May 1980 talk, Serial No. 00831

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Yesterday we saw something about Jung, his model of the psyche, all the things he adds
to Freud's. Remember the persona, re-dating with the outside world. Remember the shadow,
that strange kind of counter-ego. And the anima, and then the decisive new theory, the
collective unconsciousness, and the archetypes, and archetypes such as the wise old man, and
the young hero, and the cosmic mother, and how closely these relate him to key Christian
symbols we've seen. Remember Freud's theory of the growth of a person. You go through
stages. First there's the pure libido stage of the little child, then there's the ego
stage of the little tiny kid, and then finally there's the full rounded out person as the
child gets through the Oedipus crisis and comes up also with an interiorization of values
and conscience, etc., in the superego. Jung also has an interesting theory of the development
of the psyche, also related to his categories. He says there's a matriarchal stage when the
little child is almost pure passivity, pure receptivity, that's kind of like the ocean
sort of thing. Then it goes into a patriarchal stage, this is something like Freud's Oedipus
crisis, and the ego, the strong ego in terms of what it ought and ought not to do, the
self-affirmation, self-discipline, the tough kid sort of thing, the kid who could stand
on his own two feet. Then hopefully, ideally, we get into an integrative phase beyond this,
which is the adult sort of wise person who can come to terms with the on and the inside,
get deep down into the depths of the collective unconsciousness, get back into contact with
those archetypes that are the source of strength, etc. So it's an interesting way of seeing
how we can and should grow. We've already seen lots of what he has to say then about religion.
It's a very, very positive approach, and his main thing is that psychic sickness is equivalent to
religious immaturity, and getting your religious faith and life together is equivalent to psychic
health. So he has a very strong position about the dialogue between the theologian, for instance,
and the analytic psychologist. In this introductory essay he writes to Father White's book,
as we said, one of his last essays, for instance, Jung starts out saying,
Long years of experience have again and again taught me that a therapy along purely biological
lines does not suffice, but requires a spiritual completion. So here we're quite an amazing
language after Freud. And then he says later in the essay, During the past 30 years, people from
all the civilized countries of the earth have consulted me. He's very strong on this universal
approach. This strengthens our insight into these basic archetypes, etc. So the whole universal world
has consulted me. Among my patients in the second half of life, that is to say, over 35, there has
not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.
Any problem of psychic health meant not being able to find a religious outlook on life.
It is easy to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living
religions of every age have given to their followers. And none of them has been really
healed who did not regain this religious outlook. So part of the healing function of Jung, precisely
as an analytic psychologist, is to help people get a religious outlook. So this is, I think,
quite amazing, and it should challenge us. Then he develops a whole technical theory of
the precise relationship, then, of the psychologist and the theologian.
What is the relation of these two? Now we might think of a possible relation or non-relation
in theological categories or philosophical. He obviously wants very rigorously to start
from the point of view of the psychologist, that is, the man primarily concerned with the psychic
healing of the patient. From that precise point of view, what is the relationship between
psychology and the theologian? And he says, the psychologist cannot prescribe for his patient
just any religious outlook, assuming it to be a living system. But by dint of careful and
persevering investigation, he must endeavor to discover where the sick person feels a healing,
living quality which can make him whole. So somewhere in that person, in his depths,
there'll be an area that is a more healing force. And the psychologist must very delicately try to
open that up, not impose a priori the psychologist's whole doctrine. He cannot be concerned at first
as to whether this so-called truth bears the official stamp of validity. If, however, the patient
is thus able to rediscover himself and get on his feet again, then the question of consciously
reconciling his individual realization with the collectively valid opinions and convictions
becomes a matter of vital importance. The first step is simply to heal this person
through his own inner spiritual resources. When he is on his feet again, then the issue comes,
what is the issue between what he believes and the sort of social beliefs of the world in which
he lives? That which is only individual isolates, and the sick person will never be healed by
becoming a mere individualist. He would still be neurotic, unrelated, and estranged from his
social group. So I was talking to a friend the other day. He had first been an agnostic when I
had known him in high school, and he went through a very difficult period. He became a Jew.
Then he went through an even more difficult period and went through two divorces and things.
When I knew him, he was in trouble, but he was getting a healing strength out of his Judaism,
and I was trying to help him. It was not, it seems to me at that point, wise for me to try
to convert him from Judaism to Catholicism or anything of the sort, because at that point,
the only thing he had to hold on to was the healing strength of his Judaism.
And so I think that is what Jung is saying. There's a kind of physiological parallel in
something that C. Thomas Aquinas says. He says, if you come up to a man who's starving to death,
first you feed him, then you announce the gospel to him. You don't first announce the gospel and
then feed him. There is a priority to the simple saving the life there. So I think that's what
I'm, this is what he's saying. What, suppose the man is a Muni or a Mormon or something.
If that is a healing strength in him in the first moment, help him to that. But then in a second
moment, then he has to reconcile his Muni thing with just his rediscovered common sense or
something. Then he says, is the point for the recourse to the theologian, that is the person
who can work through belief systems and help the person find a belief system that simply
helps him live in a full, healthy way in the modern world. Although I am able to testify to the
reality of the psychological facts, it is quite beyond my power, says Jung, to promote the
necessary processes of assimilation which come to terms with the collective representations of
modern society. This calls for the cooperation of many and above all of those who are the exponents
of the general truths, namely the theologians. Apart from doctors, they are the only people
who are professionally concerned with the human soul. Jung uses a surprising language,
rediscovery of the soul, and says the doctor and the psychologist as such are interested in the
soul. We know that there is the soul, this area of archetypes and spiritual needs. Now, the doctor
is concerned, the therapist, and the only other person concerned as such is the theologian. So
we've got to open this dialogue. So the theologian helps the patient in the second step so that he
can get together his own individual view with a view that can be lived in the modern society.
