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On the Verge of a Breakdown

The story is told of a Swiss pastor on the verge of a breakdown who was urged to see the psychiatrist Carl Jung. When asked how many hours a day he was working, the pastor told Jung “about eighteen hours a day.” Jung advised him to cut down to eight hours a day and spend the time thus released in quiet relaxation on his own. The pastor did this: the first day he sat down in a comfortable armchair to listen to Mozart and read a novel. The second day Mozart gave way to Beethoven . . .and so on. After two weeks or so the pastor felt, if anything, worse and returned to Jung, who asked him how specifically, he was spending his time. When the pastor described his leisure hours, Jung said, “That is not what I meant; I want you to spend time quietly with yourself.” The man replied, “I could not think of anything more appalling.” Jung said, “Well, that is the person you have been inflicting on your people eighteen hours a day.”

David Prior, Creating Community, (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1992), p. 45

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