New Life Foundation
About New Life, About Vernon, Lessons, New Life News, FAQs & More
“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.”
We're escaping! We’re finding the way out and breaking free! The enormous amount of higher energy released at the New Life banquet in Strawberry, Arizona this March made us ecstatic about working to leave our old natures behind and "getting a little closer to God each day," as one speaker put it.
Those who are beginning to awaken sensed the power of what was happening. And undoubtedly, Richard's talk — the highlight of the banquet — shocked us awake enough to feel something else; that is, energy coming from a higher place than this world. "Dedicate your life to finding a soul," Richard Wooldridge said in his talk on Saturday. "A wrong part of you is leading you away from these classes," he noted. "None of us has any time to waste." He quoted Vernon’s talk [MP3 CD Vol. 18, Talk 8], “How can you ever think of missing a single class?” Richard reminded us we need help, but not to identify with being helpless. “The higher life exists only when you don't.”
In his talk, David H. also mentioned that we have to be concerned about gaining a soul. "Forget the past, live in the now. Get home before dark," he advised.
From Vernon Howard’s Treasury of Positive Answers, Chapter 8, speaker Dave N. quoted this question: "But why is it so hard to reach people with these ideas?" He continued, "Because anyone lacking cosmic knowledge doesn't know he lacks it. And only a severe crisis can force him to seek something higher." Dave used the illustration of a business owner who had forgotten to turn her “Closed” sign to “Open” to remind us to always be receptive to higher guidance.
Based on the same book Treasury of Positive Answers as well as Esoteric Encyclopedia of Eternal Knowledge, more magnificent directions for finding the true and permanent self and for ending suffering were given by other speakers in the Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday classes. Then, when called upon to comment on their impressions of the banquet, many students accurately described it as follows:
Katherine P: "The talks were spectacular and you could feel in them a miracle."
Kyle R: “I got so much out of working in the kitchen. And I learned when things go wrong, you don't have to get negative.”
Lynne W., referring to the Pretties dance: “We had a great time dancing.”
Judith A., regarding the entertainment: “There was pleasant harmony in “Annie Laurie,” [a favorite old Scottish song]; and after the banquet I was bouncing off the walls from the special energy.”
Colleen, a new lady who made a super effort to come all the way from Florida for the banquet and joined us in the kitchen work: “I appreciate everyone being kind to me and I am happy to have been here to share it with you all.”
Jon J. drew attention to the connections between all the classes and talks and topics, “in every class all the time.” Bill B. added, Truth is “all one thing.”
Celebrating St. Patrick's Day a bit early included a traditional meal of corned beef, cabbage, and buttered parsley potatoes. When asked to comment on all the food that Judy P. and others spent hours planning and preparing, not a person said a word; only a loud round of applause erupted. Vernon, who was Irish and whose birthday was March 16th, set aside the March banquets to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. And of course, this is a tradition New Life continues to this day.
In the Sunday class a student stated, “The mind is not our friend," while Bill B. clarified by adding, "Mental people are under the control of dark forces." He suggested we need to ask ourselves, "Is it possible I’m self-deceived?”
So besides having an enjoyable time, hidden negative forces in us did come up to the light where they could begin to be dissolved. Fear, for example, or a mechanical resistance to someone with whom there was a personality conflict. This makes most people run away and never come back, because the dark forces within are terribly pained when being exposed. Our mind really is not our friend the way it presently operates, and it doesn't want us to see our actual condition. But when we understand, we see that this is the way out. We would never see this in ourselves out in the world without the truth teachings given by Vernon Howard. And if a teaching doesn't require us to see what's wrong first, it is not a true teaching; it is only lies and self-deception.
These banquets help us shake off the influence of this evil world. The Light is what changes us. That's what made this banquet so special and why we fell in love with what went on there. After arriving home someone said it all by starting an email this way: “Just got home from another “get-back-on-track” New Life banquet.”
“This is the best Christmas of my life,” declared Kyle R., as the New Life Christmas Banquet celebration came to a close.
"The food was not just good but incredible, and the classes were great,” was Moe J.’s analysis of the six-day Christmas festivities in Strawberry, Arizona. When leaving for her home in Utah, the face of Nancy S. glowed with fresh life, making no words necessary. Making unanimous the uplifting impressions, Katherine P. commented: “This Christmas Banquet was just the BEST.”
