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“There is nothing in the whole universe that represents a threat to who you really are.”
Here are some additional lessons that were given by Vernon Howard in his classes over the years. Apply these powerful insights to your life and use them to further your spiritual understanding.
The Frightening End of Thought: So I am going to catch myself without making another mistake of living in time. Thought is always in time. So I break thought, then there will be a pause in there in which there is no thought at all and in that I am free. And when you do this for the first time, when you really see that you can be without a thought at all, you’ll want to work on yourself every minute because you have sighted the way out at last so that you are not depending on thought to keep your false personality intact. It is only thinking that keeps it in place. Our task is not to just get it out of place but to throw it out altogether so that I can see that something is self defeating and then say all right I saw it. I am not going to linger on it so as to feel myself as a great sinner. I am going to drop thought. I would say that the most frightening thought that ever comes to a human being is the idea of coming to an end of thought. Because when there is no thinking anymore, you, I, cease to exist which, thank heaven is what we were looking for all along. But we are afraid to look at it because what would happen if I let go of my success, my reputation being the nice man? What would happen is that you would be out of the cage. But we don’t know this. We have it exactly backward. What we value is ruining us. And what we reject could save us. It is best to reverse our thinking.
What is Truly Good for You
If all you can think of is getting advantages, you’re always losing. You have pillows in your mind which prevent you from seeing how weak and vulnerable you are. You’re sitting in a little corner in your mind thinking you’re safe. You’re not. You’re only lying to yourself. True goodness is only what is higher than your present nature. As an exercise, see how your dress and words and behavior are constantly telling everybody who and what you are. Since imagination has taken the place of reality, you must first destroy imagination in your life by listening to yourself, watching yourself behave, actually catching yourself in your secret thoughts with your hidden motives. This is so you can in time learn what is good for you, so you can choose the right over what is habitual and easy and popular. All that has to be broken down by something you have invited in, by consciousness. To get your reward, you must do your work. You must follow the exercises!
Go Through the Fear
You have to go through this, the fear of losing someone who knows more than you do. No one knows more than your own recovered essence! No one inwardly, deeply, is any smarter than anyone else. The only difference in someone who knows is that they have been working longer or harder than you have. What some great avatar knew, you also know — way down inside. But it’s all covered up and messed up. We’re here to throw out the trash!
You have dozens, hundreds of ideas about the kind of a person you are. These ideas have no relation to reality at all! This is why you have problems. This is why you have anxieties. This is why you have fears. This is why you feel left out when someone else has more than you have. This is why you say unconsciously to yourself, “You have no business treating me that way.” All thought connects with memory. All thought connects with time — with yesterday. To be free of everything — not 99%, but 100% — you have to be free of acquired thought!
The everyday mind can lead to the door of the higher world but it cannot enter. This is of utmost importance to understand; it saves so much frustration. Notice how often the New Testament states that the human mind cannot comprehend cosmic concepts.
Great power is found in the word risk. Risk everything that you have called yourself, your habits. Enter every day into as many risks as possible instead of being the cowards we have been all our lives. Risk rejection so that the time comes when the word has no meaning to you at all. Risk losing the warm feelings you get from another. Risk one thing tomorrow and two the next day. See your dependent behavior, your nervous behavior. ‘I am not going to please you any more so that you will be pleased with me. I am not going to compromise with you.’ Risk the good opinion I have of myself.
Little Advanced Secret
If you will see the horror of human nature, that’s what qualifies you to go higher than it. There is something higher than horror. But you have to see the horror first. You think you are nice ... “Oh, I have my faults, but I have my good points, too.” He has his good parts, too. NO! You’re all bad ... both of you are bad because you think you are good.
Nobody knows how bad it is. You have to see how bad it is before you can see how good it is. EVERYONE IS INSANE. Until you know that, you can’t find sanity. You have never had anything but a mad mind, a mad spirit, tricky motives, lies and hell.
Exercise: Know the next time you think something bad. Know the next person you hurt. If you don’t do that, you won’t be shocked and stunned at how horrible you really are, and then you won’t be able to rise above that to something good.
