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“There is nothing in the whole universe that represents a threat to who you really are.”
“There is no real happiness for those on the wrong side. The greatest pleasure in life is the security of the true side. You can vainly try to win over the world or you can nicely be over the world. Your task is to change your operating center from strained imagination to relaxed reality.”
Below are examples of how students of these teachings apply specific exercises in their daily lives. Perhaps it will inspire you to work harder and will help clarify how to use these teachings to increase understanding and insight and to view every event that comes your way as an opportunity for higher learning. When we are truly working on ourselves there is always more to learn and understand. We need all the help we can get. The world is becoming more insane by the second. Learn more about how you can take charge of life and be grateful that a genuine method actually exists for us to rise above this crazy world. See and discover for yourself that this work can actually, factually make a difference in your life.
The teachings of Vernon Howard have touched my life in so many ways. They have shaped how I start my day, how I pass through it and how I end it. How true it is that every moment presents all of us with the opportunity to wake up.
Vernon tells us to start our day in a right way. I employ the suggestions in Practical Exercises for Inner Harmony. Despite the grogginess, I try to feel my feet on the floor and give my psychic system a good shake when I first get out of bed. My next inclination is to get a cup of coffee or do some calisthenics, but I don’t. A phrase came to my head one day, which was “Put the Spiritual Before the Physical”, so I move on to another Vernon Howard exercise I heard on a tape called “Walk Yourself Awake” — you’ll find it printed on the New Life website. There are probably only four or five days out of each year that I do not do this exercise, if you’ll pardon the term, religiously. One has to do it alone and sometimes it’s been a challenge while on out-of-town trips with family members or organized events like Boy Scout camp outs but one can find a way. I also include something else that’s vitally important to me.
A number of years ago, I heard a tape about Right Prayers. I have always been fascinated with praying to God. Before coming to New Life, I was very confused and reluctant to pray, primarily because everything I learned about praying came from corrupted sources. You can imagine the kind of prayers that were answered and those that weren’t! Do you know what a miracle it is to learn how to pray rightly? I don’t go out of the house each morning without saying a number of right prayers that I have heard Mr. Howard give us on tapes and in books. I also include some that I have created myself, using guidelines he articulated. The prayers I say include “Please God, go with me today”, “Please God, save me from me”, “Please God, let me be strong with Your Strength ... let me be wise with Your Wisdom ... let me be pleasant with Your Pleasantness” and others. One day, a prayer came to me “Please God, let me be sane with Your Sanity”. I’ll take all the authentic help I can get!
Driving to my office or to class usually involves a fair amount of time on the road. I used to grumble about all the driving but the long stretches in the car have presented me with a unique opportunity to add more Truth to my life. There’s almost always a Vernon Howard tape playing in my cassette deck. I will listen to a tape over and over again before moving on to another one. There is so much I miss on the first pass that it often takes three or four listenings before I hear most everything on both sides. It’s fun to go back to old tapes after a number of years. I am often sure that I have discovered the side of a tape I never listened to before until I come across a particular phrase that rings a bell. When this happens, I have to chuckle at myself. An important part of my Work is to attend as many classes and banquets as I can. I make an announcement in each class about a wonderful New Life free service, the “Secrets of Life” daily quote. I often can’t wait to open my e-mail each morning to see what insights await me there.
I end my day with a few brief prayers, all of them from New Life materials. One of the most disturbing ones to my old, bad nature is a prayer that says “Please God, show me how to make You my only friend.” It takes courage that I don’t often have to ask God for things I don’t understand. I’ve heard Vernon give words of genuine guidance: he tells you to ask God for something even if you don’t know what you’re asking for.
There is so much to learn and not all the time in the world left to do it. With each new gleam of insight that comes from Mr. Howard’s teachings, it becomes more and more clear to me that nothing is more important than The Work. As that famous television series used to say, “The Truth is out there!” Yes, it is and no one provides it more clearly or in such abundance as Vernon Howard does.
