Welcome to New Life Foundation
Vernon Howard Founder
“It is wise to seek immortality for time defeats all other ambitions.”
“What you want also wants you. If you seek the celestial, the celestial also seeks you. There are no unanswered requests in the universe. If we do not like what we are receiving, we can learn to ask for something different.”
This is an ongoing series of articles written by New Life Students who have been attending classes for a number of years. They have experienced the benefits of coming to class on a regular basis for themselves. Life throws challenges at us all the time so why not learn to deal with them consciously and effectively. Read and enjoy these helpful and insightful essays which will cover a wide variety of life topics.
Resistance to the Disturbance Is the Disturbance by Paul Wolfe
I was working on something that needed to be taken care of this morning and noticed that there was quite a bit of negativity going on. The mind said, “The person who left this like this should be taking care of this; don’t they know any better than to leave a mess?” and of course “why am I (always) the one who has to clean it up?” I’m sure you know what I mean because it’s the same for all of us. The mind is looking for something to affirm its existence, to prove that it knows best. Often it chooses to judge others as a way to affirm itself.
Vernon gave us a lesson that can help: “Resistance to the disturbance is the disturbance.” My experience this morning is a perfect example of this lesson. I found something that needed to be taken care of (the disturbance) and set about taking care of it (a right thing to do) and then went into negativity over it (the resistance) which is really what the disturbance was, the negativity. It is completely possible to simply take care of what needs to be done without going into “mental movies” about it. You can even enjoy the whole thing.
Because of this work, something happened in the middle of the disturbance. This something (Truth) made it apparent to me that I was upset about something a sleeping human being did because I was an unaware, sleeping human being myself. That changed everything about what I was doing – it was no longer a burden; in fact, I enjoyed it.
When I’m working on something related to the work, I like to get an idea of the topic and sit with it for a few days. I picked the topic for this exercise several days ago and was planning to write about it today. When I got up and checked my email this morning, I was reminded, once again, that when we have a higher intention, we get help that we didn’t expect. The Secrets of Life quote for today is from 700 Inspiring Guides to a New Life, #199:
“The more unusual an experience the more value it has for those who are tired of self-shackles. The entire secret is to take the unusual or the unpleasant experience with conscious attention, not with the habitual fear or resentment. Self-shackles are cut with something stronger than shackles, and conscious attention is a thousand times stronger. Practice this secret power.”
This was a perfect fit for the topic, and the right power to apply to the disturbances in our lives. If we’ll do the work, we’ll get the help, ALWAYS. No right effort goes unrewarded.
Be Responsible for My Own Reactions by Regina Netherton
I’m sitting out in the sun on a magnificent spring morning. The crabapple trees are ablaze with crimson blooms. The birds are singing joyfully as they welcome springtime. The purple and lavender phlox and columbines are flowering. Everything seems to be in harmony and happy to exist. What a delight!
Yet, it’s a different story with people! I recently dealt with a very irate woman on the phone. Her demands were very unreasonable and her demeanor unpleasant. At New Life we’ve been studying how attitudes run this world. This lady had an unconscious attitude that her capricious demands be met. This led to frenzied thoughts and wild emotions that dictated her wrong behavior. That’s psychic hypnosis and a perfect example of how darkness invades the mind and feelings of individuals to cause problems on every level.
Here’s one way higher principles have helped me. Before coming to New Life my reaction to this woman’s tirade would most definitely have been fear and anger. My weakness would have given her power over me. I might have even lashed out at her angrily and contributed to the sickness of this world. No more blaming the outer world for anything! I’m learning that critical, difficult people have no power independent of me. They simply don’t. My fear is their power.
So instead of being controlled by unconscious mechanical forces, as this lady was, I must turn my attention back to myself and observe my own reaction. Awareness of my inner state is an absolute necessity. Was there anger, resentment or uneasiness hiding in me, for example? If so, my wrong reaction and attitudes are the real problem. Even though the caller was cantankerous and quarrelsome, I am fully responsible for my reaction to her! Once it is understood that our level of spiritual maturity is the cause of all problems and pain, we’ll want nothing more than to increase both inner and outer awareness.
But the truth that can save us is not at all popular and here is why. Do you think that woman could accept being told that she herself is the only cause of her difficulties? No, she couldn’t, because the hardened beliefs and the egotism that control most people’s lives do not want to allow the Truth itself to melt them down.
It’s imperative to stop deceiving ourselves and admit the position we’re in. Our suffering is trying to tell us that we’re wrong and we must see how bad it is before God can show us how good it is. To quote Vernon, “Many times a day shine the flashlight back on yourself and ask, ‘Am I in a harmful state right now?’ Answer yes. Name it. It will always be negative. Don’t try to change what you see, and don’t fight it.”
We should be jubilant about this because it is the authentic way out! Honest observation of our actual condition is what transforms our nature.
“CHECK YOURSELF AT THE CHECK OUT LINE” by Doug Stewart
The subject of the False Self is spoken about quite frequently by Vernon Howard. But what is the False Self? We have ideas, plans, and hopes, expectations that will seemingly make us happy if only they will happen exactly as we want them to. We pour a lot of energy into these visions of a supposedly rewarding future but almost never give a thought to their origin.
Who wants all these things to turn out a particular way? You will reply, “I do!” but you know deep down that something inside you will never be satisfied even if you get what you want. But something else urges you to try anyway. This is the False Self at work, something completely contrary to the True Self, which you also possess. Unfortunately for everyone, the True Self is buried under the tons of unhappiness created by its evil opposite.
Your job is to start digging but it’s not going to be easy. So convincing is this False Self, the ego that demands its way, that we feel one with it. The ego is so all-consuming that almost no one sees it’s like a cocoon that must be broken through so that the butterfly of our True Self can emerge. Like a real butterfly, we also have to break out of our ego-cocoons all on our own. This is done by something called Self-Observation. Yes, you are looking at “yourself”, but you are also looking at your “Self” — the artificial nature that, as Vernon points out, is wrecking everything in your life. One of the ways of personally verifying the existence of this insane tyrant is watching how you react to things when they don’t go your way. When the ego is thwarted, it responds with hostility. It’s trying to prove its counterfeit existence by rewarding you with its payment of fake money, in this case, anger.
Anger is one of the ways that the False Self renews its treacherous existence. To end its tyranny and be free, we must look and see what living from its dominance is doing to us. Begin to notice how anger comes in like a breeze but quickly becomes a hurricane. Example: You are in a rush to pick up a few items at your supermarket. Whatever patience you had was left outside before you even came in. You quickly gather your five items and look for a way to check out fast. You’re already edgy, so you head for the “15 Items or Less” line. Unfortunately it’s moving very slowly. The checker is filling out paperwork because somebody at the front of the line is returning items, not buying them. You get irritated. You count the man’s groceries on the belt in front of you and notice they total over 20 … outrageous! Now you are seething. So you scan the other check out lines. Ah! There’s a checker with only one customer, so you go over to that line, thinking how smart you are. Unfortunately, the checker smiles and tells you “This line is closed” as she puts out her little sign. Looking around in your anxious state, you see that all the check out stands have now filled up with customers. You feel like you’re trapped in a nightmare. You’re in the quicksand of anger — the more you try to get out, the deeper you sink. Sound familiar?
To keep the forest green, you have to put the fire out before it spreads.
Instructions: You are to catch the first tiny flame of anger that crops up when something doesn’t go your way and notice what’s going on within you. And here’s the next important step: Don’t do anything but simply observe your reaction. You separate yourself from the situation, like a rock that is washed over by a wave. The wave loses its energy while the rock remains unchanged. Don’t give anger any attention. That’s what it wants. Let it go by you like a passing train. When you first do this, you will still vibrate and feel the heat but you’ll notice a difference. More and more, you begin to weaken the power of the False Self by removing the food of anger that it craves. You’ll have plenty of potentially irritating experiences come up every day and they’ll try to take you over. Watching and being aware of what’s really going on is the first step to living the kind of life you were meant to live.