If you refuse to go through the shock, the stunning shock of knowing that everybody is insane, you won’t be able to go higher than that to sanity. That is a rule!
Don’t take the world’s future as your future. Can’t you see where they are going? Never any more will you accept the troubles of any other human being as your troubles. “No, sir, madam, etc. I am not going to have anything at all to do with you. You have tricked me for the last time.” You do not have to share the destiny of a vicious world if you don’t want to. Say no to the whole world.
See that you are simply weak, lonely.
Evil is not a judgment of one human being on another. Evil is nothing more than being in a state of unconsciousness, of being asleep. All wars are the activity of sleeping human beings killing each other. All riots are the activities of sleeping human beings — hoaxed human beings — who think they are awake. This is the madness — or insanity — which doesn’t see itself as that because it says, “We are fighting this war to free our country.” Come back to the simple definition of all evil, all sinfulness, all wickedness being a state of not knowing yourself as you really are. Therefore, you behave — or I behave — mechanically. And I destroy me — and you, with this same psychic sleep that I have in myself.
I Will Remember
Write 10 to 15 single sentences each beginning with the same three words, I will remember. Examples:
I will remember to use the devil to destroy the devil.
I will remember not to be a burden to anyone.
I will remember that I always need more effort.
The Greatest Good News on Earth
Thank God we found out what didn’t work — and it never will! Now the greatest good news on earth is that there is a way! It’s not the way we have tried but you have to have so much courage and so much persistence to drop trying that way! It’s incredible that we don’t get to the end of our rope before we do! You have to get to the end of your rope — the absolute end of it! If there’s another inch there — no good! For heaven’s sake, get to the end of it and then let go! When you let go of the rope and you stay there — you’re beginning to be a human being who can be kindly without effort. You’re beginning to be one of the few human beings on earth who ever really became sane. You’ll be one of the few human beings who was ever truly “born again.”
Let anything that happens to you, happen and just sit there and watch it. Don’t interfere with it. Don’t do anything about it. Don’t try to correct it. Don’t try to ease the pain, the tension, the anxiety. Just sit there and take it. Let the outer situation do anything it wants to you until you see that it is not doing it at all but that you are. That’s why you have to remain right where you are until you see that you are doing it; not that man, not that woman, not that society — I am doing it all by myself. I am attributing power out there because I am falsely attributing power to my negative self which doesn’t exist.
Don’t Get Carried Away
A small negative incident happens and you allow it to grow and assume great importance. While you are carried away by this incident, it seems you are going somewhere in a definite direction. When the force weakens, you become anxious because you feel in your delusion that you are losing your sense of direction. You then latch on to the next negative force. Such is your day. Be alert to this and go through the strain and pain of not getting carried away.
If truth is leading you, it will also make decisions for you. And since these decisions are right, they will also make you feel right. So what does it mean if you are still using your usual mind to make your own strained decisions? It means you are not yet taking your decisions from the available cosmic compass. Remember that truth will never lead you into a circumstance without also showing you exactly what to do while within it. It is truth’s very nature to reveal clearly to you your needful actions. It is impossible for truth to abandon you. If you feel abandoned, you should see that you have carelessly led yourself into the circumstance. This insight allows the cosmic compass to correct your life-direction.
All Is Well
The condemnation you feel for being evil comes only from evil itself, never from God. The condemnation is nothing more than the unnatural storm arising from your present confused nature. This means that the curse on you comes from you. That can be corrected because you need not remain what you are. A contrite heart has earned you the privilege of being scolded by truth. This steadily removes the curse. A truly humble spirit, which is a truly strong spirit, knows no curse. To summarize, a curse or a condemnation is nothing more than demonic whisperings which gleefully hope that you will listen, tremble and become one of them by believing in their lies. Simply reply, ‘Sorry, but I will no longer fall for it. I don’t have to. Truth said so. Truth alone is now my source of instruction. So all is well. I rest.’ All is well, now and forever.
Distress and Disappointment
Know that distress and disappointment are states of stupidity and nothing else. Do not trust them. They have no intelligence whatever in them; they can only lead you astray. You are very foolish in being lured after their frantic shrieks. They shout that they are right, but they are always wrong for you personally. Do not follow the deceitful lures of distress and disappointment.
