Zion in Winter

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Daily Quote Service

     “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 five FAQs are brand new ones. (Last updated September 1, 2021)

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    Question: It is said that the Truth is out there but where exactly is it? I have been to many church and spiritual services of all kinds, but I am often left confused and unsure about what I heard. I sense the helpfulness of these teachings but how can I know the truth about Truth?
    Answer: That’s a very good question. No matter how many people tell you they have found the Truth, only you will be able to know this for certain from yourself. It’s something you experience personally and by no other way. A seed of Truth has been planted inside every man and woman by God. The truth in your heart is waiting to be joined with the larger Truth that it came from. When you fully appreciate and value what you are learning from Vernon Howard’s authentically pure spiritual teachings, you will be so energized that you’ll say to yourself, “This is what I have been looking for all my life!” No one can say that for you. It’s something you must and can know from yourself.

    Question: I make a spiritual aim and then forget it. What is happening?
    Answer: When we make a spiritual aim, that aim comes from a right part of us. However, at the present time, this truthful part is not strong enough to remain focused on the intention to rise above ourselves. We have a larger wrong part that is threatened and wants to prevent us from remembering. This domineering part dimly senses that if we succeed in our aim, it will be put out-of-business and we will move to a new elevated place within. Forgetting is an attempt by the old self to prevent this movement upward. Another way of looking at it is that distracting us from our aim is a counterattack by the false nature that does not want to let us go. Awareness of this counterattack will help us to remember the aim.

    Question: As I study Mr. Howard’s teachings, I have noticed that the world seems to be getting more gloomy, more strident, and more intrusive. Isn’t there anything cheerful out there for us to be encouraged by?
    Yes, there is, but there are forces that don’t want you to be exposed to the encouraging news. You are beginning to see through society’s game, which is good. Grim news stories, which continue to flow in at a remarkable rate, are food for the wrong part of us that is convinced we are here on this planet to suffer. People love the dark side of worldly events because those accounts confirm the darkness within themselves. Everyone feels justified in holding on to what’s making them miserable instead of walking in a new direction, one that is brighter and healthier. This new direction provides everything helpful, everything encouraging that you need.

    Question: But what am I walking away from and where am I going?
    Answer: You are voluntarily walking away from every negativity from which you now suffer. Vernon explains that all those negative thoughts and feelings that reside in us create “a false feeling of life.” Bad news gets everyone’s attention. It sells newspapers and makes people tune in to news programs. “Now, I have something to think about, to talk about!” we say. This is all a deliberate effort to bring us down and make us give up our rightful purpose in life to connect with the Higher Power. How many encouraging news stories do you see on any given day? Virtually none.
         Make a super-effort to understand that this world wants to keep you in the dark, but that you do not have to stay there. Repeatedly make the aim to ignore the gloomy voices and to come back to yourself at each present moment. Now there’s authentic encouragement! You can start to experience the Light of a new life right now by heading up the right path to where the air is clean, the view is exhilarating, and you will enjoy your time on this earth instead of suffering through it.

    Question: What is a true friend in this Work?
    Answer: A friend in this Work is someone who does not tolerate my weakness, just as I should not. An experience demonstrated to me how nice this can be. A student and I were talking, and I slipped into bemoaning a situation which I said caused me pain. (As it turned out it was a mechanical, unconscious complaint about something I hadn’t even thought of for months.) She replied, “Well, get over it!” This was said without any harshness or malice, and no sympathy either. It was the perfect and kindly reply. It’s the same advice I should give myself whenever a wrong thought or emotion appears. “What must I remember?” I must remember to say NO, as long and as strong as necessary until complaint is no longer part of my nature, of wrong memory and of my identity. And I might find that I have a true friend as well, instead of driving someone away because of complaint and unconscious blabbing.

    Question: But this work is what I consider hard and difficult and requires too much of a commitment.
    Answer: We heard this in a recent class: Vernon Howard says in The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power, Chapter 7, “Don’t work so hard at living your life; just let it be lived.” What makes life hard is the resistance to reality. The difficulty is not in working on yourself but in avoiding and fighting life as it occurs. One example of resistance that comes to mind is when Vernon said to “pick up that spiritual book you don’t want to read,” urging us to go against the impulse to look for that next distraction.
         A refrain in nearly every one of Vernon’s talks is how there is a large part of us that doesn’t want truth, how we refuse it, and how we prefer our suffering because it’s familiar to us. What makes life hard is thinking and planning how to take care of myself in an insane world, in fearfully dodging bullets from imaginary enemies, in forcing my will on events and people, and in getting my own way and then living with the results of my wrong choices. It’s more than worth the commitment to not live with that kind of pain and uncertainty anymore.

    Question: Then how can I stop resisting and forcing life?
    Only if I see my resistance and its burdensome consequences deeply can I refuse it, and not before. The mental machine will go on lying and refusing to obey higher instructions as long as the artificial self fearfully attempts to control life.
         I can ask God to not let me be me anymore. Getting out of my own way can’t be done by forcing something, but by giving up the “delusion of control.” In the section of A Treasury of Trueness, #1112 says, “I know what to do. I will relax and let the Spirit enter and clear the junk away from me.”
         Remember Vernon’s story about the man steering his own boat and fighting the storms in rough waters? He is told to stop forcing the boat of life, and to go over, sit down and enjoy the ride! “If you still take care of yourself, then God can’t do it…. When you don’t do anything about guiding the boat, no rocks, no storm.” I am the one who has made the journey hard and I must stop it.