Leaving behind all the cares of this world, a core of students gathered at the New Life headquarters in Strawberry, Arizona, to enjoy the magic of this traditional Christmas event. There, a transformation of inner-life states began to occur. For as one partakes in the myriad activities quite unique to New Life Foundation, something above the mind begins to be felt. It is what those opening quotes above are all about. Surely, no other gift is as valuable as “cosmic energy coming through,” as one speaker put it.
With that empowering higher energy, we danced, we sang and we enjoyed doing the necessary tasks such as the cooking, prior to all dining together on nothing short of fabulous meals. Many declared the organic beef-barley soup on Christmas Eve to be the best soup they’d ever eaten anywhere. Wholesome acts and jokes and music for entertainment gave everyone a chance for special enjoyment as well as providing them with the experience of observing hidden anxiety consciously while participating.
All week profound talks were given by director Richard Wooldridge of Colorado, Bill Brown of Strawberry and Paul Wolfe of Southern California, as well as other men who regularly attend New Life classes. Talks were all based on the higher teachings of Christ as passed on by Vernon Howard, who also knew and lived what is real and lasting beyond this life.
As Vernon had emphasized, there is Something Else but we are asleep to it. Yet at the banquet, it was beginning to make itself known and to melt down the ice cube ego with its warmth. “We want a newness to our lives that nothing can take away,” was how Doug Stewart put it in his talk. "The intellect can only move back and forth, not up,” explained Richard. "Let Truth touch your heart so you're not pained by you anymore,” he continued.
In Bill’s talk, he reminded us of the preliminary steps to freedom. “Vernon told us things must get worse, worse, worse, 7 times he said worse; for to have my ego defeated is a good thing …. He told us we receive the pure truth here and then go home and when no one is looking secretly pour it down the drain. Only one small part of us is not hostile to truth.”
Paul emphasized we must look at things from a different, higher perspective, and can start life all over right now. As Moe said, “Truth is trying to push us into a corner, so we will eventually trust only God.”
There are greater and greater attacks along the path," declared Bill, reminding us that evil forces do not want to lose even one person. Richard encouraged us with this fact, “I am never left in a place where God cannot help me.” We were reminded that no one is condemned, yet we are still responsible to change. “I have to do the work for myself. No one can do it for me,” is how Richard put it. That and the ”internal upheavals” he mentioned are what are needed to wake us up and live beyond this life.
Doug said our classes and studies bring “a clarion call to a new life. With trial and plenty of error, exposing our false assumptions, we first learn what doesn’t work.” Like lost sheep that need a shepherd, we need this teaching built on solid cosmic principles; it is what is necessary for anyone who wants this New Life.
“Let a Higher Spirit Guide You” was the theme for New Life’s July banquet talks, based on the Vernon Howard MP3 CD of the same name. The ten talks on this MP3 CD contain some of the strongest and most inspiring messages Vernon set forth in his unforgettable stories. People traveled all the way to Colorado from various parts of the U.S., including California, Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina and South Dakota.
Friday talks — Beginning the weekend’s series of talks Friday evening, speakers emphasized the importance of awareness, self-responsibility and Do-It-Yourself initiative. Moe Janosec recalled in the talks “Inspiring Interviews with Vernon Howard” that we’re not victims of circumstances; we are the circumstances. “Real success is to not be a victim of one’s own negative emotions…. All evil people operate in the name of God,” quoted Moe, forcefully adding we should say, “I’m not going to lie to myself anymore!”
Saturday — “I’m going to shake you up!” New Life Director Richard Wooldridge began on Banquet Day, as he and several other speakers and students continually challenged our unseen egotism and false personality. A very helpful directive, especially applicable to the entire banquet experience, was to “try to get free of your reactions to people.” Richard said you’re hurting yourself constantly, as when feeding on negativity, feeling thwarted, wandering around asleep, etc. Then “if you hate yourself for your mistake, the dumb thing you did, you’ll do it again. So interrupt yourself and see the mistake consciously.” There can also be freedom from the belief in labels, from identifying the self as “I” or being a know-it-all. You can simply be “a point of awareness.”
From the “Library of Spiritual Truths” talks, Doug Stewart recalled to us the excellent classification of three kinds of human beings and states: workers, loafers and saboteurs. He described the Ship of Life which requires those who want to reach Truth to “throw out your life boats,” that is, wanting your own way instead of “coming out from among them,” out from among those who choose to remain loyal to this world.
A barbecue buffet meal and bountiful desserts followed the talks, with soft pretty music adding a harmonious background. During informal entertainment, we danced in a large circle to old fashioned music. A lighthearted and freer state gradually replaced the chains of resistance. Nearly everyone participated in the fun, animated “chicken dance” that helps to break down the fear of looking “foolish” in front of others.
Sunday — A saunter and scramble up the Happy Trail leads to the pergola where another inspirational class was held. The sound of the rippling stream, the Rito Blanco, only enriched the quiet setting. While we sat in the beautiful forest on the hillside, the birds and squirrels were boisterously rejoicing in life, and we too could feel the exuberance in hearing fresh truths anew. A bit of humor was added by a testy squirrel in a tree close by who became vocal when Moe gave an announcement. [It seems to be only when Moe speaks that the squirrel gets vocal!]
From the talk “The Secret Weapon that Guarantees Victory” Robin Kent reminded us of that unforgettable story about the family at the seashore who taught their children, as we must learn, that “the waves never lie”: what we put out we get back. Instead of asking “How long will this take?” we are urged to find out for ourselves that nothing is more fun than continually giving up our misery and refusing to suffer. Then by leaving a space, more energy and Life is given to us. As was related by several speakers, we must give something up to have something new.
Another speaker gave a good analogy of how driving on the wrong side of the road during road construction resembles society always telling us what’s right when you sense it’s wrong. Bill Brown set forth Vernon’s concise two-word commandment: Stop lying! Bill concluded that you have to get something that you can’t get from your mind. “Vernon said to write the following down: ‘To get these higher things, you have to obtain something you can’t give to yourself. You have to leave empty space.’ Truth will lift us up if we will give up lying about our actual inner state. Don’t tell God what to do. Be completely passive.”
Banquet comments and praises — “I know I’m going to a right place,” thought one student when he was in his car driving to Pagosa. Others described healthy, worthwhile results. “I actually had fun!” recollected Doug, “though I made a slew of mistakes and the perfectionist stuff went away.” Sherry Day reminded us it is the false self that is the pain. Jeff Fisher said a benefit of the banquet is that it shows you when seeing your mistakes how much work on yourself is needed.
Characterizing the atmosphere and the entertainment, Karen West told how great it feels to laugh. Bill’s humorous skit “Puns Intended” got the most laughter in the formal entertainment. Karen said, “I loved the song about Wild Montana Skies; it touched my heart.” Like the other old western songs, such as The Waltz of the Hills, it was rich with harmony and little life-lessons as well. We have wonderful singers at New Life that augment the fullness of our spiritual experience.
The banquet emphasized the help available at New Life Foundation, to understand the necessity of learning how to become aware. Awareness is very rare in this dark world, where everyone is asleep but believes he is awake. In conclusion, Richard sent us home with new strength, energy and resolve. He said we must learn to “Speak up! Go against yourself. There’s gotta be more enthusiasm in you!... Come back!”
At the Wednesday evening May 10 class in Pasadena CA, New Life’s May 2017 banquet was begun with a compelling, spirited talk by Director Richard Wooldridge. He said, “There’s a completely different kind of learning based on intuition, not interpretation.” The mind interprets what it sees and hears through its long years of training, through its bias, through its defensiveness and these interpretations block direct seeing and always get in the way of spiritual understanding. But genuine intuition based in essence is understanding itself. He continued, “Start to realize that our aim is to draw closer to the Higher Source no matter what must be given up, like our love of fighting and arguing.”
At the Friday evening class in Westminster, a powerful exercise was given which was used by many students over the banquet weekend. Vernon said that we must begin to challenge the dark states that take us over by saying to the state, “Can you help me?” If we’re honest, it’s crystal clear that no darkness in the form of any negative thought or emotion can ever truly make us feel better. Do this exercise persistently and it will clear your mind if only for a few seconds. The negativity will of course try to reassert itself but in the interim lies the freedom from all the mental noise!
In his Banquet Saturday talk, Richard said, “What we’re doing here is getting a soul. Truth is working on you whether you know it or not. It is healing you. Turn your life over to Truth because it knows what it’s doing. The work has already been done and we simply have to accept the invitation to join it.”
Everyone in the audience smiled with recognition when Richard also spoke of a pill that everyone takes called Blamitol. Taking Blamitol leads us to blame others for all of our woes and problems and to refuse to accept self-responsibility for our own lives. Remember Vernon said that the person who awakens is the one who refuses to blame anyone for anything.
Paul Wolfe, New Life’s Southern California Director, spoke from the Vernon Howard CD entitled The Freedom of Being Good. He pointed out that “we don’t want out badly enough because if we really wanted out, we’d actually be out!” We have to be receptive to what Truth is trying to tell us because “It’s what we don’t know that hurts us.”
After the class, a delicious taco salad and chef salad meal was served with all fresh fixings, including organic beef and shredded chicken, homemade salsa, guacamole and many other items. Delectable desserts like a beautiful 5-layer cake, pies, cookies and other sweet treats were available throughout the afternoon.
The outstanding formal entertainment by New Life students followed. Especially entertaining were the “Father William” skit featuring Doug Stewart as an old wise man, a rendition of the classic song “Red River Valley” by three New Life “cowboys” and an expressive reading of a pertinent Aesop's fable by Texas Judy. The Pretties dance, choreographed to an old favorite, the “Peanut Polka,” had the entire audience clapping along with the music and you could tell that dancers and audience members alike were thoroughly enjoying themselves. The festivities continued with lively informal dancing in which many of the participants released any self-consciousness and just had a great time.
The enthusiasm level was high when the class met for more talks and another meal on Sunday morning. Many students commented on how great the banquet was and how much was learned. “These classes are here for us. We’re here to get a life and a soul,” said David Hearst. “Develop an attitude of humility,” said Texas Judy. “Don’t take offense; it’s not about ‘you.’ Don’t fight. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to let go of the suffering?”
Every New Life banquet is different, unique and uplifting. “Come to class no matter what,” Richard told the group. “Years ago, I once went to class when I was very sick. I sat in back of the room. Vernon could see I was ill, yet he called me up to give me some practical information. I told him I was sick. He consciously said, ‘Get up here!’ Needless to say, I went up to his desk. If you can be in class, be here!”
“Keep Your Sunny Side UP, UP!” This old song that we danced to in the entertainment portion of the banquet could be both the theme for our March get-together and an exercise for the entire year, to see more while being cheery and refusing suffering.
Many new and old faces were seen gathering to celebrate both St. Patty’s Day and Vernon Howard's birthday in the splendid spring sunshine.
Richard opened his talk Saturday with this observation, “Before class, I was looking around the room at faces and realized that there was a definite difference between the faces of people who come to New Life classes regularly and those who haven't been here for some time.” The benefits of attending New Life classes on a regular basis shone in the faces of those excited to gain more insight, proof that even though Vernon Howard is no longer with us physically, these classes give us a lot more help than we realize. He later added, “Something in you likes coming here and being spoken to frankly.”
Richard continued, “You are responsible to wake up, to never be negative.” Explaining how to transform our nature, he said. “You haven't called the bluff on negativity yet. Negativity is not your natural state — not who you really are. You have the power to smash the darkness.”
Doug quoted from A Treasure of Trueness #1499, “Only a personal internal earthquake is going to wake you up.” He explained that this is why we must walk right through the flames of hell in order to have the arrogance of the false self burned away. Well, you may say, what kind of fun is that?! But separating from that person I think is “me” will provide tremendous relief. So we must come to class after class, banquet after banquet, to really experience and understand it all.
An incident occurred when a speaker dropped his microphone when standing up and was then excused by the following speaker. It was explained how we must never excuse ourselves or others but should always make it worse! [You can see why these teachings are so unacceptable to the world and the false nature!]
Since this was our St. Patrick’s Day banquet, Bill mentioned the concept of the trinity as taught by the shamrock and mentioned that Vernon gave us the three terms God, Truth, Reality to refer to the Higher Power. He also recalled the old adage to ask before you speak, “Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?”