Constructive and Destructive Excitement
There is destructive excitement and there is constructive excitement. You know what destructive excitement is, such as the thrill of receiving unexpected money or having power over other people. Constructive excitement is a miraculous life-elevating experience. It consists of anything that happens to you while you are in a state of surrender to the lesson in it. The feeling that accompanies the learned lesson is constructive excitement.
You run into one problem after another because you really don’t realize that you live in an insane world. This insanity includes both the outer world and your own inner lunacy. Now this is not a cruel or insulting thing to say to you; in fact, it may be the first gift of compassion you have ever received in your entire life. Can you see why? You have been told how to end your problems once and for all. To review, you must clearly admit both exterior and interior insanity, which is the first daring step toward sanity and problem-free days.
Where’s the Problem?
A thought comes into my mind that you have offended me, that you’re not treating me right. After all, you yelled at me. This thought tells me that I have a problem. No! The only problem is my idea that I have a problem with you screaming at me. This idea came into my mind and said, “You yelled at me. I have a problem. I’d better react to it — I’d better do something about my problem.” I grabbed the idea and believed in its charlatan message. Now if I yell back, then I have a problem. If I don’t yell back, I don’t have a problem. And I don’t have to yell back because I never had a problem to begin with. I just thought I did.
You Are the Problem
Your curse of the storm is the only storm there is. Your disappointment is the storm. You caused the storm itself; now you can complain about the conditions you caused. When you complain about anything, that anything that you are complaining about is you yourself. You think it is out there, the way that person treated you: “Look what they have done to me!” That is the storm. It comes from the false way you think, from your undeveloped emotions, from your childish reactions. If you haven’t gotten to the point in your inner journey yet where you know that you curse the whole world, you are going to have to go through disappointment after disappointment. When you are willing to die and fall down on the ground psychologically, truth will be able to come and talk with you because now you will listen where you would never listen before.
Stop Being ‘Nice’
I want you to see, as a daily exercise, what a petty annoyance you are to other people. You can’t see the big ones yet, go for the little ones. You interrupt people when they’re talking. You’re so compulsive, so eager to release your built-up tension over the years by being apart from Reality, that you interrupt them while they’re talking and that’s called being rude. You don’t know that you do this. You’re to make a long list of how you are a petty annoyance to other people. One little step at a time, you can’t take very much. How about having a sour face and manner? How about when you’re talking about yourself? You haven’t even started to witness the unfolding of your life because you carry a sign that says, “I am a nice person.” That means you’re spiritually asleep. You absolutely must drop all your phony idealistic self-images of you being nice or others being nice.
Be In Charge
You don’t know what to do when you look at another face, even a face you’ve seen a thousand times before, do you? You study them to get your clue. If they’re laughing, you laugh. If they’re solemn, you’re solemn. WHY DON’T YOU ESTABLISH THE MOOD WITH EVERYONE YOU MEET. Why don’t you be 100% spiritual, therefore, 100% in charge of yourself and you take the lead. Watch what happens. The first thing that’ll happen is you’ll be so at ease. You’re not concerned with any wrong reactions that they might have, whether they’re angry or whether they’re trying to trick you because you know what’s going on. You’re in charge of yourself. No one else can be in charge of you.
A Healthy Mind
Your actual level of spiritual health reveals itself each time you leave practical thought. An unhealthy mind instantly falls downward to self-centered thought, such as returning to a grudge or feeling left out. A healthy mind rises upward to levels of inner-development, such as reviewing a spiritual lesson or seeing through the falseness of fame. As an example, two men work side by side in a factory giving thought to turning out furniture. The noon whistle blows. One man departs from practical thought to scheme how he can take some small advantage of someone. The other man leaves practical thought to ponder how human affairs are dominated by personal craving disguised as noble ambition.
“ I received both packages. Thank you so much. I seem to appreciate Vernon Howard’s teachings more and more as I age. I’m beginning to think that it may be the time that we need it the most. New discoveries about my life and path are delightfully endless, full of surprises. Thank you.
May the Celestial Blessings of God’s Life Force continue to be with you.”
— J. P. via e-mail