For as long as I can remember I've been writing to sort out the inner workings of my heart and mind. In writing, there is a freedom, a space you can create for yourself to dive into your thoughts and feelings. Space where you can meditate on your joys, fears, hopes, and desires. A place to unleash your inner self, unfiltered. Writing is a practice in mindfulness, where the writer is present in the act of self-expression.
If the goal of meditation is to clear your head, to sort through the clutter of thoughts and emotions, then writing is no doubt an act of meditation. When you put your pen to paper you don't need to know what's going to come out, there is no plan or set of rules to follow. If I'm feeling blocked and can't write, I ask myself a question like "What do I want my life to look like next year?" or "What is something new I want to try?". Whatever you're holding inside will start pouring forth once you get started.
Writing is a spiritual act, and my journal is a place where I can work through a hard break up or figure out my next career move. By writing things down, I am able to release myself. We all become burdened by our thoughts. We hold on to anger towards family, friends and often ourselves. We repeat scenarios over and over again in our heads, picking them apart for hidden meaning. Sometimes I let the opinions of others make my creative waters murky. When I journal about these things, I can get them out of my head and on the paper. Once these thoughts have somewhere else to live I am able to let them go.
My journal is not neat or well-organized. It's messy, happy, and sad all at once. It's full of bad formattingand run-on sentences, pages where proper grammar has no place to live. It's cluttered and beautiful, it's simple and deep. It's not just a summing up of my day or week, it's poetry and fantasy. The good, the bad and the ugly all have a place there. It's life. It's me.
I strive for kindness in my writing. One of the things I've learned through meditation is that our lives are better when we are gentler with ourselves. We tend to think of applying this practice to other people, but it starts within. I strive to write gently of myself and my choices, to leave my self-judgment behind.
Perhaps the most important thing about writing is that I am able to hear my inner voice. Like in meditation, clearing the clutter of my mind allows my true desires to bubble up to the surface. Writing has helped me realize things like what state I want to live in, what kind of career I want to have and even what friendships are the most important to me. When I feel overwhelmed by the ideas and opinions of others, my journal is where I can find the peace and quiet needed to find my voice among the crowd.
If you are reading this and wondering if writing as meditation might be helpful to you, I encourage you to try it. Don't worry about how it sounds or what it looks like, just do it. Find the freedom in your words.
Our thanks to Scarlett for sharing her views on writing and meditation. There are so many good reasons to keep a journal – what’s yours? We’d love to share your thoughts – send to email@example.com