No better corned beef, cabbage and potatoes could be found anywhere than at the long, bountiful tables at the New Life Irish banquet. Formal entertainment included melodic Irish songs such as the lilting “My Wild Irish Rose,” and the well-known poem “The Road Not Taken.” Humorous skits brought laughter and the Pretties dance was a lively Irish jig.
But what was really important about the New Life banquet was the indescribable energy and increased understanding that we take home plus a desire to work harder on ourselves.
As Kyle pointed out in the comments before class on Sunday morning, we get energy from doing work for the Work. This was an observable fact and a magic secret. For example, two ladies worked in the kitchen somewhat late on Saturday night while making preparations for Sunday morning's appealing and colorful breakfast. Then they arose very early Sunday to finish the preparations. And instead of being tired as expected, they were filled with amazing energy not found out in the world.
Also observed throughout the week of preparation ahead of the actual event on Saturday was that a woman who worked non-stop almost every day and night prior to the banquet had the most life and brightness at its close. Richard, who was very sick much of the week, went against himself and let the strength of Truth pour through him in his talk on Saturday. We should never doubt the power of God to help us. And as Regina commented, we can do a lot more than we think we can. For it is not us but the Truth that works through us. But we must do the work in order to know and experience that.
A light and lively spirit was present at New Life’s Thanksgiving Day banquet held at the New Life Plaza in Westminster in Southern California. The day’s class was opened by Richard Wooldridge who shared a marvelous quotation from a talk given by Vernon Howard. Vernon said, “Some of you people are afraid to smile. That smile was deep down inside of you all along. Use the physical to work on the inner to free yourself. This is very high.” Richard then added, “Be cheerful and try to be consciously pleasant. No excuses!”
In his opening remarks, Richard said to come to every class possible because “you don’t know how much help you’re actually getting when you come here.” He also urged students to familiarize themselves with the New Life website which contains a treasury of higher information and is updated all the time.
The class’s first speaker, Paul Wolfe, talked about having a moral obligation to live a free and happy life. “Real morality means you never hurt another human being.” Paul also said we must realize the fact that we’re separated from God and that the world is doing everything it can to keep us in our present position, in the thought trap. He gave a great example of how we’re protected if we will abandon the false nature and begin to obey heavenly instructions. “You can actually have a ‘force field’ around you when you go out into the world. That is what protects you and keeps negativity out.”
In his talk, Richard reminded the class of the famous Vernon Howard exercise “Bear the pain and pain the bear.” “We must call the bluff on pain instead of always wanting to run away and lose ourselves in distractions. For example, there are millions of things to do, millions of distractions in the Los Angeles area. Truth doesn’t say we can’t do those things but it does say they are not necessary.” He also relayed a story about deliberately going against the sour part of us that wants to be dull and insists on being in a gloomy state. In the Colorado classes, some students often ride to class with another student. This student, by his own admission, is a grump in the morning, but one recent Sunday morning he made a conscious effort to drop the grumpiness and be pleasant. The other students commented they were grateful for his effort because everyone was positively affected by his lighter mood. Richard said, “A lot of people will be grateful when you are no longer a grump!”
At one point during his talk, he had people trying to remember the names of the Seven Dwarfs, like Grumpy, Sleepy, Bashful, Dopey, etc. During student comments, Richard asked one student which dwarf he was and the student said “All of them!” And Karen made a very funny comment when she said, “I don’t care anything about the Seven Dwarfs but I sure am identified with Sleeping Beauty.” The New Life atmosphere really does combine the authentic study of very serious subjects with a lot of fun and good cheer.
The delicious traditional Thanksgiving feast was followed by wholesome entertainment put on by the New Life students including pretty, melodic songs, dancing and funny jokes. One hilarious 5-second act portrayed Doug as a hospital patient with Lupe as his nurse. The laughter from the first punchline was so loud, no one heard the second part of the joke!
Following the end of the day’s festivities, everyone felt gratitude for what had been offered to them at New Life: the opportunity to transcend every problem and every fear and to live a free and peaceful inner life.
Banquets! An ideal place to work and grow! Said Vernon Howard in a talk, “There’s no such thing as idle time for you — you should always be working.” So though we have lots of fun and food, banquets are not a vacation where you go to be served, but a place to become different and, as Vernon said, to take a vacation from yourself. We show how grateful we are to New Life and Vernon, not by endless talking, but by doing the Work, both inner and outer.
