Ikigai (生き甲斐, pronounced [ikiɡai]) is a Japanese concept that means "a reason for being." It is similar to the French phrase Raison d'être. Everyone, according to Japanese culture, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is important to the cultural belief that discovering one's ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.
The term ikigai compounds two Japanese words: iki (wikt:生き?) meaning "life; alive" and kai (甲斐) "(an) effect; (a) result; (a) fruit; (a) worth; (a) use; (a) benefit; (no, little) avail" (sequentially voiced as gai) "a reason for living [being alive]; a meaning for [to] life; what [something that] makes life worth living; a raison d'etre"
In the culture of Okinawa, ikigai is thought of as "a reason to get up in the morning"; that is, a reason to enjoy life.
The word ikigai is usually used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile. Secondly, the word is used to refer to mental and spiritual circumstances under which individuals feel that their lives are valuable. It's not necessarily linked to one's economic status or the present state of society. Even if a person feels that the present is dark, but they have a goal in mind, they may feel ikigai. Behaviors that make us feel ikigai are not actions we are forced to take—these are natural and spontaneous actions.
Our higher purpose
Even if ikigai seems as an impactful and useful concept to frame and define our why! Some spiritual scholars say that there is a major focus on 'what you are paid for' and 'what the world needs', which are external to One's 'be-ing'.
I love this debate. Because more and more research shows that in order to find our purpose we have to be it. We have to be our own purpose, and that happens when we are able to raise our consciousness, the ultimate purpose for every human being.
Combining social sciences, with physics, psychology, economy, spirituality and neuroscience looks like a must for the current times we are living in.
What do you think about ikigai ? and how can we use it to embrace our bē?
See you in the field!