How to Journal and Why Use a Journal

5 Reasons to Journal ― How to Journal, Why Use a Journal

First, you need a close friend who will be with you at every step of your spiritual journey.  This friend needs to be faithful in recording your experience with no judgments.

Why Use a Journal?

It seems so old-fashioned and out of date.  But there are some excellent reasons to use a journal.   It’s the technology that captures a lot of useful data.  It is available any time of day or night to give you feedback.  Once you learn how to journal, you will find it an indispensable spiritual tool.

Some people refer to this document as a spiritual journal.  That’s because it is one of the best tools to spot trends.  It will help you see incremental growth.  And, it will uncover unhealthy self-talk and patterns.

There are many kinds of journals.  You can use a journal to record almost any activity.  Use it to track food, travel, dreams, favorite poems, ideas, and prayers.   We’ll go through the top reasons to use a journal and the best practices to get the most out of them.

5 Reasons to Journal

5 reasons to journal

1. Barometer of Mental and Spiritual State

It is a record of your deepest thoughts and emotions. This can show your spiritual growth and point out obstacles to your development. It is best if you use hand-writing rather than a digital version.  Your handwriting expresses emotion.  The slant and size of the letters are all important clues to the state of your mind.  It gives you room to draw pictures.

Writing in a journal helps you improve your ability to skills. Of the 5 reasons to journal this one is first on the list. Why use a journal?  Because it will help you spot trends.  It will show you the roadblocks and your incremental growth.  It will help keep you on track.

2. Record of Dreams and Spiritual Journeys

Record your dreams and daydreams. Even fragments of dreams can be important clues.  It’s a good idea to record the experiences of your Shamanic Journey and Japa meditation.  You may discover there are common themes between these experiences.
These are windows to the real you, the Observer of your consciousness.  Freudian psychology uses this as a window to the subconscious mind. This is often the first journal people start with.  It’s one of the best reasons to use a journal.

These experiences are windows to the subconscious mind. When you review them as a whole you may see patterns and synchronicities that you overlooked.

3. Automatic writing or automatic handwriting

Why use a journal?  It is a private space to practice and record automatic writing sessions.  Another window to the subconscious mind.  A place where the universe can communicate with you.

4. Memory Machine

Use your journal to record details of memories.  We can use our memories to learn lessons and overcome past traumas. You will learn that memories links to our emotions. We can change our feelings about the past can change. This is one of the best reasons to use a journal to record our recollection of major events.

5. Goal Coach and Problem Solving Catalyst

A place to write goals and solve problems.  If you record a goal, you are more likely to achieve it.  Solutions to problems come more readily when we see it in writing.  It’s good to have a journal for different activities.  Then, correlate the information.  You’ll find how your dream journal relates to your thought or daily journal.

Still not convinced you should use a journal? Here are even more reasons to use a journal.

Need More Reasons to Use a Journal?

reasons to use a journal

If you need more than 5 reasons to journal, read on.  A hand-written spiritual journal. It’s the one basic tool that you can use almost anytime and anywhere.  You can use it to spot trends you would otherwise miss.  It will help you overcome obstacles in your path by showing patterns. And, it is a teacher and encourager, and a friend.

Another reason to use a journal to explore the depth of life.  We overlook or forget some lessons and experiences that make our lives unique.

Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in your life as you sometimes think. When you re-read your journal, you find out that your latest discovery is something you already found out five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas and the same experiences. ―Thomas Merton

The “Best Kept Secret” ― A Spiritual Journal

Tip #1 for those on a journey of spiritual exploration… start keeping a journal today!

As a tool in your spiritual journey, it is an irreplaceable tool. You will want to find a blank journal or notebook, one that “feels right” and is special to you. Some come with lined pages and some blank, the choice is yours. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, just something to jot down your thoughts. Although you don’t have to write in your journal every day, the more we use it, the more empowering it becomes. Don’t make a rule or “force” yourself to write if you don’t want to.

We appreciate the advancements in digital devices. But, this is one document that requires a pen and paper. The meter of your handwriting, the style, the force, the symmetry of your frame of mind will come this way.  Many people find it’s the small details that become important clues.  It’s the things you underline, draw, etc. that show patterns or clues to your development.

It is also a powerful written legacy.  Many people leave them as part of their heritage.  We sometimes wonder what a distant family member was like.  These journals are a way of documenting our life’s journey.  They bring to light the joys and struggles.

Why People Resist Using a Journal

More than anything, people are self-conscious.  People are afraid they will be judged on their writing, spelling, and grammar.  Or worse yet, think they’ve written is silly and meaningless.   Don’t let this stop you.  

Some say they feel they write too slow and are taking up valuable time.   Or, they’ll say, I don’t like my handwriting or printing.  I’m used to writing on the computer keyboard.   Besides, using a handwritten journal is “old-school.”   It looks like I can’t afford an iPad or laptop.

These concerns reflect the values of our culture.  Everyone feels like they are in a large fishbowl being judged.  There’s no simple way to get around the pressures that are exerted by our modern culture.

If you are serious about your spiritual journey, then you need to have the courage to take up a pad and pencil.  Remind yourself that the long-term benefits will be worth it.  It makes sense to keep your journal private.

After a while, these social concerns will fade.  The reasons to use a journal will outweigh these social pressures.  And, the more you study, the more you’ll see others who also use the handwritten journal.  Those of us who have been on the path for many years have many journals.  It’s a good roadmap of sorts, one that I visit from time to time to see how far I’ve come.

How to Journal ― Best Practices

One important recommendation is to use hand-writing rather than a digital version. This will help you record all the clues and emotions in your handwriting.  The other key is to review them from time to time.  Set a reminder on your calendar.  Otherwise, avoid making any other rules for using a journal.  There are, however, some good best practices you can use to help you get the most out of this tool.

    • If you want to learn how to journal, just start!  Learn what works for you.
    • Don’t edit yourself or worry about grammar and spelling. Write without editing yourself.  This will enable you to see trends that develop over time that you would not otherwise notice. This is very important. These trends are the substance of your practice.
    • Keep your journal handy throughout the day if possible. You never know when something will come to the surface.
    • Reflect on events, and ideas you’ve had and explore your feelings about them.
    • Doodle… draw pictures… let it happen.  Your intuition will communicate wisdom.
    • Allow your creativity to express itself. Indulge in poetry or creative writing. Write about whatever comes up. You never know what will be important.
    • Don’t draw judgments about the value of your thoughts.
    • Look at the events of your life differently and possibly improve the way you react to them.
    • Let your journal writing be your writing practice to clear your mind.
    • Record the “eureka” moments… The “ah-ha” moments, anything causing  “goosebumps.”
    • Copy Inspirational and quotes and passages from books which resonate
    • Record your Daydreams and Night Dreams, Synchronous events  and Intuitive messages
    • Develop and document our rituals and practices. Some refer to this as their “book of shadows.”
    • Set a reminder to review your journals.  You will spot trends is if you review your documents.

In Conclusion

Why use a journal?  The 5 reasons to journal here should convenience you to use one. The benefits of using this tool will become clear the more you use them.  You will learn how to journal the more you use them.

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Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia

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