What Vernon Howard teachings do I use in my daily life? Right now, there are two I would like to mention. “Go against yourself” and “Go to work.” I have learned by virtue of these classes and through Vernon’s work that the life energy given to me by God is being wasted on unnecessary suffering, negativity and complaining.
I have found that if I go against any laziness in me and go to work to become as aware as I can moment by moment, I am able to get a lot accomplished, which helps all aspects of my worldly life and then as a by-product, I suffer less. For example, thanks to applying these principles in my work, my business is now more efficient, productive and organized. While working, doing data entry, for example, I can see how long I can stay alert, awake and aware. If I all of a sudden notice that my work is riddled with mistakes, it is easy to see that I’ve once again fallen ‘asleep at the wheel’ so to speak. But I can bring myself back to an alert state in the very next instant. Being aware in this way just feels right and I’ve learned for myself that there are great benefits to applying the lessons in my daily life. Vernon’s teachings are so practical and I’m so thankful to have found them.
To begin to explain how New Life has helped me I would have to go back to my teenage years. Back to the time when high school students are approaching graduation and making plans for what comes next.
About that time I noticed that something was starting to bother me. It seemed that while almost everybody I knew had a detailed plan, I didn’t have a clue! One friend had decided to go pre-med at the State University after which he would intern in the big city and then start a practice in a certain specialty. Another friend was to attend junior college for two years before traveling in Europe for a couple more and then returning home to marry her high school sweetheart and start a family. And so it was. Practically everyone else had figured out what they were going to do. I secretly wondered what was wrong with me.
Many friends and acquaintances made “suggestions” as to what I should be doing. And they explained them quite convincingly; to the point that I should seem foolish not to go along with them. So eventually I chose one and went ahead to college.
I graduated from college and traveled abroad for several years before returning to the United States. I had kept in touch with many of my old friends and would run into them occasionally. It now seemed to me that everyone else had a head start in life on me. They already had families and had established successful businesses and careers or had made a name for themselves in some other way. I felt like I had missed out on something.
I began to notice as I would talk with old friends though that several of them had been divorced once or twice, and some of them were nasty breakups. Others with seemingly perfect marriages didn’t seem all that happy. Several had struck out on their own in search of fortune and fame only to return years later penniless and bitter. A few ended up in substance abuse rehabilitation and a few more needed to go there. I began to notice a sense of desperation and despair in them. None of them looked or acted like they were contented.
Years earlier I had been given a book by Vernon Howard. I believe it was Pathways to Perfect Living. I read it and moved on, not having understood much of it. That didn’t bother me much because underneath it all, I thought I already knew everything anyway. (Old habits die hard).
But now as my life was moving along I went back and reread it. It started to make sense of what I was seeing in the world all around me. It explained what was going on and why my friends’ best laid plans didn’t seem to be making them happy. At times it seemed like Vernon was speaking specifically about me.
As I read on, I noticed that most of what he wrote was in fact true. The stories were entertaining and each had a lesson. As I continued to read I saw that he was right about more than I originally thought. I began to suspect that he was right about everything! I was fortunate enough to have heard him speak in person and it was clear that there was something very unique about him. Here was someone who UNDERSTOOD LIFE. He knew me better than I knew myself. In fact he understood all human kind! And he had made the extraordinary effort to communicate the lessons of life through his books, tapes and lectures.
He told us to take what he taught and to prove it for ourselves. The more I did the more I saw it was true. I now have a much better understanding of the world in which we all live. I understand our purpose here and have been told what we should be doing. LIFE HAS FINALLY BEGUN TO MAKE SENSE.
It’s so very interesting how this all works. I remember hearing a whole talk by Vernon on Understanding. He said that was all we needed. I remember seeing an inner reaction of disappointment and resistance. It seemed to me (actually, to the false self, but I didn’t know that then) that there were so many more things needed. But (1) by persistence, (2) by continuing to study, (3) by breaking thought and trying to stay awake, (4) by remembering to ask for higher help, (5) by keeping notes nearby to help us remember to do the work, and (6) by practicing self-release when we are nervous or in pain, everything gradually changes. Our attitudes change, because we now see that understanding really is what we need. Now, there is nothing in life more rewarding, more exciting, than gaining more understanding.
