IKIGAI

Carl Jung called it synchronicity. Some others may think it is serendipity. It is when a particular idea or situation keeps reappearing in one’s life from different directions almost simultaneously. It feels as if it was meant to happen that way by some larger universal force at work.

It may be matter of plain coincidence that, since, I wrote a short post on “mindfulness” a few weeks ago, I suddenly find myself stumbling upon new material that talks about mindfulness. Indeed, as I said earlier, mindfulness is the form of meditation that is best suited for our times.

The reason for that is not far to seek. Our modern existence is so full of distractions that we often lose ourselves in our daily rut with so many competing priorities vying for our attention. It is here that mindfulness keeps us grounded and help us find ourselves when we lose our way.

IKIGAI as explained in the graphic above is not just about mindfulness. It is a much more holistic approach to life that uses mindfulness as just one of the techniques (those interested in learning more about IKIGAI can read Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles book).

Essentially, it is about finding our “purpose of life”, raison d’être, that makes us look forward to each new day. It is also about centring ourselves and attaining a sense of balance. It is as much a way of life, as it is a lifestyle.

However, not all of us are lucky to be living in the idyllic island of Okinawa. Ordained to our mundane existence with the stress points and struggles that accompany it. It is here that mindfulness helps to keep us rooted and focussed.

But, of bigger importance is the journey of self-discovery. Ikigai is not a destination but a path on which the travel itself is reward. To give it meaning we have to strike at the core. Garcia and Miralles suggest Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy among other methods. Not all of us need to go that far.

We, ordinary mortals, can make a small beginning by quietening down, making time and space for reflection, leading a disciplined life, finding meaning in whatever we do, no matter how modest it may be.