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  • smshige3

Heartful Community in Kyoto

Some people never change, which sometimes can be a good thing. Reunited in Kyoto with my friend from graduate student days, Nobuyuki Ueda, I was drawn into his world of limitless joy, faith, and innocence. I joined him at Nahoko Kusaka’s class, Wonderful Aging, that brings senior citizens to college. We brought them together with college students for an afternoon of Heartful Community, sharing their stories with the prompts:

What makes you come alive?


What is the voice of your heart telling you about your true self?


They connected by opening themselves with vulnerability and authenticity.

They listened with “the ear of their heart” to stories old and young, each teaching and learning.

They practiced seeing each other by walking around the room, greeting each other by gazing for a moment into each other's eyes with a smile on their lips, and the Zulu word, “Sawubona,” meaning “I see you.”

But “I” is not just an individual me, but a collective “we” that includes our ancestors.

And “you” is not just an individual, but also a larger “we” that includes your ancestors.

Sawubona acknowledges that we never walk alone.

In these simple ways, we experienced community, a divine sense of being not alone, but deeply connected with others.

We had fun and ended by singing to them: "Are you Mindful?"

to which they rejoiced, "Yes!" "Are you beautiful?"

"Yes!" "Are you wonderful?"

"Of course!" "WE LOVE YOU SO!"

People lingered in the warm glow of compassion.

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