    Question: What is one of my biggest misunderstandings?
    Answer: That you are alone in this endeavor to find Real Life. God is always with you as long as there is a sincere desire to wake up, a persistent effort made to apply these teachings in daily life and a willingness to challenge the voices that say no higher solution is really possible. Unfortunately, people are spiritually asleep to the fact that they are not alone and are tormented by believing they are separated from God. The problem is that the thought-self is very clever at convincing us we must battle our way through life. No, this is the wrong train of thought to follow! Instead of struggling and fighting, we can aim to understand that God is in charge of all and our part is only to be open to higher guidance.

    Question: Sometimes the assault of social and political strife seems never-ending, and I feel overwhelmed by it all. What can I do to turn things around for myself when this occurs?
    It’s always helpful to return to basics. We recently discussed again in class the benefit of simply relaxing physically — as in relaxing the jaw or releasing tension in the shoulders. This sends a signal to other parts of us to also quiet down. Being alert, aware and relaxed in the present moment is one key to waking up. You can also pick a psychological or physical exercise with particular meaning to you and remember to do it as often as possible during the week.
         Society is mad and getting madder. But everything is all right with Truth right now and we can join in the recognition of this.

    Question: I am puzzled by an age-old question: What is the purpose of life?
    Answer: The first few pages of Vernon Howard’s book A Treasury of Trueness give many excellent answers to this question. Vernon tells us that we were created by God and that our real purpose must be to reunite with the powerful force that created us. How do we do this? One of the ways is by actively seeking Higher wisdom, and by refusing to continue to chase after the low false gods that our ego selves tell us we must worship … things such as fame, money, awards, material possessions and the like.  We work so hard to get what we think we must have only to wind up confused, disappointed and angry when we don’t get them … and if by some chance we do get them, they never bring us the lasting contentment we thought they would. “Negative states want to keep you from discovering the purpose of your life,” Vernon writes. We drift through life asleep, thinking we are awake. Our painful reactions to our daily life experiences prove this point.

    Question: So, our purpose is to attain a New Life in this life?
    Answer: The work at New Life is about attaining a spiritual awakening from the deep psychic spell that has been cast upon us. This is done by studying ourselves, by welcoming the jolts that can shake us up and by making an ardent attempt to become aware of everything that is happening to us. With Truth’s help, this spiritual work knocks down the barriers that stand in our way and allows what is above the mind to show us the way to authentic safety and security. When we see the pointlessness of suffering, for example, we begin to know that something truly good is happening. All this will take time and persistent effort on our part but, as Vernon tells us, “The greatest day in your life is when you hear the voice of God.”

    Question: I’ve never seen so many jumpy, depressed people out there in my life. The fear factor seems to be overwhelming nearly everyone in this society right now. How do I deal with it?
    Use your time on this earth to wake up. Only a spiritual solution is capable of permanently vanquishing fear and every other negativity that hounds and torments human beings. Fear is the constant companion of the false nature. And people filled with fear are very easy to manipulate.
         Here’s an example: Vernon has told us many times, “You are not your body.” Yet, people falsely identify with the body and fear for its continuance. People know intellectually that the body will leave this earth at some point in time, but there is a gigantic wall of denial that blocks full cognizance of this fact.
         If we understood that this life is temporary, we would be way more grateful for the life we have been given and would be striving to learn how to live consciously while here in a physical form. We would make good use of our time on the planet to wake up. We would be more rightly serious with these studies. We wouldn’t be afraid of the body’s inevitable demise, because we would understand that the spirit lives eternally. As Vernon states, “The spirit wants nothing from this world. Why should it? It has everything already from God.”

    Question: So then, what is right prayer?
    Answer: If you pray to get something from this world like a new car or a new relationship, don’t you have a dim sensing that there will always be a next prayer for something else down the road? We are not here to perpetuate or to feed the unhappy and never-satisfied false nature. We are actually here to have a change of nature.
         A good reason to listen to Vernon’s talks and read his books is that he tells you what you should be asking God for. If you come across instructions from Vernon on right prayer, follow them. An example is in the booklet 50 Ways to Get Help From God. In #14, it says to “Ask God to give you guiding light.” He tells us that this kind of request will be honored at once and that “God will supply as much Light as you can take.”
         And there is an entire chapter in Your Power of Natural Knowing that beautifully clarifies the nature of “Pure Prayer.” Vernon explains that a pre-arranged prayer is not needed because “it’s your heart that God is listening to.” Just say “I need help” and stop right there. Don’t think and don’t try to help God help you. The Higher Power knows what to do with your request and you must leave it at that. God will do the work for you if you will only allow it.

    Question: There is an extraordinary amount of fear in the world today and it’s hard not to get caught up in it. I feel the need to draw closer to these teachings more than at any other time in my life.
    Answer: It’s good that you have recognized the power of Truth and sensed that it will help you. It will. What’s important to remember is that dramatic worldly events always provide an extraordinary opportunity to move further up the spiritual path. This is a good time to see how fear is being used as a smokescreen to paralyze everyone. Truth clears the air. Dark forces don’t want us to know that truth always protects those who walk towards its light. We can use this exciting fact to see how fear is trying to keep us from being in contact with our true self, which knows everything is just fine. In response to the scary headlines, terrifying news reports and the gloom that is choking the planet, you can do what New Life students are told: “Don’t get caught up in it.” Use all that’s going on to get to the point in your life where you see through fear and are no longer controlled by it. Vernon tells us, “There is something stronger than the world in each of us.” And always remember this: “Evil only wins in this world.”

    Question: Why doesn’t everyone follow what is True? Why do so many get dragged away?
    For one thing, they can’t hear spiritual truth but don’t know they can’t hear, and for another thing, don’t most people you know think they already know? We have to study and work hard in order to yield to truth and allow it to transform us. It may take a long time before we begin to hear and understand what we thought we knew long ago. For example, how many understand the fact that “The spiritual path cuts straight through the jungle of sick human nature”? There is no other way but to see what is wrong first, yet millions insist on their own way and end up living in imaginary spirituality.

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