New Life Foundation
About New Life, About Vernon, Lessons, New Life News, FAQs & More
“There is nothing in the whole universe that represents a threat to who you really are.”
“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.”
Below are a series of six revealing interviews with longtime students of Vernon Howard. Most studied under Vernon Howard personally and realized how beneficial the principles are to them. Each is unique and all come from varying backgrounds.
Bill has been attending classes for over 25 years. A former accountant from Baltimore, Maryland he now volunteers his time helping with the running of New Life.
Interviewer: What originally brought you to New Life?
Bill: My father bought one of Vernon’s books in the late 70’s, Pathways to Perfect Living and I had been searching, studying philosophy a bit, and I read it. One part of me was immensely drawn to it, even though I still believed a person could find the answers intellectually. So I wasn’t quite ready for it.
Then about two years later I visited a used bookstore and there was a book that stood out, 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle. I picked it up and started reading, and I was stunned. I went back and found the earlier book and saw it was written by the same man. I was just overwhelmed. I knew something was going on, that it wasn’t just an accident. That day, I think, was the most memorable day of my life. I knew that I was on to something.
Interviewer: You said something interesting, that you still felt this was something you could reach intellectually. Do you feel you’re past that?
Bill: There are secret and as yet unknown things from inside the intellect that will pop up, but I know to a large extent that this is unquestionably something that is above the mind. As we learn in these teachings, the intellect always splits itself into opposites. On the practical level the use of opposites is fine, but when you start connecting those with your identity you’re always torn back and forth. “I’m right,” then “I’m wrong,” it’s a back-and-forth tug-of-war that is endless. Something exists where there’s no fighting, no back and forth.
Interviewer: How long have you been coming to New Life?
Bill: Twenty-five years.
Interviewer: Why does it take so long?
Bill: The resistance is so enormous that we just don’t see how self-deceived we are. We really think we understand, that we have intelligence. It came up recently in class that we have to learn how to learn. We think we know what to do, and we find out this (Truth) is entirely different, although gathering intellectual information is a part of it. Vernon gave the example of the man in the canoe, once he crosses the river he doesn’t need to carry the canoe and he can let it go, he’s free of it. That is an example of the role of the intellect.
Interviewer: From coming to New Life, what are one or two specific things you could share with us?
Bill: We must see the enormous benefit of admitting that we’re wrong. Until you admit you’re wrong about something, you can’t make any progress. This work is seeing one thing after another that you thought you understood, that you don’t understand, and letting go of that. It just feels right when you submit to something higher. There’s a right relief. We see that we don’t have to force things. We’re always trying to make things “fit.” “I’ve got to get other people to see my point of view.” With Truth, it is self-sufficient, and if you are one with Truth, you don’t have to have anyone agree with you, you know from yourself the rightness of it.
Interviewer: What is different for you as a result of this work; what has changed?
Bill: Certain things that had a tremendous hold on me have lessened, have fallen away. You can see it lessen, and you can tell the difference.
Interviewer: The overwhelming negativity?
Bill: That’s another thing, to see how something inside just loves being in all kinds of negative states; being sullen, being confused. Vernon said we can see how crazy we are by seeing how we try to use fear to protect us from fear. We try and use the very state we are trying to get rid of to protect us from the negative state.
Interviewer: What advice would you have for a new student?
Bill: Stick as close to these teachings as you possibly can. Follow the sensing you have, the glimpse you got, don’t let anything stop you from following that right feeling. As Vernon said, the right part of you knows rightness when you hear it. In spite of anything else inside you telling you otherwise, keep coming back.
Interviewer: What would you suggest to a student who has been coming for a number of years?
Bill: Come to every class! We are still fooled, too. Even when we’ve gotten rid of some wrong parts, we’ve made progress, what’s wrong in us will use new tricks to try and pull us away. One trick Vernon talked about is, “You’ve made progress to this point, but this is as far as you can go.” Don’t believe it. Call the bluff on that.
Interviewer: How are we fooled/tricked/deceived?
Bill: If you’re working and you see something right, the devil will try and turn this “angel” (right insight) into a demon, causing you to go wrong with it. He’ll try and get you to identify with it, to become self-righteous with it. Anything right, the devil will try to subvert it.
Interviewer: What is a common mistake that most people make?
Bill: We have to go from thinking about “change of circumstances” to “change of nature.”
Interviewer: We’re here winding down from a wonderful banquet weekend. Could you comment on the importance of associating with like-minded people?
Bill: There is tremendous energy when a number of people who are trying to let the Truth come to them get together. Also, longtime students can pass along to newer students things they have found that can be very beneficial — lessons, corrections, facts and real help.
We get a chance to do things that our old self doesn’t want to do. We get a chance to go against it. Personally speaking, when I came to New Life I saw that you were given an opportunity to get up and dance. It was terrifying. Yesterday, I spent most of the day up dancing. You get freer and freer of the fear, “What are people going to think of me?” or “I’ll look like a fool.” You just do it and enjoy it.
Interviewer: What is something you use that has proved very valuable?
Bill: The classroom is wherever we are. We work wherever we are, regardless of the circumstances. Wherever we start, that’s where we start. We can always be alert — the school is our alertness in all that we do.
Interviewer: Is there anything else you’d like to say in closing?
Bill: Vernon Howard encouraged us to use everything out in the world to remind us of the Truth. We’re sitting here looking and listening to a pretty stream that’s going by. Truth itself is often likened to water. The water just flows effortlessly. Rocks can’t stop it, actually nothing can stop water. Water always overcomes any obstacle. That’s the way Truth and the energy that comes from Truth has to flow through us. Instead of us trying to force things to work in our mind, we can let Truth effortlessly flow through us and live our lives above the opposites. That’s what Vernon is trying to get us to see.
Vernon Howard once said that beauty is the unimpeded free flow of energy. No forcing, no attempt to make an impression, you just do what spontaneously flows through you from the Higher.
This interview was conducted by Moe Janosec.
Businessman and entrepreneur, David Hearst has been attending Vernon Howard classes for more than 10 years. Mr. Hearst was born, raised, and continues to live in Los Angeles, California. He readily admits: “Finding Vernon Howard classes was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Interviewer: What first attracted you to these teachings?
David: I always knew the world was crazy, ever since I was a kid growing up. Something just didn’t click right. I grew up thinking people were really good and meant well. But now, because of these teachings, I know the opposite is true. People can’t be good because they’re sound asleep. They’re in such slumber, they really don’t know up from down. Today I know the Higher Spirit can come in and change all that, providing we let it.
Another New Life student told me about the classes. Once I found out about Vernon Howard, I just stuck with it and never looked back. I didn’t understand a word I heard at first, of course. But there’s something very special about truth; when you hear it, it just sticks!
My world has changed 180 degrees since I started coming to these classes. I’m not anywhere near being awake yet, but I’m a lot better off than I used to be, that’s for sure! (laughs)
What I’ve learned here is, no matter what they do out there, I see now the only problem is ME. My problem is not the world out there, and it’s not what some political party does or doesn’t do. The problem is me. It’s like that old saying, “God, please let there be peace in this world, and let it begin with me.”
Interviewer: What happened in your life that made you begin looking for answers elsewhere?
David: It began with the fact that when I was a child, I was never encouraged to develop or to do anything. If you’re told you’re dumb every day of your life, sooner or later you’re going to believe it.
That’s why I say finding these classes was the best thing that ever happened to me. The truth revealed to me that the people who told me such lies were sound asleep; they didn’t know the damage they were causing; and the same things had probably happened to them. They were just passing on their own little boxes of junk.
Interviewer: So at a certain point you began searching for authentic answers to the pain everyone experiences in life?
David: We’re all searching for something. I know I was. Every human being has experienced at least a faint hint that something is radically wrong. Most people try to forget about it, throw in the towel, and go on with their lives. A very few rare individuals want to learn more about what’s wrong, and that’s what leads them to a special place like a Vernon Howard class. In reality, you don’t need to look any further than your very first class. You really sense there’s something different there, and hopefully you stay.
I am flabbergasted as to why this Work is still so unknown to so many people. It has been disseminated literally to all corners of the earth. At least 8 million people out there have heard about this. So, where are they? Do they know more than Vernon Howard? Do they know more than truth itself? People should flood to this, but they don’t.
We are here on earth to learn. But people don’t know that. People are so confused and don’t know where they’re going. When they come to a New Life class, they have a chance to learn how to really approach life.
Even if you do great things in life, like find a cure for cancer or develop a solar-powered car, you still need to have great concern for your soul. That’s what takes you into eternity.
We’re not here on this planet by some random chance. We’re here for a reason. The reason is to learn lessons. Sure, we can appreciate science and its discoveries. But what we’re after is connection with our essence. I mean, who wants to spend his life studying how many molecules are in a banana? (laughs) Who cares? That’s not important. Letting truth save your soul is what’s important.
Interviewer: What did you see in yourself or in the world that made you turn toward the truth?
David: I always wanted to believe that people were basically good. I find now that it just isn’t the case. Truth reveals to us that people are not good; people are sound asleep and will do horrible things to get what they think they want out of life. If given a chance, they will do absolutely anything.
But there are rare examples of genuine decency in this world which can give you preliminary lessons in the spiritual life.
