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Thread: meditation journal: why keep one?

  1. #1
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    meditation journal: why keep one?

    why should i keep one? do i keep it close by and jot down right after i sit? what should (and shouldnt) i keep track of?
    thanks and gassho..

  2. #2

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    Don't. You'll just spend your sitting time trying to figure out what you will write down.

    I have a journal of insights and thoughts, poetry, etc., closely tied in with my practice, but I don't write about sittings.

    gassho
    tobiishi

  3. #3
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    interesting point, thank you tobiishi..
    gassho

  4. #4

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    I think some folks do, even making blogs around zazen. Personally. I don't. Zazen is zazen.

  5. #5

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    I used to keep one but I started adding up my hours like I was calculating payroll.
    Sets up the wrong message, I think...
    Gassho,
    -K2

  6. #6

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    I keep one but I only write in it when I am compelled to do so.

    Gassho,
    Paula

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    Quote Originally Posted by kliffkapus
    I used to keep one but I started adding up my hours like I was calculating payroll.
    Sets up the wrong message, I think...
    Gassho,
    -K2
    I started feeling the same way using the zenhall. I got it into my head I needed to have 10,000 hours of meditation to be an "expert" at it and while I was sitting, I noticed I was starting to tally up how many hours left I had to go - setting up another goal.

    Ron

  8. #8

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    Quote Originally Posted by bayamo
    why should i keep one? do i keep it close by and jot down right after i sit? what should (and shouldnt) i keep track of?
    thanks and gassho..
    I would not. Zazen is zazen.

    As was said

    Don't. You'll just spend your sitting time trying to figure out what you will write down.
    Zazen comes and goes (really, all of life when we stop thinking about it). We had best not think about and analyze too much our dropping of thinking and analysis.

  9. #9

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    Did the Buddha keep a meditation journal? :P :mrgreen:

  10. #10
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    Did the Buddha keep a meditation journal? :P :mrgreen:
    WWBD
    what would buddha do..
    i like it..

  11. #11
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by bayamo
    why should i keep one? do i keep it close by and jot down right after i sit? what should (and shouldnt) i keep track of?
    thanks and gassho..
    I would not. Zazen is zazen.

    As was said

    Don't. You'll just spend your sitting time trying to figure out what you will write down.
    Zazen comes and goes (really, all of life when we stop thinking about it). We had best not think about and analyze too much our dropping of thinking and analysis.
    thank you and gassho..

  12. #12

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    Quote Originally Posted by bayamo
    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    Did the Buddha keep a meditation journal? :P :mrgreen:
    WWBD
    what would buddha do..
    i like it..
    :mrgreen:

  13. #13
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    Zazen journal: No.
    Personal Journal: Yes, and such a thing might occasionally include some zazen related items, at least that's what I do.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Zazen journal: No.
    Personal Journal: Yes, and such a thing might occasionally include some zazen related items, at least that's what I do.
    AlanLa
    how do you do this? do you keep a small journal with you and jot away whenever the spirit moves you, or do you write at night before bed, or upon waking.. just curious..
    gassho

  15. #15
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    I've been journaling for at least 15 years or more, probably closer to 20 now that I think about it. Before I got into Buddhism my journal effort was pretty hit and miss, mostly miss, with weeks or maybe even months between entries. Then, once I got involved in Buddhism, I started writing in it more often, almost daily. I view my journal as an awareness exercise, sort of a zazen off the cushion thing, but it's not directly related to my Buddhist practice; it's more of an offshoot from it, if that makes any sense. Once in a while I'll journal some insight I gained from zazen, but mostly it's just a daily exercise in realizing where am I and where am I going. Sometimes I write in it in the morning, sometimes in the evening, sometimes at multiple times during the day. Sometimes I write "deep thoughts" in it and other times I write stupid stuff like yesterday's entry:
    "Weekend! Woo-hoo! And not a big workload - yay! But I do have some work to do and I should/will do it. But there's not as much pressure, so let's see how that goes. It's also a wonderful opportunity to get some other things done."
    The only thing that I try to be consistent about in my journal is that I try to be totally honest and personal with as little mundanity as possible. It's my outlet, my sounding board, my refuge, my road map chronicle of life. Once in a while I look at an old one and see how messed up I was then versus how differently messed up, yet better, I am now, so it's a big help for me on the Path in lots of different ways. As you can probably tell, I am a big fan of journaling. I encourage you, and others, to try it in such a way that it works for you like I believe it works for me.

  16. #16
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    thanks alan for your reply.. i read in "awakening the buddha within" that tom hanks said on oprah that he kept a journal during his back to back oscar runs just to keep himself steady and balanced.. i think i will try what you do and see where it leads..
    thanks and gassho

  17. #17

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    I just want to make clear that I believe journaling, and any writing, about this practice and all of life can be a wonderful, insightful way. Insight, and making the Buddha's teachings our own, involves a great deal of self-reflection, and that can be on paper.

    I merely meant that I did not think it fruitful to analyze and categorize the content of each sitting in a "what happened during today's sitting" format. We experience sitting, just let sitting experience just sitting ... drop thoughts and analysis in sitting ... and, thus, do not bring too many thoughts and analysis into "analyzing dropping thoughts and analysis!" :shock:

    Anyway, I think ya get my point.

    Gassho, J

  18. #18
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    Steady and balanced, yes. My journal is kind of like the long pole that tightrope walkers use to stay steady and balanced, but I use it in the "tightrope of life." Sometimes when I get way off center it helps me regain my balance, and other times when things are going smoothly I am just carrying it around just in case.

  19. #19

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    The nice thing about journaling, as you alluded to AlanLa, is that you can be totally honest, and you know your own language. Even as you're explaining things to yourself, you know "what you mean" more than anyone else would. So the truth "behind the words" can sometimes be a little more present in journals. There's no goal, and no one's looking over your shoulder.

    If you're a bit too much of a word-fixated person like me, it can be a great, goalless way to "get the words out" without being attached to them or trying to form any point or narrative.

    A fun thing to do, I think, would be to free write a journal entry, fairly lengthy, and then do a bit of a Burroughs cut up on it, cutting words and phrases apart and rearranging them willy-nilly. See what pops up. Mad Libs. Haha. Meditating on the wordlessness of words. Words not on a linear road, but forming negative space around nothing.

    I think I might try this today. Maybe I will take this post and rearrange it.

    By the way, I think it would be fun to have Buddhist Mad Libs. The whole point of Mad Libs is to give us a chuckle. Words are endearing because they are so dear to me, but totally worthless sometimes.

    Mandy

  20. #20
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    i always carry a datebook type claendar, to jot appointments, test dates, dates stuff is due, etc, and at times i would jot odds and ends about the day.. i am seriously considering keeping a second one more like what has been suggested here.. thanks for all the tips, notes, observations..
    gassho

  21. #21

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    ...and don't worry if you stop writing a journal or begin again or not even start one.

    Zazen is zazen.

    ...and .....after all, everyday we write a book. :wink:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x16k83 ... -the_music

    :mrgreen:

  22. #22

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    I don't currently keep a journal of any kind, but I'm considering starting a personal journal.

    Although this book is about writing in general, this thread reminded me of Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down The Bones". She studied with Dainin Katagiri for some years, and I really enjoyed her Zen influenced book on writing.

    Fran

  23. #23

    Re: meditation journal: why keep one?

    Alluding to journaling a thing? An Alanla that's over you, and that's behind knowing. Language is explaining things more than yourself, in present journals. Goal's also there out of words and them. To not attach point a narrative? Too fun to the thing-- I think?

    :P

    mandy

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