Lecture 11 17 July 1939
I have been. asked how one can best get hold of my article “Yoga and the West”,100 which I published in the journal Prabuddha Bharata.
For that I refer you to Watkins publishing house in London.101
The Essays in Zen Buddhism by Suzuki are going to be published in Germany.102
The German translation is not out yet. It’s difficult to predict these days— because there are decidedly higher powers in the world which even prevent publications, we cannot say exactly when it will come out.
In the last session, I mentioned the visions of the blessed Brother Klaus.
There is an original publication about them by Father Alban Stöckli of Einsiedeln, which was published in Lucerne: Die Visionen des seligen Bruder Klaus [The visions of the Blessed Brother Klaus].103
You may remember that I mentioned Nicholas of Flüe because he also had visions like Ignatius, and also interpreted his visions in this way: that is, according to dogmatic principles.
Last time we ended with a discussion of the Ignatian visions.
And, one day, while praying the office of Our Lady on the steps of the abovementioned monastery, his understanding began to be raised up, in that he was seeing the Most Holy Trinity in the form of three keys on a keyboard[.]104
These three keys on a keyboard he interpreted as the Holy Trinity.
His biography refers to himself in the third person, because he dictated it.
There it says, and this with so many tears and so many sobs that he could not control himself.
And on walking that morning in a procession which was leaving from there, at no point could he restrain his tears until
the mealtime, nor after the meal could he stop talking, only about the Most Holy Trinity, and this with many comparisons, a great variety of them, as well as much relish and consolation, in such a way that the impression has remained with him for the whole of his life, and he feels great devotion when praying to the Most Holy Trinity.105
He translated this vision of the three piano keys directly into the Trinity in the dogmatic sense.
Of course, to us such an interpretation seems extraordinarily arbitrary.
If, however, we adopt the mindset of someone like Ignatius and of that time, the Trinity association is of course the first to
come to mind.
If he saw something with three parts, it naturally referred to the Trinity.
Anyone at that time who saw a vision with any kind of division into three would come to this conclusion, never mind a theologian who writes about the Trinity.
Another episode reported in his biography is the following: Similarly, while being in that town in the church of the said monastery, and hearing mass one day, as the body of the Lord was being raised, he saw with his interior eyes some things like white rays which were coming from above.
And although after so long a time he cannot properly explain this, still what he saw clearly with his understanding was [. . .] how Jesus Christ Our Lord was pre sent in that most holy sacrament.106
What he actually saw was a bright white light coming down from above.
He interpreted it as the presence of Christ in the sacrament of the altar, thus in the Host.
This was one of the prob lems that preoccupied people throughout the Middle Ages—to what extent Christ could transubstantiate in the Host vere, realiter et substantialiter.107
Again, Ignatius simply interpreted this vision to fit the dogmatic idea.
Often, and for a long time, as he was in prayer, he used to see with his interior eyes the humanity of Christ[.]108
Another impor tant question in the Middle Ages was what Christ’s body actually consisted of.
After all, it was the abode of God and could not possibly have all the failings of a human body.
The dogmatic formula is of course, “true God and man.”109
So one had to believe that Christ’s body was also a human body. But that gave rise to all sorts of doubts which,
combined with reason, made it very difficult to apply the dogma.
No wonder the problem preoccupied him.
Another vision reads, As for the form that used to appear to him, it was like a white body, not very big nor very small, but he did not see any distinction of limbs.
He saw this often in Manresa.
Were he to say twenty or forty times, he wouldn’t be so bold as to judge that this was a lie.
He has seen it another time when he was in Jerusalem, and again when travelling to Padua[.]110
What he saw was a kind of elongated light /gure, but it could not be recognized as a human body, because no limbs could be seen.
Essentially, then, a glowing shape.
Our Lady too he has seen in a similar form, without distinguishing the parts.
These things he has seen con/rmed him back then, and they always gave him such great confirmation regarding the faith, that he has often thought to himself that if there weren’t Scripture to
teach us matters of the faith, he would be resolved to die for them solely on the basis of what he has seen.111
These are psychological facts that demand to be taken seriously.
The visions immediately reminded him of the holiest of images, and to see them substantiated in this way moved him deeply, but it was the fact of the vision that moved him, not the interpretation.
Such visions are in themselves capable of triggering an immediate invigorating effect in the person who sees them.
Another time he had an epiphany:
After this had lasted a good while, he went off to kneel at a cross which was nearby in order to give thanks to God.
And there appeared to him there that vision which had oft been appearing and which he had never recognized: i.e., that thing mentioned above which seemed very beautiful to him, with many eyes.
But being in front of that cross he could well see that that thing of such beauty didn’t have its normal colour, and he recognized very clearly, with strong backing from his will, that it was the devil.
And in this form later the devil had a habit of appearing to him, often and for a long time, and he, by way of contempt would cast it aside with a staff he used to carry in his hand.112
This vision, which at first had filled him with the highest spiritual rapture, suddenly gets a different interpretation.
At first it was a manifestation of God, and then he suddenly realized, because it was not as brightly colored as usual, that it was evidently a bad spirit— though this realization came through “strong backing from his will.”
