Whether you journal regularly, sporadically, or you’ve never gotten into it at all let’s talk about how putting pen to paper can be used as a valuable tool on your spiritual path of exploration.
Journaling can be approached in many ways of course, but here we’ll go through a few of the ways I use most.
1. One method is a ‘brain dump.’ Use this to when you’ve got a case of what I call ‘tornado brain’–you know, when you’re mind is just going in circles stirring up a whole lot of useless debris that makes it hard to see clearly? Get everything out of your mind onto paper.
This is helpful in a few ways. For one, it allows you to develop something called witness consciousness. Becoming your own witness allows you to take a step back and see your thoughts as just that–thoughts. You don’t have to identify with them. It helps when reading back to the entry to imagine you’re reading someone else’s story. You’ll be able to see where you’re falling into victim mode, not taking responsibility, or where your story line/belief systems lie.
Once you see something you can change it.
2. Another approach it to use journaling if there’s something you’re having trouble deciding on, or if you need clarity about your direction, or you’ve got a creative block. Keep your journal nearby as you meditate. Call the situation to mind. Notice what comes up around it. Are there certain thoughts, feelings or memories? Jot a few notes to jog your memory later for further journaling.
Alternately you can meditate on a question. If your mind goes off on a tangent bring it back to the question. When something bubbles up that feels worth exploring further, put it down. Use the time directly afterward when you’re really centered and clear to explore.
Now, let’s get into a little brain science. Have you ever heard of the reticular activating system (RAS)? This is the part of the brain that categorizes information that is most useful to you. It’s that part of the brain that’s activated when you learn or see something new for the first time. Ever notice that once you learn a new word all of a sudden you start hearing it everywhere? It’s because your RAS has flagged it as important.
So, imagine if you’re using your journal as a way to document your dreams, desires, and to come up with creative solutions! Your brain will then flag those as important ideas (more brain science: you learn and retain information better when you hand write versus type). All of a sudden you’ll find yourself noticing opportunities, openings, or seeming coincidences that can help you along your path.
3. The obvious use of journaling is being able to go back and reflect on how far you’ve come, but have you thought about using your journal as a tool in combination with astrology? Astrology highlights the themes that are happening and often those themes will be ongoing for a time, or come back around for review several weeks or months later. This happens during eclipse season, moon cycles, or while a planet is in retrograde.
For example Venus was just in retrograde for six weeks. This was a time for relationships of all sorts to be reviewed. You could use this time to follow the astrology and journal about this theme for yourself, then look back over the six weeks as a container for your learning.
In other words, you can use this as a bit of structure to your evolutionary process. It’s exciting to look back on journal entries and reflect. You get to see where you’ve made progress and where you might need to readjust.
Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint our patterns, but using astrology can be a powerful means to this end. It’s an empowering feeling to be able to reference your own thoughts and experiences to make progress instead of looping back aimlessly in the same pattern.
Whether you use a combination of these journaling methods or stick to one, I trust you’ll find it a practical and effective tool for your spiritual development.
I personally tend to journal as a part of my morning routine after I do a quick spot of yoga and meditation (get it free here). I’ve found this a great way to set the tone for the day and get focused. You may find it a good way to wind down before bed.
Whatever you do, I hope you find these ideas helpful and inspiring. Leave a comment about how you use journaling or any a-ha moment you had during this post!