The way Jung expresses this, I think it can sound a little objectionable, as though
the theologian is just necessarily plugged into some sort of official religiosity, and he draws
the person from his individual theology into this kind of official religion so that the person can
be fully integrated. Well, the Christian can't buy that because one can imagine one, I don't know,
in a Muslim culture or in Utah, it would have to be the Mormon culture. It can't just be the
criterion, it seems to me, of officiality that establishes what will be a healing faith fully.
But still, it's an interesting perspective, it seems to me, of two steps. The first step
belongs to the therapist to help the person discover his own healing religious beliefs.
And then the second moment is to see the relation between those healing beliefs and
the true faith, and that would be the function of the theologian. So, slightly reformulated,
it seems to me it is a challenging view of a possible relationship.
Commons thoughts. What do you think of this two-step approach, the first being of the psychologist,
the second of the theologian, or indeed monk? He's using theologian in the old-time sense of someone
who's so fully living the mystery that he can communicate it in a saving and healing way to the other.
Are you all in accord with this?
He's always afraid of the accusation of behaving like a theologian or a philosopher,
especially in his essay. He wants to insist, I am a scientist, my thing is to heal people,
and that's it. And he says that in very... because he's accused by the Freudians of just being off
on some sort of weird speculative trip that gets metaphysical and gets theological. So he says,
no, I'm a scientist, and I want to heal people. So I think he can't raise questions of ultimate
truth, or all he can do is talk in terms of immediate healing and then final fuller healing.
And it's an interesting criterion. I wonder what we say to it.
The criterion for discernment of a Ignatius of Loyola or of a patient, if I remember rightly,
but it's that which gives a person a profound tranquility in the full sense so they can go
on spiritually. And then from that he may grow and grow and modify that and perfect it, but
not a kind of superficial ease with oneself and with others, but if it gives a deeper
healing peace, I think we would want to say, oh, so there must be some truth there.
But there's one thing about it, that this thing has already got some kind of a social
and official hook up. And whatever the person is hanging on to, probably, for instance,
if he's a Munich or something like that, well, he's hanging on to something already
that he's based on. Right. For instance, in the case of my friend, he wasn't any longer
in the Jewish community. It's just a memory of some years ago. So what he's holding on to
socially is just memories. Now, I, as a good Catholic, what do they call them,
when they try to win converts, a proselytizer, I could have come out with all my syllogisms
against Judaism, etc., but I don't think that would have been very helpful at that point,
because I could have well gotten him more against Judaism, but I'm not sure he would
have had the strength at that point to undertake a spiritual journey to go towards Judaism.
Precisely. Precisely. Yeah. So anyway, that's his proposal. Then he's sort of
angry at Christians for giving so much attention to Freud. You know, he came along as sort of
after Freud, and there was Freud in the first Christian reaction of anger and hostility to
Freud. Then, as often happens, a second moment of reaction to say, well, there might be something
of value here. Then the beginning of the dialogue, Christians with Freud. At that point,
Jung comes along and says, hey, why are you so friendly with Freud? He says, the fact that many
clergymen seek support or practical help from Freud's theory of sexuality or Adler's theory
of power is astonishing, inasmuch as both these theories are hostile to spiritual values,
being, as I have said, psychology without the psyche. They are rational methods of treatment
which actually hinder the realization of meaningful experience.
By far, the larger number of psychotherapists are disciples of Freud or Adler.
This means that the greater number of patients are necessarily alienated from a spiritual
standpoint, a fact which cannot be a matter of indifference to one who has the realization of
spiritual values much at heart. So this is very interesting. You say, we've got to get our forces
together. I, as a Jungian, am interested in the spiritual, in the soul, in this dimension,
and you are too. So let's unite our forces. So it's an interesting
thing. Then another point, he stresses this urgency of the cooperation with
theologians. So that, briefly, is Jung. What kind of response then? I think yesterday we mentioned
the ambiguous here nature of Jung. He seems extremely friendly and extremely
an ally, and he wants to be. He sincerely wants to be a close friend of a theologian,
of the religious person, the person dedicated to prayer, etc. And after the kind of the fiercely
cold shower of Freud, this is very enticing. There is this problem. Some say that, again, Jung is much
more dangerous to an authentic faith than Freud, because Jung represents a very dangerous Gnostic
reductionism of the faith to mere intimate, innate psychic exigencies. God becomes just myself,
my ultimate self, and the Virgin Mary becomes just some sort of spiritual instinct for a cosmic mother,
and Christ simply becomes a spiritual instinct for a cosmic hero, and this sort of thing. The
process that's just good therapy and nothing else, this sort of danger.
And that, inevitably, then one is sucked away from an objective, authentic, true God that can
speak to us, challenge us, etc. This is a negative reading. Then, as I said, many,
many theologians are giving a positive reading. Jung himself insists that corresponding to these
subjective exigencies is the truth in his more sort of autobiographical moments. The final
judgments of this Dominican father, White, Victor White, you have this book also in your library,
God and the Unconscious, written in 53, but still quite a good book. He taught at Oxford
and wrote for Blackfriars. I don't know if he's still writing.
I don't think he's writing. Something happened to him when he left the Union.
Oh, well.
He had, in fact, a politically articulated position as one of the extreme positions
of the United States.
Oh, well. Who said this?
Our friend Don Little.
Oh, well. Is he still a Christian, all the whole?
I think he's a Christian.
That's interesting, because he does stress this possibility of a positive challenge from Jung.
Our challenge to Jung is that you represent just a kind of reductionism and a kind of a
pagan secretism, et cetera.
He says Jung's challenge to us is we tend to put God way out there and so objective and so other.
It has nothing to do really with our living experience.
It would seem to be certain that any deep and successful analysis involves a response to the
leadership. I should go back.
He's talking about all sorts of positive things in Jung.
One is, he thinks, also a dimension of grace.
For Jung, the person is able to undertake this interior journey to the extent that he's illumined
from within or above, beyond his own capacities.
Even more striking still than these static symbols is the manner of the integrating or
redemptive process itself as it is observed to take place in the analysis conducted along
Jungian lines.
So remarkable, indeed, and so inexplicable on a purely mechanistic hypothesis like Freud.
Everything is just drives and instincts and blocks that you have to unblock, et cetera.
It's like dealing with a motor.
That Jung so far departs from Freud's assumptions as to call in question the competence of the
casuality principle to express many phenomena of the psyche, of the psychology of the unconscious
at all.
Freud says, in biology and physics, you've got causes and you've got effects.
Well, it's the same thing in the psyche.
You've got some problem, there's a cause to it.
You get to that cause, you modify it, you'll have another effect.
It's quite mechanistic in that sense.
Jung says, no, we're just often confronted by sheer mystery.
Things happen and we just cannot account for them.
Not because we haven't yet gotten to the bottom of the thing in a kind of a positivistic
way, but simply because it's mystery.
It's bottomless, sort of.
It would seem to be certain that any deep and successful analysis involves a response
to the leadership, in quotes, the word is Jung's, of manifestations of the unconscious,
which are closely parallel to, even if not sometimes actually a vehicle of the redemptive
functioning of faith and grace as known to Christian experience and studied in Christian
At a certain point, the person is led, sort of like Dante being led by Beatrice, who's
kind of a symbol of Christian grace.
So the soul journeying inward towards psychic healing is at a certain point simply led,
and so also the therapist inspired, if you like.
So all of this, he says, is very powerful.
Then he talks earlier about the more static categories.
The way is now open with Jung to us, for instance, no longer to conceive of God as a substitute
for the physical father.
We saw this before.
The basic affirmation of Freud, upon which also his later analysis rests, is that God
is simply a father projection.
He thinks those terms, he's answered the whole thing.
So he says, to conceive of God as a substitute for the physical father no longer, but rather
the physical father as the infant's first substitute for God, the genetically prior,
bearing the image of the All-Father, capital F.
Again, the archetype of father has the really theological priority, so to speak, even if
the kid first comes to terms with my daddy out there.
God is less a big father than the physical father is a little god.
Clearly, we are not far from St. Paul's father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven
and earth is named.
No longer just a mechanistic projection out there, a neurotic projection of my father
image, but rather my father here is a participation in the full fatherhood of the father archetype
that is a reflection of God.
So here we've got a kind of antipriority to the religious, which is very interesting.
Not that just finally you get to the religious that completes all the rest that's going
to precede, but the religious precedes and is sort of the ground of everything else that
comes along, psychic and human, et cetera.
And then his challenge, thus, to the religious person.
He says all this is a challenge to the Freudian and to the atheist, et cetera.
He says it's a challenge also to us.
Jung's work is hardly less disturbing to the professed theist and religious believer,
even to a zealot for his creed or for his church.
Perhaps even these have long ago ceased to think of God and good and evil spirits as
ever active influences in their own life and conduct.
Almost unwittingly, they may have so objectified them, so relegated them to the supernatural,
confined them to Sundays, that it has never occurred to them that their ceaseless activities
could and should become empirically observable and a challenge to searching self-examination.
Then he goes on in another.
Jung, let's see, Freud, who never took religion very seriously, anyhow, and whose psychoanalysis
can be labeled as science, in quotes, and outside the concern of ultimate beliefs and
Jung insists that such a dichotomy is impossible.
Science here, and healing man here, and weird religious ideas there.
That consciously or unconsciously, religion affects everything in our lives, whether we
belong to any denomination or none.
It challenges us to become more conscious, more responsible, more adult in our religion
or irreligion, if we would not destroy ourselves and our fellows.
So you pays your money and you takes your choice.
As I say, Jung, I think, has sort of divided the Christian and Jewish and believing community.
Those who are very much for him as a point of dialogue, those who are for him as having
certain categories that help, but not wanting to use him primarily as a point of reference
and interpretation, and then those who are absolutely strongly against him as a threat,
as a paganizing, pantheistic, for example.
I'm not quite sure what he means when he talks about it.
He uses the word spiritual and religious because, as you said, he tries to describe himself
as a scientist, and that's what he believes in.
And yet it seems to me that he refers, he talks a lot about religion and spirituality.
Is this, maybe, to be turned into a collective hypothesis or something like that, and sort
of transferring that to other religions?
Yeah, I think he would say.
It seems that building a collective hypothesis is sort of a natural thing.
Why don't you call it something like that?
Or spirituality?
I mean, it's all true.
Yeah, I think he says that as long as he starts with his own, he hopes, rigorously scientific
categories that include, therefore, he believes, the collective unconsciousness, etc., then
he must go on from where they lead, and they lead to a vindication of categories like soul
and spiritual.
Man is not simply a series of biological needs.
Man cannot live by bread alone.
Human be absolute.
But there must be all these.
So I think he would say he's not, at that point, being a metaphysician or a theologian
in the sense of starting from faith and religion.
He's starting from science, and thus he feels, precisely as a scientist, he must talk about
the spiritual, he must talk about the soul, about religion as necessary components to psychic
But he wants to defend himself from the Freudian saying, you should be using this language
if you were really scientific.
You're not simply...
And he wants to dialogue with a theologian saying, I'm not pretending to be a theologian
because I don't begin from dogma or faith.
I begin from scientific verification of certain phenomena.
And they lead me directly to an area that's extremely parallel to where you're at.
