Keeping a Spiritual Journal : a tool used in mindfulness based practices. Whether you’re just beginning your spiritual journey or have been on your current path for twenty years or more, keeping a spiritual journal is a wonderful way to document your progress and see how far you’ve come. Journaling is an age-old practice that is adopted by many because of its adaptability and ease of use. You can keep a journal on anything: dreams, career, parenthood, dissasociative identity disorder or your healing process from an addiction. And so long as you can read, write or type, you’re quite capable of doing it successfully. Yet many people never consider keeping a spiritual journal to mark down their private process of defining and appreciating the world around them and the divine. But because the spiritual experience can be so ethereal, it is particularly suited to journaling, which puts the abstract ideas and incidents into concrete words. This not only cements the path for the one who traverses it, but also gives meaning and direction to an otherwise hazy course ahead, revealing progress, pointing out weaknesses, and honing the questions and answers that were and will be.
So where does one begin when deciding to start a spiritual journal? Finding a journal is usually the first step. This can be a basic spiral notebook from the drugstore, or an elaborately bound blank book from the local bookstore. Whatever appeals to your particular path is fine. However, it is important to find something appealing that tempts you to get in touch with your spiritual side and write. For some, this might require a pretty picture or image on the cover, or an inscription of some kind. Whatever the source, your spiritual journal should appeal to your spiritual nature. This is beneficial for putting you in the proper mood for writing.
Once a spiritual journal is found, the practice of journaling can begin. Perhaps an initial dedication of sorts can be applied to the journal prior to or with the first entry. Often, writing a favorite prayer or sacred text or verse is a good way to fill the first page. The idea is to break the mental barrier associated with a book full of blank pages. The first entry can often be the hardest, so start anywhere that feels comfortable to you. Once you’ve gotten going, the rest should flow more easily.
Your journaling schedule is entirely up to you. Some write according to a strict schedule, say every night before bed. Others pick it up here and there when they feel inspired, setting it down for weeks or months in between. Still others may choose to write only on days associated with their spiritual path, like holy days or the Sabbath. Whatever encourages the process is fine. The point is to document your spiritual journey for your benefit. Therefore you are the only one who can deem how and when it is to be done.
On that note, it should be mentioned that a spiritual journal, like most any type of journal, is intensely private and personal. Keeping it hidden from prying eyes is suggested. This counteracts feelings of restraint and allows for more freedom of expression within the writing itself, which opens you up to a deeper connection with your spiritual nature. In addition, the spiritual journal should probably be kept separate from any other forms of journaling. In other words, don’t include your grocery list, career goals, or yesterday’s weather report. Keep it strictly limited to spiritual experience, insights, and topics. Include questions you have, answers you’ve received, and anything else that applies to your particular path. If you are used to journaling, it may be tempting to mix your spiritual entries in with more mundane ones in a journal you already use. Again, resist this urge. Keep your spiritual journal separate from all others.
Spiritual journaling can be combined with other rituals and practices as well, like prayer or reading from sacred texts. You may choose to light a candle while you write, or take a soothing bath before hand. Use the time as an opportunity to reconnect with your spiritual side, and don’t be afraid to follow your instincts. When it comes to your journaling, do what feels right. Be creative. Play music. Read from your favorite poetry. You may even opt for a spiritual scrapbook as opposed to a plain journal. Visual and artistic types may find this especially useful in marking down their spiritual journey.
Spiritual journaling is a way to familiarize yourself with your spiritual nature. It allows for the expression of an often repressed or under appreciated part of ourselves. It makes the journey more real and tangible to the rest of us. Above all, it encourages your spiritual journey, revealing your progress along the way and unearthing new questions and goals for your path. The next time you consider keeping a journal, consider making it a spiritual one and nurture your spiritual self.
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