Say No to Suffering by Karen West
Before I came to the New Life Vernon Howard classes, I often asked, “How can I stop feeling so tired and beaten down in my own life?”
Everyone can benefit from having more energy. Everyone can profit from actually seeing what is draining the energy given to them by God. Vernon Howard wrote many powerful booklets, one of which is Your Power to Say NO. Where in this life does someone need to say NO to preserve their precious life energy? People may believe they must live the torturous life they’ve created for themselves, but that is an absolute falsehood.
Does that mean that we then need to “create” a new life for and of ourselves? NO! Another unnecessary thought. The more junk that we let go of, the more the Kingdom of Heaven can come in and create the New Life for us.
We may often suspect that we’re our own worst enemy. But by starting with a conscious, internal NO to all the nonsense, a spark of light comes alive inside, a spark that makes us aware we’re clinging to old beliefs and behaviors that torment us and that block the opportunity we’ve been given to live a free life. When we have the courage to refuse the negative, the exterior worldly circumstances may or may not change, but the whole life will move toward the higher and change for the better.
A little over a year ago, I started a new business. It was very interesting to me because I have pretty much always worked in a routine, isolated office environment. This new venture, however, was a cleaning business, using manual labor, which was refreshing in a strange way. It grew very fast, faster than I could keep up with labor to help. I saw a lot in this whole experience about others and myself.
Recently, it became clear to me that I was suffering with this situation. Many of the workers were very angry, were difficult to work with and because of this, were not good to have in front of clients. The light showed me that I don’t have to do this. Why was I suffering because other people were being irresponsible with their spiritual lives? I don’t need the money – I have enough to live comfortably. And I certainly don’t need the aggravation/ negativity/anxiety from the situation. So I said “NO” and have been watching how Truth is fixing the mess this false self created. I have tons more energy. A miracle has truly unfolded in front of my own eyes!
Try saying the spiritual NO again and again. It works magically. It is not easy, because the damaging negative habits, situations, people and thoughts don’t want to leave. And there is a wrong part of us that doesn’t want them to leave either.
This also connects to the “Now is New” exercise given to us by Vernon Howard. Every new moment there are opportunites to rightly say “NO” to whatever is causing us mental and emotional pain and distress. If we keep using our NO-power consciously, miracles will happen!
The “Attack Back” by Eric Pendleton
I decided to do an exercise of trying to be aware whenever I opened or closed a cabinet door, with a particular focus on knowing when I closed the door. The purpose of this exercise was to be alert to what I was doing in a conscious way. I began noticing when I closed the kitchen cupboard doors — getting coffee cups, spices, etc. — and I was amazed at how well I was doing. My awareness expanded to other things too and I felt I was on my way to the higher life, so to speak.
As time went by, to my surprise, I stopped doing the exercise! I was constantly leaving cabinet doors open. This could be dangerous because had I leaned down and come up quickly, I could have hit my head on the edge of the open door.
What was going on here? I was doing so well at the awareness exercise I’d given myself and then I wasn’t. I was having a very hard time remembering to close the doors. I saw myself wanting to blame my wife, but who had left the doors open – me! I was the only one at home so the evidence showed I was the guilty party.
What had happened? I had been gaining confidence in my ability to be more conscious. Consistent awareness of closing the doors had even led me to be more organized in fixing things around the house. And then I fell back asleep again.
Vernon Howard used a phrase he termed “attack back” and this explained what the problem was. My sleep nature had attacked with a vengeance to take me back to an unconscious state. It was definitely working, as my thoughts became confused, forgetful, even dysfunctional.
This is why people don’t keep their promises or reach their goals. The only way for us to understand why we perform certain actions and have particular thoughts is to ask for higher Truth help. If I rely only on myself, my sleep state will run my life and will ruin me.
Knowledge of the “attack back” is very valuable. It can prevent me from getting too full of myself and help me to realize there is a sleep nature within that wants nothing at all to do with waking up. I had experienced something like this before, but the seeing of it was different this time, more fascinating to look at. Wow, the cabinet doors are all standing open, all six of them!