So I think he can defend himself.
Do others think he can defend himself?
I think that's the way he'd say, the whole key is where you start from.
And he's very strong.
I should have read some of the other passages in this introductory essay where he insists
that he is not a philosopher, not a theologian, but a scientist.
That is the introduction to White's book.
Yeah, and this was one of his later, very last essays written in 50-something,
written in 52, and he died in what, in 58 or something.
No, he died in 61, so nine years before his death.
So again, he has to defend himself from two sides,
from the Freudians who accuse him of not being scientific,
and from many Christians and Jews, etc., that accuse him of not being orthodox, really.
And so he's got quite a battle going.
But I think he's interesting as a kind of a bridge between two worlds.
So now we can go on to another, if there's not other comments or questions.
Asa Jolie, who's very much in the line of Jung,
and I think a little more benign and a little more, still more closer to us in some ways.
And again, he represents where you can get to if you go through this kind of asceticism of
coming to terms with contemporary challenges in schools and disciplines, etc.
Asa Jolie, you have two of his books in the library.
One is Psychosynthesis, Viking Compass.
It's also now published by Penguin.
And then the other is The Act of Will, also Viking,
which is now also just published by Penguin.
It prints Psychosynthesis.
This is sort of his basic text.
He hasn't written thousands of volumes like Freud and Jung.
But this sort of says it, and also says it for the layman.
It doesn't want to be extremely technical stuff.
He's not a psychologist's psychologist.
He's trying to write books that any intelligent person can take up and find great help in.
So this is for all of us.
It was published by Viking in 71 for the first time.
Went through eight editions by 76.
It's extremely popular.
And now Penguin, as I say, has just published it.
I think it's a very interesting book.
And also the thing about The Will is interesting.
The book on The Will is very interesting.
I know this ex-monk at Berkeley who is now a practicing psychologist there.
He was a monk at Mount Saviors.
He was the founder of that journal, Monastic Studies.
Brendan Collins.
And he knows the whole area of monasticism and primitive benedictinism.
And so are the fathers.
He thinks, and he's still very committed to all this.
And he thinks that asajoli is extremely helpful to people, and in a special way to Christians
and Catholics, et cetera, who are interested in interior life and prayer, et cetera.
So everyone has to come up with his model of the psyche.
And this is his.
We can look at it.
First of all, very briefly, his life.
He was born in Venice in 1888.
Studied under Freud.
He knew Jung in 1910.
He started to formulate his own tenets of what he calls psychosynthesis, his school.
Remember, this is about the same time that Jung is starting to break in a decisive way
from Freud.
So Jung and asajoli are almost contemporaries.
Jung, born just 13 years before asajoli, and died a few years before.
We visited asajoli again in Italy, and it was delightful.
He had a house close to Camaldoli.
He was a very serene old man.
Remember, he's saying, Freud was a genius.
The only problem is he just took us down into the cellars and down into the sewer system
sort of thing, and that's good.
So I want to take people up to the higher floors of the edifice from which you can see
this magnificent horizon.
And he had this country house from which beautiful, beautiful view.
And he had these little cards.
He's very much for meditating on images and symbols and things.
And he had beautiful little cards.
I saw mountains and things.
He has a whole thing on how his school differs from the others.
And it's interesting, because you've got to be different to justify your existence.
The most distinctive point, perhaps, is the emphasis put upon and the central place given
in psychosynthesis to the will as an essential function of the self and as the necessary
source or origin of all choices, decisions, engagements.
There's a lot of optimism in Assaggio after Freudian pessimism and sort of a mechanistic
approach that you're just kind of a result of influences in your earliest, earliest months
and years.
And there ain't much you can do about it, probably.
Maybe an expert can unblock certain of these passages, but that's it.
Assaggio, he's kind of a Pelagian, I think you'd have to say.
But man has a strong power in him.
It's the will.
If he can simply plug into it, the free will, he can do all sorts of things for himself,
no matter how bad his childhood had been, et cetera.
Then the second point, he feels that we can come to an immediate experience of kind of
the self, of pure self-awareness, independent of contents of moods and feelings and desires.
This pure sort of transcendental self, we can have that experience, and that freezes
from subjection to this rest.
Today, I'm really in a black mood.
That doesn't matter.
If I've had this deep intuition of higher levels of my being, I'm not so under the dominion
of that mood or that desire.
I'd really like a new car.
Well, I know that there's a higher dimension of me than this immediate desire, this sort
of thing.
So he wants to nourish in people this deeper experience of their higher self.
Sister David, what was her name?
She's very strong.
What is the real self in myself?
Remember that thing.
There's the sort of superficial ego that's centered on things, and it's itself the center
of the universe and wants things, et cetera.
Now, that's a superficial self.
It gets into all sorts of problems.
But there's a higher self.
And then she has all sorts of quotes from Merton and B. Griffiths.
This higher self that is much more transcendental and liberated, can be liberated from all this.
So Asajoli wants to take us up to that level, and then spiritual things can start happening.
He very much uses language like the spiritual and the soul, et cetera.
Another difference is the recognition of the positive, creative, joyous experiences which
man may and often does have, along with the painful and tragic ones.
There's a gloomy side to Freud.
There's a famous photo of him in his last years, and he really looks gloomy.
And Jung also is not that cheery in the sense of this strange mystery and abyss in this,
et cetera.
For Asajoli, the ultimate point of the human experience is joy and fulfillment and communion.
And he adds, the experience of loneliness is not considered in psychosynthesis either
ultimate or essential.
It is a stage, a temporary subjective condition.
It can and does alternate with and finally can be substituted by the genuine living experience
of interpersonal, inter-individual communications, relationships interplay.
So it's more an upbeat thing.
