“He thus makes all things complicated, and he is always in trouble.” – Srila Prabhupada (Purport to Bhagavad Gita 15.5)
The first step though is to get more awareness. But we can’t stay stuck there. When Journal writing is clubbed with good association and studying wisdom literature with an open heart, self-awareness leads to a sense of belongingness with the universe.
We feel safe and one with the universe; we want to serve and feel loved – that’s surrender. We let our lives be dictated by forces beyond our tiny mind.
A high degree of self-awareness with the humility to hear and learn takes us forward; otherwise, as Steven Covey says, “Journaling without a conscience makes you a Hitler.” Adolf Hitler wrote journals regularly, but without a desire to serve and contribute to the overall well-being of others, it couldn’t help much. Journaling is not a substitute for meaningful social connections; it complements our sincere effort to serve and love. That’s when self-awareness helps us evolve to self-realization.
It’s like making a pizza! You mix the flour with water and add a little liquid, maybe milk, and add yeast to it – you have the dough. You could then add the sauce and the toppings. Is the pizza ready? Well, almost! You still need to bake it – that’s the most important step to complete the process of pizza making. Likewise, you’ve got all ingredients ready – journaling, breathing, more self-awareness and a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Yet, the ‘baking’ remains – self-realization is when you add the right association, surrender to the Lord’s will and the right attitude to serve.
How journaling has practically benefitted me?
I have been more of an ‘abstract and perceptive’ kind of person. I struggled for years with logic and systems; if I had to organize a trip for our monks, I would falter. But I could discuss for hours the benefits of the trip and give a philosophical angle to it. I could speak intuitively and offer creative suggestions to make the trip exciting. I was what the traditionalists called an archetypal ‘right brained’ person.
Regular journaling helped me tap the organizational side in me. I could now translate abstract concepts to doable action items. My classes often catered to the principles and theoretical aspects of our philosophy, but daily journal helped me discover its application side. I could logically explain my stand and it was no more simply rhetoric – I had sound reasoning to back up my presentation.
I have known a friend who was more of a ‘left-brained’ person – he spoke logic and had little patience to admire poetry and nature; he was a go getter and thought linear. Journaling helped him develop his empathetic side.
Journaling can thus help complement what we lack, while strengthening our innate nature. It’s like being in a relationship with a perfect partner – one who makes up for what you lack and helps you get stronger in your strengths.
“Your journal is like your best friend, you don’t have to pretend with it, you can be honest, and write exactly how you feel.” – Bukola Ognuwale
To be continued….