Once I was traveling with business partners through Texas. We were driving along in the middle of nowhere when suddenly the engine coughed and sputtered; we ran out of gas. We sat along that road for an hour before anyone appeared.
An older man drove up in a beat-up pickup truck and asked: “You need help?” We told him we’d run out of gas, and he said, “Fine, I’ll be right back.” He drove 12 miles to the nearest town, filled a 5-gallon gas can, and drove it back to us. As the others poured the gas into our tank, I told the man I wanted to pay him for his time. But he wouldn’t take a penny, not even for the gas he’d bought. He paid for that himself.
He had nothing to gain by helping us. He just did it.
We will never see each other again. But I remember him to this day, and I remember what he did. His simple example of decency was inspiring and perhaps that experience had something to do with eventually leading me to the classes.
Interviewer: What makes New Life/Vernon Howard different?
David: One thing is, when you walk into that room, no one’s trying to sell you anything. Nobody’s trying to fool you. It’s just the unadulterated truth. No one tries to butter you up. It’s honesty on parade. Other students take you at face value. The idea is, “If you like it, fine. If you don’t, leave and go off into oblivion.”
Interviewer: How has your life changed since coming to these classes?
David: When I blow up in anger now, at least I can catch myself. I say, “Get back to sanity now.” And when I make a mistake now, that’s okay. Before, I used to beat myself up mercilessly.
Also, I don’t use bad language anymore. If you stub your toe on a cold morning, something inside you wants to come up and express itself. (Laughs) But I see it coming up now, and I watch myself. Curse words truly are cursed.
I still feel foolish at times. I still berate myself for some silly thing I do, but life overall is getting much better. I know now that every day is a recommitment to work on myself and to learn more about life.
Interviewer: What do you like about the New Life banquets?
David: The food! (laughs) The New Life women — boy, can they cook! The quiche they make, the breakfast treats and lunches. The food is outstanding. They just don’t hear enough about how much they’re appreciated.
Banquets are so much fun. We get up there and dance around like kids. It really makes you feel young again, like you don’t have a care in the world. And the music’s right. We listen to good pleasant melodic music. It’s really a lot of clean, honest fun. You’re not going to find that out in the world, no way.
At the banquets, I like the camaraderie. It’s a great chance to work on yourself. Oh, sure, on occasion someone may irritate you. But I try to remember it’s ME who needs to change, not the other person. Real change is difficult but oh is it worth it.
[When it’s time to cleanup] I’ll help mop the floor. I may not like to do it, but I do it because I know it’s good work for me.
Interviewer: What is one of the favorite things you have heard Vernon Howard say?
David: I remember him saying, “I can read you like a book, what you’re thinking, where you are inside yourself.” And I know he did. I like it when he says, “You’re not good, you’re not bad, you’re nothing, and that nothingness is everything.”
Interviewer: Which parts of the teachings appeal especially to you?
David: The teachings expose me for what I really am. I don’t like to see myself for what I am, but that’s the way it is. We’re monsters, just plain and simple.
I like the fact he’s trying to show us how important it is to try to be conscious of the moment. That sounds so simple. But if you walk through a doorway, and you tell yourself, “I know I am walking through this doorway,” you may do it. But even then you won’t be conscious about it. This is one of the hardest parts of the Work. You think you’re being conscious, but you’re really not.
Interviewer: What can you recommend to other people who want to know what life is all about?
David: You’re not going to find the answer by buying an airline ticket to Katmandu. (Laughs) If you want to know the answer to life, come to a Vernon Howard class. You’ll learn everything you need to know. You’ll learn how to handle everything life throws at you.
At first, these classes can be intimidating. You’re going to hear things that directly contradict what you’ve learned in the world; for example, “Competition is good,” “Getting excited over a ball game is fine,” “You have a right to fight for your rights,” “It’s okay to attack your enemy,” and, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”
These are worldly ideas and beliefs, and they’re wrong. They’ve got to go.
What we’re supposed to be doing in life is learning what life is all about. Sure, material things are nice to have, but they don’t solve your problems. Truth says, “Don’t let your possessions possess you.” When you die, all the things you own are passed over to someone else anyway. The only way to solve problems is with truth. We learn all about truth at these Vernon Howard classes.
Interviewer: Any final comment for anyone who wants to live a better life?
David: I can say from myself New Life classes work. The answers to life are available. No religion or membership in any kind of club is going to do it for you. Even a nice relationship won’t solve all your problems. The only way out of your own personal hell is to do this Work. These classes show us how. I suggest you see for yourself.
Richard started attending New Life classes in 1975 and moved to Boulder City from Texas in 1977. He had the distinct pleasure of studying and working with Vernon Howard for 17 years. For more than 25 years he has spent most of his time working for New Life and became director in 1993. He is very grateful for the opportunity truth has given him to begin to live from his true self.
