Something cool happens after I engage in a formal meditation practice: I connect with myself.
Well actually, not myself, as we’ve come to use the word. After I meditate, I connect with my Self, with a capital ‘S’, my true essence, the real me. You know, the being inside who watches the Self interact with the world. The same entity that Michael Singer in The Untethered Soul refers to as ‘the conscious being.’ And one of the really cool ways I’ve been able to do this lately is by journaling following a meditation.
Journaling to me, is a form of creative expression, where I let my pen or pencil roam freely across the page translating ideas and thoughts into words on a page. Sometimes I even do it with my laptop. Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way incorporates journaling into her ‘morning pages, a practice I embraced for several years, which she claims and I concur, boosts creativity.
I came across the following definition of journaling on a website recently, that describes the emotional benefits that arise from the practice.
Journaling is the act of expressing your deepest thoughts and feelings by putting words to your inner life and then putting these words on paper. Journaling is a mental, emotional and spiritual exercise that helps you build strong “emotional muscles” to deal with life’s difficulties and uncertainties.William B. Salt II, MD
I enjoy journaling after meditation so much, I created a class to share it with others. Once a week, I lead a 3-step format: a brief guided meditation, followed by journaling in response to a prompt, ending with an a period of discussion and sharing. Invariably the discussion unearths interesting and sometimes fascinating insights, which deepen the meditative experience for me. And judging by the discussion, other attendees are often impacted similarly.
So I encourage you, try it yourself sometime after you meditate, and I’ve listed a few prompts below to get you started. And if you want to take the class, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll let you know how you can participate in the same class or a future version being planned.
- Mindfulness helps us see the mind clearly. Use the next five minutes to write down everything that comes to you. Don’t censor your thoughts. Get everything you’re thinking on to the paper.
- Focusing on sensation is a great way to bring your attention to the present moment and cultivate mindfulness. Take a moment and notice sensations in your body. Reflect upon what each sensation feels like.
- Be mindful of your body for several minutes. Visualize muscle, skin, tendon, bone, fluids and organs. Get specific and notice the full nature of your body. Reflect upon parts that feel pleasant, unpleasant, helpful, or beautiful.
The Untethered Soul: A Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Greater Creativity by Julia Cameron