Eat. Work. Sleep. Die. That was the bleak mantra recited by my parents at least once a week in our home. I think their goal was to raise us with a good work ethic, which we do all have as adults. We added a few new items to the list along the way: higher education, shop, party, raise kids, survive. Still, there simply wasn’t enough to satisfy us.
Existence does not make a life worth living. Most of us struggle in our search for…something. Some think our issue is one of belief, and that we are searching for a deeper spiritual life or a more realistic view of God. Others chalk it up to the absence of a quality environment, and they think it would be better if they lived in better circumstances or had better opportunities. All of us are driven to find some type of purpose to fill our days with and measure our happiness by.
So what does makes life worth living? The Japanese believe the answer to this question is different for each one of us. We are asked to spend a great deal of time searching within our souls to answer four questions that will bring us holistic harmony. Our answers indicate where we must focus to further explore and satisfy the four conditions to our desired state of whole being or our “ikigai” – passion, mission, profession, and vocation. Each condition overlaps with one other to create the perfect state for every individual.
I (finally) found my ikigai after many years of searching, and I hope you will eventually find yours too.
graphic representation by @emmyzen (Emmy van Deurzen)
By en:User:Nimbosa derived from works by Dennis Bodor (SVG) and Emmy van Deurzen (JPG) (https://t.co/TiRhcMD7HP) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons