Benefits of Daily Journaling
Journaling is an integral part of the Writing Meditation Method that I practice daily. I prefer to write longhand for twenty to thirty minutes. When I write this way I feel a sense of self-exploration. Like digging deep within and excavating precious relics from underneath the surface. Sometimes I dig my outer life, sometimes my inner, and some other times both. I am my own research laboratory in search for not only my future writings but also my true Self.
Journaling helps me delve deep and excavate my self. I explore and in the process discover things that I did not know before. Thus each time I get to know myself a little better. My thinking clarifies. My attitude changes a notch. Unself-conscious writing is a way of self-exploration. Once I begin to move my pen it requires minimum of guidance. Never self-conscious and having written it makes me sharply self-aware. Each time it helps me remove yet another unwanted layer of the layers and layers that surround my authentic Self.
Within the first five minutes my inhibitions are whisked away. The thought that no one else is going to lay an eye on the feelings and thoughts I pour on paper gives me complete freedom. My body relaxes, as does my mind. So much so that when I shut the journal joy as sweet as honey circulates my body.
The accumulated pages absorb all that could become mental baggage if I don’t empty it everyday. And after a page of pouring my heart out it turns into solemn or playful or beautiful-an adventure that was floating in my mind but now has potential to become art.
What I write is messy, random, ungrammatical and unsystematic. But it is infused with tremendous passion. When time comes to read what I have written, I discover that I have unexpectedly hit a target or two exactly where I wanted, and it always comes as a pleasurable surprise.
If I do not journal fast and freely or if I stop to reread nothing of this kind would be ever written. The quality grows out of its haphazardness. In these mounds of verbal ash, a few fire starters lay dormant. I would not write them if I were self-conscious. Later, these latent sparks ignite future scenes or settings-bricks for a fine story, essay or a novel.
The spontaneous writing is therapeutic. It exorcises personal demons. It is the taskmaster for my ego, sweeper of the debris of my mind and most of all it is the cleaning ritual like washing my hands before eating.
The days when I am between two pieces of formal writing, when one has ended and the next has not yet to begin, I extend the time for the journal writing. It neither has a beginning nor an ending. Like an endless flowing river, I let myself float on its small and large waves. Like my inner companion it lays latent when I am occupied with other activities. But when I need it, it comes alive vital, vibrant, vigorous. It becomes what I want it to become. At least at first. Then it slaps me and wakes me up if I am not doing what is right, ill will, acting before thinking, taking a wrong turn, all those clichÃ© warnings. An insight emerges. I shut it close and sit up straight to think.
Having thus sung praises of journaling I must also mention a caveat. What if I accidently die tomorrow? Who will read my journals? I write what I believe to be true and what I am capable of imagining. But it is my truth. My loved ones know what I journal about. Yet it is not only “I,” “me,” “mine,” bits of my private mind, my authentic Self. Doesn’t that make it universal?
I have been journaling for twenty-five years. It was a habit. The habit has now become a compulsive desire. A good desire, it keeps me in touch with myself. It will continue to help me to become better than what I am today. It can’t help anyone else. But it is helping me. As a writer I like to think in helping my self I help all my readers by informing, entertaining, at times even enlightening them through my books, stories and essays.
From today begin journaling! Delve deep within. Excavate your self. Brush off the dirt and mud from your memories and experiences that must be told, from your imagination. And more importantly, surprise your self by discovering your authentic Self.
Who am I?