Ikigai (ee-key-guy) is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning “alive” or “life,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth.” When combined, these terms mean that which gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose. Ikigai is similar to the French term “raison d’etre” or “reason for being.”

There’s no direct translation of ikigai into English, but the most legitimate definitions I’ve found are the following (emphasis added in bold):

  • “The term ikigai is composed of: iki and kai. At present, kai is generally written in hiragana (Japanese phonetic syllabery)… Iki refers to ‘life‘; kai is a suffix meaning roughly ‘the realization of what one expects and hopes for.’”¹
  • “Japanese dictionaries define ikigai in such terms as ikiru hariai, yorokobi, meate (something to live for, the joy and goal of living) and ikite iru dake no neuchi, ikite inu kōfuku, rieki (a life worth living, the happiness and benefit of being alive).”¹

This is pretty close to how Wikipedia describes it as well:

  • “The term ikigai compounds two Japanese words: iki meaning ‘life; alive‘ and kai meaning ‘(an) effect; (a) result; (a) fruit; (a) worth; (a) use; (a) benefit; (no, little) avail’ (sequentially voiced as gai) to arrive at ‘a reason for living (being alive); a meaning for (to) life; what (something that) makes life worth living; a raison d’etre‘.”³

I’ve also seen ikigai translated as:

  • “reason for being”
  • “the reason for which you wake up in the morning”
  • “The direct translation is the ‘happiness of being busy.’”4 (Note: I’ll assume they mean living a full life vs busy life)

After rereading the bolded areas above, what if we were to view ikigai like this:

Aha Moment: Your “reason for being” gives you a “reason to live.”

As far as descriptions go, here are a couple I resonate with:

  • “The process of allowing the self’s possibilities to blossom.”³ (Note: This is even more powerful if you visualize the ikigai diagram as a flower blooming)
  • “This word (ikigai) is really like a treasure map. And, this treasure map can help you find your way to finding wonderful things about yourself that you can share with the world, and the world will say ‘thank you’ for it.”  — Tim Tamashiro (Note: You can watch his TED Talk at the bottom of this post; he has boiled down his own ikigai to two words: “To delight”)
Spiritual journey to your purpose – Finding Your Purpose in Life
Spiritual journey to your purpose – Finding Your Purpose in Life

The combination of a successful career, a loving family, and a strong social network may seem like the recipe for Read more

Books to read on Ikigai
Books to read on Ikigai

Make your selection from the list below of PDF books you need and then contact us by e-mail booksdownload@gaiadeephealing.co.za so Read more