Benefits of Banquets
Comments which emerged, especially on Sunday as activities were drawing to a close, provided glimpses of the insights and changes that occurred. Regina Netherton said, “When we come we're all mental, but by the last dance we're mostly out of the mental; it’s gone.”
Banquets are far more than just words, as someone said. Bill Brown mentioned you “can't get this with the intellect.” Speakers provided vital spiritual information to ponder and learn from: we then sought to act on the principles and examples. Judy Parsons mentioned, “Everyone here is a teacher for me.”
During food preparation early Friday morning, lots of women worked cheerfully and efficiently getting the Italian feast ready for Saturday. Meanwhile men were learning new lessons helping to clean up the New Life property. At work parties, lightness and fun prevailed, as well as relaxing work and great pizza. Bill provided lots of humor with his jokes about our unconscious mistakes while working on the newsletter mailing, such as classifying them as “class A or B felonies.” The lightheartedness helped us to not defend the mistakes but to learn from them.
In formal entertainment you never know when you'll encounter emcee Doug Stewart with Italian accent, in a funny hat and bright-colored, striped jacket to introduce witty and talented entertainers right out of the audience. They delighted and amused us by portraying various characters in humorous jokes or sang beautiful songs of old like “My Wonderful One.”
After Nancy Shade, former opera star, led a sing-along with Doug and Lynne of “Brighten the Corner Where You Are,” director Richard Wooldridge later commented what a treat it is to hear Nancy sing, and that she said she had never used a microphone in any of her stage performances. He added the lesson that the art of speaking clearly and projecting the voice, as Nancy does, and which was once practiced in large amphitheaters in Greek and Roman times, has been lost. This is evidenced at banquets and in talks when students will sometimes mumble weakly, even when using a mic! Vernon himself encouraged us to “speak up” when giving a talk or performing in an act.
Awareness of Negativity
We must go farther than we want to go, a speaker pointed out. So we are pushed and encouraged and inspired to see what we haven't seen before and to do and be something new and different. One speaker gave an example of how “you think you’re aware when you're really asleep,” as when misplacing keys and getting locked out. As the talks continued over three days, a theme emerged that “only awareness of negativity” can move us to change. 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle was quoted, #779: “Remember that the sighting of a new weakness must precede the acquisition of a new strength.” It does no good, as Doug said, to be “a fox-hole Christian who turns to God only when afraid or in a pickle.” It's a full-time job and we can “practice all day long dropping negativity.”
Banquet Saturday’s talks emphasized dropping dependency on others and doing independent self-work. Like the “puzzled porcupines” in Secrets for Higher Success, we can’t cling together in shared misery. [Vernon once said, “Shared experiences are very low.”] Richard told us how we give other people power to upset and intimidate us: “Don't be bluffed. Let them be mad if they want. Let the other driver be an idiot — it has nothing to do with you…. You think your own depression is real. So you excuse yourself and others with ‘it’s only human.’ Stop it! Get rid of these stupid liberal ideas you have about helping others. No! Help yourself! Let Truth handle it for you and tell you what to do — with ‘a new power of consciousness.’”
When we make a stand for God and Truth by coming to banquets we are often attacked by our own mind. “Darkness is aware of what’s happening here,” a speaker said and Richard reminded us, “There are evil forces at work that are trying to destroy you. You’re going to have to call the bluff on the darkness. Satan knows where each one of us is the weakest. Truth can free you if you will let it.” We can become smarter than the darkness!
A letter was read on Sunday by Judy Poston from a student who has visited New Life on several occasions. She said, “Going to banquets has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life…. And I would really like to thank you and New Life for making Vernon's materials available and accessible. His material has certainly changed my life and the way I view myself and the world around me; I don't know what I would do had I not come across his publications years ago….”
Exploration for the three-day weekend of the 2016 July banquet was based on a chapter in Vernon Howard's book The Power of Your Supermind entitled “The Cosmic Wonders Within Yourself,” a tremendous topic for inner study. By plunging into the work and the activities at the banquet, students again felt the awakening of cosmic energies.
“Do you just want to star in your own zombie movie?” inquired speaker Moe Janosec, to jolt us into awareness Friday evening at the opening of the New Life banquet. He explained how we’ve been lied to about everything and must become aware of what is really happening. Everything in the world is calculated to stop us from finding Higher Truth.
