For the next ten years, the Society of Jesus will immerse themselves in what they have identified as their Universal Apostolic Preferences. In this paper, I will focus on the first of these preferences, “Promoting Discernment and the Spiritual Exercises.” I propose that Saint Ignatius’ teaching on discernment intersects with and can be complemented by teachings on the same subject (viveka) by Sri Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. Both of these masterful works offer a practical and experiential path to liberating ourselves from the obstacles that impede us from knowing our True Selves as beings who dwell in the heart of God. I suggest that the popularity of yoga in the United States, specifically as presented by Integral Yoga, provides the Society with an opportunity for engaged outreach to the many young people in educational institutions practicing yoga— whether they are rooted in a religious tradition or not— who have found that it has awakened in them something they might vaguely define as “spiritual.” Introducing these students to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras in conjunction with Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises has the potential to engage them in ways that the Exercises alone may not. Notwithstanding the differences in the religious and cultural milieus in which they emerged, the Exercises and Sutras can teach and imbue a regular habit of discernment, thus contributing to the Society’s effort of promoting “the greater divine service and the more universal good.”
"Discernment as an Apostolic Preference: Ignatius, Patanjali, and the Fostering of Interior Freedom,"
Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal: Vol. 10:
2, Article 13.
Available at: https://epublications.regis.edu/jhe/vol10/iss2/13