Interviewer: What first attracted you to Vernon Howard’s teachings?
Richard: I was in a lot of pain and was having trouble finding a girlfriend — it wasn’t for lack of good looks! (laughing). I was a mess, my life was a wreck. Knowing your life is a wreck is what qualifies you for this work. I was very lost and was young and stupid, but that’s what led me toward Vernon Howard. A friend introduced me to Vernon in 1972. Something in me was attracted to it, because I was looking for an answer. No one I knew had any idea of the deeper meaning of life. Not my parents, not my friends. No one I knew was truly happy.
Interviewer: So from the beginning you sensed there was something different (about Vernon’s teachings)?
Richard: Yes. Definitely. You could feel it. I first went to see him in 1975 in Boulder City, Nevada. I went to my first class, and felt something very different about it. I was shaking in my boots, so to speak. There was a trembling, but at the same time something else was there, too, that was supporting me. I could feel the energy, the power of what was in the room. It was very different from anything I had ever experienced before.
I knew from the very first time I walked into class and heard Vernon Howard speak his first words, that this was different. I knew from myself it was different from anything else. I knew in my heart that this was it.
Interviewer: You knew that this was what you’d been looking for?
Richard: Yes. He knew what I was feeling, what I was thinking, where I’d made my mistakes. He knew this of everyone. After listening to Vernon for a while, you begin to realize that he knew something you didn’t know.
He didn’t want anything from me. He never hurt me. I was corrected quite a bit. There was no compromise. And it was for my own good. It wasn’t out of trying to take advantage of you or trying to hurt you. I hadn’t known any other in my lifetime.
Almost everyone is out for themselves, everyone wants something from you, and everyone wants to take advantage of you. And there are people running around in this world who have no conscience whatsoever. When Vernon Howard tells us that people are absolutely insane, they are! We have to see that for ourselves and the further we go in this work the more we see that it’s true.
Interviewer: What do you see as a major stumbling block?
Richard: One of our problems is that we think we know. One of the first things I heard in class was, “You don’t know anything at all.” Until you work at it, you don’t really know that you don’t have a clue as to what is going on in this world. You don’t realize the extent of evil. You don’t realize that Truth exists, that something a million miles above the way you now presently live exists and that there is something that can take care of you, that can actually begin to help you understand things that you’ve never understood before. You see, people operate from a very limited level of understanding, from a lack of real spiritual knowledge.
When we first come to this work, we take everything and perceive it from the mind, instead of living the state which these ideas represent. More than just the intellect must become involved in your spiritual investigation. Vernon Howard himself explained how he never stopped working on himself. There was more for him to learn all the time. So there’s not an end to the learning process. It’s a constant thing. And that’s what begins to make your life exciting. You’re learning more every day. With this work, you begin to see that there’s just so much more to living, a million more things to experience and to enjoy in life than you ever imagined. Even though this is a very sick planet, there is true life and real happiness available for the individual who works hard enough for it.
Interviewer: So you would say that your understanding of what Vernon Howard taught has deepened?
Richard: Yes, from the first time I attended class in 1975 until now, I definitely know a lot more than I did then. But, there’s still a lot more to learn. Truth has a way of supplying the answers for you. When you don’t understand something and you simply sit back and stop trying so hard, stop trying to figure it out, the answer will come to you. I do have more understanding, but you must never assume that that’s it. There’s a lot more to it. That’s one of the traps we fall into. Another trap is imagination; we go into imagination that we’ve become some kind of a spiritual giant. There’s never complacency if you’re really on the true spiritual path. That’s what eternal life is, the constant learning of something more so that when you leave this life, you’ll have something that will last beyond this life. Because you’re alive, there’s a new energy there, there’s something happening that’s not of this world.
Interviewer: How do Vernon’s teachings differ from other so-called spiritual teachings?
Richard: Organized religion is a trap. It’s all meant to keep you where you are, and we have to see that. It’s boring, it’s rigid, there’s no life to it. Religious authorities tell you that you must go through someone in order to reach God. That’s the way it’s set up — there’s an intermediary that must be used. But in these teachings, what we learn is that you and I can go directly to God. That’s how it was intended to be. We don’t have to go through anyone. That’s tremendous! Because you don’t have to be at the mercy of other people who can lie, mislead or deceive you and who will even take your money! That’s what is so great about this work. I can go directly to God Himself.
