When I conduct a journaling workshop, I always encourage the participants to practice writing right away. I usually ask them to remember one particular situation that happened recently that created a very strong feeling. When the feeling is strong enough then it is very easy to start writing it out. It could be positive feeling or negative feeling.
Most of the people find it a lot easier to write the negative one and it is okay. A participant expressed disagreement to me when it came to write a negative feeling. She said that by remembering a negative feeling and writing it, the feeling would become even stronger. Then it is against the purpose of journaling. Because the purpose of journaling is in fact to finish the negative feelings and empower the self.
How can journaling finish the negative feeling and empower the self? When you are writing a journal, you need to sit on the seat of the ‘real I’. You are listening to the ‘false I’, either the ‘depressed I’ or ‘the arrogant I’. This ‘false I’ is in fact the ego. The ego is false. It is the ego that creates the negative feeling. Let the ’false I’ speak about the situation and feeling clearly and honestly and let ‘the real I’ listen. She is a good listener. She is very patient, mature and wise. She always listens very carefully. When the ‘false I’ finishes speaking, let the ‘real I’ speak or share some wisdom to your situation. Let her empower you.
You are not the feeling. You are the creator of the feeling. The feeling is your creation, but your creation is not you. You will become very clear about this. You are distanced from your feeling. You are detached from your feeling. Because you are detached from the feeling, so you can observe the creation better. You can write it in a detached way.
When you write your journal in this detached way, as if you are an observer of what is happening inside you, the feeling will become weaker and the ‘real I’ become stronger. Become a detached observer. It is said that emotion dies under observation.
Where does the self get lost? It is lost in our own head (mind). The mind creates thousands of thoughts everyday. It keeps busy and also noisy. The mind is always occupied with thoughts, ideas, plans and dreams. It is like a jungle, full of thoughts. You might find it very difficult to make it silent for just a moment. The self gets lost in this jungle. You might have heard a story of a queen who lost her necklace. She searched for her necklace around. She kept searching the necklace that she did not realize that it is in fact around her own neck. This story refers to our self-discovery journey. We might have searched for the self “outside” which in fact it is lost “inside”.
Journaling is a way to discover the self which has been hidden behind the thoughts, ideas, plans and dreams. This is an inward-journey. By writing them down one by one, you will experience more clarity in seeing the self. You are removing the veils. You will be able see your true self.
I remember I was sharing a taxi with four people on our way back from a program. The program was a big one, attended by many people from different countries with variety of languages. We could not know everyone in the program, because it was too big. The program was organized so well. Everything was very well-organized, including our transport. When I booked the taxi for my return journey at the transport department, I didn’t know whom I would share the taxi with.
An old lady was sitting in the front row next to the driver, and in the middle row there were one young man from Russia and two middle-aged men from France. I was sitting at the back row with our luggages. The space was very small and the luggages were piled up. It was a 4 hour journey. How would you enjoy a 4 hour trip with people you don’t know? What I did was listening music. Music really helps to enjoy the trip. I am always ready with some music in my smartphone and an earphone for a trip. I think music has the power to change our mood into positive one, quite instantly. Some times I had a conversation with the passengers who were sitting in the middle row. We talked about the weather, the journey to our home countries, our flight etc.. A general topic.
We stopped for a toilet in the middle of the trip. Everybody got down from the taxi. There, when I had the opportunity to talk to the old lady who was sitting in the front row. I was so amazed about her. She was 80 years old, traveling alone. She is from Colombia. She didn’t speak English, but I think she could understand a little. She could respond simple questions like ‘Where are you from? What time is your flight?’ We talked and shared on how much we enjoyed the program we just attended. I talked mostly. While talking to her I could see the light on her eyes, shining very brightly. The happiness inside was reflected on her face through the eyes. it was just so obvious.
I said to myself “This is what is called inner beauty.” The beauty of the soul that is coming from the heart of an old lady. The more permanent beauty. Not the beauty because of the cosmetics. Cosmetics only brings beauty on the skin, not the heart.
I still remember the lady’s name was Gloria Carmago.
A Japanese friend asked me: “what is heart? and what is soul?” If you got this question, what would be your answer? There are only two aspects of Human Being. The human and the being, the body and the soul, the physic and the spirit, physical and spiritual. Human refers to the body which is physical and Being refers to the soul which is spiritual. We can see the body, but we can not see the soul. We can not see our heart, our mind and our intellect.
Heart, mind, intellect…..all are in one, in the Being, in the soul. The 3 are in the soul, these are the faculties of the soul. Each one has different function. Mind creates thoughts. Mind works like a mirror, it reflects thoughts, it projects thoughts. The second faculty of the soul is intellect. It is called the eye of the soul, it has the ability to “see and understand”. It can see what is right and what is wrong. It has the ability to churn the thought deeply. It experiences the thought. It changes knowledge into wisdom. When the thought is transformed into an experience (a deeper understanding), then the heart does its work – it creates a feeling based on the experience. The stronger you hold one particular thought with your intellect, you think it deeply…..then your heart will create a feeling accordingly.
A buddish friend said to me that there are 3 aspects needed to perform a charity – the giver, the object you want to give and the receiver. These three should be there, otherwise you can not perform a charity. He shared a story of a monk who accepted a charity from his disciple. This disciple gave him something he can’t use or he will never use, yet he accepted it. When he was asked why he accepted it, he said that he wanted to give a chance to that disciple to perform something good, unless she doesn’t perform a charity.
It is true when it comes to give something physical. There should be these 3 – the giver, the object and the receiver. But you can also give something not physical. You can give your good thoughts, good wishes or good feelings to others. In giving this, you don’t need any physical object, you can do it from whereever you are and whenever you want. You might not need the receiver’s approval for this. Just give it away. They will definitely receive it, no one will reject your giving. This is more unlimited than giving a physical stuff. Our physical wealth is limited, but our mind and our heart are unlimited. Our good thoughts and good wishes are unlimited. This is not physical wealth, this is spiritual wealth. The more you give this wealth, the more it will increase. Keep giving and keep increasing your wealth. In fact this is the wealth that you will carry with you forever. Your physical wealth may get reduced or stolen, but this wealth is always safe. No one can take it away from you.
Have a happy weekend!
What can you see in this picture?
Someone said : “I can see a little yellow plant in a glass filled with water.” Others said : ”a hope”, “growth”, “life“ etc. It is interesting. Each one has different answer. All of the answers are right. It depends on from which point they are speaking. If we see the picture with our physical eyes, we can see a little yellow plant but if we are using the eye behind those physical eyes we might see the beauty of it, something different, something more subtle. The beauty is always hidden behind the facades. It needs the ability to capture what is hidden. It is the inner eye that can capture the beauty. Some call this inner eye as awareness, consciousness, heart, the eye of wisdom, the soul or the spirit. In fact it refers to one and same thing.
The key to happiness in life is the ability to see the beauty in small things around you using this inner eye, not the physical eyes. The physical eye only captures the gross things, but the inner eye can capture the subtle things. Beauty is experienced by the heart. Not many big things happen in life. We might not experience big success so much in our life, but there are so many little things happening in each day. Start seeing the beauty or success in small things around you, do not wait till something big to happen to be happy. Open your inner eye and fill your heart with this.
Someone asked me to moderate a panel discussion last year. I don’t remember the topic of the discussion specifically anymore. I think it was about having self respect and maintaining humility at the same time. There would be two speakers. I prepared a list of questions the night before for the discussion.
In the next morning I thought I would like to talk to each speaker and share the list of the questions. The first speaker said : ”You can ask me anything.” She didn’t want to see the list. I thought it was good for me, so I could ask any question. Then I talked to the second speaker. He wanted to read the list. He went through the questions one by one and he asked me to take out one question from the list. It was a very personal question. I asked them to share their personal stories on maintaining their humility while dealing with difficult people. Whether they succeeded or not, it wouldn’t matter. I realized that not everyone found it easy and comfortable to share an honest story about themselves.
We always could learn from other’s story. I believe that we can learn more from someone’s experience than just from information. Infomation is a theory and experience is a practice. Because experience is coming from the heart so it will inspire people more. Sharing an experience is always much better than sharing an information. It is a heart-to-heart sharing.