Developing character, dropping pettiness, recording our dreams, imprinting beliefs… life is full, varied and filled with possibilities. We train daily because we know the value of training, since we see and feel its results in our life. But always we are vigilant, on the watch for our mind to try tricking us. We can never let down our guard, and so we journal to always have a clear understanding of where we are and what is happening in our life. This way we do not have to rely on our mind to tell us these things.
The journal is an indispensable tool, as it keeps the agreements between our mind and ourselves honest. Without it we are sure to fall into the trap of not training. Mind power can easily slip into a concept or philosophy, rather than a daily practice, and this we must guard against. Keeping a journal daily lets us keep track of ourselves. It tells us whether we are doing our exercises or not, and it is a place to record our insights, dreams and inner journey. Each week we list the exercises we intend to do for that week. We are very clear, writing down which affirmations we are using, what our visualizations are, what energy we are aligning with, what beliefs we are imprinting, what we are contemplating, what pettiness we are working on.
We are very specific in our journaling. We record everything. Perhaps criticism or self-pity really had a hold of us today and we journal about it. We need to understand the dynamics of each day, so we journal. We record each exercise when we do them, maybe with a little check in our journal beside the date. We record our insights from our contemplations. This way when we open our journal we see immediately what we are working on.
I will pre-warn you, your best intentions will be tested time and time again. Do not for a moment underestimate procrastination, inertia and lethargy. In my seminars I have a name for this phenomenon; I call it the Great Trickster, and our mind is indeed a trickster. Our mind will come up with numerous ‘good’ reasons why not to do the exercises, everything from “I’m too busy,” to “I’m tired,” to “It doesn’t really matter whether I do them or not,” etc. The mind in its natural state is lazy, undisciplined, and not at all interested in “working out” mentally. Many times we must remind ourselves that we are not our mind, and face the fact that our mind will initially resist any attempts to discipline it. Don’t think just because “you” have made the decision to practice regularly that your mind won’t find ways to trick you out of this intention.
The mind would rather think thoughts randomly about whatever it chooses, as opposed to having a disciplined list of thoughts and concepts it needs to think about. The mind has always thought thoughts in its own way, with its own preferences, and this is how it wants to continue doing things. Only through discipline, training and repetition of practices will we change this. Journaling daily becomes one of our most important disciplines, as it shows clearly, through our entries and lack of entries too, how we are progressing in our training. What’s more, by committing ourselves to journal daily (it only needs to be a few minutes a day), and following through with this commitment, we build our willpower. Keeping our promises to ourselves is an important habit to develop. We might think it is possible to train our mind and do exercises without journaling, but experience shows it is not. We get sidetracked, and before we know it we will be back into the habit of not doing the exercises. How do I know this? Because I’ve experienced it myself many times, and I’ve also had decades of teaching this system, so I know the common hurdles that novices, and experts too for that matter, encounter in their daily practice.
Take it from someone who is proficient at this system, you need to journal if you want the best results.
Interestingly here is an entry that I found in my journal recently:
“Trust only the journal. Do not trust your best intentions. Do not trust the mind. Trust only the journal.”
Yes, I too get distracted and tricked out of training. This was written after a period of not doing the exercises. The entry says it all. We can lie to ourselves but the journal will not lie. The journal cannot lie. The entries or lack of entries will tell us a lot. We will also discover the ebbs and flows of our own consciousness, which is very valuable knowledge. Each of us has our own rhythms and cycles that would be impossible to notice if we did not chart ourselves. Like the tides of the ocean that ebb and flow, our consciousness has its own secret inner tides, and with our journal we discover them and how they work in our life.
Through journaling we will see how we are directing our mind, and our growth and progress. It will all be there in black and white; that is why the journaling technique is so valuable. It is also why the mind will resist it. The mind knows that the journal will reveal its reluctance to train, so the mind will try to cunningly coax us out of keeping it. Do not let it have its way. We commit ourselves to be our best, and through daily training we accomplish this.