Of course, there is no evidence that it was first particularly good and later particularly bad. It was what it was: a vision, which of course can have both values.113
The devil can also appear.
There is no tangible reason why this thing should now be declared to be evil.
But the fact is that it was declared to be evil: that is, a doubt arises from this vision.
Actually we do not know what it is. It could be good but it could also be evil, and then comes a decision of will, which makes it into the aspect it is later presented as.
That is to say, these unconscious phenomena are morally indifferent, and only when they enter into a particular conscious atmosphere are they identified by consciousness as this or that.
is really perceived and the way it is interpreted at a particular time. The sphere naturally signifies the rounded whole.
Your own wholeness is revealed to you, which naturally has a resolving effect.
It immediately creates a sense of inner security. You have become one with your own doubt.120
The opposites have united and the sphere is a symbol of that. Back to the biography of Ignatius:121
From Manresa he went to Barcelona, and in 1523 to Palestine.
He got the money for the journey together by begging, as he was not allowed to have money or possessions, and he
lived from alms.
In Jerusalem he was expelled by the Franciscan provincial, who was the highest superior at that time in Jerusalem, because he had made himself unpop u lar with the Turks who were fighting there with the Saracens.
He could only stay there a few days. He came back to Barcelona and realized that he needed to get some education.
After all, he was a soldier, not a scholar. He began learning Latin, and had to conjugate the verb amo.
He could not utter the word, because he kept lapsing into a state of Gottesminne, “love of God.”
He felt the total bliss of his love for God. It was not too good for his Latin studies, but a great experience for his piety.
But he did not let that stymie his pursuit of knowledge.
In Salamanca, he studied philosophy, and at the same time he kept on doing all kinds of proselytizing: speaking to people, that is, to help them.
He regularly did the exercises with people whom he met by chance.
In 1528, he set off for Paris, on foot, to go and properly study theology.
Accompanied by a donkey to carry his books, he walked all the way to Paris, surviving on alms.
Both before and after the journey he came into occasional conflict with the Inquisition due to his missionary activities.
This was of course unpleasant—it was not an institution to be tried with at that time. The stench of bodies burning at the stake was common.
from Jesus: “I will be favorable to you in Rome.”119
Even if shifs vision really happened this way and he also really heard the voice, it was a purely dogmatic vision, which I do not /nd au then tic.
He had acquired the habit of projection through these visions, which initially had been genuine, and had learned to make his own thoughts appear.
If you practice, you can proj ect certain thoughts on to yourself.
It has also been said about Mohammed, for example, that he always had visions which fitted the situation and told him what he wanted to hear.
If a vision assumes this complex character, it is usually a projection of something hoped for or thought of. It is a projected fantasy, in other words a concretized fantasy.
He thought of it, hoped for it, and let it appear.
But that only works in a person who is already well practiced at dealing with the unconscious.
First he observes spontaneous visions.
Then these visions are revised in keeping with the dogma, and in this way he gradually gains practice in also letting thoughts appear that are now purely dogmatic and have nothing to do with the essence of the unconscious.
The more complex the visions, the further they get from the unconscious, and the more questionable their authenticity becomes.
Of course I do not dispute that he had the experience, but the au thentic visions are the ones that appear everywhere: also among primitives, for example, who describe the soul as a sphere.
The soul’s essence appears in the form of a sphere. These ideas can be found in many places around the world.
Apparitions of light manifest in almost every spiritualist séance provided a halfway decent medium is pre sent, and also in dreams, all over the world.
One has to make a clear distinction between the ele ment that are not so critical.
For people with an un balanced ner vous system, however, such situations are so difficult and conflict- prone that they spiral into a kind of panic or disintegration.
Then such visions can occur, which bring a kind of solution, rather like an epiphany. It is a concretized epiphany.
The result is then very often that a conscious conviction takes root, such as the belief that God particularly helped the person by appearing right at that very moment.
Psychologically, this simply means that at certain typical moments of human life, spontaneous manifestations of the unconscious occur which have this resolving effect.
How such things are described is left to the discretion of the individuals and their convictions.
Thus you might say that Jesus Christ, that is God, appeared to you in the form of a sphere.
But such interpretations often seem inelegant or contrived.
For example, Swedenborg, who made a great impression on Kant, had his first vision at the age of fifty- six or fifty- seven.118
He was in London at the time, had dined very well, and as he sat there after dinner the whole floor became a mass of wriggling worms.
In the corner appeared a figure with a red cape who said to him, “ Don’t eat so much!”
It was a spontaneous vision, an insight from the unconscious: “Now you have gorged yourself too much.”
These writhing creatures were a projection of his struggling digestion.
The figure was his better self: “Now stop it and be sensible.”
He saw it as divine advice, and the extraordinary impression was thus firmly established.
He then believed it had been the Lord himself.
If you study the visions of saints and others, you can roughly see which visions are au then tic.
I now want to tell you one of Ignatius’s visions which I would not describe as au then tic.
I am jumping ahead. When he already had pupils, he went to Rome and was in much doubt about whether he would be received by the pope for his founding of an order.
