Meditation and Journaling with Alya Honasan

by Elma Laguinia

     20 minutes per day lang. That shouldn’t be too hard, no? But it turned out to be tougher than I thought.


     The session started with some yoga. Then after a couple of “relaxing” poses, Alya introduced us to journaling.


     A journal is not a diary.  It is nothing like the diaries we kept long ago (usually because a teacher required us to), where our entries recorded what we ate, what we did, etc.


     Journaling is, more than anything else, therapeutic.  An added bonus is that we have a record of what happened to us, along with the emotions that came with particular events.


     Journaling is a way of processing feelings. Your journal will always be with you, and in it, you can curse, rant, or scream to your heart’s content…in written form. Cheaper, I’d say, than going to a therapist.


     Alya emphasized that your journal is very useful.  If or when you are ready, you can go back and read through your entries, and see what sort of patterns emerge. You could relive certain experiences, and reflect on the emotions you felt at that time. You could go back and either be pleased at how far you’ve come, or aghast at how you let whatever that situation was get to you. Perhaps you will feel both, depending on which entries you read.


     Alya also said we should not “censor” ourselves. Our journals are for us only.  So we should not think about grammar or spelling or feel that “I shouldn’t say that”. Because it’s private and for our eyes only, we can say whatever we want. Walang risk of libel.


     The most immediate effect I felt after journaling was relief. I always felt better afterwards.


     Alya also gave us techniques that would get us into a journaling mood. Give yourself a couple of minutes to quiet down and prepare. Have a  routine or ritual to get you started, like lighting a candle, or using a special pen, or having some music on.  As to getting down to the actual writing, you can try making a list, a letter to self, or ask a series of “whys”. You can also record the weather, or add notes about the day, just to help with your recall. 


     For us beginners, she recommended getting a timer and setting it to 20 minutes.  You then try to fill up those 20 minutes. Initially, I had a hard time filling the 20 minutes. I was stumped. But with practice, I eventually got the hang of it.


     It will be very interesting for me to go back to what I wrote. To read what I thought and how I felt about certain situations.


     Also, if you believe in the prevailing theory that the universe throws us the same lessons again and again, until we finally learn from our mistakes, then perhaps journaling will help us learn our lessons faster.


     At the very least, the relief from letting it all out through writing made the workshop well worth my time.


     Thank you, Teacher Alya!