“One whose happiness is within, who is active within, who rejoices within and is illumined within, is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme.” – Bhagavad Gita (5.24)
While journaling, one day you may get scared and discover your fears and insecurities. Probably you tried to avoid them all these years.
Journaling cleanses the heart and makes you come face to face with it. Remember denial is the worst kind of lie because that’s the lie we tell ourselves. Since journaling uncovers our hidden fears, we might find the exercise unpalatable. But if you hang on, you’d be amazed how beneath the superficial dirt and a scary forest, is a beautiful garden of fresh flowers – your wonderful self in all its glory!
The journey to meet our own selves is the most challenging but also the most rewarding experience. And journaling promises to facilitate that.
How to write a journal
I will share six common types of journaling that I practise.
The list is not sacrosanct or exhaustive; I mention them only to trigger your interest. In fact, you could get inspired to explore your own styles.
1. Free Writing
Some people write to share their realizations with the world. Others like me write to discover what we know.
Free writing is a great tool to discover what you know.
You pick up a pen and paper or your laptop and just write. The main thing is don’t stop the pen.
Say you decide to write for ten minutes. Put an alarm and as you write, whatever the provocation, your keep moving the pen or punching the keys. If you go blank, you write, “I am right now clueless; I don’t know what I should write. But let me write something….”
Till you hear the alarm go off you keep writing.
This is how you ‘release’ and ‘receive’. The baggage of the past haunts most of us. But you release the blockages by writing. We need direction for future. We receive realizations when we write.
Free writing helps us access unknown territories within our sub consciousness.
2. Wisdom writing
You hear an inspiring talk by Jay Shetty or Gaur gopal and you feel rejuvenated. But soon you forget it. And even when you were inspired, it was more of a ‘feel good’ phenomenon.
You know intuitively that these talks are pregnant with rich possibilities; each word spoken by the masters could catapult you to your own greatness. But it’s not happening. And why is that, and how could you ensure you translate the rich wisdom available out there into your own life.
It’s not happening because it’s not yours! Its Gaur gopal’s realization and you simply enjoyed the talk. You first need to make it yours. When you write what you read or hear, it becomes yours. Till then it belonged to the speaker you heard. But when you write, it becomes yours.
Often while taking lunch with monks in our ashram, we have light hearted discussions on life lessons from scriptures. We are often amazed at how we discover more wisdom when we churn the existing body of knowledge.
If you reflect back on your reading, either through discussion or writing, you add to the wisdom of the sages. You may feel humble and unqualified; your own inadequacies may haunt you. Still, you are a special soul – eternal, fully cognizant and blissful – (satcitananda in Vedic parlance).
And if you have a culture of reflection and writing, get ready for a pleasant self-discovery.
Wisdom writing is one of the most effective forms of journaling that guarantees you learn from what you read and hear. Otherwise, the barrage of motivational videos feed you only at the surface. They contribute little to your well-being; you could get intellectually stimulated but you aren’t satisfied.
Only when you own that wisdom, your heart is nourished. And journaling promises that ownership and nourishment. Besides, when you write, you add your own value, and leave behind a wisdom legacy.
“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” – Mina Murray
To be continued…