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.
The However Exercise by Bill Brown
How can we Take Charge of Life? Our tendency is to believe taking charge of life means commanding external events and people, but it really means commanding our internal states. So what makes up our internal states?
If you have a human nature you have a mechanical mind that generates self- defeating thinking. We all start as spiritually undeveloped people dominated by patterns of thinking that cause self-harm. Imagine every mountain peak on earth dedicated to presenting, with large, easily seen letters, a corresponding peak of human “intelligence” like: “I am not going to lighten up and smile — and nobody can make me!” There are not enough mountains on earth for all the examples of stupid self-defeating human thinking that you can find. Everyone can see them in other people, but spiritual students must take responsibility for seeing them in themselves and then allowing Truth to get rid of them for us.
Begin to win over self-sabotage with the word HOWEVER. Remember HOWEVER so that you can link personal self-defeating thinking with the spiritually victorious thinking that begins to conquer it.
The original HOWEVER example comes from Vernon Howard’s booklet, Live Above this Crazy World, number 73 (partial excerpt): MAGIC WORD — One word can turn darkness to day. The word is However. Don’t just cry “I feel defeated” but add “However, I can change all that.” Don’t just complain “Everything seems against me” but add “However, I can see life in a new way.”
We were instructed to make connections between these spiritual ideas. An insight came to me that throughout these teachings there are thousands of concise magical transformations from harmful to victorious thinking like the one above, but they simply do not contain the word However. So, I am using this all caps version of HOWEVER to refer to them.
This connection was triggered by the instructions for writing about Take Charge of Life given to New Life students. Included were some quotes from Vernon Howard on writing about higher principles and one marvelous example of HOWEVER was there: “You don’t really have to write, you just have to talk on paper.”
You can tell by the way this is worded that many people have difficulty expressing themselves on paper. Just for the sake of example, we could put the However in there: Don't get stuck with “I have writer’s block” but add “However, I just have to talk on paper.”
We should acquire as many HOWEVERs as we can from this work and then allow new ones to come to us.
At a recent New Life class in Scottsdale, Arizona, a student volunteered to get up and pass on some spiritual help he had received from the book, There Is a Way Out. You could feel the class was glad that he did. Paraphrased, Vernon was saying: You say you are blocked from this New Land by a ditch and a fence? It is in your mind only. I tell you the ditch is filled in and the fence is down. Crossover.
Earlier this summer we planted some wildflower seeds in several locations on the New Life property in Strawberry, Arizona. After several weeks, I was becoming convinced that we had only planted grass and weed seeds. Jerry, a man who does work for us, suggested patience. He said the flowers were on the way and indeed they were and still are. Under natural law, the right combination of seeds, soil, nutrients and water is producing a nice enjoyable, varied, colorful display of beauty that changes daily.
Under spiritual law, beauty comes from admitting that our life is out of control, sincerely wanting to change that, and then persistently studying and applying these higher teachings to show us how to get out of the way so that what we really want comes to us.
Be Spiritually Stunned by Bill Brown
Students at New Life Foundation get supremely accurate and helpful information and some of it is just stunning. Vernon Howard told us that ninety nine percent of our thinking is unnecessary. Do you know what is doubly stunning? He also informed us we would forget that fact — and we do! “Ninety nine percent of our thinking is unnecessary” should stop us in our tracks and send us on an all-out exploration, but something interferes, and that something is called “my intelligence.”
Ever so often there will be a news story about how someone has been conned out of his money in a certain way. It is usually someone advanced in age, someone older than me personally. They fall for something like: “We’re from the government and we would like you to help us catch an embezzler by withdrawing $10,000 from your bank account.” Hearing that usually produces a sense of smug superiority that we would never be duped like that, but that arrogant thought and feeling of superiority means we just did get duped. Only imitation intelligence must think it is intelligent.
What do we do with this ninety nine percent unnecessary thinking? We create a completely illusory world with the surface personality at the center. Although we always sense this illusion is unstable, we think of ourselves as intelligent. With this kind of viewpoint, we lose a lot more than $10,000; we lose authentic happiness. We cannot think about ourselves and be happy.