Taking a truth statement like the following one, writing it down, and working with it helps understanding to grow. “THE FEW HUMAN BEINGS WHO FINALLY MAKE IT OUT REFUSE ABSOLUTELY TO POINT THE FINGER OUT THERE.”
If, instead of sleeping my life away, I will work with the basic principles to watch what is going on inside every minute and not say “I” to whatever is there, and not try to change it, but to shine a light into the inner darkness, it then becomes more clear that there is a sly impostor, a pretender, and many dragons (demons) within that are running and ruining my life. I have been calling them me, but they are not me. This is what separates us from who we really are. This is the only problem any of us has. It’s like a movie projector sending out scary scenes that we think are real. It is very exciting to become a better detective and to expose the hoaxer, the hypocrite, the insolent impostor, the pain causer, and in the process, to get our life back. Indeed, if we are honest about what we see, and will go through the hell of becoming conscious of the unconscious (e.g., fear, worry, anger and much more) we can change what we are getting, and we do have a chance to solve the Mystery of Life. Nothing is more practical.
“Understanding the mind is everything, that is, seeing what is going on inside and knowing it is not me.” The trouble is, I don’t work hard enough and I fall back to sleep! And there are still many parts which would rather sleep and parts that want to be lazy. So I have to see I can’t do anything for myself except to ask Heaven to keep me awake and to do for me what I can’t do for myself. And then I must try to work all the harder, which appears to be a paradox but really isn’t.
It is truly thrilling when one sees that by really doing the work, outer problems start to disappear. What was a giant crisis for me recently became a little molehill by following the instructions of turning my attention to the inner condition and staying with the pain, the fear, the inner chaos. By not trying to find an answer to the problem with the thought-self and by practicing self-release, I can move up the mountainside. Amazing, isn’t it, that nearly everyone rejects these principles, our only true friends?
Vernon gave us a chance for something incredible. Here’s how unique it is. Vernon said he doubted if 10 men in history have gone this far (DVD #35 — Five Steps to Sanity & Certainty). How far? He said it takes many years of going through the stages of giving up calling oneself either a right or a wrong person, of not calling it ‘me’ at all, and of “finally approaching the stage of sanity and certainty, where there is no you there anymore.” Vernon offered us a chance for a new and eternal life, but we have to persist and to put these Truth Principles first every day.
Today, I was in our parking garage and I heard a construction worker loudly complaining. Apparently something had gone wrong and he was letting the world know all about it. Later in the day, while working on a project, I caught myself growing angry over an inconsequential mistake. I didn’t roar out my pain like the construction worker, but I had a bad feeling inside. But Vernon Howard’s teachings have taught me an amazing lesson. First, I suffer because of my reactions to the events of life and second, this suffering is completely unnecessary.
Standing aside from myself, I have the ability to see my being in action. And what a terribly disappointing sight it can be. My image of myself and the reality of my self collide!
Not a calm and collected man? Not someone who faces uncertainty with equanimity? Oh, no. This can’t be me. But it is. In his books and tapes Vernon has said “Face up to it. See yourself as you actually are and not as you imagine you are. This is the way to freedom.” And so I do it, and the most amazing transition takes place. Once I see the pain I cause myself by wanting to destroy the world because the screwdriver slipped off the screw, that seeing changes me.
This is my daily work. A hundred times a day, I must look inside and see myself, see what is actually going on in there. I’ve taken Vernon’s advice for years now and the difference it has made in my life is incalculable. No longer content with simply raging at the unfairness of life because it hasn’t made me a ‘superstar’, I now want to grow ever more weary of my own sickness, and so let it fall away. Yesterday at our Sunday New Life meeting, I was given an even deeper insight. It’s not enough to just let the misery drop away; Vernon says you have to allow it to be carted away. Yes, yes, that’s what I want. Everyday from now on for the rest of my days, I have a purpose. I’ve been told this is glorious work and that the reward is an unimaginably rich life. Now that is true help.
