Spiritual journaling exercises are some of the most effective tools for any serious spiritual explorer. It gives you insight into your subconscious mind. Here are some of the best activities to get the most out of this tool.
Today the use of electronic devices makes recording your thoughts easy. However, when you type your thoughts, you are only getting half of the data. We recommend paper and pencil or pen. Your handwriting contains a lot of valuable data. The type of writing, cursive or print, size, and spacing give us clues to our subconscious.
Spiritual Journaling Exercises
The following list is a guide to help point you to the proper exercise or resource.
“Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding.” — Jen Williamson
We don’t take time to write and contemplate. When we doodle and draw, it helps our intuition and subconscious mind to provide important clues that we may have missed. These clues help us to see patterns of thinking. If they don’t seem familiar, then that is an indication of what you’ve been missing.
- Recognize Synchronistic Realization
- Trace and Decipher Unusual Feelings
- Desire to Express Feelings
- Creative Sparks
- To Schedule Time for Journaling
- Daily Progress Toward Goals and Objectives
- Identify Roadblocks as well as Incremental Growth
Spiritual Journal Prompts
A prompt is an indication that we need to pay attention and do something. A prompt is an opportunity to investigate through writing about it.
Automatic Writing Exercise
The first exercise we recommend is automatic writing. It is the basis for many of the other kinds of journaling we will investigate. Click the link above to find out more about this process.
You’ll find automatic handwriting is a process that many of the investigators and developers of modern psychology used and explored. People refer to this process with several terms including, morning pages, expressive writing.
You’ll find this process has been rebranded and renamed by several authors. Writing exercises, stream of consciousness, and morning pages are a few examples.
Dreams are a complex experience of non-ordinary reality, and we tend to forget them. Many physical factors affect our dreams, (1) such as brain wave coherence and REM phase timing. The logical or illogical progression of the dream also affects our ability to remember. The emotions involved impact our focus and so distort what we recall.
Waking up in the morning after dreaming is one of your first spiritual journal prompts. The best way to capture the details of your dream, or dream fragments, is to record them immediately upon waking up.
Keep your notebook close to your bed, then write down everything you can remember first thing in the morning. Document everything, including fragments. Once you start recording your dreams, you may see patterns forming. You will also recall more about your nocturnal journeys because you learn to review them in the morning.
Many people start their journaling experience with a dream journal.
“The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write in a journal.” — Robin Sharma
Goals and Mission Statement Journal
A personal mission statement is a powerful motivational tool because it keeps you focused on the big picture. You can create a mission statement for free at franklincovey.com. (2) It only takes a few minutes to make a personal mission statement.
A good practice here is to make sure you are using SMART goals. What the acronym SMART stands for is:
- Time-oriented or time-sensitive
People then combine SMART goals with positive affirmations. Here’s an example:
The SMART goal is to be at a weight of 140 lbs. by August 1, 2021. It’s June 1, 2021, and they weigh 140 lbs. So, the goal is specific and requires a weight loss of 10 pounds. It is measurable and attainable if they follow the right plan for eating and exercise. Is the goal realistic? If they are in relatively good health, then yes.
They place a Positive Affirmation “I can do it!” on sticky notes on the refrigerator, their computer, and their workout mat. It serves as a reminder not to eat snacks and as a motivation to exercise daily. Affirmations are spiritual journal prompts. They remind us to record our journey.
Another daily measure they have on the schedule is weighing in each morning and then the night before bed. They know there will be spikes and plateaus on the way but expect to see a downward trend over the coming two months.
Although this goal seems to focus on the physical aspect of life, it is one of the most potent spiritual journaling exercises. Success in one area of life helps us meet other challenges.
This goal supports part of our mission statement to be healthy in all aspects of our life.
Artistic Journaling or Creative Writing Journal
Artistic or creating writing is setting aside time to start writing. It’s simple. Think about something you want to make; it could be a song, poem, book idea, or business plan. Artistic writing means whatever you would like it to include.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, there are health benefits to spiritual journaling exercises like this one. (3) Most people feel better after they write. Some studies indicate that people who journal regularly even have a lower risk of developing heart disease.
You can certainly do this exercise electronically, but using paper and pen is our recommendation. There’s something about the freedom of writing that helps you express your creativity. You don’t worry about grammar or the way you write.
When you handwrite, the flow helps spark your creativity. The size and shape of the letters, whether you print or use a cursive script, express the emotion of your writing. If you’re interested in deciphering, get a book on graphology and learn about the nuances of handwriting.
You’ve most likely seen one of these images before. They look like a planner with a charming picture, usually on a dotted line or blank page. A bullet journal has several uses, including as a personal planner, daily to-do list, etc. You can also add a lot more as long as you have the space.
To begin, you create a weekly schedule with days and task bullet points. To start, you create a weekly plan with days and task bullet points. You can even make it easier to read by linking images and borders with artist pens. Others choose to decorate their bullet journals with stickers or miscellaneous things such as magazine cuttings.
