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, I 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 actual study.
Decades down the road now and 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 don’t keep a training journal. I don’t write down reps or workouts or what have you. I do write about what I am thinking about and 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 training 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 my later reactions to them. Those things that an attorney has advised me to write I keep separate, for obvious reasons.
It’ an odd mix of thinking about life’s Path through the lens of Stoicism combined with Zen – though eventually I did get a small bit of formal training, I ended up killing Buddha on the road some time ago – combined with Taoism and elements of martial traditions and modern tactical science and just plain personal 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.