Journaling is great for problem solving and decision making. I find it particularly helpful if I’m stressed about something or if I’ve got lots of thoughts chasing around my head.
There’s something quite cathartic about journaling. I think of it as a tool similar to Dumbledore’s pensieve. Putting my thoughts down on paper, gets them out of my head. It creates room in my head and gives it a chance to breathe. It’s almost a kind of meditation. Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way and creator of Morning Pages, suggests journaling or Morning Pages first thing in the morning before meditating. This practice helps to clear our heads.
Journaling also helps to arrange our thoughts in a more logical order, so we can make sense of them. Writing things down helps us to see problems from different perspectives and enables us to see things more clearly. I find it often helps me come up with new ideas and solutions.
One of the best things about journaling is it helps me access my intuition and the wisdom of my higher self. A couple of years ago I had a profound experience when I was journaling. I wanted to decide whether to replace my Buddhist chanting with a different type of meditation. I felt quite confused about the right thing to do. One morning after I had finished chanting, I journaled about it. When I finished journaling, I felt much clearer about my decision. The most amazing thing was that I had a vision of an umbilical cord connecting my tummy button to my Buddhist Gohonzon*. I felt totally blown away. I am often disappointed about what I perceive to be my lack of intuition and I was amazed to discover that maybe I am more intuitive than I realised.
To practice journaling
To practice journaling, I suggest spending some time alone and writing down whatever the problem is or whatever you want to gain clarity about. Keep writing until you’re unable to think of anything else. Cover all the bases. Write all your thoughts and all the possible solutions, even if they seem silly or far-fetched. This will help unlock your creative potential further. Ask yourself questions such as What does that mean? Why is that important to me? What would I do if I had a magic wand? Keep coming back to those questions. When you think you’ve exhausted all the options, ask yourself what else? Give yourself another few minutes to see if anything else comes up. Finally, if appropriate, ask yourself what is my next step?
I sometimes like to light some candles and burn some incense. Sometimes I play some meditative music in the background.
Journaling can be incorporated into a morning routine of spiritual or wellbeing practices. Check out Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages practice mentioned earlier. As I said, she suggests practicing before meditation. On the other hand, it might be beneficial to journal after meditating so that our brain is already relaxed, connected to our intuition and more open to new ideas. Try both ways and see what works for you.
What is your experience of journaling? Let me know in the comments.
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*The Gohonzon is an object of devotion used in Buddhist worship. Nicherin Buddhists chant to it. It represents the innate Buddhahood that is inside us all.