Writing in a journal is a way to discover the answers to your questions, to express yourself creatively, to find the voice of your soul, to strengthen your connection with your open heart, and to face your fears and overcome obstacles. Above all, it's a way to relax and explore the depths of your being.
Journal writing can be as prosaic or as wildly creative an exercise as you wish. For example, you can use your journal as a daily record of events, feelings, dreams, and aspirations. Or you can be more creative, using it as a vehicle for what Jung called "dreaming the dream onward".
One way to make the journal a creative vehicle is to use it for active imagination. Visualize an image and then allow yourself to "take off with it". Explore the images of your mind's eye with words.
Try this: Relax in a comfortable position, and focus on whatever image arises. Who or what do you see? What is happening in the scene you envision? As soon as you "click" with the image, begin to write in your journal. Describe what you have seen in detail, including what seems to be happening. Be specific. Follow the image and allow whatever arises to flow out of your hand as you write. You may be quite surprised to discover that a story emerges from focusing on just one image. If you let yourself write that story, you will find that no matter what images come through, it is a story about yourself.
You can also use the journal as a record of your dreams. As soon as you wake up, write down the dreams you remember. Then use the dreams' most powerful characters and events as "jumping off" points for an exercise in active imagination. What do they mean? What might have happened next?
To use journal writing as a way to open up, the key is to do it regularly. Start by committing yourself to ten minutes a day of writing in your journal. You can record what has happened to you and how you feel, do an active imagination exercise, or use any other technique that appeals to you as a way to write.
If you feel blocked or can't think of anything to write about, use your memory as a stimulant. Remember someone you really loved, the times in your life when you were most angry, or what you just ate for breakfast -- how it looked, tasted, and felt in your body. Don't think twice. Just write in your journal for ten minutes. Keep your hand moving. Don't worry about it being grammatically correct or even interesting. Just see what comes up for you. If a particularly strong feeling comes up -- such as fear -- don't avoid it. Go for the energy. This kind of freely associative creativity is a wonderful way to loosen tensions.
Something else that happens, if you allow it, is that you disappear and become the energy of your writing. The you that is exploring, thinking, and free-associating dissolves into the ink or pencil lead or type on the screen. Like other creative methods of realizing yourself as soul, this one works because it allows you to jump in and disappear in the expressive stream of your own life-force.
About the Author
Carlos Warter M.D., Ph.D. is a medical doctor, transpersonal spiritual psychiatrist, lecturer, and pioneer in the field of consciousness raising and alternative healing. He is the author of Soul Remembers and Who Do You Think You Are? The Healing Power of Your Sacred Self. Born in Chile, Dr. Warter has been awarded the United Nations Peace Messenger and the Pax Mundi awards for his humanitarian efforts. He presents keynote speeches, workshops, and seminars both in the U.S. and throughout the world. His website is at www.doctorcarlos.com.