Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Ignatian discernment, Jungian dream work

Sr. Kathryn sent me the undoctored version of Week 4 of the Donec Formatur retreat, and this for me is going better than the condensed version. I like Fr. Alberione's thought and find it stimulating. Since this retreat is based on the classic Ignatian retreat, here's a Q/A from our discussions that I thought helpful.

Me: If I am getting you right, praying in this manner (ie, concentrating on
feelings and active imagination ... kind of like day-dreaming...rather than analysis
and moralizing) has a lot in common with Jungian dream interpretation, which I took a course in once. Not the weird Jungian stuff that some people get into, but the discovery of what one's unconscious/subconscious is letting you know about yourself
that your conscious self might not want to pay attention to.

Sr. Kathryn: The difference I would suppose between Jungian dreamwork and Ignatian exercises (though they are similar principles at work) is that the Spirit is directly working in you. Coming up with resolutions is still on the conscious side of what I think I should do at this time with what I know. But the Spirit can lead to some
rather surprising and at time unsettling but healing directions.

This week's focus is on God the Father as Creator. One recommended practice: take a walk and contemplate creation around you. I think my analytical, over-active mind needs to touch creation directly more often than I do. Associating the works of nature with the Person of the Father as creator relieves my mind of its illusion that it's all my responsibility, it's all about me doing right and wrong, making use of grace or wasting it. No. Repeat three times, Rae: "I am not in control of life, I am not in control of life, I am not in control..." What a relief! Bill always says, "God's in control" and he means it. With my sensitivity to language, I am so conscious of that phrase being used as an aphorism tending to a cliche that I am denied, so often, the power of its simple truth.

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