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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 twelve FAQs are brand new ones. (Last updated March 1, 2023)

  • FAQs 1

    Question: What is a helpful viewpoint to have toward these spiritual principles?
    Know that spiritually accurate facts are friendly forces. They are not out to deprive you of something valuable but to take away the pain and give you real and lasting life. And here is one accurate fact to ponder: The battle has already been won by God and all you must do is join in the victory.

    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: You say that spiritual principles alone can save us. Please explain.
    Once you have been introduced to the principles of heavenly flight, you cannot stop. You must determine to go all the way.
         By reading, by studying, by pondering, by applying the exercises in daily life, by praying to and inviting something outside the circle of self to come in, by remembering to stay in the present moment, by catching negative emotions and letting them go, and by persistence, the grace of God becomes active and begins to change you through understanding. When negativity is booted out, a vacant space is created that allows something else to enter.

    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 an exercise I can use to strengthen my connection with what is true inside?
    Remember to “Relax and receive.” Vernon explained that when you relax, receptivity is increased. We can relax by releasing physical tension and we can also make an aim to relax the frantically churning mind by simply allowing the thought self to go quiet. The silence is what provides self-release and self-relief.

    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: If there is an opening, what is one fundamental explanation to start with?
    Answer:We have not been left without a way out, a way to rise above the world’s chaos.
         A fact stressed by every true teacher can become a shining star of guidance for us in this respect; it is the quality of the inner life that is important, not the exterior circumstances. It is the inner that determines the outer, not the other way around. What good is it going to do me to strive for recognition, money, power, and everything else I’ve been told is important for happiness if my inner life is a wreck? Happiness does not reside in outer activity but is simply a state of inner freedom. It is freedom from everything that now makes us unhappy.

    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.

    Question: What do speakers or students at New Life mean when they say, “It’s just an idea”?
    Answer: Ideas (thoughts) pick us up and carry us to places, tell us we must get a certain job or house or spouse. They drive us like machine pinballs to act in odd ways or say things we believe we thought up ourselves. Ideas are just floating around our heads like gnats in the atmosphere. We’ve picked them up from everyone we’ve met growing up, reading, listening to the media, etc. One false idea stuffed away in our memory is that we have “original ideas.” Vernon Howard made it clear that’s only a self-flattering myth. We are really imitators and memorizers. As we are now, we don’t actually think for ourselves. Yet we can be independent thinkers — by following the instructions of these exceptional teachings.

    Question: Please say more about becoming an independent thinker.
    Answer: Ponder the fact that these facts are all a big insult to the so-called intellectual, to whom thinking is supreme, a false god. Which is why there is endless debate, theorizing and lack of true conclusions in all of society — in the ivory towers, on Wall Street, in churches, governments and the home. Schools teach by having us memorize rather than reaching deeper understanding through a faculty that is there but remains largely undeveloped. In fact, it is commonly denied in so-called higher educational settings that a higher knowing, sensing, or instant perception even exists. (See Vernon’s wonderful list of those in Your Power of Natural Knowing essay of the book by the same title.)

    Question: So thinking for yourself free of conditioning flows from reaching this level of higher understanding?
    Answer: Yes. Spiritual understanding is not on the lower level of thought. This is the esoteric secret of the ages, that a knowing exists above thought or ideas; you can feel the Truth with a sense above the mind. It is in the realm of consciousness, accessible with a different mode of perception than the intellect. It might be called “common sense” or wisdom or sentience, but like saying the word God, words are not sufficient to convey the meaning, which must be sought through effort and awareness and personal experience.

    Question: These principles are appealing and make a fascinating study but how can they relieve my financial and relationship problems or my concerns over the future?
    Answer: It is very hard for the mind to grasp that a way has been provided in this life for human beings to psychologically transcend the visible world and live in a completely different realm free from worry and torment. If you were living in self-unity according to these principles, you would not feel the same way about your personal circumstances. That doesn’t mean you might not be surrounded on all sides by challenging situations, but you would understand that the most valuable thing in your life is contacting and living from these higher facts. Being one with the true nature is what provides you with protection. God has already won. He is not fearful, apprehensive, angry, discouraged or in any other destructive negative state and does not want you to be.

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