It can actually be fun to see how unawareness operates, especially since I’m a student of these spiritual teachings and should have known better, right? This recognition gave me a big shock, but a healthy one.
So here’s the good news. When you see the “attack back”, you also get glimpses of something not coming from the old nature and you then see everything with a brighter view.
You Are Not at the Mercy of Life by Ann Pendleton
What is my favorite New Life exercise? I thought long and hard about this. There are so many different ones that I’ve used and benefitted from over the years. No matter what I’m going through, there is a ‘Work’ exercise, which if used correctly can free me from any situation life offers.
When I was younger, I could not wait to grow up so I could be free of the perceived restrictions and people in my life. Over the years, I often heard stories from various friends about their wonderful childhood, how free and easy life seemed to be when they were young. I can tell you, this was not my experience. For as long as I can remember, I had this deep feeling inside that I wanted to be free.
When I became an adult, I found that I was still under a lot of influences from the world, perhaps not as restrictive as when I was a child, but still there. I felt helpless about this and tried to accept that this was the way life operated on this planet. I told myself that there wasn’t anything I could do and I just had to make the best of it. However, deep down inside, this answer never felt right, it felt more like a platitude.
When I found Vernon Howard he told us that no matter the situation, you are not at the mercy of life; you are at the mercy of yourself! Well, that put everything right back in my court. No throwing blame out there because I was the problem. Let me tell you, I argued vehemently with this idea in my mind for a long time.
Eventually, after working with this principle, I could accept that, yes, many things probably could be my fault, but still, weren’t there certain exceptions – what about this situation or that circumstance? What about that particular event? But Vernon made it clear that there are no exceptions because here is what is so wondrous about this truth — it is my reaction to the event that causes the pain, not the event itself. “Resistance to the disturbance is the disturbance.”
I have a person in my life whom I must deal with on a frequent basis. This person often oppresses people who work for them in order to have a feeling of control over their own life. Even though I knew this intellectually, I often found myself getting angry whenever they made unreasonable demands. One day, I realized getting upset was my reaction. The idea that the other person could make me angry was completely false. They had nothing to do with it. I made the choice to get angry. When really seeing this for the first time, I cannot tell you the freedom I felt — it was like soaring above my usual pained and painful self.
This principle connects with all the other principles taught by Vernon Howard. When you work with these ideas, they become realities. They become yours to keep and to benefit from in daily life.
Stop Living on Life’s Roller Coaster by Dave Netherton
Ask anyone what the most popular ride at the amusement park is and they’ll likely tell you, "Of course it’s the roller coaster!" On this adventure, riders zip along the tracks through ups and downs, speeding through loops while hanging on for dear life. They experience thrills that come from sensation seeking.
Ordinary life here on earth is just like living on a roller coaster. I've found this to be especially true as a salesman. In the sales profession there can be a tendency to get really excited over completing the big deal. This is often accompanied by a financial reward. The opposite side of the coin is when the sale doesn't happen at all or even worse, falls apart at the last minute. This often results in a let down, giving the salesperson the blues and a feeling of failure.
After going through one such slump I noticed how “it” seemed to be getting me down. Then, one day came a flurry of activity; new clients were requesting appointments and there were several deals in the works. “How exciting,” something inside of me said and I noticed how my mood changed for the better. Suddenly, I felt confident and enthusiastic. It seemed that things were finally going my way again.
But the observation of my changing states led to a great realization. The realization was about the importance of observing what thoughts go through your mind and what emotions take you over as the result of grabbing onto those thoughts. In our study group, we had just discussed how there are inner voices which tell us how to react to events. They advise us to get excited when experiencing worldly "success" such as making the big sale. And when the deal doesn’t happen or is called off at the last minute? The voices tell us to be disappointed, frustrated and bitter. And we go along with it.
Through these teachings, we can learn to step aside and examine what the voices are telling us ever so subtly. For example they may say, "You must succeed by pushing this transaction through or else you'll be seen as a loser.” Now ask yourself, “Can such a voice really have my best interests at heart?" Not if it leads to my feeling bad. This is like voluntarily being flung around on the tracks of the roller coaster.
