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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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