I’m probably not the best person to be writing on this subject. There are plenty of other bloggers (Unitarian Universalists and others) who are much better at the whole thing than I am. But I have been blogging for some time now (5 or 6 years at least), and I have learned a thing or two…even if I don’t always put those things into practice.
The first thing I’ve learned is that it pays to blog regularly. Of course there are selfish reasons for this: the more you blog, the more hits your blog gets, and the more hits your blog gets, the better you feel. It’s just human nature, I guess. But there are some other things involved here, too. Blogging is essentially journaling in public. And journaling, according to the Rev. Dr. Barry Andrews (religious educator extraordinaire and scholar…you can check out his web page here) was one of the spiritual disciplines of the American Transcendentalist. And since we Unitarian Universalists are the spiritual heirs of those folks, taking one of their spiritual disciplines seriously is pretty much a no-brainer. (That is, of course, if you like to write. If you don’t, there are a bunch of other Transcendentalist spiritual disciplines one can emulate.)
Like any sort of journaling, the more you do it, the greater the rewards. Those of you who have read Julia Cameron’s Artist Way are acquainted with her concept of Morning Pages. The idea is simple: you get up in the morning about 20 minutes earlier than you usually would and you just write. For twenty minutes. Without stopping. If you do this long enough, you may just begin to peel back some layers from your (overly?) critical mind to find some nuggets in your psyche that you weren’t even aware of. Yes, this could be dangerous for some, but all in all, humans are a pretty resilient bunch, and doing a little digging into one’s subconscious may not be a bad idea. Blogging may not allow you to go as deep as The Artist’s Way, but if you do it regularly, the very act of having to find something new to write about may just push you a little further than you would otherwise want to go.
Another way that blogging can be a spiritual discipline is by helping you engage on a deeper level with others. You can do this two ways: by taking the comments on your own blog seriously and responding to those comments in an open, honest, and timely way; and by commenting on other bloggers’ posts openly and honestly. I really have to confess that I’m not the best role model for this practice, but I’d like to do better. So right here and now I’m pledging to do one simple thing: read all of the blog posts mentioned in The Interdependent Web, Heather Christensen’s weekly roundup of UU blogs published by the uuworld.org; and in addition to reading all of the post, I promise to try to openly and honestly comment on as many of those posts as I feel I have something meaningful to say.
I truly feel that there’s still a place for blogs and blogging the brave world of social media. I also feel that by participating as both a creator of content and a commentator on others’ content, one can engage more spiritually in one’s world.