20. Collective Incubation: Finding Your Ikigai
If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a community to forge a fully fledged adult. And this is largely due to the fact that whenever a committed group of open hearted individuals find themselves in true community, then they tend to actively assist each other in unearthing and developing their latent skills and abilities. At first this might be as simple as inspiring each other to try out a new instrument or to experiment with a particular form of meditation. But over time, it can be as profound as helping each other into a whole new vocation, or even assisting one another in discovering what the Japanese refer to as our Ikigai, which roughly translates into English as ‘our reason for being’.
When we join a Collective we gain access to a community that can actively assist us in incubating new projects and skills. And this kind of ongoing support can often times be the deciding factor between whether we persevere with our endeavours, or choose to throw in the towel. And such communal assistance can take many forms, it might manifest as one to one guidance, or as a request that everyone in our community leaves an online review for our new social enterprise. It can take the form of a working group that meets together each week with the explicit purpose of helping advance each others projects. It might entail buying a fellow community members new album, or helping them to sell out their first ever fundraiser event for an important cause. It could even be as simple as recommending the right book at the right time, or offering up a key introduction to someone in your wider network.
There are countless ways that being part of a Collective can empower us to move closer towards our dreams. But one of the more potent forms of support it makes available to us is the ability to request that others hold us accountable in following through on our stated goals and commitments. If we choose to embrace it, such accountability can be a hugely motivating and transformational force in our lives. As a long term community member once shared with the author M. Scott Peck ‘We love each other too much to let anyone get away with anything’.41 And this can most definitely include ensuring that those closest to us don’t shy away from following through on what’s most important to them.
But even as we come closer to discovering our reason for being, we still might find ourselves regularly weighed down by the immense amount of suffering and injustice we see in the world around us. We may become routinely overwhelmed by the fear that can arise when ever we stop to truly consider the epic scope of the many challenges facing our species. So let’s take a look now at how joining a Collective might help us to more effectively face up to, and come to terms with, the psychological burdens of living through such turbulent and uncertain times.