The Art of Manliness
The Japanese Practice That Can Give More Meaning to an American Holiday
This episode explores the practice of Nikon, a method of self-reflection rooted in Buddhist spirituality. Nikon aims to develop greater self-awareness, gratitude, empathy, and direction. It encourages individuals to shift from a complaint-based life to a life of genuine appreciation. The episode discusses incorporating Nikon reflection into Thanksgiving and highlights the importance of recognizing blessings beyond family and friends. It also explores the healing power of reflection and the impact of everyday objects on our attitude and appreciation for life.
Nikon is a practice of self-reflection rooted in Buddhist spirituality.
It aims to develop self-awareness, gratitude, empathy, and direction.
Nikon encourages individuals to shift from complaining to genuine appreciation.
It helps notice and appreciate the positive aspects of life.
Reflecting on blessings can change our perception of the world.
It makes us more aware of the ways in which life supports and cares for us.
Nikon reflection can be incorporated into Thanksgiving rituals.
It involves appreciating and reflecting on what we're thankful for.
Recognizing blessings beyond family and friends is important in Nikon practice.
Teachers, service providers, and local businesses can be blessing givers.
Reflection can be a healing process, helping us come to terms with past experiences.
It allows us to see painful memories in the larger context of love and support from others.
Reflecting on everyday objects can bring joy and increase appreciation for life.
It helps us recognize the positive impact of practical items and gadgets.
The process of reflection is interactive, revealing unexpected blessings.
Difficulties and disappointments can turn out to be blessings in disguise.
- The Practice of Nikon
- Reflecting on Life and Gratitude
- Morning Ritual of Reflection
- Okage-sama and Blessings
- Gratitude, Grace, and Human Nature
- Reflection, Healing, and Appreciation
- Appreciating Everyday Blessings
- The Interactive Process of Reflection
The Practice of Nikon
00:07 - 07:24
- Nikon is a method of self-reflection rooted in Buddhist spirituality.
- It involves asking oneself three questions: "What have I received from others? What have I given others? What troubles and difficulties have I caused to others?"
- Nikon focuses on objective observation rather than just feeling grateful.
- The purpose of Nikon is to develop greater self-awareness, gratitude, empathy, and direction.
- The practice aims to shift individuals from a complaint-based life to a life of genuine appreciation.
- Society has become accustomed to complaining, and this practice encourages people to notice and appreciate the positive aspects of their lives.
- Self-reflection through Nikon allows individuals to reflect on their conduct and how they are living their lives.
- This practice not only affects how individuals see themselves but also how they perceive the world around them.
Reflecting on Life and Gratitude
06:59 - 14:21
- Reflecting on our life can change the way we perceive the world, making us more aware of the ways in which it supports and cares for us.
- Gratitude practices often rely on feeling grateful, but with Nikon, you can list things you're not necessarily feeling grateful for.
- Listing the ways in which reality supports us becomes a research project that brings objectivity to gratitude.
- Feeling grateful for what we receive stimulates a desire to give back and help others.
- Incorporating Nikon reflection into Thanksgiving can be done by taking time to appreciate and reflect on what we're thankful for.
Morning Ritual of Reflection
13:54 - 20:48
- A morning ritual of quiet self-reflection with family and guests can be a powerful practice.
- Children are capable of participating in this reflection process as well as adults.
- Over time, this ritual has expanded into a booklet with different categories for reflection.
- Writing down the reflections is encouraged during Thanksgiving sessions or daily practices to stay focused and facilitate sharing.
- The length of a Nikon session can vary, but it is better to spend more time rather than less.
- It is recommended to find a quiet space without distractions for the reflection practice.
- The practice can be done alone or with others, either in person or remotely through online platforms.
Okage-sama and Blessings
20:20 - 27:16
- Okage-sama is a concept in Japanese culture that means recognizing and thanking others for their contributions to our lives.
- When listing people who are blessings in our lives, it's important to think beyond family and friends.
- Examples of blessing givers can include teachers, service providers, or even local businesses that have helped us in times of need.
- The term "blessing" doesn't necessarily have religious connotations in the context of Nikon practice. It is distinguished from gratitude by its association with grace and receiving something we didn't earn or deserve.
Gratitude, Grace, and Human Nature
26:57 - 33:53
- Grace is associated with blessings, such as when someone helps without expecting anything in return.
- Reflecting on our lives can nurture a sense of humility and help us see the things we receive as blessings rather than things we earned or deserved.
- People who are blessings in our lives can extend beyond friends and family.
- Taking self-reflection further by turning it into real-life action can make the world a better place.
- People who bless us can also hurt us. It's important to recognize that individuals can both cause suffering and provide support or benefits at different times in our lives.
- Recognizing this duality allows us to acknowledge human nature and not let single incidents dissolve long-lasting relationships.
Reflection, Healing, and Appreciation
33:28 - 40:28
- Reflecting on the positive aspects of a person who has caused trouble can help us come to terms with their actions.
- The process of reflection can be healing, especially for those who have experienced abuse in the past.
- Healing does not necessarily involve removing painful memories but rather seeing them in the larger context of love and support from others.
- When identifying blessings in our lives, it is important to think beyond friends and family and be specific about what they have done for us.
- Objects can also bring blessings into our lives, such as gadgets or practical items like cars or eyeglasses.
- Reflecting on objects that bring us joy can change our attitude and increase appreciation for life.
Appreciating Everyday Blessings
39:59 - 46:45
- Answering the question about things on your list can change your internal experience and bring a sense of appreciation for life.
- Reflecting on various everyday objects and experiences can bring joy and gratitude.
- Focusing on what one has learned can counter self-pity and increase agency in navigating the world.
- Identifying specific people or sources of inspiration for each skill learned can deepen gratitude.
The Interactive Process of Reflection
46:16 - 53:17
- Reflecting on one's life is not linear but rather interactive, with connections between different lists of learned objects and experiences.
- Listing difficulties and disappointments that turned out to be blessings can be challenging, and it is not necessary to force gratitude for painful experiences.
- The process of reflection can reveal unexpected blessings in seemingly upsetting circumstances.
- To learn more about the speaker's work and access the Thanksgiving reflection booklet, visit the website 30,000days.org.