For the Week of June 23 - 29: Sex Center Energy, Part 1

Agnes Pelton, The Voice, 1930

"These pictures are conceptions of light - the essence of fire, not
as we see it in the material world but as the radiance of the inner
being. They are produced from that state of consciousness from
which the creative impulse is a unified expression and solidified
to the presentation of the material forms of the natural world."
- Agnes Pelton, December 7, 1930

I came so that you may life and have it abundantly.
- John 10:10

This week we turn our attention to sex center energy. This is the first of two emails focusing on a profound and sacred subject. The focus on the sex center energy falls within the fourth section of our 2022 curriculum, "Transforming Body" The sex center, in the Work tradition, is not just about the act or parts of sex. The sex center is one of seven "centers" that comprise the functioning of a human being. By way of review, the seven centers are:

Higher Intellectual
Higher Emotional

If this subject is new to you, consider reading our resources on the centers.

An Endless Movement of Energy

We begin with the larger picture of energy within the universe and our experience of energy on planet earth, in relationship to the sun and the solar system, and beyond. What the Work refers to as the great Ray of Creation, and the function of the Law of Seven, or what is also called the Law of Maintenance. Beryl Pogson, one of Maurice Nicoll's students and secretary, states this larger context for us in a very helpful way:

"Q: Is it true to say that the point of the Work from which everything radiates is energy?

"BP: Without it nothing would exist. And without effort we could not transform it. Awareness of how energy is maintained in perpetual movement leaves a sense of wonder of the greater mind that conducts it. It gives a sense of scale because it makes one aware of the different qualities of energy and different levels. A study of the Work from a practical point of view can be a study of energies. … One can discover … how the universe is constructed and begin to apprehend the Hermetic law 'As above, so below,' which is the law of analogy. This is the law of the universe. When man studies the construction of the cosmoses he can see that the power is in the center – he can find this in the electron and the atom – and that when it is released there is very great force. This gives him the clue to his own being: if the power in the center can be released he can change his cosmos. … a secret that he has lost, that he wants to remember – he wants to discover his meaning" (Mind and Energy, pp. 5-7).

Now aware that everything in the universe is in an endless movement and transformation of energy and wishing to evolve from the heavy density of World 48, we turn our attention to the powerful, fine, volatile and rarely talked-about sex center energy. There are so many misconceptions about sexual energy and its creative or squandered use that we could spend a very long time on this topic. Yet, as self-developing organisms, as a collective of spiritual practitioners whose composition covers all stages of life, what would be useful for us to know and embody – not as monks or ascetics, but as householders?

Let's explore this movement of energy a bit more in depth, by way of the specific example of the transformation of food into energy. If this diagram is new to you, or doesn't make sense, just read it with soft eyes, and take it as an impression that is trying to convey how lower or denser energies (represented by the higher numbers) get transformed into finer or higher energy (represented by the lower numbers). At this point, it's not necessary to understand anything more about the numbering system associated with the words do, re, mi, fa, etc., other than the fact that this is a symbolic diagram attempting to demonstrate the transformation or movement of energy from denser to finer.

The Possibility of Mi 12

Today, we speak of the Food Octave:

"Ascending Octave of Food in Man Regarded as A Three-Story Factory," p. 189

Note that this is life in its most ordinary: the transformation of food into nourishment for the body. In order to digest food and begin to pass into the stomach and then into the lymph and bloodstream, the body transforms the coarseness of foods -- lower hydrogens (higher numbers) into finer substances (smaller numbers), ultimately, arriving at Si 12. Hydrogen 12 is the energy that feeds the sex center. Even without conscious effort, the body produces this very fine energy by way of ordinary food. Yet, many things can interfere with this process: bad foods, literal digestive issues, improper breathing, over-work, exhaustion, all negative states of oneself. Literally, all the energy-matter can be dissipated in its vivifiedness (a Gurdjieff expression denoting aliveness) and, thus, lack the nourishing quality for the proper workings of all the centers, including the sex center.

