We often think of a diary or journal as an account of what did from one day to the next. We might write about our feelings and thoughts about ourselves, another(s) and places.
From time to time, you might uncover an insight when you write about an experience.
An Insight Journal (to give this kind of journal a name) makes insight the whole purpose of the writing.
Regard mindfulness as the first step like learning to walk. A depth of mindfulness contributes to clear seeing. As with walking, you establish mindfulness to the extent necessary for insight to arise.
You might keep the journal beside your bed or on the breakfast table or a small diary in our pocket.
To keep such a journal, you must be honest with yourselves. You are not writing about your fantasies, daydreams and multiplicity of views about people, places and activities in your life. You do not feed whims, expectations or cling to anybody or anything from the past, present and future. An Insight Journal goes much deeper than that.
The purpose of the Insight Journal includes reflections to:
- acknowledge and learn from the most difficult moments of the day
- appreciate the beautiful moments of the day
- develop what needs to be developed
- explore a wise attitude to circumstances
- overcome what needs to be overcome
- question fear, anger and reactivity.
- find a different response rather than reactive one
- reflect on what matters
- see and express wise alternatives
You do not limit an Insight Journal to yourself but can include insights into another(s), situations and circumstances.
Here are 10 points for Reflection for your Insight Journal.
- What do you need to change?
- What do you need to accept?
- What do you need to develop?
- What do you need to start?
- What do you need to maintain?
- What do you need to bring to a closure?
- What expands the heart?
- What do you need to share?
- What actions do you need to take?
- What confirms freedom of being?
Experience comes first. Reflection/writing follows. Insights and understanding follow on. You apply the insights.
You know an insight/understanding because you apply it. If there is no application, then you had a good idea. That’s all.
Live with Insights. Live with understanding. Live with wisdom.
Photo shows 40 plus journals and diaries including notes from talks of teachers, reflections and adventures. Foot of photo shows 10 folders (one per year) with a total of 427 letters sent home. My mum kept every letter in a shoebox. Period covers 1967-1977, including six years as a Buddhist monk in Thailand and India. Spent first year of Pandemic writing a memoir of this time titled TEN YEARS AND TEN DAYS. Book will be available soon.
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New header. Picture shows desk at home.
I find walking a several miles a day brings insight, which is something I can do now that I am (semi) retired. I was processing a feeling of dismay when a friend promised me something and then let me down not once but twice in close succession. I was plunged into all sorts of feelings. Then as I walked along, Ihad 2 very clear memories of when I had done the same thing to other people, in my case, not replied to invitations, and although I was much younger, there was still no excuse. It was humbling and made me see how the insight it gave me made me understand the importance of both being attentive and being forgiving.