Journal Writing – 3 Steps to Deepen Your Practice

Almost any kind of writing, can be considered spiritual if, through it, spiritual issues are raised. It is in this way that regular journal writing can, like yoga, prayer, or meditation, enhance your spiritual growth. Following the three steps outlined in this article will help you to dig deeper into your subconscious, become more aware of how emotions affect you physically, and expand your level of self-knowledge.

Begin by writing for 10 minutes without stopping. This is a common journaling technique which has many names; I like to call it “Writing the Stream.” By that, I mean you are writing whatever comes into your mind, however trivial, however significant. If you are using pen or pencil and paper, do not let your pen lift from the page. Keep writing. If you are using a computer, do not let your fingers stop moving on the keyboard. Write, write, write.

As you are writing:

1) Pay attention to feelings of resistance.

If you are writing something about which you feel even slightly resistant, make note of it, by marking your writing in some way (an asterisk or mark in the margin of your paper, for example). Resistance can take many forms: anger, peevishness, restlessness, or a sudden lack of focus.

It could be about something big, like a change of management at work, or tension between you and your husband or wife. Or, it could be something small, like you have a dentist appointment or need to do the shopping – normal everyday things – and you notice that you’re really resisting thinking about it, or doing it.

Keep writing. You can write about the resistance you feel, or you can write about something else until your 10 minutes are up. When you’ve completed 10 minutes of writing, go back and review that section in your journal where you first noticed the feeling of resistance.

2) Close your eyes and focus on where in your body those feelings reside.

If you’ve never done this before, it might seem strange to think about feelings residing in your body. But if you do this, I can assure you, you’ll be able to locate that feeling of resistance. It might, for example, be a knot in your belly, a lump in your throat, a constriction in your chest, or an ache in your lower back. Once you’ve located that feeling in your body, keep your focus there. Go as deeply into that feeling as you can. Then…

3) Ask that part of your body/feeling, “Of what are you afraid?” Wait and listen for the answer. You probably won’t hear an actual “voice,” but you will get an answer, via an image or thought that comes to you. It may even be a memory or story. Write it down. When you have written down the fear, ask, “What do you need in order to feel cared for?” And again,wait for an answer. Write it down.

Look at what you’ve written, and decide if you are willing to provide that caring action for yourself. If you are, close your eyes again, and make a commitment to that resistance/fear that it will be cared for, and ask it if it’s willing to relax and let you move forward. You may need to extend the conversation and even negotiate a little.

As much as possible, write about the process. You may or may not be able to release the feelings of resistance, but I can bet that this process will bring you more fully in touch with yourself and help you to work through situations and feelings in your life with greater clarity and consciousness.