And then another difference is a deliberate use of a large number of active techniques
for transformation, sublimation of psychological energies, strengthenings of capacities,
et cetera.
He has a whole ascetical program for sort of building up my virtues, so to speak,
and diminishing my vices.
It's not unlike the Keachins Institutes in a certain way.
It's a first program of self-discipline to be able to open myself to, in a certain sense,
the pure grace of the transcendent.
So here's his model of the psyche.
Can you see it?
Or is it too faint?
I'm producing it precisely as he does, which is with little lines, broken lines like that.
He says with broken lines because we don't have any hard and fast boundaries, really,
in our psyche.
And he stresses this is just a poor model, limping, et cetera.
And it can't be imagined to be what we would call a scale model, a kind of a one-for-one
representation on a small.
If you carve a person open, you don't find this inside the little or anything.
This is just a kind of a tool that's trying to give us an insight into different dimensions
of our inner psyche.
So three levels of unconsciousness, personal unconsciousness.
He calls it lower, middle, and higher.
The lower are kind of the Freudian individual unconsciousness, drives, instincts, repressed
things, that whole business.
Fundamental drives and primitive urges, dreams and imaginations, uncontrolled parapsychological
processes, pathological manifestation.
There's the violence.
That's the shadow of Jung.
Then there's what he calls a middle unconsciousness, which seems to be kind of merging with Freud's
early preconsciousness.
It's quite according sort of to the logic and structure of the consciousness.
Things do make sense, et cetera, but they're just not in my consciousness now.
It's the area where I sort of mull through things and come up with solutions, will then
pop into my consciousness.
I was at Holy Family College speaking, and the blackboard was here, and the microphone
was there, and Mother Superior said, if I were the blackboard, you could sort of shout
at the microphone, please, because...
And then suddenly the idea came to her, we could shift the microphone from here to there.
That came about.
So that's the kind of thing that goes on in this middle unconsciousness.
It's kind of a...
She wasn't logically thinking, how can we solve it?
For her, there was no way to solve it except to write here and sort of shout there.
But then suddenly it came out, this solution that hadn't occurred to me.
So we shifted over there.
That's the middle unconsciousness.
Then we get the higher unconsciousness.
And in the higher unconsciousness, we have our higher intuitions and inspirations, artistic,
philosophical, ethical, imperatives, humanitarian.
He's very upbeat on the beautiful aspect of the human person.
Now that's up here.
There is the sewer, and that's what Freud discovered.
But there is also this.
Then there's the collective unconsciousness, which he puts all around this individual.
And here he's pure Jung, and he very often quotes Jung.
And then he stresses very much that we're not an absolute closed off.
Human beings are not isolated.
They are not monads without windows.
But we're kind of in this common sea of basic human religious experience.
So you'd have another person here.
And you have to picture them as being able to communicate.
He's very big on communication, et cetera.
So you have to get in a kind of different dimension for that.
But all in this kind of basic matrix of the collective unconsciousness.
Then there's the area of consciousness.
Immediate awareness of this room, you people, what I'm doing, who I am.
And immediate self-consciousness.
This is the lower self that indeed is struck by moods, and desires, and hurt, and pride,
and this sort of thing.
So that's the conscious self, or I.
Then he starts reflecting on this.
I think in a very philosophical way.
Again, he says, isn't it curious?
We don't think about it much.
But we go to bed.
We go to sleep.
And we're no longer conscious.
We just sort of turn off that light.
But where does it go?
The most curious thing is we get up in the morning and take right up, as if that conscious
self were always there.
Or the person on the operating table.
We get in there.
And instead it disappears, the conscious I.
At the end, it comes back and just takes up again.
Now, where is the point of continuity that guarantees that it can take up?
Why is it just definitively lost?
Where is the ground there of that I?
And so he posits, for that reason, for all sorts of other reasons, especially for mystical
literature, the sort of transcendental I, the higher self.
It's not in the area of consciousness.
Mystics sometimes have intuitions of this higher I.
But it's this higher I that nourishes, sustains, strengthens this immediate self.
Now, people interested in prayer, et cetera, I think this is extremely interesting.
And all those texts that Sister Don quotes from Merton and from B. Griffiths and from
many, many areas of late medieval and medieval spirituality about the apex of the spirit
or the deepest center or the deepest point of different models, but of a higher point
of more intuitive consciousness that you're aware of.
And sometimes you're not aware of.
And sometimes a center is praying even when you're not aware of it.
Remember the father says that the highest prayer is when you're not even conscious of it.
Or when you get into a state, finally, of continuous prayer, and there's a level in
you that is praying even when another level is distracted, et cetera.
Well, that kind of model of asa jyoti, I think you can relate to the contemplative experience.
And it's very interesting and suggestive.
And then he explains each one of these dimensions.
It's very straightforward.
I think he has a very lucid style.
For instance, the higher self, he refers to get into that, for instance, under Hills mysticism.
He refers to Jung here, et cetera.
He refers to techniques of raha, yoga, et cetera.
He also is interested in every area of religion.
I think rather with more, in a certain sense, respect for their own autonomy than Jung.
Jung can just absorb these things into his own system.
When we went to talk to asa jyoti, it was because a disciple of his, an unmarried woman
who was very zealous, had come to Kamaldi and gotten us to do all sorts of asa jyoti
And they were fun.
And they bring you back to a certain interior.
But she kept insisting that this is the way.
And she kept having rather hesitations about all the time we were giving to other things,
et cetera.
And so at a certain point, there was a kind of a tension between all this method she had
and our normal monastic life of work and dealing with guests and divine office, et cetera.
So we went to asa jyoti.
He said no.
He was horrified by her kind of proselytizing.
And he said, no, what you're doing is already psychosynthesis at the rhythm, the monastic
rhythm of work and like seal and prayer, et cetera, is already.
