the time when you read a book you forget that you are looking at paper. Most of the time you are just so absorbed in the story that you forget that you are looking at paper. You sit in the cinema and watch the movie. If the movie is not super bad you forget that you are looking at the screen. You just see the content and the meaning. This happens to us all the time. We forget where the meaning is arising from. So the very simple unformed consciousness that is aware of all of this is often forgotten because we are so immersed in the structures, the forms of life, in what's happening, in the story and the meaning.
Once we transcend the meaning, which means we become aware of the paper, the original paper is always here. Sometimes people ask, 'How far am I away from the realization of God?' Everybody is all the time, on one level, equally far away from this unformed awareness because we are happening in it. So we are painted on paper. If I become aware, while I read the book, that I am looking at paper, then I see the foundation of every letter. So when we open the space within the structures we are in, to the awareness of the structures, then we learn I am not just the structures, I am also the awareness that is aware of the structures.
So I open the space. As long as I am a person, I am like a closed bubble that feels separate. The more we transcend this bubble, the more we see that structures are open. Even my body is not closed because I need to breathe, I need to eat, I need to relate. I always need information to flow in and flow out. This [body] is an open system. So the companies we create, everything we create in life, is also an open structure. Therefore if you look again at the Kabbalah tradition, 10% of your income you give to the collective. People say, 'well it's taxes', it's nothing to do with taxes. It has something to do with the fact that we understand that if I create for myself a separate bubble that is my company and the revenue just belongs to me then I will participate in the creation of a sick society. If I know that some part of my energy needs to go to the service to all, then I'm constantly open with at least 10%--this will grow by our spiritual practice--but at least 10% needs to care for the whole context I'm living in. I need to keep an awareness for this. So I believe people who can keep this open space, keep an open space for new things to come. So one symptom of this in your life is when you are surprised sometimes by things you say, this is a good sign. This means you have an open space for information that you don't know to flow into you life. Sometimes you notice you say something and you are surprised by what you just said and you say, "Wow this is really cool." This was really cool means you didn't think about it, it came through you. So it can be that you are in the same conflicts, again and again in your life but one day you deal with it differently--because it comes to you and it comes to you through presence, through the ability to perceive more information, and by keeping an open space.
So keeping an open space and listening is one tool to hear more or to collect more raindrops of light. And of course there are certain more advanced meditation techniques where we can open our awareness to the light that always surrounds us. As we are sitting here we are bathing in the brightest light that we can imagine. But my personality structure is like a bubble and it filters most of the intensity away and what's left are some creative moments. Creative moments are a taste of God. But some people live in this creativity most of the time, so they don't have a taste of creative moments--they have a creative life. Creative means they are connected to the light. So we can develop the tools to perceive the light in us so that a drop of light that comes to us is not an accident but it is actually something we can open ourselves to and then we will be more and more inspired. Again this is what I said before, we live in an online life. An online life means nothing other than being connected to the cosmic internet. You know that you are online and you have the ability to download information wherever you are. So if you are talking with someone your meeting with them will be inspirational because you are connected--if you need new information you simply go to the [cosmic] internet and download it.
Such a person becomes, in a way, an inventor or a visionary or a pioneer in the field of human consciousness. If you are a scientist, an artist, a mother, a social worker, if you meditate in a cave--it doesn't matter--in all areas of life this same principle works. So people who really want to do this need to see that there are certain ingredients: listening, presence, connection, opening one's own structures and seeing where I'm holding onto safety, constantly releasing structures in order to create more functional structures. So there are some things we can work. Of course also shadow areas, so we can get clear on shadow material because this binds often a lot of energy to move forward. And then to see that we are all in a movement which means the more you are moving in your life the more you are naturally receiving new water. The more you try to stop the movement the more you will suffer because you will constantly create friction and pressure. Movement!
CD: Thank you is there anything else as I think we are coming to the natural end of our time--is there anything else you wanted to add, it was very beautiful.
TH: Yes. There are people who sit behind the curtain, they look through the curtain onto the road. The curtain is their fear to be courageous, to go out and live their potential and to look for contexts that support to live their potential. And these people mostly watch TV because on TV they see heroes. Why do they need to see heroes? Because they afraid to be heroes themselves. And I think what we need in our time is people who transcend their fears around whatever keeps them safe in order to become a hero in whatever they are doing in their lives. And then you will see less and less people in front of the TV and more and more people being heroes in life. Because life is so exciting you don't have so much time to watch TV because you do what you are supposed to do. Your mission is on line, so why do you need to watch heroes when you are already being a hero? It's boring. So I don't think this message will be broadcast on TV, but it's a message that if you want to become innovational or inspirational or let's say you support humanity to come forward, then you need to come out from the holes of safety and you need to start moving and participating and finding yourselves context that makes that [way of living] possible.
CD: Wow, thank you Thomas, that's wonderful.
TH: Thank you.