Vernon Howard created banquets at New Life Foundation where there is entertainment put on by the students including songs, dances, poetry and comedy acts. Some of the comedy acts are about “someone who just doesn’t quite get it.” Here is one I remember from a long time ago: Two men (Smart and Smarter?) are checking the turn signal on a car while driving, with Smarter reporting: “It’s working, oh, now it’s not …Okay, there it goes, no, it went off … Oh, thought we had it … it just won’t stay on …”
This act perhaps contains a hint that just maybe should stun us. Could we be as oblivious to the way life really works as Smarter was to the way a turn signal works? Yes, this is fortunately what we are being told — that we have completely missed the mark.
Ordinarily we might think of being stunned as being overwhelmed and incapacitated, of drawing more into ourselves. But being spiritually stunned means being overwhelmed by revelations about ourselves that we have allowed to come to us and bit by bit, they shock us out of the prison of the limited thinking and feeling life we’ve chosen.
We must be astounded that we are tolerating the intolerable — the nonsense and pain produced by our current low nature. We also must be amazed that something malicious has us ignoring what we really want: the relaxed freedom of being an aware person instead of a compulsive thinker. We really must be stunned that we are ignoring Higher Help that knows how to handle what we don’t — our life.
Relax and Receive by Dr. Lynne Wooldridge
Every year in New Life classes, students set a spiritual exercise to carry through for the entire twelve months of the year. In 2018, that exercise was to simply remember to “relax.” When taken to heart and applied, these exercises are of great personal value for any student who truly yearns to be free of the prison mentality that affects and dominates so much of our thought life. That sense of limitation of course trickles down into feelings, activities, all aspects of our lives. For me, to remember to relax is one of the most powerful and effective lessons we’ve ever been given to work with.
Here are a few examples of how applying this exercise can produce the refreshing realization that nothing is forcing us to listen to the lying voices that say distress, strain and anxiety are necessary reactions to life events. We can know from ourselves that wrong, stressful thoughts and emotions thrive in tension but will dissolve with consistent and conscious efforts to calmly relax. Relaxation can transcend any situation you’re in.
We recently returned to Colorado from the New Life Christmas Banquet in Strawberry, Arizona. I had put some important papers in a “special” place before we left, but could not remember where. I needed them and looked everywhere I thought they might be. They weren’t there, but this time I didn’t panic or get upset. I remembered to relax and to let something else handle it. A little while later, after walking downstairs, it suddenly came to me where I’d stored papers for safekeeping. By not falling into habitual patterns and thereby acting in my true interest, I’d saved the energy I might have squandered in an emotional outburst of dread, frustration and self-condemnation.
We can enjoy any situation when we’re using it as an opportunity to understand and to remember ourselves. The last couple of weeks I’ve prepared meals for larger groups than usual. There’s a lot to do and a lot to remember with all the shopping and meal prep, but an intentional decision to feel at ease and enjoy the task in the present moment made all the difference in the world. While working, I was listening to an audio book, a mystery story by a famous novelist. By the way, Vernon said there is a natural human love for mysteries, in part because we’re really trying to solve “the mystery of ourselves.” This particular story was intricate and like all good puzzles, revealed something about the nature of human nature. At the very end of the book when the culprit was revealed, the main character used the phrase “the utter fury of thwarted egos” to explain the motive for the crime. I had been pondering something like this to reach a deeper discernment of what we’re currently seeing in the news. The way it was expressed in the book hit me with some force and the acknowledgment of the treachery of human nature was reinforced because I had been receptive to the truth of the lesson.
There are other examples of how relaxing acts as a conduit to spiritual receptivity, like shoveling snow and all of a sudden becoming aware of the profound quietness of the landscape as a reminder to be inwardly silent. There is no limit to how much we can receive from the higher when simply remembering to relax. In fact, Vernon said, “You can relax yourself all the way into Heaven.”
Silencing the Demander by Moe Janosec
One of the illustrations given by Vernon Howard that has really stuck with me was when he described a man heading out every morning with a basket of 100 preferences. And how wonderful it would be for this man to end his day with only 99 preferences, and a weakened 100. He said that such a man would be on his way to a truly new life!
On the face of it, “preference” doesn’t sound so bad. But it isn’t just preferences that cause us trouble. That’s a gentle way to put it. We can see more clearly that many of these “preferences” are often outright demands. The false self is a demanding nature that has led us to believe that it is us, and it’s been wreaking havoc in our lives for years. It loves to engage in shouting contests (external or internal), simmer with resentment, gleefully demand its own way, and generally damage anything it touches. If not identified and gotten rid of, this very low nature will ruin everything in our lives. It will destroy employments, families, friendships, marriages, and our chance at true life. Nothing is too big or small for it to moan and carry on about - including something as relatively benign as … what the weather should and should not be like.
