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.”
All New Life banquets provide extraordinary opportunities to see more deeply and to be raised to a higher level of understanding. In September, right there in beautiful little Strawberry, Arizona, the secret messages of the universe lifted us up above the insanity of this low planet. Our attention was refocused on the only thing truly important to us, how to overcome the old nature and to discover the true one.
Powerful talks brought us many reminders of what we should be doing with our lives, instead of pursuing the numerous distractions offered everywhere we look by today’s society. And we were filled with fun and frolic and an Italian feast as well, amid a gamut of sun, clouds and light rain with the occasional pounding drums of heavenly thunder.
Saturday’s talks explored the topic of happiness using The Power of Your Supermind, Chapter 10. As Vernon said, “You cannot know happiness in advance. It must reveal itself from moment to moment.” Our concept of time and earthly desires interfere with understanding this. As Richard explained, happiness is not in when you attain something. “It is in whatever happens to you, not in what you prophesy should happen to you.”
As Vernon said, “No person or no event has any power to harm us.” Gary also revealed mistakes in our thinking. He talked about how we are our own worst enemy: “See punishment as self-punishment.” For example, an event occurs but the punishment comes from within me. One diversionary trick of the mind is that it always insists any problem that comes up is someone else’s fault. This chapter on happiness also explains why “there’s no such thing as chance,” see p. 164.
On Sunday speakers referred to a talk from the Vernon Howard Higher World series, Volume 13: 15, August 8, 1987, the AM banquet class. Bill said if you’re thinking of yourself, you’re in hell. He reminded us of our PDFs, our precious darling feelings, saying “If you have feelings that can be hurt, you also hurt others.” He related a story by Vernon about a man who was crossing a river, trying to reach the other side where his spiritual guide stood waiting. This of course symbolized leaving this low world for the higher world. About halfway across, the man got scared and stopped. He thought to himself, “This is getting too difficult, maybe I should go back.” His teacher saw his hesitation and fiercely told him, “Don’t you dare turn back!”
Jeff encouraged us to remember the moment we first heard Vernon Howard, which evoked some references to powerful experiences. He said we must work as if our life depended on it, for it does. He highlighted one wonderful principle of this work, “If you can ignore the monsters, they will go away!”
To make room for the Higher World, Paul gave us an exercise on self-interruption: “See the useless thought calmly and quietly. Don’t push back against it but calmly and quietly drop it.”
Dave H. said to let it get worse: “Nothing can hurt you, not the true you. Don’t let people get you down.” His remarks took us back to the idea of self-punishment: “You let your thoughts punish you. Don’t!”
A rousing Italian song, “Funiculi, Funicula,” began the formal entertainment, sung by Lynne and Kyle with dramatic gusto and humor. Clean jokes and goofy skits followed. Bill had us cracking up with laughter with some funny bumper stickers, while Gary and Jeff’s skit on chickens was full of corny jokes. We’re never at a loss for reasons to laugh and to get perkier during banquets. Without these events, it’s too easy to forget that Truth is both light-hearted and rightly serious. Richard told us, “You’re wrongly serious because you think you’re real.”
Working with others during the weekend is a good chance to come face to face with Reality and to see we’ve been living in imagination, carelessly thinking we’re mostly free of problems already, like saying, “I’m close to being free of what others think of me.” It helps us to become aware of what really drives us. For example, it’s very likely we’re still looking for approval from others and care very much what they think of us. Without the strong, fierce talks and encounters while working with others, it is much easier to remain in delusion about our actual inner states. With that knowledge comes new understanding. And with the higher guidance of true principles and the good will and fellowship of a group wishing to learn more, we can rise higher.
“We are either moved by Light or darkness, either energized by Truth or drained by darkness,” explained director Richard Wooldridge at the July 2022 banquet held in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. In the same vein, Moe also referred to the cosmic law that depending on our receptivity to Truth, we are either absorbed by something Higher or by what is lower. It’s one or the other. Banquets urge us to leave the dark world and move up to a new, higher, and lighter state of being. In the weekend talks, many helpful examples were given on how to do this. One illustration of the vigilance needed to discern the difference was given by Gary when he quoted that “Worry is darkness masquerading as Light.”