So you do what you're doing and forget about her.
She was a widow.
And she just sort of married psychosynthesis.
But it was very interesting.
This kind of odd respect of the autonomy of a whole monastic religious experience.
You were mentioning a bit the Trappistines who use Jung to interpret scriptures.
I don't think asa jyoti would want to be used to interpret scriptures.
He would just want to be used to help people to open up to scriptures, as it were.
So those are the various parts of his.
I'm not clear as to where the differences between the upper unconscious and the higher
bodies, what they're arguing there.
Truths, beauties, insights that I, the higher or the lower, can latch onto.
I think it's the field in which it operates.
Sort of like the conscious self is in this field of ideas, persons, moods.
I can, as conscious center then, relate to this and concentrate on this book very much
or relate on a dialogue.
So the higher self can relate to this area of musical harmonies, maybe, or that area
of philosophical truths, or that area of beauty.
They're areas of values.
But that is the subjective personal center, as I understand it, that then appropriates,
assimilates, and affirms.
Is this it?
I'm sorry, I didn't get the first.
Is this what?
Oh, oh, yes, yes.
Is part of the collective unconsciousness within the collective unconsciousness?
Not is part of, but is sort of swimming in the larger area of the collective unconsciousness.
That is to say, my, for instance, conscious eye is not the collective unconsciousness,
but it's sort of on the ground of, and it can relate to.
It's interesting that he puts the higher self on the border between the personal higher
unconsciousness and the whole area.
The higher self is obviously in direct contact with the collective unconsciousness.
In a way, the more immediate is not.
But I think he would certainly distinguish every one of these elements from the collective
unconsciousness, but it's sort of, this is kind of a cell that's swimming in the ocean
of the collective unconsciousness or something.
So he could say that the consciousness comes from it?
Oh, indeed.
I think Jung would too.
Jung is doing something very much in harmony with human beings, so he's trying to do a
little part of this together with human beings.
Yeah, right, right.
Yes, that is the hope, and that is what psychosynthesis wants to help to realize.
We'll get to this.
He says there's two basic types of persons.
One is very outer-oriented.
And that person will posit for himself an ideal self and an ideal set of goals out there.
And that person may be not that much in contact with his higher self, even if he's very dynamic
and got his act together and such, right?
Then he says there's a more intuitive, introvertive, contemplative type who can be more in contact
with the higher self and who can, through a series of ascetical practices, unblock the
obstacles that are blocking more direct inspiration.
And then he will be the man of visions, the man of contemplative experience.
Now, Asajoli wants to help both of these types.
He says you can't propose just the one or just the other.
And I think this is interesting.
The person who gives himself totally to the movement of, I don't know, the poor or battered
children or ecology or something, that's it, and eight hours a day he's down there at the
center and stuffing envelopes, etc.
That's fine.
He says this is kind of getting beyond a little sick, egocentric existence.
It's a very creative, very positive contribution to society.
That's great.
It's not as high as the other, but this is a form.
The ideal models or images that one can create are many, but they can be divided into principal
Now, he says the more introvert can also do this, set an ideal for himself, not of the
kind of social activist to simplify, but of the harmonious spiritual person.
So one ideal, the first is formed of images representing harmonious development and all-around
personal or spiritual perfection.
This kind of ideal is aimed at chiefly by introverts.
The second group represents specialized efficiency.
The purpose here is the utmost development of an ability or quality corresponding to
the particular line of self-expression and the social role or roles which the individual
has chosen.
This is the ideal of the artist, the teacher, the advocate of a good cause, etc.
Such models are generally preferred by extroverts.
Then he'll go on, and he'll seem to say, some people don't even put out so much an ideal.
They just open up inside of them.
But anyway, the person who's related to the cause outside, he says they can make a positive
So you've got two basic types.
So he's not saying everyone should go the inner route.
There's some for the outer and some for the inner.
Psychosynthesis wants to help both.
And he would say again with Jung, there's a little extrovert and a little introvert
in all of us.
And you don't want to eliminate the other pole totally, so you want both.
And psychosynthesis wants to help both journeys, as it were.
So the will is operating from the higher self, the ideal.
Right, right.
The will is a tremendous spiritual force, and you want to plug into it.
And its ultimate font would be the higher.
Question from audience.
He uses that image of the dialogue.
I think he doesn't want to be too clear.
But he uses that.
And he uses, he has very simple little exercises that are kind of outer, visible sign of the inner.
So he has the dialogue with the wise old man, and he parallels this with the imitation of Christ,
where the acampus is dialoguing with Christ within him.
He says, we must do this.
What we're doing there is opening up our dialogue with the higher self,
which will then inspire us and guide us.
So, this is the model.
Now, the problem is that we're usually, and the goal is psychosynthesis.
That is, as with Jung, getting all these components in a harmonious, structured, hierarchical order.
So that the lower unconsciousness doesn't dominate the higher unconsciousness.
And so that the conscious self is not just the victim of moods and feelings, etc.
And is aware of its potentialities, its force, and especially its higher self.
And can make up as is it.
So the goal is to realize synthesis of the psyche.
Now, how do you do this?
He's got all sorts of tools here.
One is a thorough knowledge of the personality, of these various dimensions.
This is already an important step forward in psychosynthesis.
Just to be aware that there are these dimensions, that there are these possible components.
Then control of its various elements.
And here he proposes this kind of ascetic gymnastic of disassociation.
He offers this law.
We are dominated by everything with which our self becomes identified.
We can dominate and control everything from which we disidentify ourselves.
So he has offended my family honor, and it's my family honor.
So I cannot ignore that.
I've got to stand up for my family honor, etc. sort of thing.
She took my money.