And then we even have to go beyond that. What we have to see is that there is no division between you and God. Now don’t misconstrue this, but there is only one thing, there’s not you and God. You were meant to experience the higher directly from heaven itself, from Truth itself — to reap the benefits of having something higher in your life. That’s what you were meant to have. But you must work hard to actually see that for yourself, because you’ve been taught by organized religion that this is blasphemous. That you must get down and worship this higher entity. That’s ludicrous! Even Vernon Howard wouldn’t allow himself to be set up on a pedestal to be worshiped, even though he understood what life was all about. He was approachable. He was down-to-earth. He was practical. This other entity is not approachable. It’s like a distant heaven that will be there only after you die. But it won’t be. It can never be there for you in the future. Heaven and hell is right now.
Interviewer: So when we are disappointed with our present way of living, that is a good time to approach these teachings?
Richard: Oh, most certainly! We’re beginning to challenge the way we live … maybe all these ideas I have about life are not right. Maybe they are all wrong, and there’s something missing in my life. If I’m honest I know there’s pain and heartache there. I get into trouble with other people and I’m in trouble with myself. These teachings begin to explain everything about life, so that you can start to get free of the pain, so that you’re no longer hurting anymore. The pain is a hoax that can be seen through.
Interviewer: What benefits have you personally experienced as a result of applying these teachings to your own life?
Richard: One of the great things about this work is that you begin to live from yourself. You’re no longer living from borrowed ideas from your parents or from teachers or from so-called experts or from friends. The world doesn’t want you to think for or from yourself. What happens is that we take on all these ideas and beliefs that are completely unnecessary. You can truly begin to live from yourself. You can be 100% dependent on something else inside of you that comes from heaven itself. Not from your neurotic self, but from Truth itself, so that there’s no longer any conflict there at all.
The more intensely you apply these spiritual principles, the longer you work on yourself, the better off you’re going to be. The bad habits and wrong ideas just fall away naturally. Maybe you spend a lot of time watching television. So now, because of your higher interest, you don’t watch as much television. There was no thinking process involved in it, it happened naturally. And you begin to see that you’d rather work on something for Truth, or on yourself — you may watch a Vernon Howard DVD, you may listen to a tape, you may read a book. You may spend time on that, and you don’t even think about watching television.
Interviewer: So by having something higher to do with your life, your relationships with other people go much more smoothly?
Richard: Yes! Spiritually, psychologically we can get to the point where we’re no longer dependent upon any other human being for anything. We can be completely independent. That doesn’t mean we become hermits and seal ourselves off from the rest of the world. It simply means that we go into a relationship on the terms of Truth itself, not on the terms of my demanding nature or that of the other person.
One big trap we fall for is the idea that “You owe me something.” The world tells you that you owe it something. Or another human being tells you that you owe him something. Look at the burden this causes in us. The further we go in this work, the more we’ll see that we don’t owe anybody anything. Your life belongs to God. It doesn’t belong to that church, that organization, or another human being. And even if you’re married, you don’t belong to the other person. Look at the problems that causes in a relationship, the attitude that you belong to somebody. If there’s any sanity at all, there’s no belonging. I’ve been married for … how many years now? (Laughter) I’ll find out how long it’s been! Seriously now, my life belongs to God! My wife, Lynne, her life is dedicated to waking up. So then things work out great. There’s a lot more to the relationship than just the superficial.
Interviewer: Can you give us something helpful to remember as we walk on the spiritual path?
Richard: We must always be working on ourselves at all times, in all situations. Every time we fall asleep (spiritually), negativity and wrongness have the chance to enter our psychic system. It’s interesting to watch this. You can see this over a period of time — a week, a month, a year, five years. You can start to develop the ability to watch yourself over extended periods of time so that you begin to see the consequences, the result of some decision or choice that you’ve made. This work is all about choices. Every time I choose to work on myself, something good happens. I feel something enter my life that’s of a higher quality. I feel better. But every time I fall asleep and I give into laziness for example, or fear, I have a resulting bad feeling and pay the price.
People think they have to be positive and upbeat and to have a bubbly personality and that will get them through life. It will get them what they want or think they want from life. But it’s all phony, an act, and deep down inside there is an aching pain. Everything can be all right, but not in the way we think it can. Not through getting rewards from this world for instance. Not from getting the million dollars, or from getting that perfect job. None of that’s going to make a bit of difference in the long run in how you feel. It’s what you do with your life internally, and that’s to bring Truth into the equation. To begin to ask God to help you. And then to actually do the work projects. To begin to see that everything Vernon Howard says is true. Everything! And you have to see this for yourself. The whole point of the exercises is to see ourselves as we really are, not as we’re pretending to be.
