Ikigai is the first book that I read in February and the fifth book that I read in 2019 after Poonachi, The Girl on the Train, Norwegian Woods and Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows. Ikigai is a book that talks about the Japanese secret to a Long and Happy life. This is a self-help motivational book that encourages the reader to find the ‘purpose’ of their lives. Most motivational or spiritual books ask us to find the ‘meaning’ of life but this book emphasizes that the ‘purpose’ of our lives is more important as it keeps us motivated, happy and alive. Ikigai is not a complicated thing but a simple ‘purpose’ that is unique to each of us. Ikigai is basically finding happiness in simple things that we love doing, be it painting, singing, dancing, cooking or gardening.
Ikigai is equivalent to the French raison de etre but the Japanese would simply put it as the reason we love to get up every morning. Japan as a country has always emphasized on the importance of happiness in everyday life. Japanese people love to work. They work not for the sake of fame or money only, they work for the sake of love for work and that is the reason their workmanship has attained a unique finesse.
This book is divided into chapters where anti-aging secrets are revealed by Centenarians. It is seen that these secrets are often simple things like smiling and staying happy with friends and family and staying active all the time. This book discusses how to find ‘flow’ in everything and grow spiritually without growing old.
This book also delves into the theoretical aspect of Ikigai in the context of Buddhism, Stoicism, and Consumerism. As I am a practicing Buddhist I could see the connection between Buddhist philosophy and Ikigai. As Buddhists, we are also trained to attain ‘happiness’ through simplicity, compassion, and discipline.
A large section of the book deals with contemporary issues like stress, excessive usage of smartphone, the lure of social media and helps the reader see how these things are distracting us from finding our Ikigai and ‘flow’. In this book, Ikigai diet and eastern exercises like yoga and tai chi are also discussed. I found this book extremely relevant and would recommend others to read and find their unique Ikigai. The next book that I am reading is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The prompts this book adheres to from #WriteTribeReadingChallenge2019 are
# A book written by someone of a different nationality/color/ethnic group than you
# A book written by an author who is new to you
# A book you bought just because of its cover/a book with a beautiful cover