A reflective journal that serves as a spiritual diary is a place to reflect and express our thoughts and feelings to do with our spiritual life; these are often referred to as “spiritual journals” or “Book of Reflections” or a “Book of Illumination”. It is up to you of the level of privacy you place upon your journal; some people prefer to keep the contents of their journal exclusively personal, while people are open to sharing some parts of their journal with a few trusted others. Journal books can be hidden in a secret place, or diaries with small locks and keys are available. For ultimate secrecy, one may wish to write in code or use symbols to keep their writings protected from others, and there are many home-made recipes for invisible ink available online!
Keeping a journal or diary as part of your spiritual learning and experiences can be very beneficial, and an important tool during self-study. Your journal will become your personal guide to your path where you can record your thoughts, dreams, inspirations, experiences, poems, songs or myths that you are drawn to, reflections from meditation- whatever you feel you want to note down in your spiritual journal. Having a record of your learning is great for seeing your own growth and progression over time, and no doubt you may come across repeating patterns or cycles in your life allowing you to reflect on what needs to be acknowledged in order to move on. You will gain confidence in building the foundations of your own path, able to read back on your own reference of experiences, which will build your faith in what you believe. Keeping a record of your thoughts, feelings and impressions can be a wonderful way to see your ideas evolving with your growing knowledge and experiences.
The physical act of writing helps you to remember, organise and express what you are learning; you are turning a mental thought into a physical act- your thoughts and feelings in that present moment are transferred to paper and ink through the motions and art of writing which creates the physical impression of your learning through a method of actually recording and at the same time supporting the internal mental connections that are created.
Writing in a book isn’t the only way of keeping track of your reflections and inner-thoughts. You may find it easier to keep an electronic spiritual journal (just don’t forget to save and back up your work!). Computers are a modern tool which some people may find more manageable and helpful to work with- an e-book of Reflections is no less valid than a traditional book! With spell-checkers, picture software, editing options, and the abilities to share or password secure your workings, a computer may be ideal for some.
Of course, the act of writing itself doesn’t feel quite right or come easily to some people who are more comfortable with a different way of expressing themselves. Words- reading and writing- are only one method to record your spiritual thoughts and feelings. Depending on what your own preferences and resources are, you may to wish to experiment with different medias that will help you to express and make a record of your inner-illuminations.
Some people may prefer to draw, sketch or paint their spiritual journal. It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself an artist or not, we all have the potential for creativity! Whether your journal is full of comic strip illustrations, or intricate watercolour landscapes, or charcoal and chalk sketches, or abstract swirls of colour, or humble stick figures, as long as it makes sense and is meaningful to you however you choose to record and express your feelings and experiences is entirely your choice.
Others may like to create a collage or scrap book as a spiritual journal; whatever you can think of to represent your thoughts and findings can be included- photographs, pictures from magazines, scraps of materials, pressed flowers/herbs/leaves, tiny crystal chips, feathers, small twigs, wool, little shells, scraps of paper with sketches and notes, calligraphed poems or songs, sheets of music- the list of possibilities is as diverse and endless as your imagination!
Audio and visual recording is another modern method to gathering and storing your inner-path workings, learnings and reflections. A lot of us have mobile phones or computers that often come equipped these days with a camera and/or some kind of voice recording software; dictaphone devices are also available. It may be worth spending a little time tinkering around with technology to see if this way benefits you, for some of us feel more comfortable and articulate through verbal expression.
However you decide to keep a record of your learnings, and whatever you feel you should note down as part of your inspirations, it is well worth doing so. Consider making special time for noting your spiritual inspirations and experiences, and try to use your journal as a creative tool for reflecting and growth.