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     “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.”

Special Spiritual Exercises 2

     Below are spiritual exercises and special lessons taken from classroom lectures by Vernon Howard. They are marvelous tools that can be applied to your life and will help you better understand what these teachings are
all about. Use them and gain the wonderful rewards and benefits which they can give you.

  • I Don't Belong Here

         A magic message to tell yourself every day which will be the start of the regeneration of your nature: “I don’t belong here. I don’t belong in this world.”
         One man worked on his inner condition so faithfully and so long that it took him to a different world, a different state inside, and to abiding happiness in himself, as Vernon explained with a story summarized here.
         Once upon a time there was a country called Criminalia. It was inhabited by crooks and crazies and violent thugs. The whole land was lost, but one day one man living in Criminalia woke up with a new feeling. He felt there was something wrong but he didn’t understand it. He did know one thing though. At the very same time he saw something wrong outside with all the violence, he saw there was something wrong with him, too — he saw there was violence inside of him. He said, “That’s why I’m unhappy and so afraid.” He felt trapped, oppressed, and he decided he was going to escape. It wasn’t easy because the obstacles are enormous! In hearing this talk this morning, I want you to become conscious of the obstacles of self-escape for yourself, because that is knowledge for you in how you can be smarter than what has been hurting and harassing you.
         So the hero of the story decided to run to the border and get out of Criminalia. He was beaten on the way, knocked down and robbed, but he went on and managed to get to the border. It’s important for you to make an inner parallel here. When he got to the border it wasn’t quite that simple to just walk out. You don’t just walk out. Because when he stepped out of his house that special morning, there was a sensing in the evil atmosphere of Criminalia. They knew he wanted to turn his back on them and escape and they tripled their attack on him one hundred times over. No one else in Criminalia wanted to get out, but he did and they sensed it. What he found at the border were brutal guards with fierce dogs who wouldn’t let him out.
         You see, evil, sickness, neurosis, darkness doesn’t want anyone to escape. Dark forces always oppose God and goodness and when you make your efforts, the night is going to descend on you and try to discourage you and lie, lie, lie. For example, it will tell you it’s too late. It’s not too late at all!
         But at this point he was desperate and utterly dismayed. He staggered back home and the pain and humiliation and total sense of being lost tripled itself. “God,” he said, “I try to be good, to do something right and nothing changes. In fact, it gets worse. I was someone who was trying to do right and instead of God helping me, I’m abandoned!” He sobbed for a week but finally he came to the point where he could stand aside a little bit and see himself as angry and furious and full of rage. He had cried for so long that he’d come to the end of that phase of his spiritual development. He didn’t know at the time that the self-centered sobbing was a stage of his getting to the edge of Criminalia and crossing over, but Truth, God, knew it. Because he had chosen rightly to get out of there, God in Heaven heard that small feeble prayer and sent angels down. And when he decided to study his condition instead of hating it, the 2nd stage came. Instead of boiling over about it, his second prayer was “What’s wrong with me?”
         Heaven always listens to a sincere spirit and always answers. He started asking people questions and learned they didn’t know so he stopped asking. He got stronger and tried for the border again, but failed because he still had a big ego and a false front which collapsed again. He was even in darker despair now. But the angels were still watching and helping.
         Then one day, he heard something new. He heard that right in the middle of Criminalia, but in a secret place, there was a rock, a big rock, and this rock had a message on it, a secret message sent down from another place. This message had a single sentence on it, which he could know, and when he took the secret message to the border and said it to the guards, they’d let him out. It said, “I don’t belong here.”  He pondered this and with growing spiritual insight, it made more and more sense to him. Armed with the secret sentence, he went to the border again but got so terrified he forgot the message. What I’m telling you is that the obstacles you meet with will be ten times more than you think, and ten times as tough as you think, but keep going and the day will come when what happened to him can happen to you.
         Our hero eventually matured.  He realized how much more inner watchfulness, inner yielding, honesty and humility he had to have. He realized that the spiritual world, Truth, had to be his only life. He worked on it, and finally, because he was now living in the higher world except for the physical body, when he walked up to the guards and said, “I don’t belong here,” the guards wilted and the dogs ran away and he walked easily on over.
         You don’t belong in this world! Your physical body inhabits it; your Spirit has nothing to do with it. That’s a magic message for you to tell yourself every day and that will be the start of the regeneration of your nature! There’s a block at every stage because the block is inside of us, not out there. God doesn’t create blockages.
         Know that God alone is your life. Make this connection: God has 100% authority over evil. It’s not really a battle between dark and light. Light is all there really is but because of the rebellion of the human mind starting thousands of years ago, the mind fell into the dark trap of wanting to be a God unto itself. That created the split. When you don’t know what to do, you remember that phrase “I don’t belong here” and because this is a fact, it will empower whatever is necessary for you to do living in this world which is Criminalia.
         There are two voices in you. One says, ‘I know what I’m doing’ the other says, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’ Your work is to make strong the 1% that says ‘I really don’t know what I’m doing.’ Don’t be afraid of not knowing. What you knew — the 99% — was phony, false. One absolute fact you now know: You do not belong here. That’s the right knowing.
         “You have been handed a sacred lamp here. Be the keeper of the flame. Know that all you need is God and add to that, “Because of God’s existence, I don’t belong here.”

  • Remember Something You've Forgotten
  • What Was I About to Say
  • Bear Your Own Burdens
  • Make Up Your Own Ads
  • Getting Your Life Back
  • Never Cooperate with Anyone Who Angrily Judges You
  • You Never Have to Create Anything
  • Stay Home Psychologically
  • Review Your Day
  • Action and Reaction
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     “I have been waiting all my life for the information contained in his teachings.”

— Solomon B. via e-mail

All of the above exercises were transcribed by Sally Forrest or Regina Netherton from a class lecture.

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