Keeping a Meditation Journal – Benefits, Instructions, and Our Favorite Journals
Keeping a meditation journal may not be a traditional practice or one that you necessarily think of when you think of meditating. However, we’ve found it to be a deeply useful way to bring insight and clarity to our experience while meditating. Whether you’re new to meditation or have been practicing for some time, a journaling practice can help you dig in with a new technique.
If you’re new to meditation and not sure where to begin, you can check out our Meditation Guide for Beginners with resources, courses, meditations, and more. You can also learn about One Mind Dharma’s brand new mindfulness journal here.
What is a Mindfulness Meditation Journal?
Journaling is a simple practice in which we write as a form of investigation. When we meditate, we are looking at our direct experience. This is the purpose of meditation practice. We may also interact with a community, or a sangha, to help investigate our practice.
Journaling is another technique that can be useful. Some people really take to the practice and find it beneficial, while others don’t click with it. It’s not for everyone, but many people find writing an effective form of practice. We can write about our experience in meditation, get our thoughts down clearly, and learn something new about ourselves.
Benefits of Keeping a Journal
There are many benefits of keeping a journal in general. Here are a few ways a meditation journal can enrich your mindfulness practice:
- Continue Your Mindfulness Practice
Keeping a journal offers a way for you to continue your practice after the bell rings and you’re done with your formal meditation. Instead of “shutting off” your mindfulness, you can continue to practice and investigate what it means to be present in a new way.
- Build Clarity
We learn and take in information in different ways. Sometimes we need to read something, while other times we may need to go hands-on and investigate ourselves. When you keep a journal, you have a new way to build clarity and look at your experience. Personally, I find new things often when I write after a period of meditation that I don’t always realize without journaling.
- Release Pain and Difficulties
According to Harvard Health and multiple studies, writing can help us process emotions, stress, and trauma. When difficulties or painful experiences arise during practice, sitting down to journal can give us a release.
Meditation Journal Prompts
There are many ways you can approach your journaling. With mindfulness meditation, you may simply write down your experience during practice. Here are a few things to consider:
- Was the mind at ease and concentrated? Or agitated and wandering?
- What did you notice in the body?
- What did you notice in the mind?
- What emotional experiences came up?
- Where did you notice the desire for your experience to be different?
- Where did clinging and aversion arise?
- What knocked you off balance in your practice?
If you’re doing a loving-kindness mediation or other heart practice, you may alter your practice to fit what you were meditating with. Here are a few ways you can journal around metta, compassion, and other heart practices:
- What got in the way of your kindness (or compassion, forgiveness, etc.)?
- Where did kindness come naturally?
- What judgements did you notice arising?
- What was the emotional experience during your practice?
You can also go for a straight journaling practice. You don’t need to answer questions or write about anything specific. Go with what comes up, and be honest with yourself.
Getting a Journal
Our favorite journals are the ones from Buddha Groove. They have an awesome collection of journals created especially for your meditation and mindfulness practice. You can check out Buddha Groove’s meditation journals HERE.
If you want something eco-friendly, you can check out some simple notebooks at The Ultimate Green Store.
We had a guest author contribute a piece a while ago called Why You Should Invite Journaling into Your Meditation Practice. Check it out if you’re interested in learning more about how journaling can be useful.