Life will always throw you curve balls. Studying esoteric principles and facts have helped me learn that I have no obligation to go along with these endless, emotionally draining ups and downs. Seeing this clearly makes me want to get off the pendulum of excitement over the sale one moment followed by disappointment over the lack of sales the next. We are perfectly capable of doing this by having the courage and persistence to observe just what's going on inside of us moment by moment.
We don't have to go down with the ship or get carried away in a frenzy of elation over what happens. We can live from an entirely different viewpoint. Now any business, personal or social happening can be seen as merely an event because that is the perspective we have chosen.
On page 76 of The Power of Esoterics, we are advised to “Take events as they come, not as you want them to be, and in time you will want them to be exactly as they come.” What a refreshing change!
When living from truth it is possible to really choose to enjoy life without the need for exterior happenings to excite or depress us.
Truth offers us the ultimate, uplifting alternative to being mercilessly tossed around by this world. So give up the temporary thrill of the roller coaster life and discover a life worth living.
Truth’s Antidote — The 3 A’s by Katherine Pascal
Truth — beautiful, intelligent, made up of pure rightness and goodness; its greatest delight and pleasure is to help us to take charge of our lives. As I get close to the part of me that wants Truth above all else, I realize the happy results.
Too often I’m on my own self-imposed time-deadline, frantically finishing tasks in a race to “win.” In this careless, rash state, I drop things, am inefficient and am vulnerable. My body is stiff, making it even harder to step back and see anything with clarity. Vernon said: “Life is not a race to win but a school for your higher education.” Truth’s antidote, the 3 A’s — Alert, Aware, Awake — the miracle — rescues me and teaches me to do something Higher. I remember! I have the ability to keep my mind where my body is, to know where I am and what I’m doing, to slow down, to look around and to breathe consciously. My body relaxes which encourages my mind to do the same. At that moment, I realize I was anything but Alert, Aware and Awake. However, that rattled state is not permanent! I can live fully right now, pain-free.
When I see that trouble is wherever I am, I’m getting wiser. Events don’t need to be catastrophic for any one of us to turn to Truth for help. Here’s an example of how I was recently rescued from my own self-induced pain using the 3 A’s exercise.
As I was taking a special dessert I’d made to a gathering, I received a call that my dessert was not needed. Within an instant of receiving the news, I felt rejected, angry, upset. My mind bamboozled me with nutty reasons why this was happening to ME! But with awareness, I was able to start refusing these thoughts because I know that when I’m negative, understanding is blocked from reaching me. Thank heavens that when I see myself as wrong, I’m teachable. Teaching and help — that’s what I needed and that’s what Truth gave. I saw if I didn’t identify myself as being a great dessert bringer, I would be fine with the event. All that pain dissolved because I rejected the unreal me and contacted who I really was.
Do It Now! Get It Done! Bang! Bang! Bang! by Katherine Pascal
When society gave me “The Dance of Life,” its choreography wasn’t what I wanted. I needed real answers and that meant I needed Vernon Howard’s teachings.
The Vernon Howard exercise “Do it Now! Get it Done! Bang! Bang! Bang!” has saved me tons of trouble and has given me profound insights. It’s miraculous to reclaim your life and to be in correct charge of it. I have the power to do what I’m avoiding instead of crumbling under the pressure. Vernon called the crumbling the Avoid-Dance. The Avoid-Dance keeps me moving mechanically on the railroad tracks of my false nature. I want to avoid making that phone call but I make that call anyway. I put off what I have to do, but I do it anyway. Choice is a power. It’s a rocket ship that takes me outside of myself. I can rightly revolt and surprise the devil who is stirring up hell, trying to crush my spirit using misdirection and counting on me to stay in a hypnotic, paralyzed state. However, I can live a different life.
