Writing is an incredibly meditative state.
You don’t believe it?
Let’s discuss a quote by Ernest Hemingway:
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Writing is nothing but a mere expression of the things you carry inside. Meditation helps you discover those things. Meditation is the method, and writing is the expression.
But what happens when writing becomes the method and the expression at the same time?
The Journaling Method
So what’s with this journaling method? The best way to describe it is through the freewriting technique. The idea is to take your journal (or log into your online journal, whatever you prefer) and write for a specific length of time every single day.
You set the timer to 10 or 20 minutes, and you write without stopping.
It doesn’t matter what you write. You should not provoke your thoughts on purpose. Don’t try to make sense out of them. Just sit and write. Write and bleed.
Now you get it, don’t you? It’s the same thing you do when you meditate. This method is very similar to a meditation technique known as Antar Mouna. Usually, we tend to allow the good thoughts to arise when we consciously meditate and want to suppress the bad ones.
The Antar Mouna technique teaches us to avoid suppression. During the meditation, we should allow the mind to think whatever it wants to think, but we mustn’t get attached to those thoughts. It’s like observing scenes on the TV or watching a river flow. We don’t cause thoughts on purpose, and we don’t suppress the ones that appear.
After a lot of work and awareness of this spontaneous thought process, the whirlpool of thoughts and emotions will calm down. It is possible for you to achieve a complete state of calmness and equanimity.
Here are 5 tips to start using journaling as meditation.
1. Find Your Space
Remember: you need to start treating journaling as a form of meditation. Meditation is really hard to do in a room full of people, with annoying noise from the TV and your phone constantly sending notifications. Those distractions will interfere with the journaling process, too.
So you need to find a calm space, where you can sit with your journal and only pay attention to what’s inside. Minimize distractions from the outside.
Where would you usually meditate? It may be the bedroom or the living room at a time when it’s quiet. Use the same space and time for journaling.
2. Turn It into a Routine
Many people who are interested in trying this practice make a mistake: they get too committed during the first few days and then they completely forget about it. They will try journaling today, and they will get into the flow, so they will write for two hours. Tomorrow, they will do the same thing. The day after that, they will think: “I don’t have two hours today. I’ll just take a break, and I’ll do it tomorrow.” Then, they take another break. And another one… until they lose their mojo.
Do you know how you can prevent that from happening? You need a routine. It’s better to commit yourself to journal for 10-20 minutes every day than to do it for a whole hour today and forget about it for the rest of the week.
The routine will get you on that chair every single day. The consistency will yield results.
3. Explore Your Emotions
So how do you start journaling? What will you write about? What if there’s nothing to write about?
Just ask the question any therapist would ask you when they see you: how do you feel?
Write how you feel today. It’s okay to be annoyed or upset. Write about it. Let your thoughts and emotions flow, and you’ll allow yourself to get to the bottom of things. You’ll be able to tackle the reasons for those annoyances and stress.
4. Explore Your Desires and Goals
Here’s another question to ask as a trigger: what do you wish for?
Write about the goals you’d want to achieve within a specific period of time. Write about the thing you wish for the most.
When you have these things in writing, they seem real. You can develop an action plan and work your way towards those goals.
5. Don’t Judge Yourself
When you meditate, you don’t always like the things you realize about yourself. The same thing happens during freewriting. The thoughts and feelings you’ve been suppressing will come out to surface. You may realize you weren’t kind to your parents or you deeply hurt someone you loved.
If that happens, it’s important to accept yourself as you are. You are not perfect. You’re a flawed person, just like anyone else is. You can, however, see those flaws and work on their improvement. Just don’t judge.
6. Set Yourself Free
You won’t be sharing your journal with anyone. It’s just you and yourself. So it’s okay to be completely honest. You can do that, can’t you? You can be honest with yourself. Set your emotions and thoughts loose and you’ll definitely enjoy the freedom you discover.