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Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola
[The value of Yoga is recognized in Dr. Jung’s interest in the “Catholic cure of souls” as found in the Exercitia Spiritualia of the Catholic priest Ignatius Loyola. Dr. Jung often mentioned them and even lectured on them during his years of Professorship at the ETH Institute.]
For several years now I have been lecturing about the process of individuation. First I gave an account of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, then of two Buddhist treatises concerning the attainment of Buddahood. The third course was about the Exercitia Spiritualia of St. Ignatius. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 300
This recalls the impressive opening sentence of Ignatius Loyola’s “Foundation”: “Man was created to praise, do reverence to, and serve God our Lord, and thereby to save his soul.” ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 252
I have called the method ‘active imagination’. Ignatius Loyola also made use of active imagination in his Exercitia. There is evidence that something similar was used in the meditations of alchemical philosophy. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 64
He [Jung} went on to say that he never would have thought of studying the exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, for the idea bored him, but he said he saw that people should know about such things – so he studied them and found them most interesting. ~Carl Jung, Jung My Mother and I, Page 263
Also, the religious exercises of Ignatius of Loyola are Christian counterparts to the Indian meditations or to our fantasies from the unconscious. ~Carl Jung, Kundalini Yoga Seminar, Page 80
Yes, this is the deity. Ignatius of Loyola, too, had such visions in which a globe appeared. This is the all-round, cosmic being, the world soul, the rotundum, the round one. And what would you say about the fact that the ball in the dream is red? ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dreams Seminar, Page 441
He [Jung] said, “These Exercitia were a means to explain to my public, so I studied them for my people. You can use your knowledge for such a purpose, and then it makes sense, because you apply it. ~Carl Jung, Jung My Mother and I, Page 263
In the summer we will have the opportunity to discuss the exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the only official medieval form of yoga in the West. The unofficial Western yoga that concurs fully with that of the East is precisely this yoga of alchemy. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 164
This form of colloquy with the friend of the soul was even admitted by Ignatius Loyola into the technique of his Exercitia spiritualia, but with the limiting condition that only the person meditating is allowed to speak, whereas the inner responses are passed over as being merely human and therefore to be repudiated ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 236.
It is a transformation experience induced by technical means. The exercises known in the East as yoga and in the West as exercitia spiritualia come into this category ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 232.
The Exercitia spiritualia pursue the same goal, in fact both methods seek to attain success by providing the meditator with an object to contemplate and showing him the image he has to concentrate on in order to shut out the allegedly worthless fantasies. Both methods, Eastern as well as Western, try to reach the goal by a direct path. I do not wish to question the possibilities of success when the meditation exercise is conducted in some kind of ecclesiastical setting. But, outside of some such setting, the thing does not as a rule work, or it may even lead to deplorable results. By throwing light on the unconscious one gets first of all into the chaotic sphere of the personal unconscious, which contains all that one would like to forget, and all that one does not wish to admit to oneself or to anybody else, and which one prefers to believe is not true anyhow ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 939
Yoga was originally a natural process of introversion, with all manner of individual variations. Introversions of this sort lead to peculiar inner processes which change the personality. In the course of several thousand years these introversions became organized as methods, and along widely differing lines. Indian yoga itself recognizes numerous and extremely diverse forms. The reason for this lies in the original diversity of individual experience. This is not to say that any one of these methods is suited to the peculiar historical structure of the European. It is much more likely that the yoga natural to the European proceeds from historical patterns unknown to the East. As a matter of fact, the two cultural achievements which, in the West, have had to concern themselves most with the psyche in the practical sense, namely medicine and the Catholic cure of souls, have both produced methods comparable to yoga. I have already referred to the exercises of Ignatius Loyola. With respect to medicine, it is the modern psychotherapeutic methods which come closest to yoga. Freud’s psychoanalysis leads the conscious mind of the patient back to the inner world of childhood reminiscences on one side, and on the other to wishes and drives which have been repressed from consciousness. The latter technique is a logical development of confession. It aims at an artificial introversion for the purpose of making conscious the unconscious components of the subject ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 873