These ideas are not new to Meaningful and Purposeful Living (MPL). This awareness can be found in many philosophies and spiritual disciplines. Meaningful living ‘s perspective derives from a Japanese practice called Naikan. This practice has been popularized in the West by the translator and writer of Constructive Living, Dr. David Reynolds. Living (CL) is a Western approach to mental health education based in large part on adaptations of two Japanese psychotherapies, Morita and Naikan therapy.
Meaningful and Purposeful Living is an expansion of CL beyond the Japanese philosophies by incorporating ideas on mindfulness, learning, mental toughness and rational living developed by American psychotherapists and behavioral science researchers and authors such as, Dr. Albert Ellis and Maltsby (RET and RBC) Dr. William Glasser (Reality Therapy) Tim Gallwey and Dr. James Leoher Inner Game and Mental Toughness) Carl Rogers (Client-Centered therapy) and many others. In essence Meaningful and Purposeful Living principles are an educational method for approaching life realistically and rationally. The action planning and execution phase of Meaningful and Purposeful Living emphasizes accepting reality (including feelings), creation of personal vision, focusing on life goals , and doing what needs doing to achieve your full potential. The gratitude and appreciation aspect of enables us to understand who in the past or present clearly guided and supported us in life. Naikan urges us to live in recognition of the support we receive from others. One of the techniques used to open up awareness to Naikan’s power is the use of questions to help us gain a clearer understanding of reality and clearer view of life. The questions may be asked with reference to a person or an event in ones life. You are encouraged to use these questions as a daily reflection or action for change item. Called “Daily Naikan” practice, these questions provide a frame for assessing the day. I recommend keeping a Meaningful Life Experiences journal to capture the details of the specific gifts, issues and ways to show gratitude and repay others.
These are the questions for reflection:
1. What have I received from ____?
2. What have I given to ________?
3. What difficulties and obstacles have I caused _____ ?
4. In what way can I show gratitude for things done for me?
Try them out and add your own questions to see how this practice of giving back and gratitude practice will energize your life and help you stay on purpose.