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.”
Here is a new and exciting 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.
“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?
“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.
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.
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.
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.
“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