Wednesday, June 16

Ikigai–A Reason to Get Up in the Morning


I can't believe I've never run across this word in all my reading on vocation/personal growth/spiritual living. It's Japanese (don't they have some of the best words?) for "a reason for being."

Some days I don't remember that I have a reason for being--for getting out of bed in the morning. I have a quiet--almost too quiet--life, but I've found a kind of peace that I've never known before . Yes, I could use some help around the house. I could use some regular routine and companionship, but I'm learning to make meaning of my days, as they pass. I don't know exactly what ikigai is for me, but maybe figuring that out is the reason I need to keep on keeping on.

Do you ever feel as if there's no reason to keep going? Look for ikigai.

1 Comment

  • A couple of thoughts: (1) do a close reading of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy … I won’t say anything more in order to avoid biasing your interpretation; (2) I had never encountered the word before, but ikigai sounds like the OPPOSITE of the experience of the Absurd as discussed by Camus in “The Myth of Sisyphus”: “That odd state of mind in which the Void becomes eloquent”. Medieval writers on spirituality also talked about “accedie”, which is usually translated “apathy” but which is actually a condition in which life is rendered insipid because nothing, no activity, no endeavor, is undertaken because nothing seems worth doing: again, the OPPOSITE, as I understand it, of “ikigai”. “Ikigai” might be rendered in French as “raison d’etre”, literally “reason for being”.

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