“Being: The inner cohesion of experience; it is what we are, as distinct from what we know, and is a gauge of our potentiality.”

– Beryl Pogson, Brighton Work Talks, p. 348


The idea of being is closely related to consciousness and levels of consciousness and determines values, meaning and the perceived significance of things. Being is not the same as Essence, although Essence certainly contributes to one’s being. While the philosophical tradition’s exploration of ontology studies the “fact of one’s being-hereness,” (i.e., Heidegger’s concept of Dasein – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dasein), the concept of being in the Work is more qualitative, in other words, related to one’s level of being in any given moment and overall.


When we apply and practice the principles (i.e. knowledge) of the Work to our being, we increase understanding – and thereby – level of being.


Knowledge + Being = Understanding.


“Outer observation shows you where you are physically; inner observation – that its, self-observation – shows you where you are psychologically.  … Where we are psychologically at any moment is what we are at that moment, unless we are aware of it and separate internally from it. …


“Now it is not difficult to understand that there are different levels of knowledge. But it is not so easy to understand that there are different levels of being. … Usually people confuse existence with being. … Man is different from the animals. He is born as a self-developing organism and so is incomplete, at a lower level of being than he is destined for by his creation. … As distinct from animals, Man’s upbringing extends over a very long period, during which he acquires many things in his being – by education, by imitation, by custom. This is one reason why the being of one man is not similar to the being of another man. …


“Perhaps you have noticed that the idea of a man’s level of being always entered into religious thought and it was regarded as more important than anything else. The level of being of a saint was different from that of a sinner. Good men, bad men, evil men, truthful men, liars, sincere men, patient men, hypocrites, self-righteous men, vain-glorious men, and so on are terms referring to the side of being.


“So many things are said in this teaching about being that it is impossible to speak of them at one time. Let me mention one thing said about being which interested me very much when I first heard it. The saying was: Your being attracts your life. … It will always attract the same kind of things, the same situations, the same kind of friends, the same sort of people, the same difficulties, and so on, no matter where the person is or where he goes. To change being is to change one’s life, but to change one’s form of life is to not change one’s being. By altering your outside condition you will not change your life, because your being will continue to attract a certain kind of life. …


“People do not easily see that they have very distinct and limited outlines. They think they are boundless and free. They think they can be anything they please and do anything they wish and live how they choose. But if one begins to study one’s being – and at the same time one’s life – one discovers that one has a certain kind of being. This is a very long task. The is Work says that the study of our being is absolutely necessary.

– Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, “Psychological Commentary,” May 21 and May 28, 1942, Vol. 1, pp. 141, 144-147