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KUNI Retreat: A Journey Beyond Time

In a series of heartfelt reflections shared by participants of the KUNI Retreat in Japan, we’re given a glimpse into the transformative journeys that unfolded against the backdrop of Japan’s enduring heritage. These narratives, steeped in personal and collective transformation, highlight the profound impact of spiritual immersion and the deep connections formed through shared experiences. From the reshaping of personal identities to the rekindling of ancient wisdoms, each participant brings forward a unique perspective on how the retreat transcended mere withdrawal to become a pivotal moment of introspection and connection. As we dive into their stories, it’s clear that the KUNI Retreat offered more than just a break from the mundane; it provided a space for profound spiritual and philosophical exploration, rooted in the rich tapestry of Japanese tradition and the communal pursuit of deeper understanding.


Participant’s Voice: No.1

Reflecting on my experience at the KUNI Retreat, I’m moved by the profound transformations that unfolded. This journey wasn’t just a physical one; it was an exploration of consciousness, where the context of the world, as we know it, was drastically different. The retreat was a reminder of how consciousness shifts and shapes within different languages, influencing our thoughts and emotions.

Kyoto, with its enduring beauty, became a place for deep reflection on what persists through time. The experience transcended mere tourism; it felt like a timely gift, an invitation to participate in a unique community. Our participation didn’t just change us; it altered the nature of things, challenging what it means to be indigenous and how we can bring forward the best wisdom from the past to collaboratively shape our future.

As I engaged with different cultures and perspectives, I saw the opportunity to help my American peers see the best of Japan. The retreat highlighted the importance of looking beneath the obvious, of rediscovering the indigenous soul of the world. It was about remembering and bringing forward ancient wisdom in a context that speaks to the modern world.

My Indian heritage offered a unique lens through which to view these experiences. I realized that each of us has something distinct to offer, and it’s crucial to understand the dual-faced nature of Japan and the world, especially in the context of Western capitalism.

The power of ceremony and collective consciousness became vividly clear to me. It’s a technology for our collective consciousness to access and attend to our shared realities. This realization stands in stark contrast to the individualistic orientation prevalent in Western contexts. It’s about emergence and relationality; about creating conditions for collective experiences rather than focusing solely on individual outcomes. Japanese culture, steeped in relationality, offers a stark contrast to the Western approach, emphasizing a deep interconnectedness that transcends mere accountability.

As someone deeply involved in academia and technology, I see how we often underestimate a vast unexplored terrain in the unknown. We often overlook the 95% of reality that remains a mystery, focusing instead on the known. Yet, it’s in the relationship with the unknowable that true creativity and magic emerge. This retreat has reaffirmed the importance of community in navigating this complex, interconnected reality. It’s about living in questions rather than seeking definitive answers, embracing mystery, humility, intuition, creativity, and radical kindness.

Looking ahead, I feel a sense of inevitability about reconvening, about continuing this journey of exploration into the unknown. It’s about embracing uncertainty as a pathway to liberation, a stark departure from centuries of colonialism and imperialism that taught us to predict and control. True freedom lies in loving uncertainty, in feeling secure in the unknown and finding companions willing to explore these depths with us. As the world grapples with unprecedented changes, our ability to love uncertainty and embrace the unknown will be the key to navigating the future.



Participant’s Voice: No.2
Reflecting on my experience at the KUNI Retreat in Japan, I am struck by the profound transformation that has taken place within me. Japan felt like a block of marble being skillfully carved, and I, too, was reshaped in this process. Returning home, I felt like a different person, still living within the dreamlike purity of intention and sacred action I witnessed there.
The power of ritual and ceremony in Japan was everywhere, revealing a way of life where every action, every process is imbued with sanctity. It’s not just an aesthetic; it’s a deeply ingrained way of harmonious living. In Japan, even the mundane becomes sacred, transforming household chores into acts of service and ceremony. This shift in perception, where intention and action align so purely, has been a lasting blessing for me.
In this space, what I previously found burdensome has become pleasurable. The integrity and intentionality behind every action in Japan made everything feel sacred, and this feeling hasn’t worn off. I found that the way we live, think, and feel makes more sense in the context of Japan. There’s an understanding that something is building into a form yet unknown, a journey back to the source, reinfusing meaning into rituals and practices.
Connecting with the source in Japan brought a new appreciation for my own traditions. The way nature is integrated into life, how food maintains its connection to the natural world, and how these elements are part of a broader cosmology, all spoke to a deeper understanding of life. This journey was about seeing the evolution of civilizations and how these ancient systems came into being. It was about preserving tradition while also walking it forward into the future.
Back in Silicon Valley, I feel a stark contrast. Here, the focus is on tools and the future, often lacking roots or reverence for the ancient, continuous traditions. The journey in Japan highlighted the importance of ceremony, ritual, and tradition before building tools for the future. It’s a reminder of the need to be rooted in these elements before venturing forward.
As I contemplate my journey, I see it as just the beginning of a deeper path. Philosophically and spiritually, I’m exploring what it means to go deeper, to continue this journey. I feel a strong connection to a collective Way (Do) that we are all creating together. It feels like fertile soil from which something ancient, new, and beautiful is emerging. I can’t name it yet, but I feel its presence.
I sense a strong bond with the people I met, a sense of family. There’s a deep trust that whatever path we walk together will be extraordinary. I’m already looking forward to revisiting Japan, to introduce my family to this world, and to explore other parts of the globe where we can replicate this profound experience. We are at a crossroads, creating something extraordinary, a historical moment where the ancient and new converge in beautiful harmony.