So when I'm in that bag and I'm identified with all sorts of things, I'm constantly in anguish.
Because I'm constantly having to hold on to all these fragile, worldly frontiers
that are constantly being attacked by others, or by the force of nature, or whatever.
So it's a kind of a Buddhist analysis.
At that level, I'm destined to pure suffering.
Now, to the extent that I can disidentify from these,
also through this experience of pure subjectivity of the higher self,
when I can say, yes, there is a feeling of suffering within me,
but I am not that feeling of suffering.
There's a higher point to me.
There is a bit of honor that I identify with the family honor that has been offended.
But I, my highest I, the image of God in me, so to speak, to use our language,
is not simply that mundane family honor.
So I get beyond it and outside of it.
In more traditional Christian ascetic language, detachment.
I detach from the world, from honors, from money, from things, from power, etc.
At that point, I'm free.
The detachment of the cross, etc.
So he proposes a whole series of exercises for disidentification,
which is a kind of a psychological language for detachment, I think.
Then this realization of the true self.
This is the positive side of this.
And here he proposes two approaches.
One is that of strengthening an ideal model.
What do I want to be able to contribute in this life?
And he says, be very careful here.
It's not that heavy idealistic model that can sort of crush a person of horny.
I want to be the perfect student.
I mean, I can never meet up to that model,
the perfect monk who never has a feeling of uncertainty towards another.
I set that model for me.
And it's always kind of a law in St. Paul's sense.
It always judges me and condemns me,
and I always have to convince myself that I'm getting closer, etc.
So I get into this kind of pharisaical thing.
It's not that.
It's just a serene, sane setting of an ideal for me.
And in terms of that, I can grow.
And again, if I'm inner-directed,
that goal can be to be much more person of prayer, recollected, detached, etc.
If I'm outer-directed, it will be someone who can much more effectively contribute
to the ecological movement or much more effectively help the sick
or the deaf or whatever it be.
So that's the realization of a true realization.
Then the psychosynthesis wants to help us realize that ideal
or open up more immediately to that inner inspiration.
He describes two basic categories of people.
Some people have a distinct vision of their aim from the outset.
They are capable of forming a clear picture of themselves as they can and intend to become.
This picture should be realistic and authentic, etc.
But they've got this picture out there of where they want to go.
Other individuals of a more plastic psychological constitution
who live spontaneously following indications and intuitions rather than definite plans
find it difficult to formulate such a program to build according to a pattern.
They may even positively dislike such a method.
Their tendency is to let themselves be led by the Spirit, capital S, within
or by the will of God, leaving Him to choose what they should become.
They feel that they can best reach the goal by eliminating as much as possible
the obstacles and resistances inherent in their personality
by widening the channel of communication of the higher self
through aspiration and devotion
and then letting the creative power of the Spirit, capital S, act, trusting and obeying it.
So that's that business of, I think, the category of people who set a goal out there
and then try to fulfill it, or people who just go inward
and try to open up this channel of communication of the higher self that's inspired by the Spirit.
And he's an extremely tolerant man.
He says, we've got to take these two different types and respect each one of them
and have one approach for the one and another approach for the other
and realize that each has a very significant contribution to make.
Indeed, he says that both of these have their advantages and both have their dangers.
So maybe we shouldn't do either exclusively.
Those who take the first method of projecting an ideal
and then trying to go towards it
No, what are we after? What is our goal?
Purity of heart.
Those who follow the first method should be careful to avoid making their ideal picture too rigid.
They should be ready to modify or enlarge it
and even to change it altogether as later experiences, fresh outlooks, etc.
indicate and demand the change.
So the danger is you get a law out there, you get an oppressive ideology, let's say.
On the other hand, those who follow the second method
I'm not going to set out a pattern there, I'm going to open myself to the Spirit who will guide me
should guard against becoming too passive and negative
accepting as intuitions and higher inspirations
certain promptings which are, in reality
determined by unconscious forces, wishes and desires.
The person comes and he's been inspired to come here
and he's been inspired to manifest that he has a vocation to reclusion, etc.
You've got to be careful because that might be inspiration
but it might be coming from other areas of the unconsciousness.
Moreover, they must develop the ability to stand ready
during the inevitable phases of inner aridity and darkness
when conscious communion with a spiritual center, capital C, is interrupted
and the personality feels itself abandoned.
He has interesting articles on spiritual aridity in the dark night, etc.
All this makes very good sense to him.
So it can be a kind of a point of solidity to have an objective point of reference
and not just depend upon subjective.
So this is kind of typical of the spirit of Asajoli.
We haven't gotten all the way through him
but he has how to unblock the energy sources in us
and there he refers to methods such as Christian mysticism
and then development of new aspects of personality,
spiritual psychosynthesis is a whole section,
meditation, he has a whole chapter on transmutation
and sublimation of the sexual energies
which could be useful, I think, for celibates.
He's very respectful of the celibate vocation
and he wants us to sublimate these energies.
He's very strong.
He's with Jung that the libido isn't necessarily sexual
but there is obviously strong sexual energy in us.
We don't just abandon to it
but sublimated in higher ways.
He's very strong on creative work, on spiritual meditation,
meditation of spiritual figures such as Christ, etc.
So this and then spiritual dialogue with the inner master
and again here he quotes the imitation of Christ, etc.
So there's all sorts of things here
that I think kind of the ascetic,
the person into the institute's vocation,
could use and utilize.
It's a very contemporary language
and offering psychological insight
into how to get further control over
and sort of guide and direct some of our energies
in order that they can arrive at the higher energy
which is full communion with God.
He concludes in big lyrical ways.
It's a kind of a strange mixture.
We're trying to get synthesized with ourselves
with all these components inside ourselves, the microcosm.
We're trying to also achieve harmony and synthesis
with every other person
and with the whole of creation.
