Keeping Busy With Joy

How often it occurs that my eclectic reading and listening habits bring different ideas together. Many (most?) people experience this. It’s so common that the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung had a word for it—synchronicity. 

It happened to me now. We should be busy. Not mindlessly busy (another podcast about mindfulness I heard yesterday, but that’s another topic). But a reason to be busy. And be happy doing it. When you are older.  It may be looking after family. Or gardening. Or writing. Or hopefully your job. Or hobby. 

The Japanese have a word for it—Ikigai (ick—ee—guy). It can be translated as the reason you get up in the morning.

How many men (it seems to occur more often with men) have you known who retire from work in order to do nothing. And they die way too soon. Forty years ago I decided that wouldn’t happen to me. It got me through the pandemic—a reason to get up and do something every day.

In the Proverbs we read (Chapter 6, today’s reading)

“6 Go to the ant, you lazybones;

consider its ways, and be wise.

7 Without having any chief

or officer or ruler,

8 it prepares its food in summer,

and gathers its sustenance in harvest.

9 How long will you lie there, O lazybones?”

Proverbs 6th Chapter

Yesterday I listened to a conversation (called a podcast) with Guy Kawasaki and Héctor García, who wrote Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life with Francesc Miralles. Héctor moved from Spain to Japan as a software engineer and became a best selling writer. They interviewed people in a small village in Okinawa known for its concentration of people over 100 years old. They universally had an ickigai. I have just ordered the book. Just listening to a guy born in Spain, living in Japan, who is also articulate in English was enough to sell me the book.

The Spiritual Disciplines can help us here. Get up, read (study), meditate, and then perform some work of service (small or large). Repeat.

Find your ickigai.

One Response to “Keeping Busy With Joy”

  1. Why Behave? | Faith Venture Says:

    […] Many of us still act as if we are adolescent pushing against authority, living a dissipated lifestyle, having no real purpose in life (see my post on ickigai). […]

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