When I had to call an irritable, harsh, complaining client to discuss business, I delayed the call, forecasting doom. I believed the client could psychologically hurt me. But nagged by my avoidance, I remembered “Do it Now!” I called the client and when I heard his voice, I did not cave in. Instead of the disaster I had feared, we completed our business efficiently. I was so relieved. I realized that only when I am out of the comfort zone of myself can I learn. The client had no power whatsoever over me. My machine gun of ideas about him caused me a lot of trouble but they were based on false assumptions. He was really bluffing, conning me into falling under his spell of intimidation, which I usually did. This time was different! The reward was feeling the pure satisfaction of knowing I had done the right thing. I wondered why I had waited so long to experience the relief of “Doing it Now.”
Vernon’s work always pleasantly surprises, destroys fixed false beliefs, and provides answers until there are no questions left. Truth is always the antidote spring-loaded to propel us to a higher inner level. We never know when the refreshing rain of Heaven will breathe real life into us when we follow these life-healing principles.
What is the value of the “Do It Now” exercise? Knowing Truth is stronger than anything; that there is no load too difficult for God to lighten; that I am rewarded for personal effort like a man given as much land as he can walk over in one day; that I can let Truth catch me because there’s another way to live; that I can take charge of my life; that the Truth itself is the miracle within. I am profoundly grateful to Vernon Howard. All he wanted for us was to wake up!
Thought Watching Is Imperative by Kyle Rickert
Doing things in nature has always been a refreshing way to help me feel connected to the higher energy available in life. I’ve spent a lot of time in the ocean, on rivers, in the woods, in open fields, and for me, being outdoors is a reminder of how powerful, beautiful and well-balanced God's creation is. We are a part of that creation, but struggle to recognize that power, beauty and balance within ourselves. Humans have relentlessly worked against what is natural and normal and now the world is in the state that it presently is in. Vernon's work has helped me to realize that the world will continue its downhill course, but that I can do something very different with my life by slowing down and seeing where its direction departs from the natural ways God intended.
Sitting on a hillside this fall in the forest, giving my best attempt at being a hunter, I got to observe a lot. My objective was to enjoy some time outdoors and if the hunt happened to be successful, I would fill my freezer with food that would last through the year. Sitting still for long periods of time is not easy for me, but I had the idea that it wouldn’t be a problem. Well, it was a problem! I know as an exercise it is incredibly helpful to watch all the thoughts streaming through the mind. What I saw was restlessness, frustration and anxiety. I wondered why nature wasn't cooperating with my hunting plans. Then I realized these were my plans and didn't necessarily coincide with what Truth's plans were for me.
I worked on letting the thoughts and feelings go in order to just appreciate the quiet and beauty around me. Sometimes it worked, and I was able to reconnect with what I really enjoyed about being out there. But it took a lot of effort to not let expectations creep back in and to lose the tranquility the setting was letting me experience. At the end of the day I saw clearly that sitting and watching your thoughts is a tremendously important exercise, mostly because every part of your mind wants to fight it and carry you off from the moment.
Seeing that alone provided great encouragement to delve deeper and to intensify my efforts to observe my thoughts and to understand why their motivations are not in line with God’s intended plan for my life. I guess I thought after many years of working on this, I’d be further along, but a goal-oriented, competitive idea that comes only from the mind isn’t based in Truth’s reality. It’s an excellent reminder that your mind can convince you you’re getting somewhere intellectualizing these truthful principles but take a seat and see the facts about where your life really is. Presented with evidence that I’m not the mystical, calm human being that has it all figured out is a shock to the mind but a relief to the spirit. The honesty in seeing how much more work you really must do is imperative if you want to separate from all the pretense and negativity of this world. Be encouraged that you are trying to do something different. God recognizes that and matches every step you take towards Truth.
“Thanks for the TAKE CHARGE article entitled Relax and Receive. Being able to find the lost papers by relaxing reminded me of an expression in golf. It goes like this: “effortless power will always triumph over powerful effort,” referring to the tendency to tensely hack at the golf ball. The effortless power is allowing something higher to come in. This power is only given in a relaxed state.”
— Man in California via e-mail