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     “There is no real happiness for those on the wrong side. The greatest pleasure in life is the security of the true side. You can vainly try to win over the world or you can nicely be over the world. Your task is to change your operating center from strained imagination to relaxed reality.”

Frequently Asked Questions

     Here are some frequently asked questions that we have heard over the years. The responses should help to give you a better understanding of these life-healing teachings. They can also clear up common confusions and misconceptions. Take them in with a receptive spirit and many mysteries will be dissolved in the light of higher understanding. The first ten FAQs are brand new ones. (Last updated March 1, 2024)

  • FAQs 1

    Question: I feel like I’ve made progress but then the crisis comes, and I fall apart.
    Answer:
    Just know that there is a lot more self-work to be done. It is very easy to fall into a certain “comfort zone” in these studies, believing that intellectual agreement is the same as feeling and living these truths. And the human intellect can be very flippant, arrogant and deceptive. Believing we know more than we actually know is a big pitfall in this Work. There is always much more to learn, much more to understand. Vernon himself never stopped working. That’s why it’s so important to guard against “settling down” with just the intellectual knowledge. Essence must be ignited, and the spirit must enter into it.

    Question: I want to learn how to handle an upsetting situation without falling apart.
    Answer: The inability to handle the crisis calmly is trying to teach you something. You must begin to question everything you’ve ever been taught and picked up from society and from other lost people. For example, the idea that the world is too much for you. Vernon said, “You are too much for the world!” In other words, your negative reactions are thrown out there and adversely affect the level of everyone in your vicinity and beyond.
         People know only what they’ve been told to go after in this life, and they don’t like it when their wants and demands are denied. But what you really yearn for is a life free of strife, fighting and pain. In other words, a higher life where you are in complete command of yourself. Begin by handling the crisis in the moment without the interference of the memory of past mistakes or fear of future events. Keep bringing yourself back to “right now”. The anger, the trepidation, the negativity can’t occupy the same psychological space as pure awareness.

    Question: How do I advance toward becoming strong, not in the world’s definition of outer aggressive strength and power, but in the view of God, Truth, Reality?
    Answer: When it starts to dawn on you that you’ve been utterly hoaxed about what’s important to pursue in this earthly existence, you’ll develop a much more intense interest in discovering more about your human nature and how much it interferes with the flow of life. There will be much less fear in investigating what’s wrong with you and with everyone else. You won’t want to turn away as much from seeing things as they really are. At the same time, you won’t have nearly as much interest in going after the carrots the world dangles out there to entice you. These changes in and of themselves will advance the development of inner strength. You’ll stop trying to get personal credit and applause for your actions and start to understand what it means to yield to something higher.

    Question: I like the idea of trusting the Higher, but letting go of myself scares me. I won’t know who I am.
    Answer: No, you won’t know who you are. And that’s the point. You must go through the wrenching experience of separating from the false nature before the Higher will reveal your true nature to you. More than once, Vernon gave a story of someone standing at the edge of a high cliff. The person is being hunted and pursued from behind but has reached the end of the road and has nowhere to go. There is no way out except to leap off the cliff, which represents rejecting suffering to plunge into the unknown. But Vernon said when the person jumps, “They are held aloft by Angel’s wings.” Rescue is guaranteed, but the leap away from the ordinary must happen before we can experience the extraordinary.

    Question: Sometimes I feel cut off from the truth — that all is lost.
    Answer: Yes, there will be times when you feel disconnected from the truth, but then if there is true sincerity inside, you will know even if only for an instant that all is NOT lost. This experience could even produce the sensation of something physically rising inside of you. When higher contact is made, it’s very helpful to try prolonging that sense of connection for as long as you can. But at some point, a false distraction will intrude and make you forget what you’ve experienced. But always remember that what is true can never be lost. Whatever you have earned spiritually can never be taken away from you.

