We write down all of our appointments, our lists, even the food we’ve eaten–but when was the last time we stopped to write down anything spiritual?
What’s the benefit of writing something down that is, for all intents and purposes, so intangible to begin with?
When we take a few moments to write down spiritual moments, insights, and practices, and take time to check in with how we are feeling spiritually, it deepens a sense of gratitude. It also helps us shift the focus from our mundane life and helps incorporate the pieces of our spiritual life. The physical act of writing down a snapshot of where we are on our spiritual journey makes it real, just like recording anything helps us organize our thoughts and feelings on any matter.
It also gives us a reference point and inspiration for the future. We don’t often remember what it was that helped get us through the tough times. Generally, we remember we came through the other side, and we tend to forget the steps that happened in between as new memories fill up the spaces inside our head. It could be as simple as a new perspective we gained through a conversation, or a memory, or even a quirky meme that steeled our resolve. It could be as complicated as finding a new spiritual path, or working through deep-rooted issues through self-mediated introspection or with the help of a counselor. But whatever it is that helped us, if we write down how it came to be, we not only have a chance to honor the process that brought us there, but to keep a blueprint of how to help ourselves get back to the good space in which we’ve found ourselves.
Journaling is a good way to keep yourself from forgetting what you are learning. Emotions are fluid, and we can be feeling like life is golden one moment and then find ourselves sinking the next. If you keep a journal that documents what has made a difference to you that day, you can look back and feel like there is hope.
There’s also a catharsis that occurs when you write. Even if you haven’t had a particularly great day, if you write about it, there’s a sense that it is tucked, away and your feelings and words are safe within that space. You can write it down, close the cover, and walk away. There is a physical compartmentalization that helps us investigate the feelings and then put them down for a while. The need for self-reflection and inquiry is just as important as the need to have time away from the internal discussions. You can find a journal fitting for any spiritual path or religion (my favorites are ones with latches to further help you get into the physical action of creating a safe place for your ideas).
And if you happen to write only positive events and feelings in your journal, there is no better way to reinforce your gratitude for life. Someday those insights and practices may light the path for someone else, and you’ll be glad you took the time to organize your thoughts.