The metaphor from The Power of Your Supermind [as well as in The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power] about people riding in a train up the spiritual mountain was introduced by Jack Carter. He warned us not to get off the train and settle down to the lower life.
“Feel your feet on the floor, the seat you are sitting in. Keep your mind where your body is. Start life all over,” directed speaker Paul Wolfe in his talk on Saturday. That little interruption in the mechanical flow of life made room for an increase in consciousness, in something new in the atmosphere. Paul explained how even if another person is negative or screams at you, you can calmly leave it with them and “let it drop to the floor without touching it.”
Director Richard Wooldridge gave us some very practical yet spiritual advice about communicating with each other. When we are 100% responsible for giving others clear directions, there is no confusion and everyone benefits. He implored us to understand that these teachings must be incorporated into our entire life. We need to begin to view our spiritual efforts as One thing instead of placing life into separate compartments like health, finances, recreation and higher study.
Richard told us to just see what is there, without interpreting. “With silent receptivity, all things are possible.... The only way is for you to go silent.... It is very valuable to just sit there and do nothing.”
During the banquet, meals, beverages, desserts or snacks were always available. Banquet dinner offered choices of BBQ beef brisket, pulled pork, chicken and delectable smoked turkey breast, accompanied by a savory cranberry-habanero sauce. A tempting and tasty array of salads, fruits, and desserts completed the menus.
The Saturday afternoon entertainment with a western theme was a lively mix of dance, song, and comedy, all entertainment provided by New Life students. A sample of the entertainment was “Blue Montana Skies,” a song beautifully harmonized by four singers. It included words most fitting to the theme of the banquet: “Free as the eagle flies in blue Montana skies, with him my spirit soars and will be free.” Duets by Lynne and Kyle included two more light, amusing western tunes with challenging yet well executed yodeling.
After Saturday's banquet, which included a taste of something else the heart yearns for, another class followed on Sunday morning. We found ourselves in the New Life Pergola, an open mountainside structure situated where nature abounds. There everyone gathered for a final class to expand our understanding and continue our growth. Bill Brown opened that talk by stating, "My topic is LOVE." [Everyone laughed.] He then explained, "There is no love in you if you are not presently residing in the Kingdom of Heaven.” And he added, "Your traitor mind does not care for you.... Our natural state is to live in natural love, not in frantic seeking…. You’re trying to have a life outside of cosmic law. It doesn’t exist — nothing is separate from it.”
David Netherton spoke on the section of the Supermind chapter about shocks. He said shocks crack our habitual ways. Quoting Supermind, he said, “But consciousness, awareness is always something new. It is never the mechanical parroting of memorized information.” Lynne Wooldridge talked about our “spilling level” and read some notes from Vernon about how it is necessary to be shocked and insulted in order to grow. Bill said you’ve got a chip on your shoulder a mile wide. Coming to banquets is the perfect opportunity to have that knocked off!
Other speakers throughout the weekend made comments about how banquets are incredibly beneficial and can show us what is hidden inside. We volunteer to be pushed by self-work to go beyond our usual limits of mind and body. Sherry Day commented that she now loves the banquet dancing, though she used to fear and run away from it. Jeff Fisher added, "You don’t get the full effect of classes and the teachings unless you come to banquets." During informal dancing a spontaneous and hilarious drama occurred in which two fishermen, Jeff and Doug, struggled over an imaginary fishing line, followed by a frantic chase as the fish, Kyle, got away!
Perhaps Doug expressed best what the banquet was all about with the statement, "There has to be something more to life than getting the things I want and when I get them, they don't make me happy." He later added, "Every time I come to a banquet, it's like a gigantic leap upward." Judy Parsons said, You don’t have to know what you’re doing, just follow instructions.”
The intensity of the presence of Truth increased as the weekend progressed and everyone left to go back to the noisy world with the resolve to work harder on themselves. But not before another magical meal was enjoyed on tables near a sparkling stream and under massively tall spruce and pine trees. Oh yes, and who can forget the natural delight of feeding little Chipper, the golden-mantled ground squirrel who loves to take an almond from the hand!
