Learning how to start a spiritual journal is much different than keeping a regular journal. In fact, the slight change of intention in how you record your entries could completely change your state of mind, manifest new goals, and create a deeper sense of emotional well-being.
You don’t have to be a seasoned writer, or even particularly spiritual to cultivate insightful self-reflection by starting a spiritual journal.
Whether you’re just beginning to consider writing in a daily journal, or you’re looking to add some new spice to your current entries, this article will show you how to start journaling to develop your spirituality.
What is a Spiritual Journal?
Let’s start off by clarifying what a spiritual journal is and is not.
No, it’s not just some cliché word used to describe the place where you keep your daily thoughts. Even if you cringe a little bit at the word “diary” because of its connotation with gushy feelings and young love, this isn’t just about changing what’s in a name to validate your outpourings.
The most important thing about journaling for spirituality is that you do so with change in mind.
“Changing to what?”
Well, a spiritual journal is a key for learning to open yourself up a little more, to integrate a little more deeply into your worldly pursuits, and to feeling that breath of quiet revelation that only comes as a result of flowing intuition.
That’s not to say that you should completely avoid writing in it like a diary.
Sometimes we just to be comforted in expressing our being the way it is. There’s no shame in pouring out your heart on paper. But we also need to be mindful of developing ourselves, and encouraging our spirit to live up to the fullest of its potential.
This is, perhaps, the biggest difference between keeping a diary for weepy teenage blues, and keeping a journal for the purpose of ever-deepening spiritual integration. This is journaling for spiritual and psychological awareness.
Choosing the Right Materials
You may be wondering what a spiritual journal should look like.
Although you could just pick up any old notebook lying around to start jotting down your thoughts, finding the right journal to write in can seriously take time. You don’t want to have something that won’t motivate you to write—your journal should call to you!
Maybe you’ve had one stored away just waiting for the perfect moment to be etched with your thoughts. Or perhaps a trip to the nearest bookstore will be fruitful in yielding a journal with that little bit of a personal touch you’re looking for.
You could also browse online stores to find an inspiring journal. The few I’ve listed below could be a good place to start.
Do you want your journal to be sturdy and robust, so that you can fill it with pages of bold lettering? Or would you prefer that it has a gentler touch, in order to fill it with cursive letters and dainty doodles? Is the paper scratchy, or silky smooth?
Each of these variables should be taken into consideration when it comes to searching for the perfect spiritual journal.
In addition to the weight and feel of the journal, think about what kind of writing utensil you want to use. Not only does a gel pen leave an entirely different impression than a ballpoint, but the texture of the paper could also determine whether the ink will bleed through or not. In either case, I feel that it’s best to have something permanent to write with so that your thoughts don’t wipe away with time.
If you’re in search of some quality writing utensils, I’ve included a few links below to help get some ideas flowing…
Setting a Time and a Place
Once you’ve picked out your spiritual journal and you have a proper instrument to write with, it’s time to start making entries!
Sometimes, getting started can be the most difficult part—especially if you’ve never kept a journal before. The most important thing you can do here is just to stick with it!
Even if you don’t have ideas flowing at first, setting aside a time and place to jot down your thoughts can help to train your brain into know when to pause for a moment of self-reflection.
Don’t worry if your first few entries are just a couple of short sentences, or even if nothing particularly motivational comes out. This is surely one instance where forming a good habit can actually be just as difficult as stopping a bad one. But again, finding a comfortable nook and a time in which your writing mind is engaged can kick the process into gear.
While some people prefer to write in the morning for the specific benefit of setting goals and clarifying the daily itinerary, others will find they’re too sleepy engage in the process. Sometimes writing midday can be more ideal, primarily because it’s the point of day in which their mental processing power functions at peak capacity. But even then, writing in your spiritual journal is sometimes best done before bed, mostly because the mind becomes calm and reflective at that time of day.
Whichever time works best for you, try to stick with it, no matter what state of mind you’re in. After all, if you’re going to learn and grow from your journal entries, you’ll need to expose and reflect on your thoughts in any state of mind—not just the good ones!
What to Write About
The short answer: anything!
The long answer: anything…as long as you put your intention into growing from it.
The basic tenet of spirituality, no matter its origin or creed, is that some form of development is taking place. Spilling your emotions onto the page is perfectly fine, but you’ve got to place some energy into being objective about what your writing.
Try to let your thoughts flow like syrup from the spoon.
And while you do this, simply bear witness to that which is being written. There is no right or wrong here, and no one is going to review your work, other than yourself.
Indeed, as was once written in the Yoga Vasistha:
“In the middle between the self as the seer and the world as the seen, you are the seeing (sight): always remain in this realization.”
Perfectionism will only lead you to get in your own way here. Don’t worry about crossing every (t) and dotting every (i), or about misspelling complicated words, or even coming off sounding like you’re “not spiritual enough.”
Write about what you’re hearing as you’re writing. Write about that smell that reminds you of another time and place. Write about your prayers, and your comforts, and your insecurities. Write about what love means to you. Write about your dreams. Write about manifesting your goals. Write about a poem you thought of. Write about the state of the world. Write about the state of your mind.
Write as if your will is unbroken, steering forth as a noble charioteer being cheered on from above; or as if you’re the ghoulish figure of repressed emotions and ideas finally unchained from the restrictive barriers you placed on it years ago.
Just write. And then reflect.
Review Your Spiritual Journal Entries
After so much time has gone by, you may begin to notice that you’ve become pretty fluent in writing in your designated spiritual journal. By this time, you will likely have learned a good deal about yourself and the nature of the world around you.
Perhaps you’ve even incorporated additional spiritual practices into your daily routine, like meditation or traveling for spirituality.
From this point onward, as you continue to record your daily thoughts and emotions, it’s important to take the time to go back and look at some of your previous entries. This is a true revealing of just how far you have come in developing yourself spiritually.
No other medium is so well-equipped to demonstrate this process with such fluidity.
You may even find that some of your earlier writings are cause for a healthy and humorous sort of mockery. This is usually the case when you realize that those things you once struggled through, which seemed to be unbelievably dire at the time, were casually taken care of as you moved past them.
You’ll not only see change, but also solidification.
After all, though the reach of your spiritual journal entries are positively boundless, through the entire process you’ve been integrating into a truer you—and for that, you’ve learned a little more about what it means to live a life.
What Do You Like to Write About?
Hopefully with this guide, you’re already well underway in thinking about all the things you’d like to write about.
Though I’m curious, what makes the practice of keeping a spiritual journal enjoyable for you?
What kinds of topics or ideas do you find yourself writing about?
I’d love to hear about your thoughts in the comment section below.
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