One of the greatest rewards in applying the work principles is that you’ll find new sources of energy to go through your day with. You’ll look forward to getting up in the morning. You can start to see for yourself that the world is sound asleep. The more you embrace Truth, the more you’ll get up in the morning and will have something real to do with your life. Something really constructive to do with my life, rather than trying to find something to do with my life. That’s what the world does. It invents something. If I get up in the morning and say, “What can I work on today?” or “What can I find out about myself today?” or “What can I see in the world today that I didn’t see yesterday?” then I’m like an explorer. As we’re doing this interview, we’re sitting in a beautiful setting with mountains all around, and there’s an excitement when you explore, when you see new sights and find new things to discover. There’s a natural right part of us that enjoys doing that. It’s the same on the spiritual journey. We were meant to go out and explore our internal universe and the outward universe to see what is really going on.
There’s a certain excitement that you get when you begin to work for Truth. You’re working for yourself, you’re working for your own salvation. You see, the only way you can really fulfill yourself is through self- fulfillment, and it’s to work for yourself. You were meant to be a strong, intelligent and bright human being. You weren’t meant to be dependent upon other people for anything at all. You were meant to stand alone. That’s when you’ll really feel something. No one else can find out the Truth for you. Even Vernon Howard couldn’t find it for you. He can, an awakened man can, point you in the right direction, but no one else can do it for you. You have to do the work for yourself. So that’s really great news! That’s really wonderful to know, because then you have all the answers at your doorstep, right there for you to discover if you’ll go to work.
Dr. Terry Roche, the Southern California director of New Life Foundation, was born and raised in southern Illinois farm country. He has been a practicing podiatrist for over 25 years in the Los Angeles area and has attended New Life classes regularly since 1983.
Interviewer: When you first came into contact with Vernon Howard, what were you looking for?
Terry: I knew I was under tremendous stress. There were times when I was utterly miserable. In fact, I suffered from depression for years. I felt as if I were living my life under a cloud of confusion. Everything I thought would bring me happiness went wrong. I searched for answers in a lot of places but just couldn’t find any lasting or real relief. I suppose I was searching for something genuine, something that had no phoniness or pretense about it.
Interviewer: How did you first hear of Vernon Howard?
Terry: A friend of mine saw a letter to the editor praising Mr. Howard’s insight into the human condition. This piqued my interest and I began ordering his books and taped lectures and in mid-1983, I went to hear Vernon Howard speak in person. It was the most amazing thing. I knew he was the genuine article. Here was a man who spoke about what is, about what is real from direct experience. From then on, I regularly traveled from Los Angeles to Nevada to hear him speak. And, do you know, from the first visit, from the first time I saw the welcome sign on the front door of New Life, I felt very much at home. The atmosphere was friendly, very welcoming.
Interviewer: What has encouraged you to keep coming to New Life classes all these years?
Terry: How could I not come back after I found out what was really going on? I mean, once I found out the truth about my inner being, I wanted to know more; I wanted to go deeper.
Interviewer: As the Southern California director of New Life, you are now very involved with conducting regular New Life classes in Pasadena and Huntington Beach as well as special seminars in various locations around Southern California. Why are the classes important to you?
Terry: The classes are a lifeline – they are so valuable. We can forget our spiritual goals so easily. The classes and all the other New Life activities are there for the purpose of reminding us of our spiritual aim. Plus, I cannot forget the feeling I get when I attend the classes. There is an uplifting atmosphere that’s very inspiring. When there’s a group of people gathered trying to change, it has a wonderful effect on you. And, of course, being a speaker is part of the growth process. When you speak on these ideas, you’ve got to drop any pretense or artificiality and just be honest.
Interviewer: We hear from people all the time who have obtained genuine help with their everyday problems from Vernon Howard’s teachings. Can you give us an example of how you use these truth principles in your daily life?
Terry: Here’s something that happened just the other day. I went to the store and they asked me for my driver’s license. I reached in my pocket to get the license and it wasn’t there. Now, twenty years ago, before I came into contact with higher principles, this would have made me extremely anxious. I would have just gone along with the agitation. Now, when the anxiety comes up, I can see it – but I don’t have to go along with it. I can handle the situation practically but I don’t have to go into negativity and be tormented by it.
Interviewer: How do you use the principles in your profession as a podiatrist?
Terry: This work has helped me in every aspect of my life. When people are not feeling well, they can become very demanding. Years ago when patients would try to transfer their wrong states to me, it made me very, very negative. Now, I don’t vibrate to their vibrations anymore and it’s amazing the effect this has on people. Their negativity lifts when I’m in command of the situation. This also spills over into how efficiently I’m able to organize and run my office.
Interviewer: What is a favorite spiritual exercise you often use?
Terry: Bringing myself back to where I am at the present moment. To be where my body is — that’s my favorite exercise because it causes you to become more aware, more relaxed. All the tensions that have been going through you, the thoughts that have been tormenting you, they fall away and you’re in a good state. Also, you’re in a state where you can receive something. You’re at home with yourself and higher impressions can come to you.
