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Journal writing is a powerful spiritual practice that allows us to heal our past, to know ourselves, and to discover our inner wisdom.
A journal is a safe place to explore our past and make peace with it.  The events of our past can unconsciously affect how we live our lives today.  Therapist Virginia Dunstone points out that belief systems developed by the time we are six years old rule our adult behavior.  As we examine our belief systems and heal childhood pain, we begin to make decisions as empowered individuals and not as wounded children.  In Journaling for Joy, author Joyce Chapman notes, “It’s important to heal your past.  The past is always with you until you do.  It keeps coming back in the most unexpected ways.”  It takes courage to look back and work through the hurt in our own hearts and minds.  But as we do, we experience a more conscious approach to living.

Journal keeping provides an opportunity to know ourselves intimately.  How many of us are struggling just to keep up with the hectic schedules we have created?  Distracted by this busyness, we are disconnected from ourselves.  There are also those of us who live our lives trying to fulfill the expectations of parents, spouses, employers, children, or society.  Through journaling, we discover what we truly enjoy and come to understand what is important or unimportant to us.  By asking ourselves questions, we begin to understand what frightens, motivates, inspires, and fulfills us.  Reviewing our journals can reveal patterns and cycles of behavior to further our understanding of ourselves.  As we learn more about our authentic self, and implement changes to support that emerging self, we feel more integrated and at peace.

Connecting with our inner wisdom is the most profound result of keeping a personal journal.  Through writing, we discover a knowing that responds to our questions and guides us in charting our way through life.  With practice we learn to trust that inner voice and develop the habit of going inward for guidance, rather than looking outside ourselves for answers.  That which created us is at the center of our being and is easily accessed through journal writing.  Lao-Tze expresses this truth so beautifully:

There is no need to run outside
For better seeing,
Nor to peer from a window.  Rather abide
At the center of your being;
For the more you leave it, the less you learn.

Journal writing in its highest form is meditation -- learning to be quiet, pen the questions of life, and listen for the answers.  Thereupon we live the answers and are transformed.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.”  What lies within us affects every aspect of our lives.  And as we discover through journal keeping what lies within us, we heal ourselves, know ourselves and learn to trust our inner wisdom to guide us.  An unexamined life is a shallow life indeed.  The greatest adventure, if we desire to experience it, is the journey inward – to the depth of our own being.



Colleen Journaling

“Journal writing is a spiritual practice, for in its highest form, it is about deep listening and recording that which is revealed.”
Colleen Tanaka


Last Updated 06/20/12

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