We’ve just come out of a period of several heavy snowstorms where I live, and I’ve spent most of a couple weeks moving a lot of snow around. My complaining nature certainly wasn’t going to miss its chance to further drain me. As I headed out to shovel again, “It needs to stop snowing!” entered my head. This time however, I just mostly ignored it. I didn’t give that voice much attention at all. I worked to simply be more conscious while shoveling snow, and actually enjoyed it to some extent. Later I also was surprised to realize that I had more energy after shoveling than I had when I began. Eureka! That’s what we have to remember, apply and experiment with for ourselves. We must be reminded frequently what we’re really supposed to be doing with ourselves during our day. This is an example of the actual, practical application of truth principles that lead to the way out!
A reminder is in the NO booklet on page 35, under “Summary of Practical Truths,” #6: “Remember that there is something wrong with an angry demander. You are not required to serve his demands.” That applies whether the demander is outside or inside.
Rational thought can be beneficial, logically helping me to see I’m capable of shoveling snow again. It won’t cause such physical distress that I simply can’t handle it. That in turn can help me to see the absurdity of complaining about the weather. I can understand I’m not thinking clearly toward this situation. But the underlying problem is the low nature of this intrusion - of this demanding, complaining self that feels it’s at the center of the universe. It requires that any and every whim be instantly gratified, or “There’s going to be hell to pay.”
The whole point is for us to take our lives back and to become completely free of this very low nature that has been wrecking everything all along. The next time the outraged ego, the unappreciated “me,” the driven mover-and-shaker rears its ugly head - we must see it for what it really is. Just watch it go ballistic, all by itself. Don’t even give it the time of day. Don’t let it engage you. Just relax because the false self has a difficult time controlling a truly calm and relaxed human being. This demanding nature will eventually give up and fade away. You’ll see and feel the difference. Eagerly take on this exercise and be astounded by the level of relief it provides. The demanding nature can be silenced!
“DO IT NOW! GET IT DONE!” by Judith Anderson
When gentle prodding didn’t work, did you ever feel like you needed a swift kick as motivation to get something done? One of the most inspirational instructions Vernon Howard ever gave us was the brief directive to “Do it now! Get it done! Bang, bang, bang!” Not only has this a useful application to practical everyday tasks (such as on a job or with house cleaning chores, for instance), but it’s both a warning and encouragement to never postpone higher work — particularly being conscious at the present moment.
Procrastination and plain old laziness delay and block our rewards in the journey towards inner growth, which after all should be our primary aim if we really want to be different human beings.
The mind of the old nature is not our friend for this job; it tells us what the false parts want to hear. It likes to play those conditioned, repetitious phrases such as “I’m too busy” to be aware right now. “I have to hurry to get something important done, so I don’t have time to relax and be aware.” The voices lie and we listen. And the body sends complaints too like “I’m too sick, old, tired…,” you name it.
A technique to “get it done” — in addition to saying no to those voices — is to simply start. If you make an effort, higher help will come; if you take a step toward Truth, it will take a step toward you. But you must act first.
Examples abound. When you’re blocked from writing (such as a work report or a writing exercise or this “Take Charge” article), pick up a pen and paper and put the pen to paper. When you need to make a business contact, make a note and pick up the phone and dial, or is it now punch? Even mopping the floor can become like a Viennese waltz when you just stop grumbling, fill the bucket, embrace the moment, and start swinging. It works, guaranteed.
While hiking in the mountains, a valuable lesson was learned, which is to never imagine reaching a summit (“me on Everest” or the next peak), but just take one step followed by another and enjoy the climb. (“Wow, is that a lavender columbine hidden under that pine?”) Life is for our enjoyment as well as our growth, and it’s much more exciting and fun when we’re awake and aware. This is equally true whether we’re washing up the silverware or studying the human zoo.
When the mind says “I can’t do this,” Vernon would sometimes tell us “this is one thing you can do.” You can learn to experience the power of truth by following this instruction. What could be more satisfying and lasting than to see your mechanical habits decrease and disappear, to be replaced by alertness and genuine confidence? It feels good. So why not just do it and get it done?
“I wanted to thank you for keeping the banquets and New Life going. The atmosphere there is very unique and I can see how man could tarnish and corrupt the simplicity of both. Thanks again.”
— Man in California via e-mail