Journaling as a Meditative Practice

Journaling is the art of being awake to your life, feelings and perceptions. Just as meditation practice can help shape any art form, especially writing, the opposite is true as well.

Everyone can keep a journal!

The regular practice of writing or journaling can help shape a meditation or mindfulness practice in many ways, including:

  • Investigating discomfort and problem areas in your life.

  • Alleviating stress by unloading or clearing the mind, enhancing emotional acceptance and calmness. It can be used a tool for self-discovery.

  • Enhancing a sense of inner balance, stillness of mind, and stabilized thoughts.

  • Promoting self-affirmation in the way of building confidence. Through the writing process, we affirm ourselves, realizing we don’t need the affirmation of others. It serves as a way to find and connect with our own inner voice and access our own inner wisdom.

  • Letting go by training us to observe our thoughts and release them without clinging or attachment.

  • Becoming more intimate with our inner narrative and recognizing the stories we tell ourselves in order to cope.

  • Finding truth beyond thought as we practice remaining open and receptive to all that arises. Writing is a working meditation, a practice, a “Working Samadhi”, or mindfulness in action.

What Is Holding You Back?

Our seemingly insignificant singular lives are a constellation of feelings, images, ideas and events that have never come together before and never will again quite as uniquely. Everyone’s story is special with an individual perspective. To be you and alive right here, right now is a truly wonderful and miraculous experience. All that has come together at this particular point and place in time for you to be alive is certainly worth paying close attention to and documenting. No one’s perspective will be like your own. Don’t let these moments slip away from you.

All that has come together at this particular point and place in time for you to be alive is certainly worth paying close attention to and documenting.

Starting Your Journaling Practice
  • Find a time each day for writing practice, incorporating it into your regular meditation practice. This can be morning, noon or night.

  • When writing, put your ego aside. Do not filter. Write directly from the heart. This is where your true inner voice comes from.

  • Write about what is most pronounce in your life right here, right now.

  • Be non-judgemental with yourself. Write spontaneously and freely, letting go of inhibitions. Everything is open for self-scrutiny with the freedom of writing.

  • Do not analyze or rewrite while journaling. Save any editing for later if you must. This spontaneous prose as a stream of consciousness is practiced by many significant writers like James Joyce, Virginia Wolf, and William James.

When Is A Good Time To Practice?
  • Morning: Write about your dreams, uncensored, no matter how absurd they may seem at the time.

  • Afternoons: Go for a walk. Come back and try to honestly describe anything that stands out in your mind from that walk without thinking about why. Work from your feelings not from your intellect.

  • Evening: Reflect on the day’s events to find what stands out as significant. It can be anything from a confrontation to an ice cream cone.

Questions To Ask Yourself Later For Reflection And Analysis
  • Why do I pick the subject matter that I pick?

  • What kind of stories am I telling myself?

  • Through my writing how am I interpreting my feelings?

  • How am I using my inner narrative to create my sense of self?

  • What am I saying (telling myself) between the lines?

In order to accomplish a sound practice of journaling, to align yourself with the creative force of the universe, or divine power, you must have the courage of commitment. You should be willing to make your own spiritual recovery or realization priority in your life.

Recommended Readings on Journaling

  • The Artist’s Way and Walking In This World by Julia Cameron

  • Zen & Creativity and Cultivating Your Artistic Life by John Daido Loori

Edited by: Ece Inan

About the author: Donald Francis is a meditation teacher and freelance writer. Incorporates art, music, poetry and literature into his teaching and makes meditation interesting and relevant to everyone. He lives in London, England.

Photo Credit: This work by Daria Nepriakhina is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Resized from original.

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Sangha Without Borders is currently physically located in London, UK