Pogson, “Mind and Energy,” Pt III (final)

Speaking about this energy, Mrs Pogson says that it is a borrowed energy, which when borrowed lasts “for a time,” and may temporarily sustain us, but “it is not yours”. What we need is to be able to draw on this energy from within, so that we can work at all  (64-65).

This energy can make it possible for us to love God, which “is a very difficult thing for a long time” (65). I do not believe that she is speaking from something she has heard, but from her own experience, which shows how deep Mrs Pogson’s achievement must have been. She then makes what I think is a critical point, explaining why real progress is so rare, and we are usually just turning around in

… we use our psychological energy for getting what we can for ourselves, working for ourselves, (but) this doesn’t make any energy at all. If you can remember this, that anything you do for yourself doesn’t get you any nearer to your aim, although you may feel strong at the time, you may be able to make energy instead. (65)

Once more, only years of experience in groups an show this: that people make psychological efforts, and feel all sorts of positive things, yet they barely move in terms of being. This is why I believe Gurdjieff established his exercises – to allow for the better digestion and assimilation of higher energies.

Pogson adds that there is a mystery about the offering of energy, and that: “All energy offered by people, either as individuals or groups, can be used by a higher level. … That is why there is almost continuous prayer all over the world, because the world must be covered by a canopy of energy for its protection and development … This is one way: to get people to focus their prayers and attention, as they did at Whitsun” (65). Whitsun is Pentecost (White Sunday, the time of culmination, the fiftieth day, the day after the forty-ninth, seven times seven, 75). This idea of prayers and attention being used by higher entities is in Gurdjieff’s Food Diagram, and the Diagram of All Living, and is included in the Four Ideals Exercise. She then said:

You see why we have talked about the eternal accumulator that can be used by those who are wise and powerful enough to use it. Useless suffering can be changed into real suffering. If you lose energy through something you are displeased about, it can be changed by the act of remembering. … Dr Nicoll was always trying to get us to think of the universe in terms of energies. Gradually you come to remember this, and if you think when you are negative, “This is going to increase negativeness and violence in the world,” you will stop. (66)

This is another, vital aspect of really effective work: nothing lasting is possible while we are still too vulnerable to negative emotions. The importance of knowing it is a question of energies is referred to late: “It is no use saying you must love everybody, because your emotional centre can’t, but by using this other energy it becomes possible” (76).

Bob Hunter then extracts some of her notes and diagrams on other energies. He quotes her as saying that SI 12 is “the gold of the alchemists” (68). Then she said something she must have had from Nicoll:

(This energy) is indefinable because we can’t see it. But everyone has (some of) it, and can use it to go against himself. If a man did not have this, it would be no use having these talks. Mr Ouspensky was so enthralled with this idea; he treasured it. … When you come up against yourself … you can find a new way of taking it, you can draw on this energy, and after that a change takes place (68).

Also from Nicoll must have been the knowledge that that inner movement of the enneagram shows points at which secretions from the glands enter the blood stream, “giving certain tendencies” as “a result of planetary influences” (70). A lot about the enneagram is unknown to us, but if this is so, then it shows that the enneagram is the product of higher knowledge, and is more specific about the human organism than we have dreamt. Later she said that “nine is the mystical number of transformation – three times three makes transformation possible – and ten is the number of heaven” and when the enneagram is completed it has nine points (76).

But what is critical is this: “… conscious effort has the power to effect certain transformations in the blood stream” (70-71). Mrs Pogson literally means that as one becomes more conscious the substance of one’s blood changes (71). I am sure that is true of the tempo, and that being so, there must be some changes in the content of the blood.

She also says that triangle, I assume she means the inner triangle of the enneagram, exists only potentially in mechanical man: “It is the point where something spiritual may enter, to inhabit the body when man is awake … Think of the diagram of the enneagram as representing threefold man who is not complete in his trinity until the triangle is ready to be inhabited” (71-72). Pogson links the fulfilment of this possibility with the descent of the Holy Ghost (73). She also attributes something to Ouspensky which I had never come across before, that:

… there were three kinds of men. In the first man, only the first shock of air was functioning; in the second, the first conscious shock was beginning to operate; and in the third, the spiritual man, the second conscious shock had already taken place (71).

I must at some future time return to the second conscious shock, but Mrs Pogson made this pregnant comment:

The shock at Do, the second conscious shock, is the culmination of the transformation of emotional centre. Before this can happen, the centre has to be redeemed, as it were, turned from the self-love to something inner, to see what is divine in other men. In the beginning, we were told very little about second conscious shock, and I first got the clue to it from a reply (from) Dr Nicoll … “To prepare for second conscious shock you have got to give yourself the first conscious shock continually in order to gain enough energy to work on negative emotions” (74)

Touching self-love, she said that although Nicoll had said that mother-love can show what is possible on a higher level, it “is tinged with self-love” (76).

There are some other things in this little book I could comment on, but this is, I think the heart of it.


  1. Thank you for this series of articles, which I think do justice to the incisive and profound approach of Mrs Pogson to the Work. You may be interested to know that her lineage continued through my own teacher, Mrs Marian Davidson, and that I then taught groups in the USA and in England, after Mrs Davidson had authorized me to do so. At the age of (almost) 80 I no longer teach groups, but am in touch with former group members and we continue the Work in our own daily lives and our Work practices.

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