In November, we used Naikan as a way to deepen our spiritual practice. We decided to leave the practices on our website for those who want to continue working with this process.
If you want to know more about Naikan, visit the Naikan Page on the ToDo Institute’s website. You might also want to read Gregg Krech’s article on the practice, “Many Thanks,” as it appeared in Sun Magazine. We also recommend Krech’s book, Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection, which is available from the ToDo Institute’s bookstore and on Amazon.
Gregg Krech also presented Tricycle’s November online retreat. Once it’s up and available on the website, you should be able to access the retreat at Tricycle’s Retreats page. Tricycle’s online retreats typically consist of several video teachings about 20 minutes in length each, and are free to members.
You might also enjoy taking the Gratitude Quiz from the Berkeley “Greater Good” website at the beginning of this month, then again at the end.
Following are the first week’s Naikan exercises. Most of the exercises we’ll be doing, by the way, are compiled and/or adapted from ones used in the ToDo Institute’s online Naikan program or Krech’s book on the topic.
Naikan Month Practices
Each week’s practices include three or four main exercises and a few more that you can choose to do if they seem interesting, salient or resonant in some way. Of the main exercises, one you can do every day or so, one or two are “bigger” in that they will take some time for reflection (so you do them instead of the daily practice) and one you can do as you go through your day.
For instance, the first week’s “everyday” exercise is Daily Naikan. If possible, spend a half hour on that every day (or as often as you feel you can set aside that time). The Special Reflection exercise is to reflect on the question, “What made it possible for you to be here?” The Moment-by-Moment exercise is “Mindful Thank You.”
Then, if you have the time or one strikes you as appropriate to your situation, try looking at the question, “Who cares?” or inventorying your personal possessions.