Ikigai

It sounds a lot like ‘icky guy’, but it means something wondrous and    amazing.  Translation of the Japanese word means ‘a reason for being’.

Here’s how Wikipedia defines it: Everyone, according to the Japanese, has a hidden ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.

I love that.  Everyone has a reason for being.  And it doesn’t necessarily have to be something you know about.  You can spend your life searching for your ikigai.  It’s much like the careful tending of the bonsai for decades.  It brings satisfaction and pleasure and meaning, but you can’t really put a finger exactly on why it does so.

I like knowing I have an ikigai.  I don’t  know what it is, exactly, but feel sure, some day, I will know.  And until then, I’ll have a swell time living the life that leads to such a discovery.

So what about you?  Do you have an ikigai?  Do you know for certain what it is?  Or are you content to discover as it comes to you?

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6 Responses to Ikigai

  1. Margay says:

    I like that word, that is so cool! I think I know what my ikigai is, but I don’t think it’s limited to just one.

  2. I love this philosophy! You find it in many cultures, but I can’t think of an instance of it being front and center in Western society. Anybody know of such?

    Lakota tradition emphasizes this kind of self-discovery. Unfortunately, Christian missionaries either misunderstood it or dismissed its importance. (American Indian religion was the only form of religion actually outlawed in the United States. That wasn’t changed until 1973.)

    Self discovery is part of coming of age, which for the Lakota takes lots of searching. Hanbleceya, “crying for a vision,” might be performed many times before one understands who he is and what he is meant to do. My husband and sons have done this, and it’s challenging. It’s also ongoing. And I think it’s something this world desperately needs. We tell people to grow up, but do we understand what that means? Do we think about ways to demonstrate what it means? Do we honor the elders who can show us what it means? Do we even know how to honor (as a verb) anymore?

    You’ve got me thinking, Michele. Love that!

  3. Michele says:

    And the French call it raison d’etre! I like that it can be something you may never define, but that it’s all in the search. I think we need to ask ourselves the tough questions, and we don’t because maybe we won’t like the answers, or haven’t the patience to listen for the answers. Yes, good stuff to think about!

  4. catslady says:

    It took me a while to find mine but I do believe it’s to do what I can for feral cats. I’ve worked outside the home, raised two wonderful children, have been married 41 years and had many interests but I keep coming back to my love of animals.

  5. Kylie Brant says:

    I think mine is working with disabled kids. Having a great year with lots of kids showing tons of progress. It was definitely a good day–midterm!

  6. Leanne Banks says:

    Love this Michele. Thank you for sharing it. I know ONE of my purposes — encouragement. Hopefully there is more…:)

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