Would you like to truly change your life? All of the information and energy necessary for that change was present at New Life’s March 2016 Irish banquet. The fun and particularly congenial atmosphere at this banquet provided a unique opportunity to work on ourselves right then and there.
With an impetus to steer our attention away from its wasted wanderings and toward higher development, Wednesday night’s class speakers talked about a “Power that Sets You Free.” The deeply insightful story was recalled about people in a small town who returned from the big city depressed. One man who investigated discovered that negative voices were being piped into the hotel rooms and were whispering evil messages to them at night while asleep.
Bill Brown also told us of a Vernon Howard talk [Secret Energy for Inner Change, DVD # 22, talk 3 and Blu-ray # 8, talk 2] that describes how, if we give up our negative use of energy and relax from ourselves, the energy will actually be reversed and can then be used as a powerful tool for higher perception and understanding.
Powerful talks on Saturday gave further practical advice on insights for change. New Life Director Richard Wooldridge used a personal example to illustrate reversing energy for inner change. Misplacing a case for his glasses, he described how the mind misfires in all directions, such as getting irritated or wanting to blame someone else. So he got practical like a spiritual detective and tracked it back to the source. To solve problems, we must “remove me from the equation; get myself out of the way…. Let Truth show me what to do!”
Doug Stewart also talked about the study of suffering [see chapter 7 of The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power] and the value of a crisis: “Advancement to higher understanding is always preceded by a crisis.” For example, we can study mental pain by observing phony behavior and the wish for approval from others. David Hearst mentioned that we can’t get in touch with Truth using the lower mind. The spirit must become active and the mental apparatus passive, for as Richard said, “the intellect cannot function from spiritual logic.”
During the banquet activities, such as preparing and serving the delicious Irish dinner and during rehearsals and cleaning, a cooperative spirit prevailed. Lots of work was accomplished in a short time, while flowing smoothly without chaos. The “easy flow” talked about in Sunday’s class [see Pathways to Perfect Living, chapter 9] actually prevailed in most situations. Of course we could observe where the lower nature likes to get offended if its plan doesn’t win out when lots of other egos are present. But that is the “value of a crisis” which is so powerful at banquets. As was mentioned Sunday by Bill, a big part of us does not want to wake up, so the crises are necessary to shock us awake and to end our self-deception. The banquet atmosphere was light and safe for learning serious life lessons and a genuine effort was made to let Truth, not the false old mechanical nature, be in charge.
The entertainment portion of the banquet continued our chance for growth and learning, not to mention the enjoyment of some good old-fashioned fun. Formal entertainment opened with a big welcome from an Irish Doug Stewart and the lively and unforgettable tune of “MacNamara’s Band.” Katherine read a humorous parody very expressively about boy and girl potato sweethearts. Ireland is home to the County of Limerick and limerick also means a short rhyming poem, so we heard some lighthearted limericks, as well as many other funny jokes.
One high point of the entertainment was two beautiful songs about the Emerald Isle sung by Kyle and Lynne in their exquisite blend of pure harmony. Further work in the evening wrapped up the mailing of the new Spring/Summer 2016 Newsletter which will reach many students who want to know more about how to have a “New Life.”
We were reminded that the New Life website www.anewlife.org has a new feature beginning this month on the What’s New page. Called Truth Principles at Work, this new section of articles will be written by a different New Life student each month, describing valuable lessons they have learned from the Work.
It is difficult to express what is received at a banquet but one student summed it up this way: “I’m feeling that all unanswered questions about life are offered here if only I will have an authentic affection for what I’m hearing!”
I love receiving the newsletter twice a year and wouldn’t want to miss it. I reread them over and over.
Also I want to let you know that I love the website. I visit it almost every day. It is so helpful because of the excellent design and information. Also the daily e-mail reinforce the message and give me something nice to look forward to every single day.
I have been studying Vernon Howard for about 13 years and he has helped to completely change my life. From a whining, self-pitying person to someone who is beginning to take responsibility for my own actions and know that there is indeed a way out!
I am planning to attend the class in Pagosa Springs, Colorado next year and maybe one in Strawberry too. I can’t wait to meet like-minded people and enjoy the wholesome atmosphere.
God Bless you all for carrying on Vernon Howard’s work!
— S. C., Delray Beach, Florida