Psychosynthesis may be also considered
as the individual expression of a wider principle,
of a general law of inter-individual and cosmic synthesis.
Indeed, the isolated individual does not exist.
Every person has intimate relationships with other individuals
which make them all interdependent.
Moreover, each and all are included in
and part of the spiritual superindividual reality, capital R.
We seem to sense that whether we conceive it
as a divine being, capital B,
or as a cosmic energy,
the spirit, capital S,
working upon and within all creation
is shaping it into order, harmony, and beauty,
uniting all beings,
some willing but the majority as yet blind and rebellious,
with each other through links of love,
achieving slowly and silently but powerfully and irresistibly
the supreme synthesis, capital S.
So he gets sort of mystical at the end.
And, again, it's not explicitly Christian.
He doesn't want to be explicitly Christian,
but it's certainly explicitly contemplative and mystical
and, I think, positive in the sense of St. Paul,
whatever he is, could be positive.
So, comments?
Do you think that he believes in the power of the mind?
Or is it just your own psychological world?
No. With him, there's no possible doubt, I think.
Again, he's very interested in all the religions.
I think he considered himself a Catholic,
certainly in the widest sense,
but he was a Catholic Christian.
And there is certainly this transcendent spirit, love, etc.,
that works through all this.
Now, his language is a little ambiguous about the relations,
I think, of this higher self and Christ and God,
but he simply doesn't want to do theology.
He wants to, again, it's that whole thing.
Because it's not the language like that.
Would you have this mechanism considered by...
I think what he would say, I think it's semi-Pelagian,
in the sense that he puts great emphasis on what you do
and your will and you...
But if you do it, what you're doing is unblocking
these channels of grace,
and then a spirit comes in, an inspiration.
He doesn't, as Augustine would want him to do,
stress that we can't even do any of this without the Holy Spirit.
I think he is kind of a more Cajun,
that we do our part and then God will certainly do his.
And our part is unblocking,
and then God will purify and inspire and uplift.
Yes, please.
We're basically God.
But I want to be able to...
You take the cold,
how it's made out of carbon,
and the same thing is changing to diamonds.
It's, you know,
it's like the substance,
the doing is good or bad,
but transmuting something that's, you know,
one substance is good,
but you're doing the same thing now.
And it seems that you need to have a positive view
about precisely the sewer system,
a kind of a...
Well, I have a book here about that,
and I'm not going to do something else,
but something like that,
at least in the way this thing has gone,
it really seems to break and climb up and evolve.
I think it's very true.
I didn't think of this before,
but I think he's so reacting against Freud
that he's stressing the upper stories of the book.
But I think he could at least say that,
I mean, he's very aware of this dynamic energy,
sexual energy, et cetera.
He does want to sublimate it,
but I think he'd say this is kind of the powerhouse
that's sending up all this energy.
A new, true psychosynthesis,
whatever form it take,
give it energy for outer creativity and inner creativity.
But it's at least that.
But he certainly spends much less time on these inner...
Indeed, there's almost nothing in it except in the terms.
And that's interesting.
I think he's in strong reaction against Freud.
For Freud, he says all this.
It's interesting, because one of the...
Well, I think he'd be closer to Freud
in a certain sense of power,
in a certain place.
Freud had one saying, you know,
where a man who knows his sins
is greater than any monk who raises a dead.
I think those are two very different things.
I think that was the words of Michel.
There is another Christian tradition,
the Clement of Alexandria, for instance,
where you go up from the merely bodily level
and you get into apatheia and detachment
from all creative things.
I think someone like Clement is so close to asajoli
that you can almost...
But Clement wants you to absolutely detach from your body
and from all merely physical dimensions
and arise to the level of new sunda.
I think there's a healthier,
in The Fathers of the Desert,
a kind of a Semitic earthiness
that wants to wrestle with the...
But there is also this kind of a Greek, I think,
which is close to the asajoli approach.
He doesn't want to suppress...
Oh, no.
Yeah, he's never against repression or suppression,
but sublimation.
Yeah, transmutation.
I'm not sure of the precise technical distinction
between sublimation and transmutation,
but it would be here in the...
You could look it up.
His basic theme is it's like water.
You can convert into energy.
You can convert into...
You shift it into another area, sort of thing.
But his precise distinction is
transmutation, horizontal,
sexual drives, vertical.
Other comments?
If someone comes up, you know,
and sort of sneers at asceticism
and, what are you doing,
and all that sort of thing,
I think this sort of book suggests that.
You know, it's a way of starting a dialogue
with many people,
because if the whole language of fasting
and silence, et cetera,
doesn't mean anything,
certainly the language of psychological health does.
And what these people do, I think,
is give us common ground to dialogue
with whole areas of the contemporary human family
and whole areas of ourselves also.
And so it's every new language you learn,
it gives you new areas for dialogue.
So it's another language for dialoguing
with an area of ourself
and with an area of the contemporary human family.
He is a very serene person.
I think he's less a kind of a...
I always think of Ignatius as a...
I am disciplined, et cetera.
And there's sort of...
He offers all sorts of ways of going,
all sorts of different types of persons.
I don't know who...
Something like that.
Like you said, there's no such thing as illness.
You're just lazy.
This gentleman reminds me a bit, if you want, of St. Benedict.
Not that St. Benedict comes up with meditation techniques,
but kind of the loving father who's concerned
to bring everyone to that joyous,
enlarging the heart sort of thing.
So it's kind of that pastoral...
He's kind of an Abba,
a very compassionate Abba in a certain way.
He's certainly the wise old man
that Yogi is talking about.
So, good.
So next time we can get into Marx,
a whole other dimension of the contemporary...
Ha, ha, ha.
That was ridiculous.