    Question: I have been studying these teachings and attending New Life classes for quite a while now. Despite some definite positive changes, there are still negativities that sometimes seem to maintain a firm grip on me. Do you have any advice?
    Answer:
    Stay the course! A bad habit, negative states, self-harming opinions, and attitudes — all belong to the strange human habit of unnecessary thinking. It’s our thinking about it, itself, that keeps it going. Ponder this a bit, and you’ll be able to come up with certain wrong things that have fallen out of your life as you’ve worked with the spiritual principles presented by Vernon Howard. There are things that used to occupy a lot of your time and energy that you rarely think of at all anymore. They don’t “belong” to you any longer. Work to drop the unnecessary thoughts about, the self-recriminations toward, and the attention to the remaining negative, self-harming states.
         And you must bring self-honesty to bear: Do you still believe these negativities bring you satisfaction, a reward of some kind? That alone will keep them around. Do you get some sort of thrill out of it, does it keep an image or identification inside you in place? Vernon said that no man consciously injures himself, so you must see how a self-harming state is just that, an unconscious, self-harming state.
         We also would do well to remember that all sorts of self-harming states belonging to our false self have had their way with us for many years. We picked them up from early childhood onward, and there is very little in society in the way of right guidance for ridding ourselves of them. They’ve likely been inside there for a very long time. We had to find the pure Truth in Mr. Howard’s teachings before we could slow down enough to really see what has been going on, and then begin to work to reverse the damage. Work patiently to increase your efforts to be aware of everything that goes on internally, and you’ll be able to watch these remaining stubborn imps fall away too.

    Question: What can help me to remember there is a God? How can I know it from myself?
    Answer:
    Remember the right feeling you have when you wake up and feel your feet on the floor. When the night sky clears, and you glimpse trillions of stars. When you know for certain you can trust nothing and no one in society and you are glad to be free of trying. When you “descend into hell" — into the chaos of your own artificial nature, and you find nothing but fear and hostility. When you’ve tried and failed thousands of times to find permanent rest and you know the old nature can do nothing about it. Now God can show you that the counterfeit imitator is not your true nature and that there is something higher above you which can provide real comfort.

    Question: Why do I have so much trouble inviting something higher into my life?
    Answer: Because even though there is some attraction to Truth, human stubbornness and self-will prevent further exploration. Darkness loves to keep people confined in a very limited personal space, focused only on what is visible. Spiritually asleep human beings only care about what they can experience through their physical senses. They’re content to let that level explain the whole of life to them. Yet even science tells us there is an entire world of natural forces that we’re unable to see with our physical eyes. We don’t see radio waves, we don’t see gravity or many other scientific phenomena, but they definitely have a powerful effect on all life forms on earth. But spiritually asleep human beings, who rarely ponder the immensity of creation, use only their limited eyesight and other sense perceptions to determine their understanding of what is real.

    Question: But we live in a physical world. Shouldn’t we be grounded here?
    Answer: Our bodies live here, but Truth is trying to wake us up to a much broader perception of Reality. God does not want us to be earthbound! There exists an all-powerful force that created human beings, all of nature on this planet, in fact the entire universe. This power is a million miles above where we now reside, but we were meant to live within its protection and guidance.
         Our purpose is to “unite with the Cosmic Whole,” as Vernon puts it. But our obstinacy and the buffers it creates are blocking its healing power from reaching us. There is a secret world of safety we can live in right now, but it will not be revealed to an obstinate, hostile fighter. All the defensive weapons we employ to keep the facade in place must be let go of. It’s not too much for us to understand this if we really want to. We must simply admit we don’t know the answers to life, but that Something Else does.

    Question: What is someone who knows the answers to life like?
    Answer: Unlike anyone else you’ve ever met. There are many characteristics of a person who is awakened and here is just one of them, one that we can be very thankful for. Such a person has no motive for personal gain when teaching the Truth. Did you watch your reaction? Was there a part of you that argued in disbelief that such a person could ever exist?
         It is hard for us to conceive that there is someone who is not driven by earthly rewards and does not need to get anything from anyone. But if you’ve read or listened to Vernon Howard and you’re at all receptive to the message, you sense he’s different. He could help us precisely because we had nothing to give him. He already had everything. And he spent his time here doing whatever he possibly could to let others know about this state of individual spiritual awakening that is our birthright and that we can have right now while living in a physical body on this earth.

    Question: I’m amazed at how Vernon Howard can alternate so naturally between spiritual seriousness and lightheartedness in his lectures.
    Answer:
    Truth has endless flexibilities, and it is good to understand that the ability to be light and cheerful also plays an important role in waking up. Vernon once said in a talk, “Your heavy seriousness is killing you.” Of course, it’s understood that this is an absolutely essential endeavor, but grimness and gloom are not part of authentic earnestness, as some would like to believe. If the seriousness is accompanied by an ability to laugh at ourselves and to be happily grateful to have found this Work, a right balance is created in the effort. In this respect, all New Life banquets offer a perfect atmosphere for growth, from learning and being inspired by the talks to being lifted out of any heaviness of spirit by watching and perhaps being a part of the wholesome and fun entertainment.

    Question: I am holding onto myself. How can I let go?
    Answer: You must yield to something outside and above your ordinary world. The Truth itself must be trusted above human thoughts, raging emotions and all of the demands, claims and insistences that you must cling to the familiar, trouble-making self. The problem is that people are thoroughly identified with their duplicitous, fraudulent human natures.
         To break the hardened identification, Vernon tells us to impartially observe ourselves in order to create a separation between the claim and the reality of how we operate. Notice when you even think about rebelling and quietly observing what’s going on in the mind in a detached way, it yells, “This is me, this is my individuality, and no one is going to take it away from me!” But all true higher teachings say the old must voluntarily be given up, abandoned, left behind before anything new can replace it. In the New Testament, it is said that you “can’t put new wine into old wineskins”, because they are brittle and will burst. New wineskins are pliable and will accommodate the expansion of the new wine. In other words, you can’t put new understanding into old mindsets.

    Question: I have been hit hard by a very distressing situation in my life and feel as though I’ve been abandoned by God.
    Answer: God never abandons you! In a time of trouble, you are choosing to be overwhelmed by your chaotic thoughts and raw emotions when you have within you the capability of turning to only the Higher Power itself. Vernon Howard gave a stunning talk on June 10, 1988 (Vernon Howard’s Higher World, Vol. 20, Talk 19) in which he emphatically warned us, “Do not curse the storm” but during the crisis, “put your mind and your spirit on God and God alone.” The higher can’t reach you when you are shaking yourself apart, only when you have given up your desperate demands and have begun to understand that there is a profound lesson to be learned in the very storm you’re railing against. The lesson is twofold. You will know that “God first approves, then He proves” and you will rest in the certainty that “The spiritual ship of life is stronger than any storm.” Turn all of your resolve into knowing that God does exist and when you succeed at this, “the storm will be gone and you will be healed.”

    Question: Vernon Howard is the first person I ever heard who uses the term “mental movies” to describe how the mind works. What does he mean by a mental movie?
    Answer:
    Much of our energy and attention are taken away by running scenes of past or future events through the mind. These scenes, which are projected on the flickering screen of the mind, can engross and preoccupy us all day long. They keep us chained to the past or future and block the clarity needed to awaken to higher possibilities. Mental movies continually distract us and serve as a mechanism by which we avoid facing our real predicament: that we are refusing to listen to anything but the acquired memorized life. Habitually counting on mental movies to keep us busy and entertained and to fill up space and time is a refusal to turn to God for real help. We’re wandering around in the wilderness, pretending to have it made. Work to let go of these scenes when they appear, and they will start to be replaced by a fresh, clearer perspective.

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     “Vernon never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for keeping His work alive. The only thing I need to correct is my harmful thinking problem. I have rejoiced in his wisdom since 1979. Thanks again.”

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