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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 five FAQs are brand new ones. (Last updated September 1, 2023)

  • FAQs 1

    Question: I’m amazed at how Vernon Howard can alternate so naturally between spiritual seriousness and lightheartedness in his lectures.
    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: Recently, I had a sudden revelation of how much resistance I have to what Vernon is telling me!
    The resistance is much deeper and more pervasive than we have any awareness of. Recall a time when you wanted something, and you were absolutely obsessed with getting it. Nothing was going to get in your way. That’s the kind of force the false nature will exert when we begin to challenge its control. It’s a mistake to underestimate the intent of the artificial self to stop you from reaching for the higher. It’s also a mistake to underestimate the power of Truth to completely take away this destructive forcefulness and replace it with a free and flowing life.

    Question: What is a cure for procrastination?
    The cure, as with all negativity, is to consciously see and feel the pain of it. Procrastination never brings the sought-after relief, only an underground dissatisfaction, a haunting pressure. It is one of the alluring siren songs that make promises but never delivers the goods. Most of the physical things we put off, we’ll have to do later anyway (hang up the clothes, mop the floor). Not only is it impractical to delay necessary tasks, but it is also closely tied to spiritual delay. We can only embrace the higher calling by acting now, in the present moment. So any delay is living, or rather non-living, in the past or future. The mistake is time-thinking, which hinders and stops forward movement. Our wrong thinking is what creates the limitation.
         Recently in classes students have alluded to a bad mental habit of thinking, “I worked hard yesterday so today I’ll kick back. I deserve a break.” We may need to rest after hard physical work, but spiritual work is ongoing, never “finished.” The loss of momentum is not an innocent snooze but a deadly relapse, going downhill and losing the ground gained. Is there any doubt that the mind is our enemy? Don’t listen to it! “Do it now! Get it done! Bang, bang, bang!” Vernon said we have powers we’re not yet aware of. And we do get glimpses of this when we push beyond our self-erected barriers and receive new energy.

    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: The world grows crazier all the time and seems too much for the mind to handle
    Answer: Our false thought-self has a secret sinister wish to be overwhelmed. It wants to shake and vibrate by madly zigzagging back and forth among “the growing list of problems and issues it has to deal with.” The True Self we are learning to invite in by relaxing can direct the mind to handle matters that practically need to be dealt with and without ego involvement. We have a spiritual sentry inside that Vernon Howard said can watch for dark forces trying to make us think about ourselves instead of rightly thinking above ourselves.

    Question: Give me something encouraging to understand while I study these teachings.
    Answer: In a recent class in Colorado, someone brought up a remarkable principle discussed by Vernon in Chapter 11 of his classic book The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power. He said that you receive thousands of both positive and negative impressions every day. They come from both the exterior world and the interior world. “You see a glittering lake, or overhear a gloomy remark” … or “silently recall an incident from yesterday” — and there you have three separate impressions. He explains, “Impressions flow in a constant stream; you need do nothing to invite them and can do nothing to stop them. But the kind of impressions admitted to your mind make your life what it is.” When reaching a certain level of conscious awareness, you’re given the power to only receive healthy impressions and reject negative ones before they can grab ahold of the mind and spirit. Sensing what this truism means for the inner life could lead us all the way out.

    Question: You mean the higher nature has right command over the quality of the impressions allowed to enter the mind and emotions?
    Answer: Yes! Although you can’t stop negative impressions from trying to enter, you can stop them from actually being taken in and absorbed. The more alert and aware you become of the operation of your inner parts, you’ll realize that you are a receiver and not a sender. The ability to receive and welcome higher impressions is the essence of the true life.

    Question: But with enough willpower, why can’t I stop negative impressions from coming in? Self-will is a sign of personal strength, isn’t it?
    Answer: This effort has nothing to do with human willpower; forcing life to twist and bend through personal will is what causes so much suffering and frustration because our desires and demands are always going to be blocked and opposed by the personal wills of thousands of other people. Self-will is one of the stubbornly fixed cornerstones of the false nature that must yield to something higher to achieve any real peace.
         Vernon Howard said many times, “It’s God’s will, not your will.” In other words, reuniting with and being guided by the force that created us is the reason we have been given this temporary physical life in the first place. It’s time to come home, where there is no blockage or interference, and everything flows freely.

    Question: Why does it sometimes seem as if I’m spinning my wheels in seeing positive differences in my inner life?
    Answer: We have to remember two things. First, our false mental self is almost completely entrenched inside of us. It fiercely resists any attempt to dislodge it. So, it’s important to become much more aware of it either defending or promoting itself — which it is constantly trying to do. Watching myself in action — this is the key! This thought self which so tyrannizes and attacks us has been building itself up since we physically came into this world, so it’s going to take more awareness to catch it in action.
         Secondly, any preconceived ideas we may have about “progress”, “improvement”, “change” … can of themselves block the dissolution of the unnecessary mental self. They may simply be ideas, and what we really want is above all mental constructs, both what we call “bad” and what we may call “good”. Working to apply right spiritual principles is like planting seeds — they will grow and work for us if we allow them to. When placed in the nourishing soil of Truth, the spirit grows healthy and thrives. We’ve been given an unlimited number of ways to do right work on ourselves — we just have to stay the course!

    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?
    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.

    Question: I do sometimes sense that I’m missing higher messages because my restless and noisy mind is blocking them.
    Answer: The mind is addicted to its wandering and restless movements, but have you noticed that even with all that activity, there is never a final resolution that results in lasting contentment, quiet and security? That’s why one of the most valuable spiritual tools we have been given is full awareness of this present moment. Though they don’t put it into practice or even really understand what it means, people throw this out as a catch phrase nowadays in an attempt to sound spiritual and profound. But the Reality of what is behind “being in the present moment” or in “keeping your mind where the body is” can absolutely free the spirit. The past is gone, and the future hasn’t been revealed yet, so the present moment is the only place where life occurs, where the true self can awaken and come alive.

    Question: What is the best way to spark someone’s interest in these teachings?
    Answer: Vernon explained that you can give people the basics, but you cannot force them to be interested. Once they know a little, the rest is up to them to either pursue or turn away. The best way to encourage others in your life is to work on yourself and show them by example the massive benefits of trying to be more conscious.
         However, we have to remember that people are very resistant to even beginning to question their current way of living. Their egotism springs up and says, “I am already working on myself and what makes you think that these teachings will help any more than what I’m currently pursuing?” That’s why there must be more than idle curiosity there when an introduction to Truth is given. A person has to be able to admit that their present ways aren’t leading them to what they may even feel in their heart is possible. It could be just a faint feeling, but if you have felt it, then you cannot ignore the energy behind it which is trying to lead you home.

    Question: I’m getting a lot out of these studies but time and again, I find myself puzzled and shocked by the nature of human nature, my own included. Is there a way to view human behavior and characteristics that will go above the puzzlement and shock and lift me to a different level of understanding?
    Here’s something helpful given to us by Vernon. He said to view human nature in two ways at the same time. You must see that mankind suffers terribly, but simultaneously see that human nature is a fierce resister of God, Truth, Reality. You’ll go wrong if you only focus on one or the other. They must be seen together. To observe only the suffering side leads to false sympathy and sentimentality but becoming aware of how vehemently we object to what could get rid of the sufferer creates a balanced viewpoint and encourages the wish to be more welcoming and receptive to higher facts.

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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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