Spiritual journaling is the act of writing down spiritual observations, intentions, insights, experiences and progress on a regular basis. It is a practice which can be found in a great many traditions, but it will be particularly useful to you as a Seeker, because it can serve you in multiple ways: as a record of your spiritual development and growth in the past, as a point of focus for exploring the present, and as a source of inspiration for the future.
There is no right or wrong way to keep a spiritual journal, and so today I will present a handful of approaches that you may wish to consider as a starting point.
Our experiences can often be rich sources of useful information and insight if we would just spend some time reflecting on them, and reflective journaling can be a useful way to do that. Date a page and write down any recent experience in your life that currently seems to stand out in your mind. The experience could be one that you view as positive, negative or neutral – all that matters is that it is on your mind when you come to practice your journaling.
Having described the experience in your journal, ask yourself what it could be trying to teach you from a spiritual perspective, and then write down the insights you receive in response to that questioning.
Reflective journaling can be very effective in helping you to gain a brand new perspective on the various situations in your life. Indeed, after a while you may well come to the realisation that everything you experience in life contains a valuable lesson which, if learned, will serve you well in the future.
This is a form of spiritual journaling in which you explore your own ideas, beliefs and opinions about the big questions in life. For example: Do you believe in God, either as a concept or as a divine being? Why, or why not? What are your ideas on the nature of God or reality at large? Where did these ideas come from? Do you believe in life after death? If so, do you also believe in life before birth? Is there a fixed purpose to life, or do we give it our own meaning, and why do you believe that to be so?
The aim here is not to come up with answers which prove a point either way, but simply to explore and define the ideas and beliefs which you currently hold at the present stage of your spiritual journey. Your answers could and probably will change over time, so recording them in your journal will help you to look back at some point in the future and appreciate how your ideas and insights are constantly evolving.
A third way to practice spiritual journaling is to write down a question that you would like an answer to, then write down the answer that you believe would be given by God, the universe, your intuition or however else you describe spiritual reality.
It can be useful to write questions and answers with differently coloured pens so that they are easy to distinguish in the future, when you may return to read the journal, but that is of course entirely optional and not something which affects the usefulness of the practice..
This type of spiritual journaling can be extremely valuable, and when you relax into the idea of receiving information directly from your intuition, you will find that it provides some very good insights – perhaps even the kind of insights you didn’t know were already within you. Eventually, your questions and answers will become an ongoing conversation with your intuition, and you will have embarked on one of the most fruitful spiritual practices available.
Perhaps one of the most famous practitioners of conversational journaling (although I am not sure if he uses that terminology) is Neale Donald Walsh, who is the author of the Conversations with God series of books.
Conversational journaling, or ‘inspired writing’ as it could also be known, is a powerful tool, and one that I highly recommend. The spiritual texts of past traditions have all come to us as a result of men or women having been ‘inspired by God’ to write down their intuitions, so having your own conversational journaling practice would put you in very good company.
Those of you who currently find it easier to pay attention to your dreams than to the ‘still, small voice within’ may prefer to consider dream journaling. This is where you get into the habit of recording your dreams (keeping your journal by your bedside is a good idea if you don’t want to forget anything) and then reflecting on what they could be telling you.
The content of dreams can often be incredibly useful, if not occasionally prophetic, which is why paying attention to dreams is very important in the Shamanic and other traditions. Of course, it isn’t always wise to take dreams literally, so take a balanced view, and always look for the highest and most applicable insight you can get from them.
These are just a few of the spiritual journaling options open to you as a Seeker, and I encourage you to begin practicing one or more of them today. You may, of course, change your approach as your spiritual path unfolds, but the journaling practice itself is one which should prove rewarding for a lifetime.