Interviewer: Can you sum up what the Vernon Howard teachings mean to you?
Terry: These teachings revolutionize your life. Truth transforms you. As I mentioned before, I was prone to depression for many years. Those dark feelings are now a thing of the past. It’s the most amazing thing on earth to know you’ve found something so powerful — something that really works. These teachings give you the incredible ability to witness the inner workings of your mind and how your thoughts affect your life. God gives us the power of choice and we can always choose the higher.
Dr. Terry Roche passed away in July 2019. For health reasons he was replaced in 2015 by Paul Wolfe as Director of our Southern California branch.
A retired Business Manager Bob has been studying these principles for over 40 years. He is 89 years old and still attends classes. Bob also helps with chores around the building in Southern California whenever he is up to it.
Interviewer: How did you first meet Vernon Howard?
Bob: I met Vernon in 1962 when I was living in Pasadena, California and Vernon was living nearby, in Highland Park. I feel very happy about those circumstances. It was just Vernon Howard then; New Life came later.
I was amazed at his friendly attitude toward me. He was actually helping me a lot because I had just gotten divorced after a 20 year marriage, with children. That was a real mental shakeup for me, and Vernon came into my life at just the right time.
Interviewer: How did he help you?
Bob: He was so good at explaining situations and putting me at ease. Over a period of time, he started inviting me over to his house for informal visits. I remember calling him sometimes in the late afternoon, asking what he was up to. He’d say, “Well, I worked on my writings today. Now I’m just relaxing here. You can come on over if you want.”
I went over to his house many times. He sat there and talked to me, and he was so interested in helping me get onto a right train of thought, toward my situation and toward life in general. He told me his philosophy about life.
We used to discuss his work and what he did, and he would say, “I do some writing, and occasionally I go to another city and give a few talks.” He was very modest about it all. I remember sometimes he had to fly to that city; it was so far away. And he always spoke at someone’s invitation. He wasn’t actively trying to put out his message then. He waited for people to invite him to come and speak. He was glad to be invited and to give out this wonderful and helpful information.
I hadn’t known Vernon more than a few months when he mentioned, “I would like to give a few classes.” He needed a place to hold a class, and I said, “Fine, come over to my apartment and give them there.” I helped him advertise for people to come to the meetings. They were held once a week, on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Anywhere from six to twelve people came to those very first meetings. Several people came repeatedly, again and again. That was a very enjoyable part of my life. These classes were the beginning.
Sometime in the mid 1960’s, Vernon told me, “Since I’m a writer, I don’t have to live in any one place in particular. I’ve been looking at some smaller towns outside of Los Angeles to make my home.” He decided to relocate to Boulder City, Nevada. It was a small town at that time and to him it seemed like a good place to start his work and to see if he could establish some classes there. So there he moved. Before he moved, I helped him paint his house to sell it, which was fun.
Interviewer: What happened in your life that made you begin looking for answers elsewhere?
Bob: The divorce I went through had been so painful. After meeting him, I felt so much better about my life by just talking with the man. When we met and talked, he really elevated my spirit. I got terrific inspiration from just listening to him. He had such insight into everything in life. His books reveal that.
As we read his books, he talks about situations that happen to every one of us. He has so much understanding and his writings touch on every conceivable life problem. Vernon knew people have these problems, and he knew the exact answer to them.
That’s why I’m so into three books that I always recommend. Just go through The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power, The Power of Your Supermind and Pathways to Perfect Living and you’re going to find the answer to every problem you’ve ever had. These three books are the ones that answered my personal questions. I love those books, and I’ve practically worn out my older versions of them.
Also, in those first books, Vernon at times would hand-write a personal message to the buyer. In some of mine he wrote in pen, “The greatest discovery on earth is the personal discovery of the New Life,” which he put in capital letters. He wrote, “May this book perform miracles for you,” “It is the Truth which sets us free,” “When we are ready, so is the answer,” and he usually added, “Kindest thoughts from the author,” or, “Best wishes from the author, V.H.”
Interviewer: So you attended Vernon Howard’s Boulder City classes from very early on?
Bob: We started out in Boulder City by just meeting in people’s houses. I used to drag around five folding chairs in the trunk of my car, so people would have a place to sit. I still have those chairs today, and still use them, more than 30 years later. We used them during this year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena, when I sat on Colorado Boulevard with some other New Life students watching the parade.
In Boulder City many years later, I remember many students helping to build the building there. Once the facility was completed, we started having banquets there every month. We had wonderful times there. His talks were the greatest.
Interviewer: Tell us more about the early days of Vernon Howard.
Bob: What strikes me the most is remembering some of the first students who became attracted to his work. I especially remember Sally Forrest as a very early student and how she has done so much to help New Life classes and activities to get going and to continue.
