Monday, July 7, 2008

Journals, Diaries and Pathways

I do not know how many of you maintain diaries or journals, but for the last forty years or so I have kept many. I have journals in which I have jotted down ideas, plans, experiences, hopes and dreams. I have meditation journals where I recorded meditations and insights. I have dream journals dedicated strictly to night dreams and patterns that I have seen there through the years. I also have records of several hundred “trance” experiences I have had through the years.

For me the value in keeping these journals has been how they help me clarify and refine my consciousness. Often, in our minds, thoughts flow through so quickly and chaotically that it is difficult to pin down any meaning. It is like a word jumble. When I write down my thoughts and feelings, it slows the process down so that I can more deliberately examine content and understand the meaning.

I have on many occasions returned to past journals. What a revelation that can be! First, I notice patterns of recurring experiences which show me that I have still not resolved certain issues. It may be that certain types of people keep showing up in my life who irritate me or cause me to become defensive. It may be repetitive experiences that leave me feeling unaccepted or still lacking in some manner. On the other hand, I can clearly see progression in how I have dealt with issues in my life. It is like the beautiful flowers amidst the thorns of the cactus! Some challenges simply don’t appear in my life any more. Some of the dreaming has actually produced results in changed life styles and new people in my circle of friends.

Perhaps the most meaningful result of reading these journals up to now is that I realize I have become much freer from dogma and the many shoulds or should nots that I accumulated along the way, starting from childhood and continuing through my seminary experiences. By the time I left seminary for my first church I had pretty much set my beliefs in a stone mold. Oh, I did expand upon them and continued to learn, but I was clear about the base of my belief system. As I worked within the system that I had trained for, most of my beliefs were not challenged. It is only as I left that system that I discovered another whole world of people who thought quite differently. They had radical ideas that challenged the status quo, political correctness, and racial/ethnical standards of the day. I found myself stimulated in mind and heart to explore these new, open vistas free of my old judgments of the way things are supposed to be.

That was the beginning of the Whole Life Learning Center. That activity was operated successfully for ten years before I closed the organization and began a different adventure in the more typical business community. Periodically, I reached back to those times in my life and attempted to reactivate some aspects of what I did during those earlier years. While this was an invigorating experience, nothing seemed to catch on with me totally as it had in the 70s. The last attempt to “live in the past” ended one year ago with the cessation of the new Whole Life Learning Center.

What I have come to understand in terms of what is important in my life right now is that I thrive on exploring and writing about new insights that come to me as I meet my everyday challenges. I enjoy the friends with whom I am privileged to exchange ideas. I appreciate in a deeper way my family, both those near and far. I also realize my family is more extended than I once thought. Some who have been friends are really my family in the truest sense of the word.

How does this have anything to do with journals and diaries? Well, I have been able to arrive at some of my current conclusions by reviewing the development of my attitudes and beliefs in my various journals. Even though I have at times felt stuck, my journals reveal that I am at a different place in consciousness for dealing with some of the situations that appear similar to past conditions. So I will continue this process. I encourage you to do the same. If for no other reason, writing down your thoughts and feelings will help organize them and you will understand them more clearly.

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