These momentary glimpses of Si 12 give us a window into the aliveness that is at the heart of being. Yet, because of the state of our being, Si 12 does not sustain its magic. Jeanne de Salzmann explains:

"When all the cells are permeated with this matter, there can be a crystallization, a formation of a second body. … The power of Si 12 is evident in the experience of sexual union, which is for most people the only experience that allows an opening to a state of unity without conscious effort. The rhythms of all the functions submit to this experience, and there is a fleeting moment of happiness when one feels the absence of the ordinary 'I.' All too often we seek to forget the self in this intense passion, an identification in which we can lose ourselves completely. But immediately afterward the 'I' reclaims its rights and we return to the narrow circle of our ordinary thoughts and feelings. Without an understanding of the forces at play, the experience serves no purpose in the search for consciousness" (The Reality of Being: The Fourth Way of Gurdjieff, pp. 181-183).

Now, let us look at another diagram of all three octaves: food, air and impressions and the extra hydrogens created by First Conscious Shock:

“Diagram of Extra Hydrogens Created by First Conscious Shock,” p. 196

Of particular note here is the possibility of Mi 12. In the Octave of Impressions a shock is required in the upper story, so to speak, what the Work calls Self-remembering. You will notice that there are now, in the lower story, three Hydrogens 12, where there was formerly only one. Extra energies can be created when one begins to live more consciously and work on oneself and remember oneself.

So what? one may ask. Maurice Nicoll explains,

"The creation of these new energies, not present in mechanical and sensual-minded man, has to do with the ultimate transformation of the sexual center into the Higher Emotional Center, and its very gradual withdrawing from the instinctive center, the identifying and the negative states and self-emotions that characterize the [negative] working of the emotional center. … But … to begin to act in you Mi 12 must be present in sufficient amounts and retained at the wanted times. Here we miss much by sleep and habit. … [Without that] special energy Mi 12 … that lovely youth … there is little change of being. … Yes, we sorely need to be born anew; and not of blood and flesh this time, but of water and spirit. That would mean another and quite new foundation: and so a New Man. The Work is all about this step" (Commentaries, "Mi 12," March 15, 1952, Vol. 5, pp. 1559-1560).

From the contemplative perspective, Thomas Keating also affirms the power of finer energies received from the efforts and grace of an intentional life: "A creative vision releases an enormous amount of energy and can transform society beyond our wildest dreams. … The power of the stars is nothing compared to the energy of a person whose will has been freed from the false-self system [density of being, sleep and habit]" (The Mystery of Christ, p. 104). The possibilities of Self-remembering in Christ must be very great indeed, even unimaginable, as anything we can imagine with lower hydrogens could not possibly approach the potentialities inherent in these new and unknown worlds. It is, in fact, the miraculous.

Let us turn for a moment to the question as to what prevents Do 48 (impressions) from passing on to Re 24 and then to Mi 12. Why does this not always happen? In fact, Dr. Nicoll attests that it does happen in childhood:

"To a certain extent Mi 12 is created in the body in early youth. We may remember its action. But as personality grows more and more thickly round essence, it happens less and less. That is, impressions are more and more intercepted by personality, which is represented in the diagram by the double [dotted] line … Impressions coming in through the senses fall, as it were, on a thick net which catches everything (save a very small part, which passes onwards and produces a very small amount of Mi 12). This net is the personality, with its strong buffers, its fixed attitudes, its mechanical associations, its rolls automatically set in motion, and its ideas that it knows and can do, with all its contradictory 'I's, with all the different forms of negative emotion, which it has acquired by imitation, with all its habits of identifying, considering, self-justifying, imagining and lying … Hydrogen 12 must be brought up to the place where impressions are entering" (Commentaries, "The Idea of Transformation in The Work,"July 27, 1941, Vol. 1, p. 57).

How the Personality Can Co-Opt Sexual Energy

The Work teaches us that the manifestation of sexual energy extends far beyond the sex act itself. A helpful lens to view the misuse of this powerful, creative energy is to study in oneself how the three centers borrow sex energy and use it for their own excesses. Keep in mind there is much overlap in the processes of centers, so the descriptions below are not absolute nor exhaustive:

• The thinking center fights, disputes, criticizes, creates new subjective theories; or is caught up in (non-creative) imagination, every type of idle fantasy, not just sexual thoughts.

