Keeping a journal is a lovely way to support your practice, especially if you are drawn to creativity and writing. Keeping a journal can be part of your ritual for practice. Your ritual might be to:
- Sit in your sacred meditation space;
- Keep your journal next to you in that space;
- Consider the journal to be a part of your meditation space.
If you use a book, purchase something really beautiful that you want to come back to every day and you’re invited to write in every day. Just as you want your meditation space to be inviting and aesthetically pleasing, you want your journal to be the same. You want the outside of your journal to be beautiful and you can make the inside of your journal as beautiful as you would like. Make it personal to you.
- You might write in your journal about your experience and also add in pictures that you find.
- If you like to draw or paint, you might like to add images or your own artwork.
- You could add in anything that you are offered in your day. Maybe a friend sends you a postcard that makes you feel connected, add that. Add a letter, a Post-It note, anything that supports your practice, anything that has reminded you to get back in touch with mindfulness, with self-compassion, and with your spirituality during the day.
- Start by writing down answers to these questions:
- What did you notice?
- What did you feel?
- What was surprising? What stood out?
- What was challenging?
- What was enlightening?
- Keep your writing as close to your felt experience as you can.
- Just write and bring as much non-judgement to that process as you can. No one’s reading this journal. No one is going to assess what you’ve written.
- Make it as personal as you are.
- Make sure it’s a ritual you enjoy that is helping you to concretise your experience, helping you to reflect on and remember your experience.
- There’s no need to narrate your personal experience or give meaning to your personal experience.
The main thing is for you to enjoy journaling, for it to be something that you want to do.
- Simply keeping a Word document can be a lovely way to keep a journal, especially if you’re very comfortable using the computer. The beauty of having a Word document is you can import images if you’d like to add some imagery, some photos, or illustrations to your journal. And you can get them from anywhere on the Internet.
- There are online journals that you might like to purchase or use.
- Scrapbooking templates are a lovely way to keep a journal. And once again, the beauty of those is the ease of importing images from the Internet.
- Evernote is another platform used for keeping track of meditations. Use all the functions in Evernote to create a beautiful journal that you want to come back to every day.
- Maybe recording your voice in an auditory journal is something that works for you.
- If you use the Insight Timer app, maybe your journal is as simple as adding a few sentences after each meditation session to the journal function offered there, or do a discussion board for a group you’re in.
The main thing is for you to enjoy journaling, for it to be something that you want to do. If you don’t like journaling, if you’re not drawn to writing about your experiences, then don’t journal. It’s as simple as that. This is not an assignment that you have to complete and succeed at; it’s an invitation to try something to support your practice.
We can see that we have a lineage to our practice, that there was something that came before us. This helps us to get a sense that our practice will continue into the future.
You are charting the territory that you’ve just been across – that’s all we’re doing in meditation journaling. We’re not writing for performance. We’re not writing something to show to other people. It doesn’t have to look particularly good. It’s really just stream of consciousness and support for you.
The beauty of charting the territory is we get a sense of continuity of our practice. We can look back on what we wrote yesterday, last week, last month, last year. We can see that we have a history in our practice, that we have committed ourself to something that’s good for us. We can see that we have a lineage to our practice, that there was something that came before us. This helps us to get a sense that our practice will continue into the future. We can place ourself and our practice on that timeline, from the history, from our lineage forward into what’s new, what’s going to happen tomorrow.
Enjoy your journaling!