Have you ever noticed how when you sit and meditate on a regular basis, you really, truly get to know yourself? This is one of the primary subtle practices of yoga – that of self-study, or svadhyaya. When we get really familiar with our innermost desires, we can move more confidently in the world, aligning our actions with these desires, and ultimately living a life that’s on track with our higher purpose.
But sometimes it’s really confusing when it comes to knowing what we want out of life. Some of us search endlessly for answers outside of ourselves without ever finding ultimate conclusions. We can get so wrapped up in what other people want us to be that we wind up following their goals and desires or some version of our own that’s distorted through the lens of what other people want us to be. There’s a deeply depressing lack of self-trust and self-worth, even though we want desperately to feel content and know what we want out of life. Instead of seeking approval from our hearts, we seek approval outside of ourselves, and it all goes down hill from there.
But in meditation we slowly get to know our inner worlds and our deepest desires. Self-confidence and self-trust take over and we begin to get very, very clear. So, when insights and answers arise as we sit in contemplation, it’s really important to write it all down. This is where journaling comes in. Having a meditation journal is probably the best thing you can have in your yogic toolbox to get really acquainted with yourself. This journal is dedicated solely to insights that come as you sit and meditate. You write down your discoveries and keep track of them to see what sticks and what changes. Our desires inevitably change, but there are some that will continually show up in your journal and this is what you need to pay attention to.
Deeper self-reflection naturally happens when we combine meditation and journaling; and when things happen that seem to make us suffer, we can gain new perspectives, insights and, ultimately, peace when we use these self-reflective tools together. By documenting the landscape of our inner world, we set free our burning questions and desires.
Try meditating for five minutes, journaling for five minutes, and then meditating again. Play around with this practice and get creative. Your understanding of the messages that come from deep within will grow and grow. So go out and get yourself a lovely little journal and see what profound wisdom arises! (Read on if you're also wondering, "Should I be keeping a yoga journal?")