Using Chapter 6 of Vernon’s Esoteric Mind Power throughout the weekend, speakers at the banquet presented uplifting talks that spotlighted these powerful, life-healing principles. At Friday night’s class, Moe revealed the real problem, quoting from that chapter: “An individual’s problem is not defeat, inferiority, tiredness, etc…. The individual’s problem is unawareness of his personal immersion in the psychic hypnosis which commands mankind.” Part of this hypnosis is revealed by a glimpse of how most people live their lives; just getting by, trying to hang in there, but really choosing a life of defeat. As the antidote, we are very fortunate in being given the opportunity to live the radically different life offered by Truth’s guidance.
Moe told an interesting story about how he went to a social event and made the decision to leave early to save energy. The party-goers expressed sympathy that he had to “go home and be all alone.” Moe didn’t view his departure from the party like that at all and we too can absolutely refuse to live from such a limited viewpoint. Coincidentally, Moe had begun his talk by quoting from Psycho-Pictography where Vernon had said, “You are not alone, and you were made to conquer.”
The existence of cosmic laws was further touched on several times in Friday evening’s talks. We were reminded that these laws are always in operation and even if the individual is not aware of them, the doer must face the consequences if they are broken.
At Saturday’s banquet Richard elaborated on the section, “The Sure Cure for All Problems” in Chapter 6 of Esoteric Mind Power. He described the tourists in Pagosa Springs as wanderers, looking around for something to do. As Truth students, we always have something to do, which is to wisely use all of our experiences to rise above them. He also related something that had happened the day before. Sitting at his desk, he stopped what he was working on and looked out the big window across from the desk. He noticed hundreds of dancing bugs on the other side of the glass. They were very small, winged insects. He said he hadn’t previously been aware of them because he’d been in thought. “It’s the same with Truth. It’s always there to help with every situation, but the mind and emotions are so active, we’re not aware of its presence.”
In Saturday’s class, it was often pointed out that we’re limited by intellectualism and that thought is the whole problem. “Thought creates the problem,” said Robin. In his talk, Jeff called attention to the fact that unawareness of our never-ending parade of thoughts causes all our griefs. He said, “Drop the thought, drop the problem!”
As an example, it was quoted from page 89, “When you see ill health in the light of these principles you see it quite differently; it is not a problem to you. For example, some people feel guilty over ill health because it exposes their illusion of having an all-powerful ego.” Richard said the mind will be very insistent that it must dwell on a physical ailment, but we can go against the mental fixation and refuse to be captured and brought down by it.
On Sunday Bill added, “The maniacs running this world are dedicated to destroying you.” He said something is always trying to keep us from making the effort to break out. We embrace fear, don’t want to lose it. Bill quoted the recent Secrets of Life message from 50 Ways to See Thru People, #45, “Defeat Tyrants”: “No one has power to hurt you unless you yourself supply that power by fearing him…. You can actually ignore all tyrants out of existence!”
Gary told a story of a tennis player who made a poor shot in one match and ever after, the first image he saw every morning when he woke up was a replay of that event. He was choosing the pain of defeat. We can either embrace the psychic pain or we can ignore it. As Lynne quoted later (from A Treasury of Trueness, #1224), “The most sickening self-feeling of all is the self-feeling of self-sympathy.” If we consciously ignore negative emotions, they will disappear.
Lots more was given than can be included here. Many inspiring guides were provided for going against negative forces and leaving behind the false self and this world. For example, forcing and fighting and opposing problems doesn’t work; be still, be quiet. The irritation will get much worse unless you choose to be aware.
People made super efforts to attend, enjoy the activities offered and learn how to end problems. As was mentioned in student comments, “multiple super efforts” are necessary. The ladies did a spectacular job with providing meals, snacks, the BBQ feast and scrumptious desserts. The lively dancing and pleasant music were also a special treat, with enjoyable entertainment from clean, jolly jokes. As always, Lynne and Kyle sang with exquisite harmony, and danced a polka that looked so fun it made you want to join in. In one skit three ladies proved that chocolate is a vegetable and is part of a necessary, healthy food group! And as Richard pointed out, if you get outside of yourself during the acts, that self-forgetting transfers itself to the audience. A different energy from the world’s arises as we participate and work for something higher. Shy people came out of their shells and actually had fun!
Banquets always help to get everyone back on track, one person remarked. Invigorating. Encouraging. Each banquet where only truth is taught is unique. The banquet experience always inspires us to continue forward to get free from the psychic hypnosis of this mad world that surrounds and tries to envelop us.
