Subject: RE: Diaries (was: Re: The Pause that Refreshes)

From: john grigg (
Date: Mon Jun 12 2000 - 14:15:02 MDT

The wise and reflective Martin Ling wrote:
This is the exact reason I keep a diary. For those who do not, I cannot
recommend anything more highly. A month of life in which you have recorded
your thoughts and the things which have concerned and affected you can be
worth an entire year which you went through without, in my opinion.

This hit me so hard because I agree with you but still do not keep a diary
as I should. The closest thing I have is the ExI list! I am old enough
now(33) that whole periods of years in the past ten years sort of "merge"
while more definitive years when I was younger really stick out in my mind.
I should have made the last ten years more exciting so I would be able to
really remember it... ;)

I agree with your "month of journals being better then a year gone
unrecorded" take on things. I grew up in a religious organization that
stresses the importance of keeping a daily journal.

you continue:
Even after just a short while, you begin to become more aware of the
processes which shape you. You can probably consider major events and
changes in your life, and look at the different ways you thought about
things - but I guarantee you would be amazed to look back over some of
the inbetween steps you may have forgotten

All, so very true. Keeping a regular journal must give a person perspective
not normally available. I like the way you describe the advantage it gives.

Max More wrote:
I used to keep a diary regularly but now find I don't make the time.

I like how Max wrote that he doesn't make the time, rather then just does
not have the time. :) I wonder how journal entries would differ based on
whether one types or orally dictates to a computer??

Bonnie wrote:
When I read the stuff I wrote when I was in my early 20's, I'm amazed at how
stable my basic philosophy has been over the years. I'm also amazed at how
my memory of specific events changes over time. In some cases, the change is
due to a new interpretation I give past events as a result of gaining
knowledge I didn't have before. In other cases, I remember certain moments
clearly but separately from the context of daily life in which they were
embedded when they occurred. I've loved being a whole series of slightly
different people, united by this basic philosophy. I sometimes wonder what
it would be like if I could have all these different "selves"--the little
child self, the teenaged self, the young-adult self, etc. in a room with
each other at the same time. I think they'd like each other. I wonder if
anyone has some "selves" that wouldn't get along well with their other

A few months ago my mother was going through old boxes and found a tape
recording of me at age five. She had me come over and listen to it; nearly
against my will too! I was so irritated by my past self for incessant
talking, whining and yelling that I wanted to travel in time and strangle
him Homer Simpson style! My poor stepfather of the time...

you continue:
Here's one way I use meditation in conjunction with memories of past events.
I've found that there are certain moments in my life that stand out from the
others in that they're brighter and seem to have been experienced from a
state of mind that I'll call transcendent for want of a better word. (I feel
as though I must step carefully here to avoid being misinterpreted as
referring to something supernatural Unfortunately, our language doesn't
contain words that exactly fit the things I'm trying to describe).

The characteristics of this state of mind include a feeling of timelessness,
or being outside of time; profound peace of mind; invulnerability; and great
beauty of an indescribable sort--a beauty that might include, for example,
the "seeing" of radiation above and below the usual range of visible light.
If I sit quietly and let go of my present concerns, I can access these
isolated moments which occurred at different times of my life.

A transcendent memory of mine occurred in the fifth grade when only at the
persuasion of friends and a teacher did I join the annual school spelling
bee. As the contest progressed fewer and fewer people remained on the
stage, then it was two and then... I won! I was in a state of shock as I
was lifted over the shoulders of my classmates and carried in triumph back
to class! I remember feeling great all the way home and as I got off the
schoolbus. I sure didn't win state but it felt good to participate. The
guy who was "supposed" to win was not happy to say the least.

What happened there was a small thing but it did show me that sometimes I
can do things which I think I have no chance of accomplishing. I should
have taken the lesson more to heart in my life.

best regards,

John Grigg

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