An Embodied Perspective of Ikigai

Is there an effective approach to understand ikigai?

Jamila Rodrigues believes that to better understand ikigai, we must approach it from an embodied perspective, as it is a lived experience.

Embodied way of knowing ourselves

Nick: You argue that an embodied perspective of ikigai is essential to studies on well-being, life meaning, or general human behavior. So would you like to expand on that?

Jamila: We spoke about embodiment, right? I don't know who's listening to the podcast. So let me just unpack what I mean with embodiment, first. I see embodiment defined in how we experience the world.

And I said that before, right. So we experience the world and the interconnections between sensory, cognitive, emotional, and corporeal dimensions. So I like to think that the body provides us with embodied ways of knowing ourselves and knowing our surroundings, not as our minds being detached from our bodies, but as cohesive human beings.

So, when I started to think about ikigai and the phenomenon of ikigai, and this lived experience, then I thought about, well, if ikigai is also a general way of well-being, of flourishing in life, then we need to place the body at the center.

Because our well-being comes from our subjective perceptions and orientations and values and engagement with the world. And that requires body knowledge to embody and make sense of itself. And these interrelated dimensions of cognition and emotions, and sensations, muscles, nerves, and gut as you explain, so it's all interconnected, right?

Nick: Yes, it is. And I'm now surprised why hasn't this been explored. I don't think I've found a paper like yours before. So this really has opened up the door wider on the ikigai world for me. So thank you, for doing the research. It’s always a real joy to…

I mean, as you probably know, one of my ikigai is researching ikigai. And so when I learn, I love to learn. So I've learned so much from this paper and our discussion. Our previous discussion.

Jamila: I'm glad you liked it.