75 / 100
Western and Eastern Meditations


81570 1

Modern Psychology: C. G. Jung’s Lectures at the ETH Zürich, 1933-1941

Lecture III 17th November, 1939

We are speaking of the text by an old Spanish Jesuit, a “praeparatio”.

I should like to remind you, before we continue with it, what is intended by such a preparation.

Its aim is to insure having the right attitude towards the real meditation.

The subject of this is prepared and a substantial image made of it.

This procedure is the same as that which we saw in the eastern texts, where Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, etc. had to be imagined substantially and in detail, but the objects of meditation are extremely different.

With the invocation, the petitio, as we saw, the difference increases.

The text continues:

“After this [the invocation), one must take one of the prepared points and must think it over, weighing everything which is connected with it. This weighing should be directed towards inducing the will to establish the right frame of mind, which is the goal of the meditation.

It is this, and not the consideration and subtle analysis, which is the essence and fruit of the meditation.

A conversation [colloquium) follows the meditation – such a conversation can also take place at the beginning or in the middle or in fact as often as one feels moved to hold one.

This conversation is simply a confidential talk with the Lord Christ, the Mother of God, the Holy Trinity, or with some other divine figure.

During it one should think of oneself in different roles, such as the creature with the Creator, the servant with his master, the son with the father, the pupil with the master, the patient with the doctor, the friend with the friend or the beggar with the rich man. Usually a prayer is attached at the end of this conversation.

If you have spoken with the Blessed Virgin Mary say an ‘Ave Maria’, if to the Holy Trinity a ‘Pater Noster’ and if to the Lord Christ an ‘Anima Christi’.”

The reason for all these roles is that every side of the contemplator’s attitude to the divine figure should be, so to speak, illuminated.

Naturally he speaks quite differently as friend to friend, than as beggar to rich man.

A greater psychological reality is thus given to the conversation and more aspects are revealed.

But the Divinity is simply “talked to”, no one answers.

We find the same idea in antiquity, when the images of the gods were also “talked to”, though in these conversations there are answers recorded as well: the gods would nod or give some visible or audible token.

But whether they answer or not is really unimportant, the vital thing is that a connection should be established with the God.

We never find an answer in the exercises, or even an indication that an answer could occur, except the indirect effect of Grace.

This is regarded as the fruit of the exercises and could be interpreted as the answer of the Divinity.

An “oratio vocalis” follows the conversation, and if the special relation is to the Mother of God an Ave Maria is recommended, and if to the Holy Trinity then a Pater Noster, and if to Christ an Anima Christi.

The last is the most usual and is an old Church prayer which is an object for most careful meditation in the exercises.

I will first read you the prayer itself:

(Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me .
0 good Jesu, hear me:
Within Thy wounds , hide me :
Never permit me to be separated from Thee :
From the wicked enemy defend me :
At the hour of my death call me,
And bid me come unto Thee,
That with Thy Saints I may praise Thee
For ever and ever. Amen.)

We will examine this prayer in detail, as we did the eastern texts, and we will endeavour to have an equally naive attitude towards its contents, so familiar yet so totally unknown.

We will take a book of ERICH PRZYWARA: Deus semper maior, Theologie der Exerzitien, (Theology of the Exercises .) Vol. I, for this purpose.

The book begins with the pray er Anima Christi and Przywara says that it stands at the “entrance” of the exercises.

The Christian should be subjectively aware that he is permeated by the soul of Christ and soaked with the blood of Christ.

The anima or soul of Christ is a curious formulation.

Is it separated from the figure of Christ?

It certainly seems so, but as the dogma claims him as absolute God, as a totality, it seems very curious to separate his soul from this totality.

Yet it is a fact that this prayer speaks of the soul and body of Christ as two different things.

Przywara says that the vital content of the whole exercises is contained in becoming personally conscious that: “Christ lives in me”.

He also says that “the chief methods of the exercises go from consideration (consideracion) to meditation, (meditacion) to contemplation (contemplacion) and to experiencing through the senses “(traer los sentidos).