The beauty of this form of journaling is that it is unique and personal. The design, look, and feel are your creation. Because bullet journals are tangible manifestations of our thoughts and creativity, no two are alike.
Morning Pages Writing Exercise Stream of Consciousness
It’s all about building a habit of jotting down your thoughts first thing in the morning. The name comes from a book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. But you don’t need a book to build a habit.
It’s a best practice to keep a notebook and pen by your bed. When you wake up, jot down your first thoughts. If you had a dream, then write about it, or maybe you’ll want a separate notebook for dreams. Either way is acceptable, and it’s up to you.
The idea behind this practice is to build a habit of introspection. So much of our culture focuses on the external world to the exclusion of our inner self. The inner world and the outer self need to be on the same page. Writing with pen on paper connects us to our intuition, the inner world. You can discover a lot about yourself with this simple habit.
There’s something magical about writing in the morning. Writing exercise stream of consciousness will help reveal your deepest desires and fears. That’s why many people consider this an automatic writing exercise as well.
Book of Shadows
“Your life creates a shadow; it’s the mark you make in the lives of people. So, what is a book of shadows? In essence, you are a living book filled with shadows.”— Guru Tua
The term “shadows” refers to the esoteric nature of the information. And, the term “Shadow” also refers to the darker hidden aspects of our subconscious mind. We all have this shadow side. You use this journal to explore these aspects of being.
So, there are several reasons for calling it a book of shadows. But no matter what you call it, this is an indispensable tool. It contains all of the spiritual journaling exercises which focus on delving into the subconscious mind. Keeping them all in one document makes comparison easier.
The term book of shadows originated in the 1950s. It’s a term associated with Witchcraft and Wicca. However, as we mentioned, it has a much richer and more profound meaning that transcends both popular and Western stereotypes. Other TV programs in the 1990s like the Book of Shadows or Charmed solidified this document as something associated with Witchcraft and Sorcery.
If you’re a travel enthusiast, then you’ll need this tool to document your trips. You can add in things like:
- Tickets from Concerts and transportation (Bus, Train, or Plane)
- Coffee sleeves
- Dried Flowers
- Food Wrappers?
- Travel Brochures
Use the journal to write down a list of things to pack and your travel itinerary. Some people use them as keepsakes and time travel.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA),(4) documenting what you are thankful for will improve your emotional well-being. Use or incorporate your gratitude recognition with other kinds of journals or other spiritual journaling exercises. All you do is ask yourself the simple question, “what am I grateful for?”
We tend to take for granted many of the things that make our life possible. A gratitude journal helps you to see the good things in life.
“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for, and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. This, you are more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” — Hal Elrod
A food journal helps calculate calory intake. If you like exploring and trying new kinds of food, it enables you to keep track. You can even use it for recipes.
It’s a way to combine the practical with a type of personal therapy. I will help you remember the good times and good food. These are especially useful on trips to document when, where and what great food you ate.
A calendar journal can be hand-made or purchased. This kind of journal is more about keeping track of lists and goals rather than your thoughts.
Use the calendar journal the same way you use the bullet journal. The only difference is you have an immediate date reference. List your tasks in bullet form under the date.
Since most calendars are blank under the date, it gives you enough space to write the goal, list, or significant event. Sometimes fancy planners don’t provide enough space or are just too expensive. Calendar journaling gives you the freedom to draw lines between dates and link tasks in an easy-to-see format.
You can use a calendar journal to make a busy life more manageable. It’s also an excellent motivational tool. You can see all the things you’ve accomplished that would otherwise go unnoticed. It’s perfect for processing long lists or lists that link to other tasks. You won’t forget to get that one thing on the grocery list.
Spiritual Exploration Journals
Meditating is an act that some people implement to initiate mindfulness and reduce stress. Journaling is an essential part of this journey. Our growth is often incremental, and it’s easy to overlook the small steps of improvement. So, spiritual journaling exercises are a way of tracking the ups and downs of our practice.
It’s a way of studying your subconscious mind. You will discover new things, new talents, and gifts. Some people think the universe is always speaking to us, and we need to be open to hearing the message.
It’s a great way to memorize those eureka moments of clarity. We can discover the wisdom of our intuition. Many teachers keep a small pocket-sized notebook to jot down ideas and inspirations that come throughout the day. This spiritual journal prompts us to stay in touch with our inner world to maintain balance.
Exercise routines, weight, and measurements are common elements of this journal. Some people combine their exercise and food journals because your food intake is the most influential part of any exercise program. Many experts in the area of weight loss see food as 80% of the weight loss formula.
Spiritual journaling exercises help us integrate mind, body, and spirit. We need to listen for the spiritual journal prompts and act upon the opportunity.
Are you interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. We offer this curriculum through our individually tailored virtual learning academy and our traditional face-to-face sessions. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey (5). Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions.
(5) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia