We wake up with thoughts of the past or the future. We are busy coping with yesterday’s stuff while preparing for tomorrow. But when do we make time for today? Well, the Japanese people have the philosophy of Ichigo Ichie. It translates to “once, a meeting” and also “in this moment, an opportunity.
This Japanese philosophy for a zen life explains to us the value of the present moment. Every moment, every experience is unique, and once it slips away from us, we will never get to live that moment again. So why not make the most of every moment while we are aware of it?
Cultivating Ichigo Ichie is a great way to rejoice in every experience. It tells us to pay attention to the present moment instead of worrying about the past or the future. The greater your awareness of the present, the more fulfilled and happier you will feel.
Here are 10 principles of Ichigo Ichie that sum up the Japanese art of happiness:
1. Embrace every moment with Ichigo Ichie
Don’t postpone your happiness. While we have many opportunities throughout our lives, no two opportunities are the same. Each moment is unique and deserves to be lived so as well. Your life is a collection of these moments, so the more you can grab, the happier you will be!
2. Once in a lifetime
Live each day to the fullest because you won’t be experiencing the same day twice. Live each moment as it will happen only once in your life. Ichigo Ichie makes you aware that each encounter is a unique opportunity, and the next one is not guaranteed.
3. Live in the present
While it is alright to think about your future or your past from time to time, dwelling in either of those is not going to help your present. Accept that you cannot change your past, you can only learn from it. Acknowledge that worrying about the future won’t make it any better. So why waste your precious present worrying about those? Only in the present do you have the gift of life, the gift of possibilities. Anything can happen in this zen life!
4. Do something you have never done before
Doing the same thing again and again won’t bring you different results. Ichigo Ichie lets you make each moment unforgettable when you give yourself away. Let something new and wonderful blossom within with each new experience.
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5. Seated meditation
Push aside all your worries as you seek happiness with meditation. Sit down in a quiet place and simply observe life. Every time you step away from the hustle and bustle of life, you give your mind and body a chance to breathe in and relax. And that is the art of happiness.
6. Ichigo Ichie and mindfulness
Aligning with our natural senses of touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste allows us to better experience the richness of perception. The more aware you are, the more you focus on positivity. The more mindful you are, the more you notice how other people react. And that lets you be more empathic.
7. Are they all coincidences?
Like Master Oogway had said, there are no accidents. There is only the present. So notice each coincidence around you. What you feel is an accidental encounter is indeed a sign from the universe. The invisible threads of reality are there to guide us in our daily lives, but first, we need to learn the signs.
8. Every gathering is a party
Why do humans postpone their own happiness? When will we be happy in the present moment? Why will it take a planned holiday where you get to feel happiness only in a limited number of days? Appreciate life and all those you have in your life every day. Stop waiting for special occasions- make every moment special. It is the shift of mindset that sets the tone of our lives.
9. Be the change
One of the best gifts we have is the power of transformation. We can change and evolve as many times as we want. If you feel like your life is not aligned with the philosophy of Ichigo Ichie, what is stopping you from changing it all? Get up and bring the changes necessary!
10. Collect your moments
Go out and hunt those special moments. They won’t be presented to you on a platter. The more you practice, the greater your joys. Find abundance through your own efforts to seek happiness.
Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles’ “The Book of Ichigo Ichie” tells us how to master mindfulness and the art of happiness. We get so busy at times that we even forget to breathe. It reminds us to pause and appreciate the present. Are you ready to make the most of your life?
Image Featured: Sergey Nivens