In this state of mind, he had another vision.
He saw how God transferred the protection of the “Society of Jesus” to his son bearing the cross, and he heard a voice which apparently came
Then he had another kind of vision which is very strange: [T]hey boarded the pilgrim ship.
On to this ship too he brought nothing with which to feed himself beyond the hope he was placing in God, just as he had done on the other.114
He lived only from alms.
Throughout this time Our Lord often appeared to him, which gave him great consolation and energy.
Moreover, it seemed to him he repeatedly saw a large round object, apparently of gold[.]115
So, a golden ball, something round apparently of gold.
And this was now the Lord. It’s not easy to see, even from the perspective of Christian dogmatics, why it should particularly be the Lord.
[A]lways growing in devotion, i.e. in facility in finding God, and now more than ever in his whole life.
And every time and hour he wanted to find God, he found him.
And that now too he had visions often, especially those which have been talked about above, when he saw Christ like a sun.
This often used to happen as he was going along talking about impor tant things, and that would make him arrive at
Psychologically, this means that a spontaneous manifestation of the unconscious always occurs in critical situations.
Here it shows itself as a round apparition, like gold; another time it is described as being more like the sun.
The analogy with the sun works very well for Christ, insofar as he is often identi/ed with the sun, for example as sanctus sol justitiae, that is, the holy sun of righ teousness: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righ teousness arise with healing in his wings.”117
At this point the visions are very au then tic, precisely because of their undogmatic character.
These are visions that other people could have too, people who wouldn’t qualify as saints.
One can also see such visions in mentally un balanced people, of course— rather often actually, because such people are often in very critical situations which for normal people Laynez.132
Thus in 1533 he initiated the Society of Jesus.133
It was not an or ga nized society, but a small conventicle.134
They lived from alms, as they had taken vows of poverty and chastity.
In 1535, Ignatius returned to Spain. In 1537, he arranged with his companions in Spain and France that they would meet in Venice to make a pilgrimage to the holy sepulcher in Palestine.
However, the Turkish war made this sea journey to Jerusalem impossible.135
In Venice, the suggestion of founding a monastery was made for the first time. He then headed for Rome.
On the way he his winning manner, was able to convince Ory. After that he had no more problems from the Inquisition.
He stayed in Paris until 1530. During this time he worked as a directeur de conscience,129 as spiritual director and guide.
He gradually changed, began to withdraw from this activity and devote more time to his studies.
He had several negative experiences, in particular when attempting to conduct the exercises with a large number of people all together at the same time.
He now de cided to do the exercises with just a few people, in peace and quiet, and became more methodical and careful in the se lection of his penitents.
He restricted his activity essentially to intelligent and educated men.
But even with this limited group he was more cautious and avoided exercises. He did not lead his own exercises again until 1533.
Then he encountered the people who would be instrumental to the fate of the Jesuit order.
He met Peter Faber, who became one of his most important colleagues.130
He led him through the exercises, and we know that Faber followed them with great success.
As if by the wave of a magic wand, Faber was freed from his carnal nature, his temptations, and his character weaknesses.
He was filled with spiritual strength and enthusiasm, more than he would ever have dreamed pos si ble.
Ignatius also had similar success converting others, such as Francis Xavier,131 who became well known through his Indian mission, and Diego
He was put on trial several times, for example in Salamanca.
The people who had followed the exercises with him were questioned.
From the files it seems they were mainly women.122
The statement of a woman who took part in the exercises says that she asked Ignatius of her own volition to guide her and instruct her in how she could serve God.
He answered her that she should speak to him often over the course of a month and during this month she should confess and go to communion every week.
In the first week she would be very happy and enjoy it, without knowing why.
In the second week she would be very sad, but he hoped she would feel great bene/t from it.
He also told her that he wanted to explain the exercise of the three powers of the soul to her.
These are mentioned in the exercises.
He also showed her the merit that one could earn in temptation.
He spoke of venial sin, peccatum veniale, and how it could become mortal sin, peccatum mortale.123
This is typical. First the venial sin, which then leads to mortal sin. He further spoke of the Ten Commandments, of the circumstances of the mortal sins, and of the five senses.
He told her that if she entered into God’s ser vice, she would be plagued by temptations of evil.124
He taught her how to examine her conscience, and told her she should do it twice a day, once after lunch and again after dinner, by kneeling down and saying, “My God, my Father, my Creator! I thank you and praise you for all the many blessings that you have bestowed upon me and, I hope, will still bestow upon me.”125
This prayer is typical inwards, toward stillness, intimacy, and peace in God.
With Ignatius, it is all directed outward: deeds, battle and argument, undertakings, attacks against the world.
It is all active and goal- oriented.
With Ignatius, the whole edification and mystical immersion are completely consumed in regulation, provisos, very speci/c instructions, for which reason he was also reproached for reducing every thing to the drill rules of a commanding
I will not venture an opinion about whether this reproach is justified, but I have to mention it.
These particular qualities of the Ignatian exercises have a historical origin which comes not from Christianity, but from Arabic mysticism. I will begin with that next semester. ~Carl Jung, The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, Pages 34-