What is your reason for being? So few can answer that question. The French term raison d'etre, occasionally used in an English sentence, means "reason or justification for existence." Various factors for life longevity are diet, exercise, fellowship or community, but also purpose. In our earlier and dumber past, we associate such a question as “what is your purpose?” with the statement “what do you do?” Which is a way of saying what do you do for work, more amply translated into “how do you make fake fiat-debt based, unbacked by anything money within the small slice of existence that is commercial trading?” Which is inherently a reduction since human beings are not commercial traders yet we are living in times were far too many associate themselves with solely what they do for work, or their jobs, or their fake careers. Rather than how they always improving themselves and others through their continual alignment with the great work.
A more effective and higher resonant way to structure the statement “what do you do” is “how do you spend your days” which opens up to a broader landscape of “how do you choose to spend your time”, spend being an important word here and notice closely the etymology of it in that sentence. Time “spent” doing things that are enriching, informative, or fulfilling vs time spent just to make those fake paper B-ill’s as the Rastafarians would say. Moving toward Zion and away from Babylon.
A at home parent may work tirelessly day in and day out and that isn't just for money, it is for work to improve something. In that case, growing a life by watering a young mind. Same with a retiree who spends their time doing animal rescue, helping four-legged stray creatures. Both are very noble work which helps another living soul, but does not necessarily have a monetary reward in a world we are often meant to think and feel is materialistic. You may be young with no need for a job at that time-space vector in your life, but you spend each day, one day at a time, learning and having fun. Or you may be a Palestinian refugee in the outdoor concentration camp which is your country, in abject struggle day after day, just trying to find reason and purpose. Or perhaps in your golden years in assisted living playing bridge with your fellow wrinkled, silver haired, 80+-year-old gal pals. Engaging in conversation and reminiscing on the past long gone.
One could go even further with this introductory statement which is oftentimes one of the first follow up questions when normie A meets normie B and instead say, “what is your reason for being?” In your life, this time around, or let’s say this cycle round, or from an eastern perspective, this incarnation around, “what have you perhaps found is your reason for this cycle?” We know that 99.9% of folks can’t answer that question. They make feel it in the distant far back depth of their mind and heart connection, but they could not answer it via a question like such, off the cuff.
Ikiɡai is a Japanese concept that means "a reason for being." The term ikigai compounds two Japanese words: iki meaning "life; alive" and kai meaning "(an) effect; to arrive at "a reason for living [being alive]; a meaning for [to] life; what [something that] makes life worth living or a raison d'etre". The word "ikigai" is usually used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile. The word translated to English roughly means "thing that you live for" or "the reason for which you wake up in the morning." Each individual's ikigai is personal to them and specific to their lives, values, and beliefs. It reflects the inner self of an individual and expresses that most faithfully, while simultaneously creates a mental state in which the individual feels at ease. Activities that allow one to feel ikigai are never forced on an individual; they are often spontaneous, and always undertaken willingly, giving the individual satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.
There is an oftentimes seen chart or graphic which depicts the term. It is comprised of four circles overlapping which form a pattern that looks a bit like a four petal rainbow flower. The circles represent LOVE, NEEDS, TALENT, and COMPENSATION. Where each single overlaps you have the combining of those verbs into the four subsections which are PASSION, MISSION, PROFESSION, and VOCATION. And in the center where all the circles overlap you have IKIGAI - or your reason.
I recently heard from a listener to my podcast who I was consulting with directly, who does various work with ancient land known in the United Kingdom. We had a great conversation and he is a brilliant bloke. Very knowledgeable about dowsing - a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried elements or other materials. His knowledge of that ancient technique extends into a knowledge of ley lines and energy grids on the land as well as the power of stones, which when placed in certain configurations, can have restorative or energetic properties for the land. Like so many conversations which I’m so fortunate to have sporadically up my calendar, it was a mutually beneficial conversation in which he helped me, by sharing some personal and direct insight he has from years of experience with these practices, which I have much to learn about still, and I help him by sharing input in other areas and capacities as well.
During the conversation it became known to me that he struggles with his ability to make money in current capacities, having had his past form of employment outsourced, reduced, or dissolved. But I could tell in speaking with him that he is a special and excellent man, but still has yet to fully realize his personal ikigai. He knows what he’s good at, what he needs, what he loves to spend his time doing, but he hasn't quite made it work for him in terms of what he can be paid for. On this subject, another similar message I received from someone was concluded in the brilliant phrase, “may you continue to achieve equilibrium” before penning their name.
Now, this is something that resonates with I'm sure just about every pair of ear cavernous canal holes listening to this. I know what I like doing, which is essentially my hobby, but how do I get paid for doing it. Ikigai helps show us that many of the puzzle pieces are there, we just haven't quite aligned them as fully as we may be able to. I’m not saying that if your life passion is the art form of making pottery, you’re going to be as financially as successful as a banker in the closest city. But it is possible you can create your own pottery business in which you perhaps teach classes, or restore fancy broken china, or perhaps rent out a work loft space with a large fire kiln. There is generally always a way, in which you can take that passion, and fractal it to some way of being compensated. Maybe part time and with hard work one-day full time. Because in this time-space vector, we do need to make some revenue to have a life that is sustainable and not abject struggle. The awakened human with inner fire lite will also not have standards so low that they’re willing to accept the falsity that they must give all the best years of your life over by doing something they don't particularly want to be doing solely in order to receive a paycheck.
Despite this four circle visualization most likely being a gross simplification of the deeper meaning of the word, that sweet-spot of “what you are good at” + “what you love” + “what the world needs” + “what you can be paid for” is a tough one to find for most people. As we learn these steps it initially may be finding our passion, then moving onto using that to derive a vocation, which then can create a profession, and fulfill a mission. If any of those components are missing, we certainly know it’s not our raison d'etre or reason for being.
For those who have already been walking this walk, it’s likely that the last box to be check for many who will be the compensation component. Which may not be exclusively financial, the best compensation happens in rather unsuspecting ways, but there will be a monetary component. So even if you’ve gotten 3 out of 4 of these down and are essentially doing very honorable volunteer work which is not to be undervalued, but you still have some work to do in the alchemical process of making your outer life of what you create, as aligned with your inner life of thoughts and feelings, as possible. And don’t we all.
One way to know that you can check all four boxes and have arrived is to think about what work for you is not work at all? Taken to the point that when you are old and retired, you would still be doing that work and still have income generating too.
“True will” are two words which you will likely hear many hundreds of times more in the essay penned by this author, as finding yours is central to not only happiness but for your life path of discovering the mystery. So we could go even a step further and switch up our initial ice-breaking conversation at the cocktail party with making our second question to someone “What's your reason for being?” or “what is your true will?” And “how do you, doing the very long and difficult, but extremely worth it work of finding that, add to a larger divine will not just for you, but every living soul in this amazing dream of life?”
Working toward being able to know these things for yourself, and being able to answer them not just for you but for these questions when they might one day be presented to you, may be your very most important reason for being here. No matter how long it takes you, it’s worth the effort to ascertain.