Heavenly angels really did come down for our Christmas banquet celebration in Strawberry, when three New Life ladies, Kyle, Lynne and Nancy, blended their beautiful voices in harmony. In particular, the opening songs, “Silver Bells” and “O Holy Night,” brought us deep joy, the singing later described as “exquisite, magical, divine and beyond words.” The purity of the singing was a reminder of the effort at New Life to protect the original source of Vernon Howard’s teachings, “which leads us back to our original nature.”
So much is given to us at banquets, made available for extra efforts in driving in a bit of winter weather, preparing new booklet boxes, cooking delicious meals, working and studying together. As Director Richard Wooldridge said, New Life Foundation has been protected in the nearly 30 years since Vernon has been gone, and it was well demonstrated at the banquet how we are cared for and generously offered the secrets of the ages to lift our spirits.
“Something has to shake us awake,” Richard pointed out. He was referring to the fact that yes, we are asleep, the whole world is asleep and doesn’t know it. And banquets are especially helpful to focus attention on our sleep and give us the needed jolts to become more awake and aware. The false nature was well described in many ways, called out and put on notice that it wasn’t welcome here.
We received generous helpings of truth principles from numerous talks, books, and speakers.
Here are only a few of the numerous gems that emerged from talks throughout the five-day event:
On Sunday the speakers explored a dated talk 12/27/87, MP3CD Vol. 16:25, which says to stay home and sit on the couch, which “allows a visitation from Heaven.” No longer try to make anything happen internally; allow God to come in.
FESTIVITIES AND FEASTING
Coming to this banquet gave us the opportunity to make contact with an energy much higher than our own. Thank you, gentlemen, for the strong and healthy talks. And ladies, for the delicious, healthy meals and fantastic singing and Pretties dance, as well as to those in the comedy acts, which keep getting better too. We are well paid for our participation with pleasant experiences and deeper insights. In addition to the wonderful turkey dinner itself, a delicious soup dinner served Christmas eve exemplified how extra effort materializes in a physical manifestation above the usual.
After the formal entertainment, here is where one discovers specifically how New Life is truly unique, as when Vernon Howard established it. There are ‘follow the leader’ dances in a large circle and for those who participate to the end, something magical happens. One’s state changes and feels a new spirit, as it has gradually expanded throughout the whole banquet. If you ever feel it, you will never forget it. You will want to know more. It’s your true self awakening.
The new exercise for the whole year 2022 was chosen and announced: RELEASE TENSION. A huge idea which touches every part of our day, life and being. See the What’s New page of www.anewlife.org for a fuller explanation.
The September New Life banquet in Arizona was a spiritual eye-opener, revealing what had previously been unseen. Efforts expended to put on this event returned tremendous rewards of increased energy and insight, and a lessening of the painful thought self.
The external world of discord and conflict did not negatively affect our spirits at all. We came dedicated to rise above what wants to drag us down, and to “come out from among them.”
We were cautioned by New Life director Richard Wooldridge: “You’re afraid to be without that awful world.” He threw the cause and self-responsibility back on us, giving us the tremendous exercise to “not have the slightest annoyance over anything at all” (from MP3 CD Vol. 34). “What do you expect from this world?” He described us as being like gritty sandpaper, snapping back at people. “You think someone is always trying to thwart you.”
In Saturday’s banquet talks, while examining Secrets of Higher Success by Vernon Howard, Chapter 10, Jeff added, “If you let someone hurt you, you did not have real understanding.” We must learn not to blame or to take anything personally.
Sunday, using The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power, Moe explained that there can be a “detached observer” who is bothered by nothing. “Sentimental nonsense toward human nature must go.” We can only be free of sadness, weariness and grief if we refuse to live in imagination and in memories of the past.
Moe also jolted us with Vernon’s vehement statement, “We are here to wake the dead!” The sluggish, lazy parts of us were put on notice that they aren’t welcome here. If we “welcome painful correction”, which is mentioned in the new Fall/Winter 2021 newsletter, we can learn how to be free of ourselves. We are always in our own way. And as Bill and Eric had explained earlier; “pure prayer” is when you are not there (see Your Power of Natural Knowing).
Comments about the banquet described how “everything is intensified” at the event, concentrated so we can make new leaps of understanding. The charged energy makes us feel alive, giving us renewed vigor and enthusiasm. Lynne mentioned that Vernon knew exactly what he was doing when he set up the banquets the way he did. For example, the informal dancing can help to break down our mental barriers and free the spirit, the essence.
