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Making peace in ourselves and in the world

Heartfulness and Compassion

Heartfulness is a way of living with mindfulness, compassion, and responsibility that enhances well-being and transformation. Practiced in groups, it creates a learning and healing community where people cross borders, finding genuine connection with self, others, and spirit. From Mindfulness to Heartfulness: Transforming Self and Society with Compassion elucidates eight principles of heartful living, through stories integrating Japanese spiritual wisdom and scientific research with personal insights and experience.

Storytelling and Healing

Compassionate storytelling and listening are the heart of narrative psychology and medicine that promote sustainable healing resources, social justice, and community health. Experiences of vulnerability and cultural humility enhance healer education, well-being, and medical practices. Co-authored with psychologist Richard Katz, Synergy, Healing and Empowerment: Insights from Cultural Diversity shows ways of addressing disparities in health care through a synergy paradigm.

Identity and Tranformation

Human development is a cyclical process of becoming whole through accepting and connecting to one’s authentic self and vital energy. When Half is Whole: Multiethnic Asian American Identities illuminates the universal nature of identity construction through life stories of people who embody mixedness and paradox. These narratives provide insights into how we navigate and transcend social identities based on racial, sexual, and national boundaries in a globalized world. 


The Art of Living and Dying

Dr. Shigematsu hosts a blog on Psychology Today where he and guests write on the theme of “Finding Meaning in Life’s Struggles: The Art of Whole Living.”


The articles reveal how people find meaning in life's struggles, healing themselves and others, discovering wholeness, meaning, and balance. They are stories of resilience, acceptance, courage, and wisdom, ranging over the life cycle from birth to death with the theme of the art of living and dying. The people in these stories are crossing borders that keep us apart and connecting to all parts of themselves, others, and to Mystery.

Diversity in Japan and the U.S.

We overcome fears and embrace the gifts of diversity through experiences of empathy. While just laws and policies are essential the borders we construct between us are eliminated through changes of consciousness. A lifetime of lived experiences in the margins and mainstreams in both the U.S. and Japan, is expressed in both his scholarly work and creative activity, such as The Celtic Samurai. Storytelling and research enhance our understanding of human struggles living in the borderlands of race, gender, and identity.

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Leadership Development

In our broken world we need people who are fully alive, aware, and compassionate to lead us forth from the darkness. These people are not out there somewhere—we are the leaders we are seeking. Each of us has the “respons-ibility” to “respond” to the best of our “ability,” doing our part in our own sphere of life, caring for and bringing out the best in ourselves and others. The Way of Ultimate Leadership as taught at Stanford and other organizations opens our hearts to a new kind of leadership where our personal development, making peace in ourselves, serves as societal transformation, making peace in the world.

Multicultural Psychology

Balancing general cultural awareness with a consciousness that is open, curious, and humble moves clinicians beyond assumptions and stereotypes to learn from each individual client. Developed from multicultural training in Japan and the U.S., this therapy is based in mindful compassion rather than a set of skills. Multicultural Encounters: Case Narratives from a Counseling Practice illustrates how we can understand the human condition and respond to the needs of diverse clients.


Surviving a devastating fire and becoming homeless ignited Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu on a journey of personal transformation and lifework in guiding others to live with meaning and purpose in the face of loss and death by embracing three vital connections. Balancing Japanese and Irish cultural traditions, integrating indigenous healing and academic psychology, he shines light on “Heartfulness,” a way of connecting through vulnerability and storytelling in the community that can be applied to make our daily lives rich in each moment.

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