This last is specifically Ignatian, the senses must cooperate in order for the permeation by Christ to take place. Przywara says: “Christ lives in me”, but he might just as well say: “I live in Christ” , for he formulates it as “seeing with Christ’s eyes, feeling with His heart and breathing with Him.”

That means going over into Christ’s form, and is a classical difference between East and West.

Przywara actually calls it “das Herausspringen a us sich selbst” .

You spring out of yourself into the form of Christ in the Ignatian exercises, you leave yourself behind or dissolve yourself into the bodily and spiritual presence of our Lord.

Exactly the opposite of the East, where it is you yourself who become Buddha.

I will read you further passages from e astern texts, when we have finished considering the “Anima Christi”, so that you can see the enormous difference in attitude.

Przywara’s detailed comments on this prayer are exceedingly interesting from a psychological point of view.

He says:

  1. “Anima Christi, sanctifica me. – Soul is form-unity of the whole life. Soul of Christ is form-unity of everything which is Christ. The life of Christ is formed out of the soul of Christ and so is my life,
    because it is the life of Christ, in me.” By meditating on the soul of Christ you veritably become Christ and no longer live yourself but Christ.

We find the idea of the soul as the form giving principle already in the Middle Ages, it is the soul which forms the body and the outer life.

So in meditating on the Anima Christi you are meditating on Christ’s form.

The same ide a is to be found in the East.

When I was in India I went several times to a small chapel of. the Rama Krishna order.

There was no altar according to our idea, but a sort of throne consisting of silk cushions and a photograph of Rama Krishna reposing on the cushions.

This was in very bad taste but these people were totally unaware of that fact.

It was part of a daily meditation, not to worship Rama Krishna, but to enter his form, as the monks of the order explained to me.

844de 2

It was interesting that the celebrating monk had to prepare himself by meditation for days beforehand in order to be able to enter the soul of Rama Krishna and conduct the service.

The service was Hindu, and used old Vedic forms: earth, air, fire and water were all sacrificed and Vedic hymns were sung.

The priests sat round in the classical Lotus position and prostrated themselves during certain phases of the sacrifices.

Rama Krishna is not worshipped, his photograph is there to remind the worshippers of his form.

This is, therefore, totally different to the worship of Christ but the basic idea of soul as form is common to both.

After Przywara has established that the soul of Christ should so permeate the contemplator as to change his life into the life of Christ, he goes over to the second part of the first line: “sanctifica me”.

I must read you his words in order to convey the peculiar “Ergriffenheit” of his style.

“Therefore, sanctifica me, set me apart or reject me as the Temple and utensils of the Temple, these are set apart or rejected so that they either serve the Temple alone or must be destroyed; and in service of the Temple they serve the altar, that is they serve in the sacrifice. ‘Heilig’ (sacred) means ‘with God’ but in such a way that it also means ‘verflucht’ (damned) : on the narrow line between blessing and curse, – and in this thoroughly surrendered. Christ lives in me – or I live not. Christ everything – or the curse in nothingness.”

This refers to the passage about Christ “being made a curse for us”, namely a burden.

  1. “Corpus Christi sal a me. – Life of Christ in me is the life of God who became flesh, and whose body is the visible Church. It is not a matter of invisible divinity, nor of concealed inwardness, nor of lifeless spirituality, nor of pure soul, but of God who became man. Inwardness that manifests itself in works, spirituality that has its expression in flesh, soul that is only visible as the body.

Christ in the visible Church, Christ in visible work, Christ in the visible world. For he should be All, All in me and All through me out into the world.”

This is the sequence I have already spoken of in connection with the General Rules: realizations leading to emotions which in their turn are used for ethical resolves about conduct, which lead, so to speak, to the visible fruit of the meditation.