• The emotional center preaches abstinence, asceticism, or the fear and horror of sin, hell, the torment of sinners, eternal fire, all manner of vehement denunciations. ... Or, on the other hand, it works up revolutions, robs, burns, kills, persecutes.

• The moving center occupies itself with extreme sport, creating records, climbing mountains, jumps, fences, wrestles, fights, and so on. Achievement for the sake of pride/vanity/success (vs. a genuine creative impulse).

• The instinctive function indulges in greed, gluttony, addiction.

• More benign in its expressions, but borne of sex energy nonetheless is talkativeness, over-activity, restlessness, obsessions with persons and things.

In all these instances, the misuse of sex energy is characterized by a distinct vehemence to the activity or expression.

There are practical efforts we can make to "gather up all our passion, our entropic centrifugal energy, our unceasing explosion of expansive being" (see quote below). We can apply first conscious shock as a daily practice. We can learn where energy may be misused or leaking. We can harness and direct the powerful energy of attention. In this way, we see that understanding (knowledge + being) sex energy is no different than our work in general, but perhaps with a deeper recognition of the stakes of energy lost and the potential for energy gained.

Our next teaching on sex center energy will focus on its expressions – and what may prevent their proper expression: in relationship, as well as the expressions in co-creation – co-creation when directed to the spiritual/transformative life, devotion, art, innovation, elevated levels of perceiving and knowing.


  • Reflect upon these teachings and using the Work tool of non-critical self-observation review the evolution of your attitudes and behaviors regarding sexual energy and its expression.
  • How have your lived through the cycles of your life, especially now? What do you wish for today?
  • In the light of this Work teaching, reflect upon this powerful quotation:

    "There is a secret in the heart of life that is not only unmoving white light. It is not only the stillpoint of the turning world, not only the light-filled empty center. It is also the lion of fire, the unceasing explosion of expansive being, of proliferating life, from the center. It is the fontal energy that demands to express itself everywhere and through every form … it is not only the secret but the manifestation: the secret manifestation, the nameless, ubiquitous power that is expressed in our own restless centrifugal living. …The Gospel's secret power, often hardly glimpsed by Christianity itself, is the gathering up of all our passion, our entropic centrifugal energy, our very outward thrust and vital compulsivity, secularity, and carnality, into this divine energy that ever flows out from its hidden Source."
    - Bruno Barnhart, cited in The Corner of Fourth and Non-Dual, pp. 75-76

June Practice: Kneeling in Nature

"There is a secret in the heart of life that is not only unmoving white light. … It is the fontal energy that demands to express itself everywhere and through every form … " This fontal energy has expression in every form of life. You can begin to see with new eyes. In order to discern the fire or luminosity within things, start small. Choose one living thing, such as a flower, a bug, a tree, a pet and with your imagination picture a kind of glow or luminance surrounding and penetrating the object of your contemplation. Stay with it for a few minutes, focusing not on its external beauty or complexity but upon the glow surrounding and penetrating it, as if that were its source of life and existence.

Once you learn to do this, the glow or luminosity can develop a life of its own. Then you can move on to another object of contemplation and witness its glowing luminosity. From time to time, say a word of thanks to this benevolent God who is constantly revealing God's self everywhere in creation (adapted from Louis Savary, Teilhard de Chardin – The Divine Milieu Explained: A Spirituality forthe 21 st Century).

Attend The Journey School Thursday Class Tonight: All are encouraged and welcome to attend and participate in tonight's class for a review of these teachings and, importantly, to produce a container of beings seeking to be more conscious and whose efforts assist one another: 7:00 pm Central Time via Zoom only.

Click on this link and Zoom should open automatically on your laptop or
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Open Zoom, click on Join Meeting and enter this meeting ID: 996-101-9778, passcode: CCH

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