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Practical benefits and techniques of Journaling – Part 2

“Without being self-controlled, without being disciplined and without being fully obedient, no one can become successful in following the instructions of the spiritual master and without doing so, no one is able to go back to godhead.”

– Srila Prabhupada (Shrimad Bhagavatam purport, 1.5.24)

Journaling improves Self-Awareness

Right now are you aware of the room you are sitting in? As you read this article, where are you and can you describe the place, the sounds you hear, and the sights you see? This is Awareness.

And Self- Awareness is a similar knowing, but of the world within ourselves.

When you are hungry, you could instinctively pull out a fruit from the refrigerator and munch to your satisfaction. But if you are aware that you are hungry, even as you seamlessly move towards the food, and if needed, you could stop your movement, you have Self-Awareness. If you are on a strict diet, your ability to recognize the pulling of the tongue and your need to stay focussed on your goals, is Self-Awareness in action.

Journal writing helps increase the gap between what happens to you – the provocation- and your response to it. The ability to separate oneself from his or her feelings, and the knack to see our thoughts and name our feelings is Self-Awareness. It’s like having an aerial view towards life – seeing ourselves from a higher perspective.

And why is Self-Awareness important in modern times? Simple: You have more control over yourself.

As a young boy, I wasn’t scared of my mom even if I and my brothers did mischief. Her predictable behaviour and emotional outbursts were instinctive and we could traverse through her anger. However, father was a difficult man to read. A man of few words, he sent an unspoken message of being in control. If he was angry, he wouldn’t raise his voice immediately. First, he would lower his voice and explain he was angry. And then a silence followed. And then depending on the situation, he’d express his annoyance. This was scary, primarily because it sent out a message that he was in charge of his emotions, and he had a high degree of awareness.

If we could improve our Self-Awareness we’d have more control on our responses to provoking situations in life. Although humans distinguish themselves from animals in their ability to make choices, many of us have become creatures of circumstances; it’s as if we are helplessly dragged from one helpless situation to another. Many complain of a gnawing vacuum despite their stable lives. This has a lot to do with a persistent disconnect from our own selves.

Self-Awareness promises to once again make us creatures of choice – to improve our Heart Space by giving us more choices and control. Consequently, we are empowered to manage our inner world.

“The greatest gift of journaling is recognition. No matter what type of journaling you do, the advantage of putting it in on paper is a new point of view.” – Anonymous

To be continued….

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