Mitsuo Aida was a Japanese calligrapher and haikuist, who was one of the most prominent figures of the twentieth century. His life was devoted to a very specific ikigai: communicating emotions with seventeen-syllable poems using a shodo calligraphy brush, and he was yet another example of a Japanese who dedicated himself to a very specific ikigai.
The haikus Aida wrote emphasize the value of the present moment, as well as the passage of time, in many of them. Here is a poem that can perhaps be translated as “In the here and now, the only thing I care about is what you care about.”.
One of Aida’s poems in this collection simply says, “Here, now.” It is an artwork that portrays a sense of mono no aware (a melancholy appreciation of the ephemeral).
It is interesting to note that the following poem touches on one of the secrets of bringing ikigai into our lives: “Happiness is always determined by your heart.”
According to Aida, the last one, which is also written by her, means “Keep going; do not change your path.” The last one by Aida means “Keep going; do not change your path.”
In order to make your life meaningful, the pursuit of your ikigai and nurturing it every day are necessary steps to discovering your ikigai. Once you decide that this is what you want to accomplish with your life, you will be in a state of flow in everything you do, just as the calligrapher is in a state of flow as he writes on his canvas or the chef is still preparing sushi for his patrons after half a century.
Despite the fact that Ikigai is different for each of us, one thing we have in common is that we are all searching for meaning in our lives. It is true that when we are connected to what is meaningful to us, we live to the fullest; however, when we are disconnected from what is meaningful to us, we feel despair. With the advancement of modern living, it has become more and more difficult for us to remain connected to our true nature, which makes it easier for us to live meaningless life.
In the modern age, we are bombarded with powerful forces and incentives (money, power, attention, success) that distract us from living the life we want. Do not let them take control of your life. To help us connect with the awareness of ikigai, our intuition, and curiosity act like powerful internal compasses.
Those things, which you enjoy, should be followed, and those that you dislike should be avoided or changed. Don’t let your curiosity lead you wrong, and keep busy by doing things that make you happy and give you meaning. Even if it isn’t something big, like being a good parent or helping our neighbors, it can create meaning in our lives. Connecting with our ikigai requires a variety of strategies in order to achieve success.
However, what we have learned from the Okinawans is that we should not be too concerned about finding it as much as we already are. It is important to understand that life is not a problem that needs to be solved. As long as you are surrounded by people who love you and keep yourself busy doing what you love, you will be able to have a great life and longer life.