“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”
― Christina Baldwin
There is a lot that has been said about the benefits of journal writing. For those who love a good list, here are many of the benefits that have been pointed out online.
- Ignite Creativity
- Increase Productivity
- Bring Mental Clarity
- Solve Complex Problems
- Ease Emotional Overload and Stress
- Deepen Your Learning Process
- Record Your Life
- Build Your Discipline
- Clarify Goals and Dreams
- Increase Happiness
- Cultivate Your Inner Witness
I have found each and every one of these to be true – though, truth be told, when it comes to the tasks of life and increasing my productivity, I prefer a good list either on my cell phone or in a simple spiral notebook. I enjoy the satisfaction of crossing another thing off that list, and watching my to-do’s dwindle as the day progresses. But to me, well, journal writing is not about keeping my daily tasks in order. No.
Journaling, for me, is a much different animal.
I grew up in a very full, busy household where personal privacy was scarce, so when I moved into my first apartment in NYC, one of the first things I did was start a journal.
I decorated it with beautiful images and favorite quotes, and began by writing down my dreams.
Isn’t it funny how, when you write your dreams down, somehow the act of pasting them into this four-square-reality causes more and more of them to show up? And so more and more dreams funneled their way out into the light of day and came to live in the pages of my journals.
But over time, another funny thing happened.
My journaling evolved into something else. Something deeper. Something even more personal than my nightly dreams.
It evolved into the record of my unfolding ability to witness myself.
What I have discovered about journaling – and writing in general – is that, while my hand – my poor, slow hand – is working very systematically and practically to execute the swirls of the text, there is another part of my mind that simply…
Call it right brain activation, call it writing outside the box, call it multi-dimensional contemplative reflection, call it any of those phrases on the list above… By whatever name, this unleashing of the mind and of the self is a fabulous, profound, and often surprising experience.
Fabulous because there is full freedom to express anything.
Surprising because if we can let go of editing ourselves, what leaps out the end of the pen is not always what we expect, and it comes straight from Truth. And Truth is always profound.
With this kind of free-flow writing, there is no question of what to write about. The hand that picks up the pen becomes an anchor to the here and now, while the hologram of oneself simply appears, and the voyage begins. Further, it is often precisely in the moments where I don’t consciously know what to write, but I put the tip of the pen onto the page anyway, that primes the pump. That invokes the hologram. That silently asks the question: what wants to emerge?
Just begin. Don’t worry about the content. Just write.
Be silly. Be out of bounds. Be wild. Dump political correctness and proper etiquette, and give your page over to the ferocious, the irreverently funny, the outrageous. Let the beast in the den of the subconscious mind run free.
In short: say what really wants to be said.
And when the words – no, not just any words – when the right words synergistically come together to capture and connect the different spheres and dimensions, the various states of being – it layers and elevates the meaning. It reveals us more deeply to ourselves.
This type of journaling both discovers and expresses Truth. And that honesty, that Truth, has power, for it can show us who we really are.
And that is a sacred thing, indeed.