Speech on the Pleasure and Value of Keeping a Diary

Many are the pleasures and great is the value of keeping a diary.

As we go about this business called life, we are caught up in a swirl whose momentum keeps us going, and unless we train ourselves to pause and find our bearings, we lose ourselves in the flurry of activity in which we are engaged. A feeling of meaninglessness and emptiness sets in, but because we have not taught ourselves to introspect, we try to get away from our discomfort by speeding up our lives even further with a spate of new activities that puts us into a breathless rush. Speed becomes its own goal and the scene around becomes a blur. To others, the effect might be dazzling, but sooner or later there is bound to be a crash.

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In the journey of life, there is a need for speed-breakers as there is for breaks, and a diary provides both. By helping us to pause and assess our lives and thereby preserve our mental balance, it ensures safety both for ourselves and for others.

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It is also like stopping from running and filling our lungs with oxygen to rejuvenate ourselves.

In yogic belief, God is bliss, and the universe is an expression of His bliss. In other words, self-expression is inherent in His nature. If we are made in the image of God, as the spiritual tradition of many cultures make out, then self-expression is a part and parcel of our being as well. Even Psychology supports the view that, just like we need food to maintain and build our bodies, we require self- expression to preserve and foster our mental health. What better way is there to do this than by writing a diary?

A human friend is not always available, but a diary is. There are some things we would rather not say even to our closest friends. There is something about us that seeks and prizes at least a certain amount of privacy. A diary allows us to express ourselves without compromising our need to protect our innermost thoughts while allowing them room to be ventilated, which is often a prelude to creating.


It is in creating that we become most god-like. Our lives give us golden opportunities to create in whatever field we desire, but to do that we must be in touch with our innermost selves. In this respect the act of keeping a diary can be of immense help.

And what better way is there to spend a quiet evening by ourselves than by leafing through the pages of a previous year’s diary, sometimes even surprising ourselves that we were indeed the way we were?

A diary does not necessarily have to be all about our personal psyche. People have kept diaries while journeying and later turned them into travelogues. Others have used it to record the society in which they lived. In such instances, keeping a diary makes us more alert to what we see and experience, and enables us to react to our surroundings in a deeper, more involved way. In that sense, it makes living more intense, and lends our waking hours greater focus.


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