Ikigai revisited in the Covid era, through a teenager’s eyes
Ikigai, the word is magical. Like the cover of the book — written by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles — the concept conjures up an image of cherry blossoms and hope. The Japanese secret to a long and happy life tries to answer the questions that keep many of us up at night: What is the purpose of our lives? What prompts our actions and choices? What propels us out of bed every morning?
These questions may seem too broad and at times even overtly philosophical for us teenagers to answer. But, like the book aims at changing the perception surrounding mindfulness, the concept of Ikigai also opens its doors to a wider audience.
Drawing from the tales of dedicated folk and proven techniques, Ikigai addresses our existential crises and gently nudges us towards more fulfilling lives. It makes several references to studies and research findings, which might seem overwhelming at first. But as one turns the pages of the book, one begins to organically resonate with it. Moreover, the clear cut structure of the writing in this work that separates the various Japanese schools of thought and strategically places case studies, inspires us to discover our passions and identify what is truly meaningful to us.
In these unsettled times, it’s hard to find reasons to be grateful. And that’s why this book is worth a revisit. It teaches us to cherish every fleeting moment, reminding us that it’s futile to waste our precious time worrying about what has passed and what is to come. We need to feel alive and make the most of every day. This, however, doesn’t mean that we need to rush to keep up with the hustle culture. We should, in fact do things with a sense of intent and calm. Stimulating the mind and body and learning from the things and people around us is crucial. It helps build a sense of flow, which is the key to finding our motivation, our Ikigai!
I’m sure we can all do with a few lessons on gratitude, appreciation and relaxation. Like Jean-Paul Sartre (considered the father of existentialist philosophy) claimed, ‘We don’t create the meaning of life, we discover it’.