For many years I was completely lost and confused about how to handle everything in my life — the failed relationships, angry people I would encounter at work, my finances, etc. Someone always presented a solution for my problems, which always failed to provide a lasting solution. I might find a tiny bit of relief for awhile, but the feeling of desperation always came back.
One day, I dropped to my knees and prayed to God “Please show me what’s wrong with me. Why am I in so much pain? Why are there so many problems in my life?” Shortly after that, I came across the greatest gift I have ever received: Vernon Howard’s teachings! From reading his books, listening to his tapes, watching the DVDs and attending the New Life classes, my life began to change.
One of the first things I noticed was that my mind is actually the enemy! It is not on my side but is working against me. I realized with a shock that my own mental chatter was driving me crazy. I needed help turning these ‘mental movies’ off. One of the first principles I applied in my daily life was the ‘Slow Down’ exercise. From the moment I got up until the very end of the day, everything was rush, rush, rush. This rushing was causing one negative thing after another to happen. The spilled coffee, the lost keys, the anger and irritation that would explode at the slightest challenge. Just by slowing down, I could see and understand how I was giving over precious moments of my life to negativity.
I work in the medical profession where I do encounter difficult and angry people all of the time. I had no idea how to handle these patients. No matter how hard I tried I would get angry too which of course only made matters worse. By the end of the day I was emotionally drained. Why was I allowing angry people to drain my energy? How could I apply Vernon Howard principles in this area of my life?
I chose to use two exercises that really appealed to me because though I knew my old nature would protest, I sensed that applying these particular principles would lead to a lifting of the heavy burden of my own anger. The first principle is to let the other person win and the second is to turn the attention back on myself at the crucial moment of confrontation. In the past, I was always depending on myself. I wanted to win the argument. I wanted to be right. I wanted to fight and win! By turning the attention back on myself, I was able to see what an angry person I am.
I know that I have a lot of work to do before all of the difficulties in my life are conquered, but the gratitude for having found these teachings can’t be expressed in words. My heart knows that I’m finally on the right track.
Walking in the mountains at an elevation of 7,800 ft early one morning, there was dew on the tips of the leaves and grass, deer scampering across the roadway, chipmunks darting across the path, birds singing, bunnies hopping, together with the greenery of brush, shrubs, aspen and pine, and the aroma of the early morning high country fresh mountain air — Spectacular! This is God’s gift to us.
Looking inside at my mind and observing that it is constantly thinking and thinking — the contrast is startling!
But we have been given so many tools to break the spell of the mind and to return to our true spiritual home. Some of the most valuable of these are the spiritual exercises Vernon has given us in abundance.
Here are some exercises and instructions I use over and over again to break the hypnosis of what Vernon calls ‘mental movies’: 1) With the Abrupt Interrupt exercise, I cut off the painful thought the moment it appears and know where I am at that moment and ‘observe’ or ‘see’ rather than think. 2) Vernon also encouraged us to practice the Run Out of Yourself exercise which is to tell yourself all about yourself. 3) Carry notes, a booklet, a book, something of the higher with me so that I can get true help at any moment. 4) Instead of running away from painful interactions with others, it is often critical to invite the knowledge that what you see in the other person also exists presently in you. It’s just hidden and buried from view. By letting the truth of the other person’s trait reveal similar wrongness in you, it cancels out the criticalness and brings a definite humility, a relief and a new understanding. This must be done honestly and truthfully and not just done to quiet the pain. 5) Practice non-identification because everything in the false self resists feeling real shame, resists feeling and knowing its own cruelty and resists being aware of its own mental ‘war games’.
