no hurry, no pause.


Brief Summary

A little book on purpose or reason for living (i.e. ikigai) by (García et al., 2017). It includes wisdom by (Taleb, 2012) and (Seneca, 1997). Life isn’t a problem to be solved and that there’s no perfect recipe for ikigai, as Okinawans say you should not worry too much about finding it. Practice the flow state in everything you do, eat less and stay active. Also see The Little Book of Ikigai.

Key Takeaways

Miscellaneous Notes

Logotherapy was developed by neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl and is based on the premise that the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life. Frankl describes it as “the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy” along with Freud’s psychoanalysis and Adler’s individual psychology.

Logotherapy is based on an existential analysis focusing on Kierkegaard’s will to meaning as opposed to Alfred Adler’s Nietzschean doctrine of will to power or Freud’s will to pleasure. Rather than power or pleasure, logotherapy is founded upon the belief that striving to find meaning in life is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. A short introduction to this system is given in Frankl’s most famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning (1946).

Basic Principles of MT

  1. Accept your feelings, obsessive emotions, feelings or thoughts are like waves. If you try to control them you create another wave. The two waves will not cancel each other but will create a bigger wave. And you will end up more miserable than the initial condition. Accept and acknowledge your obsessive emotions, feelings or thoughts, etc. They are like weather, you cannot predict or control them, you can only observe them.
  2. Do what you should be doing. Don’t focus on eliminating symptoms, focus on the present moment and if you’re suffering, just focus on accepting the suffering and carry out what needs to be done in your daily life. Also avoid intellectualizing the situation. Carry on what you should be doing.
  3. Discover your life’s purpose. We cannot control our emotions, but we can take charge of our actions every day. Having acknowledged all emotions, feelings or thoughts that occupy our mind and carrying out the actions as we go through the daily life, actions themselves will deal with emotions, feelings, etc. To decide on the action ask: What do I need to be doing?

The Four Phases of MT

  1. Isolate and rest (5 - 7 days)
  2. Light occupational therapy (5-7 days)
  3. Occupational therapy (5-7 days)
  4. Return to social life and real world

Naikan Meditation

Naikan (Japanese: 内観, lit. ‘introspection’) is a structured method of self-reflection developed by Yoshimoto Ishin (1916–1988) in the 1940s. The practice is based around asking oneself three questions about a person in one’s life:

  1. What did I receive from this person?
  2. What did I return to this person?
  3. What troubles, worries, unhappiness did I cause this person?

There are many forms of Naikan practice, all focusing on these three questions. The most rigorous form of Naikan is practiced in week-long Naikan retreats, which start by focusing on the three questions on the individual’s relationship to their mother. The questions can then later be expanded outwards to other relationships. During the sessions a guide comes and listens to the participant from time to time allowing them to put into words what they have discovered.

A related fourth question, “What troubles and difficulties has this person caused me?”, is purposely ignored in Naikan. Naikan presupposes that people are naturally able to see answers to this fourth question, and that too much focus on this question is responsible for unhappiness in day-to-day life.

Shoma Morita

Masatake Morita (森田 正馬, Morita Masatake, 1874–1938), also read as Shōma Morita, was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud and the founder of Morita therapy, a branch of clinical psychology strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism. In his capacity as the head of psychiatry for a large Tokyo hospital, Morita began developing his methods while working with sufferers of shinkeishitsu, or anxiety disorders with a hypochondriac base.

Also, David K. Reynolds, an American author, synthesized parts of Morita therapy along with the practice of Naikan into Constructive Living, an educational method intended for English-speaking Westerners. Constructive Living has since become extremely popular in Japan, and Reynolds is the only non-Japanese citizen to receive the Kora Prize and the Morita Prize by the Morita Therapy Association of Japan.

Morita was a great Zen Master of Naikan introspective meditation. Morita said if you’re angry think about it 3 days before coming blows. After 3 days that intense desire to fight will pass on its own. - p.51: Ikigai is finding your existential fuel. Finding your flow in the tasks you do is essential, for example: - eating a balanced diet - doing low intensity exercise - learning to cope with difficulties

Accept the world the way it is.

The Ten Basic Principles of Tai Chi

  1. Elevate the crown of your head, and focus all your energy there.

  2. Tighten your chest and expand your back to lighten your lower body.

  3. Relax your waist and let it guide your body.

  4. Learn to differentiate between heaviness and lightness, knowing how your weight is distributed.

  5. Relax the shoulders to allow free movement of the arms and promote the flow of energy.

  6. Value the agility of the mind over the strength of the body.

  7. Unify the upper and lower body, so they act in concert.

  8. Unify the internal and the external to synchronize mind, body, and breath.

  9. Do not break the flow of your movement; maintain fluidity and harmony.

  10. Look for stillness in movement. An active body leads to a calm mind.

The Ten Rules of Ikigai

  1. Stay active; don’t retire. Those who give up the things they love doing and do well lose their purpose in life.

  2. Take it slow. Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to quality of life. As the old saying goes, “Walk slowly, and you’ll go far.”

  3. Don’t fill your stomach, we should eat a little less than our hunger demands instead of stuffing ourselves.

  4. Surround yourself with good friends. Friends are the best medicine.

  5. Get in shape for your next birthday. The body you move through life in needs a bit of daily maintenance to keep it running for a long time

  6. Smile. A cheerful attitude is not only relaxing-it also helps make friends.

  7. Reconnect with nature. We should return to it often to recharge our batteries.

  8. Give thanks. Spend a moment every day giving thanks, and you’ll watch your stockpile of happiness grow.

  9. Live in the moment. Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most of it. Make it worth remembering.

  10. Follow your ikigai. There is a passion inside you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. If you don’t know what your ikigai is yet, as Viktor Frankl says, your mission is to discover it.

Further Reading


García, H., Miralles, F., Cleary, H., & García, H. (2017). Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life. Penguin Books.
Seneca. (1997). On the Shortness of Life [and other works] by Seneca.
Taleb, N. N. (2012). Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto). http://www.librarything.com/work/12741704/book/148446270