Truth and Love as a Source of Ikigai

Shogo Tanaka shares how he finds ikigai through his constant search for truth in his studies, taking care of the environment, and helping others

Shogo’s definition of ikigai

Nick: When you think of ikigai, what comes to mind in terms of definition?

Shogo: The meaning of the word would be very simple but something that makes me feel worth living, as we understand normally in Japanese language. I do not have any special definition of ikigai.

Nick: So does studying psychology and philosophy give you the feeling of ikigai?

Shogo: Yeah. Well, it sounds like a very difficult question, but just let me try to articulate my answers as much as possible, of my ikigai. Well, as I am a scholar, so I am in search of truth in the first place. So the search of truth is the most important process that make my life worth living.

And well to be exaggerated a bit, the truth for which I can live and a truth for which I can die, is the most important thing in my life. And what I have found as truth so far is the idea or the concept of embodiment; our body is the ultimate source of knowledge, wisdom, and the self.

And the embodied self is something that is always imagined through embodied interaction with the surrounding embodiment, not coming from within, but interaction within the surrounding environment.

In other words, my embodied self is always embedded within aida of myself and the environment, or aida of myself and the others. If so, what I found that truth is not confined within my personal and private self, but it's related to the others and the environment that may constitute important parts of myself.

So taking care of the others and taking care of the environment is a continuous part of my ikigai. The best word to describe this part of my ikigai would be love; loving others as I love myself, or loving the environment as I love myself is an expression of what I found as truth. So in this regard, I can say that truth and love could be my ikigai.

Nick: I can relate, I often describe ikigai as intimacy: we can have emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy, obviously physical, but we can have an intimacy with nature. So definitely, I feel it can be described as a type of love.

And if we frame it in this embodied perspective, I guess a good advice would be to say, go out more, have more experiences, meet more people, do different things, and try to tune into your bodily awareness with each experience.