I recently observed a bumper sticker that reads: “Queen of the Road.” Isn’t that really how, in secret, we all live and consequently get from life nothing authentic? What about having a new bumper sticker, one that reads: “God, Truth, Reality Rules”? Wouldn’t it be a good reminder to thank him for his gifts and especially for the Truth Teachings we were given here, which, if used to change ourselves, can exceed the level of all the stars in the sky? When understood, we gladly obey.
With the correct order of putting Truth first, how can anything but goodness follow?
A while ago, my life was overrun by my family. My father had me take him to work before I went to work. My stepmother felt she had a right to call me any time to make repairs to her house; my niece and nephew who got into a lot of trouble always called me to solve their problems. I was up to my neck in family life. They were draining me of my life. I knew it, I felt it, but I saw no way out.
It was a “yes-mess.” Then I began to work with some of the exercises Vernon Howard gave us, exercises that if done with a right heart and spirit can change everything. I used the Themaswot exercise to begin to say NO to my family who just wanted to unload on me. “Themaswot makes the suggestions are the ones who must do the work, make the decisions and pay the money.” At first I just said no to their small “requests” and called their bluff. Then I got stronger. The howl from my family members was very loud and very long. They tried everything individually and as a group to get me back in their clutches. I was able nicely and without anger to refuse all of their demands! Slowly they faded away, and after many years of inner work and sticking very close to the classes, they are no problem at all.
I’ve found and this is really important, THE CLASSES MAKE YOU INWARDLY TOUGHER. I NEVER MISS A BANQUET, NOT EVER; BELIEVE ME, ATTENDING THE BANQUETS HELP. This work is like riding a fast spinning top. If you stay right at the center, you stick with the Truth. If you wander at all, you will be flung off the top. Stick close to the center. NEVER MISS A CLASS OR A BANQUET THAT YOU CAN ATTEND.
There is more to this work than I ever had any idea of in the beginning. I now have a real appreciation for what Vernon Howard gave us. I would never have had a peek into something other than Roy’s little world unless I persisted. I will never stop attending these classes. They are the only thing on the planet that has true meaning. That may sound unbelievable but it is the truth. Find out for yourself.
Vernon Howard’s principles offer me immediate higher help every day.
Take depression, which overcomes me without cause and I suffer. When I’m depressed, Vernon asks that I question its right to control my mind and my feelings. Using “Depression has no right to exist”, I can boot it out of my inner life. When I use this principle, the heavy negative feeling disappears. I experience what Vernon talked about when he said “The state invades me but it’s not me.” This is truly exciting because having succeeded once, I can do it again. That’s the key — I must constantly use what I’ve been given by bringing myself back to awareness time and time again.
“I am the problem” has freed me from a lot of useless blaming so that I can now concentrate on the solution — me. When my husband tells me I’ve made a mistake, I don’t immediately attack back. I begin to understand that my wrong reaction is mine, not his. Vernon says that often the decent thing to do is to just leave people alone. When my husband is driving, I put this principle into action by no longer advising him to avoid the car turning left 3 miles ahead of us! This helps both of us.
To consciously upset myself by doing what I don’t want to do helps me to develop. Using maps is difficult for me. But I go against myself and read the map. It feels right and at the same time, I avoid wasting a lot of time driving around lost.
Life constantly challenges us but Vernon Howard’s principles give us true support and a higher experience that comes as we use these tools. Nothing worthwhile is going to come easily; but oh what a reward we get by applying these ideas. We can truly get our lives back!
“I just want you all to know how much Mr. Howard’s work has been of benefit to me and other people I know. Thank you so much for sharing this wise information so freely and with great skill. I am deeply appreciative!
— Janet S., Iowa via e-mail
“Thanks for helping me be who I really am.
— Man from Illinois via e-mail
“I’ve read Vernon Howard’s books and listened to his talks steadily for the last 25 years. I think I’ve read 90% of the other books on self-development and as yet, none has made the deep and lasting impression on me as has Vernon’s. His passing was a loss to us but the Truth he left behind remains alive and well.”
— Lady from California via e-mail