We’ve put together our list of spiritual journal ideas and best practices. It’s the first tool we recommend because it’s a close friend who will be with you every step of your spiritual journey. This friend needs to be faithful in recording your experience with no judgments.
Using Different Types of Journals
There are many kinds of journals that fill the need for different uses. Journaling seems old-fashioned and out of date, but there are some excellent reasons to use one or more.
It’s a technology that captures a lot of valuable data. Both the content and handwriting tell a lot about what’s going on. It is available any time of day or night to give you feedback. Once you learn how to use this tool, it will be indispensable. You’ll probably have more than one; here’s why.
You can use a journal to record almost any activity. Use it to track food, travel, dreams, any creative ideas like poems and songs. They also have many fancy names such as morning pages, scrapbooking, gratitude keeper, reflective journal, travel journal, etc. Our other favorite type of journal is the book of shadows.
We recommend using different types of journals to keep a record of all your spiritual and professional activities. Use one to record automatic writing sessions, your findings using comparative religious studies, and your dream experiences. Use another to record practical objectives or work-related stuff.
We’ll go through the top reasons to use a journal and the best practices to get the most out of them.
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 uncover unhealthy self-talk and patterns.
How to Journal for Self-Care
Believe it or not, the core benefit of journaling is self-care. Journaling reveals what you need. Here’s how this simple basic technology provides a wealth of data. Here are five of the best recommendations for journaling.
1. A Handwritten Journal is Best
It is an accurate record of your deepest thoughts and emotions. It is invaluable to 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 your emotional state. The slant and size of the letters are all important clues to the state of your mind. Plus, you can even draw pictures that can offer other subconscious clues.
Writing in a journal helps you improve your ability to skills. Of the best spiritual journal ideas, 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 incremental growth and provide an honest assessment of our mental state.
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. However, 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 essential clues. It’s the things you underline, draw, etc., that show your development patterns or indications.
It is also a powerful, written legacy. Many people leave them as part of their heritage. We sometimes wonder what it would be like to know one of our distant family members. These journals are a way of documenting our life’s journey. They bring to light joys and struggles, and so are a source of inspiration for others. You are teaching others how to journal for self-care.
2. Record and Correlate Data
One of the most common types of journals is the dream journal. Use it to record your dreams and daydreams. Even the fragments of your dreamland experience can be important clues. It often reveals patterns of dreams and awakens your memory so you can recall more of your dreams.
Correlate your dream journal with your work journal or other lists. You’ll be surprised at the common themes and goals. You may even notice the same roadblocks. Hmmm.
It’s a helpful tool for recording your experiences in the Shamanic Journey, Japa meditation, and the Siddhis. You may discover there are common themes between these experiences.
These are windows into your subconscious mind which reveal the real you, the Observer of your consciousness. Freudian psychology uses this as a window to the subconscious mind. It’s often the first journal for many people. Recording your dreams is one of the best reasons to use a journal.
3. Automatic Writing or Automatic Handwriting
Why use a journal for this exercise? 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 reveal lessons and overcome past traumas. You learn how memories are essential links to our emotions. We can change our feelings about the past can change. It’s another one of the best reasons to use a journal to record significant events.
5. Goal Coach and Problem Solving Catalyst
Make your journal a place to write goals and solve problems. If you record a plan, you are more likely to achieve it. Solutions to problems come more readily when we see them in writing. It’s good to have a journal for different activities. Then you can correlate the information from these journals to create an overall picture of your mental and spiritual health.
When you compare journals, you’ll find the answers to interpreting your dreams. So, keep a notebook by your bed. A dream journal is often the first type of journals someone uses. Once you see how valuable it is for unraveling the meaning of your dreams, you’ll use it to record other things.
Top Spiritual Journal Questions and Answers
We recommend keeping several types of journals. They don’t have to be expensive. You are after the data they provide.
You don’t need to keep a leatherbound book of shadows in your back pocket. That kind of document is something you use after completing a shamanic journey or other rite or ritual. It’s good to have one, but it’s impractical for spur-of-the-moment inspiration.
We recommend keeping a small pocket-sized notebook that 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. Yes, you’ll accumulate several, but that’s okay. It’s one of the most overlooked spiritual journal ideas, but it yields some great information.
“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
Why People Resist Using a Journal
People are self-conscious. People are afraid others will judge their writing, spelling, and grammar. Or worse yet, think what they’ve written is silly and meaningless. Don’t let this stop you.
Some say they feel they write too slow and take up valuable time. Others 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 is self-conscious and feels like they are in a fishbowl. There’s no simple way to get around the pressures our modern culture tries to exert on us.
If you are serious about your spiritual journey, 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.
Spiritual Journal Ideas, and Best Practices
We don’t like to put too many rules around journaling, except for using a handwritten journal rather than a digital version. Sure it’s easier to use an electronic device, primarily if you can type fast, but you only get half of the essential data. Your handwriting captures all the important clues and emotions. The other key is to review your journals from time to time. Set a reminder on your calendar.
- The best way to learn how to journal, start using one! Learn what works for you. If all you do is “doodle” or draw pictures, that’s okay. It may not seem important, but you create the emotional space for your subconscious and intuition to come forward.
- Don’t edit yourself or worry about grammar and spelling. Write without editing yourself. Letting things happen on paper will enable you to see trends. If you don’t write down your thoughts, you will miss these opportunities. These trends are often the primary substance of your practice.
- Keep your journal handy throughout the day, if possible. You never know when something will come to the surface. It’s the tool of songwriters and poets. You never know when something will give a creative spark.
- Reflect on the events and ideas you’ve had and explore your feelings about them. It’s how to journal for self-care needs.
- Doodle, draw pictures, let your imagination express itself. 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 necessary.
- Don’t draw judgments about the value of your thoughts.
- Help you see your life’s events from a different perspective, and it can help you 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 that causes “goosebumps.”
- Copy Inspirational and quotes and passages from books that 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 check your documents.
Learning how to journal for self-care and spiritual development is the first lesson of spiritual exploration. There are many different uses and different types of journals. No matter what you call them, they are one of the best tools for your journey. Use the list of spiritual journal ideas to enhance your path.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia