This is a great piece on the Stoic Art of Journaling, from Daily Stoic.
We really should journal. I have for many, many years. In fact, I had years of journals from my late teens to early twenties that I once read through, and finding them the hopelessly smug smatterings of a self important youth, burned them.
Oh how I regret that now! Years of personal angst, of esoteric martial knowledge from the disciplines I practiced then, and observations on Zen and Taoism from a boy who’d never had a lick of genuine study in any of it.
Decades down the road and now I frequently journal. Not daily, so perhaps it can’t really technically be called a journal, but often enough when the mood strikes or when I am working with a situation or an issue.
I’ve never kept a training journal. I don’t write down reps or workouts or what have you. I do write about what I am working on in training but I don’t keep tallies or records or that kind of thing. By the same token I stopped keeping notes during seminars or other trainings as well. Sure, we have video now – if its allowed – but I usually find one thing during a seminar and focus on that and let the rest of the technical avalanche flow by.
Critical incidents, that kind of thing I have written about. Revisiting them later is so instructive, and has allowed my to debrief my actions and later reactions to them. Those things that an attorney has advised me to write down I keep separate, for obvious reasons.
It’s an odd mix of thinking about life’s Path through the lens of Stoicism and other early Greeks combined with East Asian traditions – though eventually I did get a bit of formal training, I ended up killing Buddha on the road some time ago – combined with elements of martial traditions and tactical science and just plain observation and experience.
It is a very useful discipline, this turning of words into action, and then action into words.
Philosophy can only be action for it to be practical at all.