What gives meaning to our life? This is one of the questions that we constantly ask ourselves, to find what in Japanese culture it is known as ikigai, which could be defined as ‘reason for being’. What is the secret to a happy life? According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai, that is, the realization of what one wants to be, which It requires deep introspection and inner search.
This concept was disclosed by the authors Francesc Miralles and Héctor García through the book Ikigai: Japan’s Secrets to a Long and Happy Lifewhich was published in 2016. A year later, in 2017, they published a second book to put this concept into practice: The Ikigai method: Awaken your true passion and fulfill your life purposes.
They both traveled to Okinawa, the island with the highest life expectancy in the worldto understand their lifestyle and understand more deeply the concept of ikigai. To write the book, the two authors were received by the mayor of Ogimi (Okinawa), a town in northern Japan, and were able to interview more than a hundred of its inhabitants.
The keys that we must answer
Ikigai is conceived in Japanese culture as a reason for being, for existing, for living, and we all have one. Nevertheless, many people are still unaware or have not discovered theirs. Here lies the problem, and it is that the rhythm of today’s society, living on autopilot and without stopping, does not allow us to discover what the purpose or reason for being is.
“Ikigai is hidden within us and requires patient exploration to reach the depths of our being and find it. According to Okinawans, ikigai is the reason we get up in the morning”, highlights the author Francesc Miralles in an article for Cuerpomente. To start discovering what your ikigai is and cultivating it, the author proposes the following questions What should we answer:
- What is your element? It is about looking for what our passions are, the area in which we can develop our abilities, what we are best at. Whether it’s public speaking, conflict resolution, teaching others, or caring. Another question would be the following: With what tasks do you spend time flying?
- What were we passionate about as children? Many people are forgetting what they felt a true motivation for as children. What were the dreams? They can be painting, dancing, playing soccer, solving problems or taking walks in nature. There may be a motivation that we have lost sight of and that we can pick up again.
- How much time are you willing to invest? When finding ikigai, the next question you should ask yourself is whether you are going to spend enough time and energy to cultivate it. Work on this motivation or reason for being to carry it out.
- Would you like to live from it? As we work on our ikigai, we must also be aware of whether it can become our way of life.
How to find our ikigai
The author also offers a series of keys or guidelines to put into practice this method of Japanese culture and apply them on a daily basis, thus we will enhance our ikigai:
- Keep active.
- Take things more calmly, without haste, so that they do not affect the quality of life. It is about living more peacefully.
- Don’t eat until you’re full.
- Surround yourself with good friends with whom you can share experiences, enjoy yourself and also be able to talk to them about your concerns without discomfort.
- Try to smile and not forget the privilege of being here.
- Reconnect with nature.
- Thank the people around you, nature, your past and everything that allows you to live here today. Be thankful.
- Live the present moment.
- Pursue ikigai, that hidden talent that gives meaning to your life.