How to do your Diary
When at the end of the day, you recall your failures in thought, word and deed, in which direction will your mind be turned? Naturally, it will go to the One Who has asked you to keep it. So keeping the diary is also remembrance of the Master; you are saying something to Him. If you remember Him, then, He remembers you, and, in time, you will develop receptivity to Him wherever you may be. There can be no True Spiritual Progress without receptivity, and the daily maintenance of the dairy with full attention and a True Yearning to be freed from the lapses which are recorded therein goes a long way to developing this receptivity.
In the Christian religion, I understand that those who wish may make a confession of their lapses before a priest. They may go once a month or weekly, but generally not more often than once a week. But by keeping the diaries, you are making a confession every day. Let your confessions be honestly and openly recorded in the various columns, so that you know where you stand and can take rectifying action.
The best and easiest way to cure your ills is to yearn to be free of them and, as mentioned above, to have sweet remembrance of the Master at the time you are filling in your diary.
Last and just as important as the foregoing, keeping the diary should not be allowed to stagnate into a mere recording of failures, which tends to become mechanical if done with little or no attention. The true purpose of putting these failures down in front of you is to make yourself aware of them so that they may be weeded out. To weed them out, it is not sufficient to cut off one or two branches; you must uproot the cause. Once you become aware of a failure, you should be able to trace it to a certain situation, and this situation will help you to identify the cause of the weakness in you which has to be eliminated. By and by, the very cause of the failure will drop off by itself.
Now as to the lapses or departures from the right way, as you call them: the mind, as you know, works in subtle ways – too subtle for an ordinary man to detect and then detect rightly and in time before the mischief is done. It is from the abundance of heart that all actions, oral as well as physical, proceed. We have, therefore, to be mentally alert about our thought-waves, so as to be able in time to mark their ebb and flow and then by-pass them by the process of concentration, forgetting all about the mind and the mental states, including even the pure mind essence which gossamer-like envelops the soul …
It is the memory of our experiences in the distant past and in the living present that constantly and irresistibly follows us at our heels and since we have not yet learned to keep aloof and above them the lapses occur in spite of us. The enumeration process is just the first step to be cognisant of our doings, which we are likely to overlook in our self-righteous assertiveness …
Thoughts are to be watched which precede actions. It is a slow yet steady process of gradual improvement for which an all-out effort is necessary. A well disciplined and spiritually regulated life is very much essential.
The Lord is not an innocent child, to believe anything you wish; He sees the true condition of your life, inwardly and outwardly.
Personal awareness of the transgressions of the Holy Commandments and immediate confession by way of Inner Repentance are all helpful measures for Inner Growth and Receptivity. However, recalling and counting such lapses at the close of the day and jotting them down on the diary forms has its own benefit when you regret such deeds and feel inspired to work for improvement. Pride and ego do not let us progress – when we make mistakes we will not admit them.
The diary forms are divided into seven categories. The first six categories deal with the failures to observe the virtues indicated by the heading of these categories, while category number seven is a record of the time spent in Spiritual Practices. In the first six categories, you are to enter the number of times that you fail to observe the virtues indicated, in thought, word and deed. For example, if you fail in ‚Non-violence‘ in thought, word and deed, four times in one day, you are to enter this figure in the column provided under the day on which the failures occurred.
The diary forms should be a True Reflection of your own Inner State. The failures made should be as an open self-confession of the shortcomings which stand between you and the Master. Similarly, devoting regular time to the Spiritual Practices is an indication of the positive growth. If you live up to the sublime purpose behind the keeping of the diary, you will progress from day to day, and achieve your goal in this lifetime.