I also remember when Richard Wooldridge came along, as he relieved Mr. Howard of many of the day-to-day tasks that were necessary to run the Boulder City classes and building. Richard became a tremendous help to Vernon. I appreciated Richard informing me whenever a new book or tape came out and I quickly added them to my collection.
It was great to see the early students express so much enthusiasm for the teachings. And that made the Work flourish. And then it was good to see that enthusiasm passed on to other new students.
Interviewer: What did you see in yourself or in the world that made you turn toward truth?
Bob: I saw that my life hadn’t gone in the direction I had wanted it to. I began to see the truth that Vernon expounded was a code of ethics I could use for the rest of my life. I love what Vernon says. It all means so much to me. The words he’s written and spoken, we are very fortunate to have all the information that we do. These things are not replaceable. I’m glad he had the foresight to record the classes. With him gone, we still have his spirit with us. Everything we can hear and see visually is good for us. The words are still coming straight from him to us.
I was with Vernon early enough to see him transform from writing his first books, which dealt more or less with how to be a success in life, to the books he started writing after he had awakened. I saw him go through the transition, and it was really a renaissance.
I look at our class now, and I see speakers who never met Vernon and never knew him personally. But Vernon has given us so much truth that from studying the teachings and reading the writings, their lives have changed, all by what Vernon left us. To me that’s amazing.
Interviewer: What makes New Life and Vernon Howard different?
Bob: Vernon Howard found the way of life we ought to live. So many other teachers and writings, they seem to compromise with life. Vernon never compromised. He told the truth as it is, and that’s the unadulterated truth. I love the fact that everything you read and hear from him is the truth, the pure truth.
There’s no wish to distort or dilute it with ideas that some other writers throw in to try to ease the conscience of the reader. Whatever Vernon said and whatever he wrote is exactly what you and I need. If you want to change your life, all you need to do is read his material, listen to the talks, and attend classes. It really is that simple.
Interviewer: How has your life changed since coming to classes?
Bob: It’s made living so much easier. I know my life without the classes would be pretty miserable. It would be much more negative than the way it’s going now. I’d be lost without this Work. It’s the only thing in life that makes sense to me.
These classes are the greatest thing. I’m able to make two classes a week and they’re what I’m living for right now. There’s so much information. And I love listening to all of the speakers. We get a rebirth of higher facts presented to us by our qualified speakers. I also believe that the New Life banquets are great fun and very enjoyable.
Interviewer: What are some of your favorite things you have heard Vernon Howard say?
Bob: I enjoyed his answer when he was asked how he started this great search. He said he told himself early on, “There must be a better way to live, and I’m going to find it.” And he did.
I like his words, “Know when you get home and unlock your front door and enter your home.” “Most of us are asleep in life, and these exercises help to awaken us. We can do it. We must wake up.” “Don’t wander from the safety zone of now.” “During your day, observe how your mind slips backward to yesterday and forward to tomorrow. Catch it and pull it back to where it belongs, in the here and now.” “Interrupt your mechanical thinking and come back to yourself all during the day.”
He used to tell me, “Bob, you have got to continuously work on yourself. There is no end to the learning process. There is always a lot more to learn. In this Work, go directly to God, and the truth will be revealed to you.”
Interviewer: What in these teachings especially appeals to you?
Bob: At first I didn’t realize the tremendous power involved in his writings and talks. Now I know, or better yet, we know. Vernon Howard was the most “together” person I have ever known. All that you saw was what you got. There was no phoniness about him at all. This Work was all-important to him. Nothing else mattered.
Interviewer: What can you recommend to other people who want to know what life is all about?
Bob: If you want to know the true meaning of life, come to a Vernon Howard meeting in Arizona, California, or in Colorado. In these classes, the true meaning of life is discussed.
These facts are the most self-liberating ideas that have been placed before mankind. Truth will enter your life and make you a different kind of person and that new kind of person is exactly what we have been searching for. You will be delighted with the new person that you will become. God is real, and we only have to find our kinship with him to understand this self-liberating life.
When we understand that we are not our thoughts — that thoughts are but a stream flowing through our mind — we need not fight to control them. What we should do is to become a passive observer of whatever crosses the theater of our mind and not become identified with troubled thoughts. Authentic relief is available; it is there even if you do not presently feel that it is so. See it clearly, and genuine feeling follows.
Interviewer: Do you have a final comment or advice for anyone?
Bob: I have found over many years that New Life is the only thing that has made sense to me. Its demands are pure and the rewards are great. Anyone who sincerely follows these principles will be happier, more fulfilled, a more contented and easy-going person, and life becomes a joy to live.
(Bob passed away in April 2008)
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