Sometimes I go about in pity for myself and all the while a great wind is bearing me across the sky.
—Ojibwa saying

Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is the measure of our gratefulness. And gratefulness is the measure of our aliveness.
—David Steindl-Rast

We know so many things but we don’t know ourselves. Go into your own ground and learn yourself there.
—Meister Eckhart

Photo: Yasunari Nakamura

What is Naikan?

Naikan is a Japanese word that means “looking inside,” though a more poetic translation might be “seeing oneself with the mind’s eye.” It is a structured method of self-reflection that helps us to understand ourselves, our relationships, and the fundamental nature of human existence.

Cultivating  gratitude. Repairing relationships. Ending addiction. Opening the doorway to faith.  Each of these is grounded in one’s capacity for self-reflection – the ability to see ourselves honestly and understand the impact we are having on the world around us.  It sounds simple.  But it isn’t. Try to observe your own body and you quickly realize that much of it is unobservable, unless you have a mirror.  Naikan is that mirror — a method of self-reflection which originated in Japan.  It sounds mystical but it is eminently practical. Self-reflection can soften our hearts and open our minds.  There’s nothing to believe in.  Just examine yourself and your life.  You may be surprised.

Naikan & Relationships

Learn more about Naikan and Relationships

Cultivating Gratitude

Learn more about Naikan and Cultivating Gratitude

A Spiritual Practice

Learn more about Naikan as a Spiritual Practice

Upcoming Events

Residential Certification Program in Japanese Psychology

This nine-day program is a unique educational opportunity, providing training and practice in Japanese Psychology, specifically Morita Therapy and Naikan. The curriculum of the program is broad, powerful, and relevant to both our everyday lives and our grandest dreams.

Naikan Retreat: April 7-14, 2018

How do we find the time and space for quiet self-reflection, if we want to want to look deeply at how we are living? How do we press the pause button, so to speak, and reflect clearly on our lives?



Essays, parables and inspirational stories explaining what Naikan is and how it can be applied and practiced regularly.

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Enjoy this growing collection of essays, articles and publications exploring self-reflection, gratitude, and other Naikan-related topics.

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A growing selection of videos and podcasts illuminating Naikan therapy.

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Learn About Naikan

In this video, author Gregg Krech introduces the the questions which make up the foundation of Naikan reflection and then discusses the first question in more detail. Naikan is used as a method of psychotherapy in Japan, but its roots are in Eastern Philosophy and Buddhism.


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The Experience of Naikan

I got a lot out of the Naikan on my father. I’d been underestimating what he’s done for me and still does. As a result of Naikan, I’m feeling much softer towards him. I feel very fortunate to have been on this course and feel a sense of awe when I think of all the things and people that support me in my life. I would like to remember to come back to this and keep this practice alive. I have flagged lots of the posts and plan on re-reading them.

I seriously do not have the words, and a simple thank you falls short. I appreciate greatly all the shared effort that made this Naikan program possible. Every individual has devoted part of their precious life to the creation of a space in time that enables others to be happy. I can say today that thanks to this amazing opportunity I have gained more insights about how to face difficult situations, accept my human condition of interdependence, focus my attention on helping others and see reality as it is. Thank you for helping the world to heal; you are a blessing for humanity.

Now that I know about Naikan, I see myself reflecting on almost everything I do and I find myself doing things I never did before. I am a mother of two, and the house looks always like a battle field, but strangely enough I now feel grateful as I pick up toys, diapers, clothes, cups, all kinds of things. I feel grateful for these companions. I can say that Naikan has transformed my mind in a way that I cannot possibly go back to the blindness that filled my life before

The ToDo Institute continues to be a hidden gem for me. Having done both the Naikan Retreat and the Residential Certification Program, I continue to grow in my personal, spiritual and professional life. As an allopathic physician who is seeking to provide integrative care, I would recommend Naikan, and the wonderful experiences that can be gained from this reflective practice, to all physicians who are looking at a more patient/person centered care.

by Nihon-no-budo - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Copyright 2017-2018 ToDo Institute