Przywara continues:

“Salva me, make me whole. It is just the body which makes whole: Christus, in that He is visible, man, flesh – through the humility of this impotence. Make me whole: healed wounds of sin, healed blood of sacrifice. Sin is healed in sacrifice: sanctifica me. But sacrifice is not the end. For sacrifice is the most open wound. Sin is healed in the sacrifice of the body of Christ. Body of Christ is being whole: salua me. So it is the whole totality, spirit and flesh, God and creature, one in the ‘head and body of one Christ’, in every one of his members, in every life and action of these members.”

So the body of Christ is thought of here as the origin of human totality, a reason ; why the one who is meditating should leave himself in order to go over into the form of Christ where alone he can achieve wholeness.

For Christ is our symbol for human totality.

You see how deep this meditation goes, not in every case, of course, but in such a case as Przywara who is an unusually intelligent man.

The concrete quality in this meditation is very remarkable.

There is no taking refuge in the spirit, no denial of the body, but a strong tendency to make everything visible and substantial and to emphasize the body.

This is the exact opposite of the eastern point of view, where everything concrete is regarded as Maya and dissolved as illusion, though there are materialistic systems also in the East for which this statement is not valid.

But in general the body is regarded there as substantial illusion.

You realise its reality and go on to recognise it as illusion and then the Yogin has reached another condition.

But in this western example there is a strong tendency to convert the inner experience at once into outer reality.

This is sharply opposed to the earlier meditations of the Devoti and is specifically Ignatian.

He concretised everything and embodied it in the visible body of the Church.

The emphasis he lays upon this, awakes the suspicion that matter is no a priori reality for western man, but has to be preached to him in order that he may realise its existence.

He still needs this realisation.

We come now to the next line in the prayer which is just as peculiar: “Blood of Christ, inebriate me”.

What would you think if you came on this sentence in an Indian text?

It would remind you of some bloody orgy, perhaps Dionysian, certainly primitive.

But we are so used to such sentences that they no longer strike us as unusual.

The blood of Christ is an abstract pale concept to us.

But supposing we had never heard it before?

Then we should understand the Indian who went to England and returned saying:

“The missionaries here give us no idea of the English religion. They worship animals, their Churches are full of lambs, eagles, oxen and people with wings.”

We do not even see these any longer, for they are a matter of course.

But a naive stranger sees them, and hears our texts also.

And when he hears “Blood of Christ, make me drunk ” for the first time it sounds dangerous, and he wonders what on earth we mean by it.

It arouses memories of ancient times and bloody sacrifices, and then he sees the image of a man nailed to a cross, represented in realistic detail.

By which time he is thoroughly shocked and asks himself what sort of people we really are to have such symbols.

There is no “Blut und Boden” (blood and earth) theory in the East, but that theory has a Catholic, nay a Christian, origin.

Such a sensual point of view originates in us.

Go to any picture gallery and look at the subjects of the medieval pictures and you will see it at once.

One man is being roasted, another is stuck all over with arrows, heads are being carried about on platters, and such like horrors on every side.

So we say: “Blood of Christ, inebriate me”, and think of the blood of Christ in the sacrament, the wine.

It has been toned down, wine is less dangerous than actual blood.

But it is still an intoxication.

Wine has come to mean spirit in the Christian Church so it has lost its dangerous appearance.

Przywara says however: “Sanguis Christi, ine bria me. – Because Christ is Himself from inside (anima Christi), because Christ is Himself in his whole form (corpus Christi), therefore He now also streams through me, warms me throughout and circulates in my blood : not just the form of Christ as my form, but gushing in the streams of Christ, flowing in the circulation of the blood of Christ, restless in Christ’s restlessness, transformed in the transformation of Christ – in His body which is the Church.

Therefore: inebria me. Narrow and timid ‘reasonableness’ must become the intoxication of drunkenness, so should my life be torn away.

Blood of Christ which glows, Blood of Christ which pulses – in the love which is beyond all bounds, in its height, width and depth. Make me drunk!”

As you see Przywara describes it as an act of violence. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture, Pages 184-188.