Journaling – The Writer’s Spiritual Practice

By Hugh Russell

Spiritual practice is that component of spiritual life coaching that sounds tedious and difficult to do. But did you know that a pen and some paper can get you started with improving your spirituality? Journaling is one of the most suggested activities by spiritual life coaches to people trying to take a new path. You’ll be surprised at how much stronger the pen is than the sword – or stagnant faith.

Silent Sounding Boards

One thing that many people find difficult with spiritual life coaching is the kind of questions that tends to get raised. Most people have their lifestyles changed and their beliefs shaken, especially when some of those answers come unexpectedly. And while you should ideally tell your spiritual life coach about any revelation or answer you get, you may not trust him or her enough to tell all the details.

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That’s where diaries and journals come to the rescue. When there’s no other person to turn to, paper and pen are usually the best confidants for things you’re not ready to share with others yet. Do you feel happy because of something you’ve reflected on, or sad because of a fact that you’ve just realized? A journal is a willing secret-keeper either way.

Why is this so important? It helps you build on all the insights you’ve made and things you’ve reflected on. Reading what you wrote from last week is the next best thing to a friend reminding you of all the things you chatted about the previous day. Writing and rereading ideas also helps reinforce anything you may want to remember or keep in mind – something you’ll inevitably do in spiritual life coaching.

Right Writing

Now, when it comes to journaling, there’s no such thing as a ‘right’ or ‘proper’ way to go about it. Some ways, however, are better than others if you want to achieve certain results with this particular spiritual practice.

Everyday occurrences like going to the supermarket or running into an old friend are fine, but the practice tends to become pointless if you limit your entries to just that. When you take down events like those, put in your reflections and insights as well. Going to the supermarket can help distinguish needs from wants, while the unexpected meeting can show how much people can change over time.

The effectiveness of journaling as a spiritual practice relies largely on what you decide to write about. If you keep it to shallow, superficial things, your journal entries will have all the depth of the average gossip column. But if you take time to write about what you think, feel and believe, you will have one of those “Aha” moments when things become much clearer and everything seems to fall into place.

What’s Your Story?

Think of journaling as writing your story with God as the intended audience. You will be amazed at how quickly your relationship with God will deepen and become more intimate. The physical act of writing or typing will make your ideas more succinct and will also provide a record for you to review later. Going back over those old entries is an experience that’s at once humorous, nostalgic and inspirational.

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