Bill mentioned that real fun is the same as goodness. It certainly felt good to be there, except to the prickly, gritty, grim nature, which prefers all forms of gloom, resistance and other negativities.
In the formal entertainment, an exquisite harmony emerged when three ladies sang the old western favorite, “Cool Water.” Humorous skits and jokes encouraged us to relax and enjoy healthy laughter, a wonderful “immune system booster.” Nancy also amused and entertained us with her animated, satiric rendition of the song “My Man.”
Warm fall days and cool crisp nights and early mornings extended through the weekend. Amid the tall green grasses of the forests, numerous elk were popping up all around the buildings, delighting all who glimpsed them. We left for home so glad we had come….
New Life banquets are an ideal place to make a fresh start, to drop the past, to leave thoughts of the future behind and to experience the magic of the present cosmic moment. We were told by Vernon Howard to “live purely in the now.” As director Richard Wooldridge said, “If we are connected to the entire universe, then how can there be loss?”
Pagosa Springs, Colorado is a perfect spot to enjoy God’s country and learn how to “love the Creator, not the creation.” For Sunday’s class we climbed the “Happy Trail” to an outdoor pergola in a bright green mountain setting, a place to relax and be receptive to where we are at the moment. What is my inner state? What is around me? Wild asters and columbine, a robin singing?
Talks for the weekend were centered around the theme of “How to Smash Barriers and Speed Ahead” from Chapter 14 of The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power. A common underlying difficulty was exposed: though we study the facts, we are not seriously applying them to daily life. As Bill said Friday, “You can’t suffer unless you see yourself as a ‘victim’; but I’m a victim only because I won’t obey spiritual instructions.” We may agree with the idea to ‘Take no thought for the morrow’ [quoted by Vernon from Matthew 6], then we ignore it. Vernon says in this chapter, “We might as well turn into stones if we are not going to do this.” Bill gave a cautionary but uplifting quote: “Dark forces are able to trick you any time. Just do a little more inner work than you want and you’ll make it.”
On Saturday, Richard explained more about our resistance to following higher instructions. Doug mentioned this contradiction: “We were attracted to New Life and Vernon Howard because we were in pain, then we don’t want to give up our suffering. So I must ‘dare to risk more than I’m willing to risk.’”
Richard explained we’re not following natural laws because we’re always being tricked by the intellect. “Some of you are trying to process this with your mind. You have to feel something. Don’t think about it.” He said the situation or problem you’re experiencing is not real at all. Vernon cautions, “Do not let the gap between where you are and where you want to be discourage you…. Forget all else and walk ahead.” Our thoughts try to convince us, ‘I’m the exception; I can’t do this.’ “Vernon said you can do this; it can be done.”
On Sunday, Moe reminded us to relax, and then provided a nice review of the helpful weekend insights. He asked us to prove what we’re learning for ourselves: “Am I better off because I come here?... Nothing is omitted in this work; Vernon explained everything.” Gary said that we forget to look up where something there can help us. Encouraging persistence, Moe quoted, “Endured self-exposure is the cure,” which leads to abolishing “the painful invented self.”
COMMENTS ON BANQUET
That idea of exposing the false self leads naturally to the value of coming to New Life banquets:
In the comments about the banquet experience, Kyle described how the mind tries to limit us. “It says, I can only do so much, like there’s no way I can make another quiche for breakfast. But we can do more, much more, than we know.”
Lynne exposed the delusion that it is misguided and wrong to believe there should be huge numbers of people in our classes or else they’re not of any value. As a matter of fact, with regard to class size, Vernon himself said, “The fewer the truer.”
Judith explained that, though the false self will feel stunned and uncomfortable in the presence of Truth, this is a safe place to work, and Truth wants you to succeed.
Several men (Bill and Robin) described how they came across The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power or the right Vernon Howard book which appealed to them most at the particular time.
Another student said, “I never really had real fun until I came to New Life.”
Regina added, “What is unique is what one feels when somehow the slumbering True Self, the Spirit of Truth, begins to awaken. One knows he’s in the right place at last and that this is what we’ve been looking for all our lives.”
Moe reminded us to protect the candlelight. “It’s not out there or somewhere else. Stop wasting time!”
FOOD AND FUN
Work begins early for banquet prep, and as fabulous food is served all weekend, ladies reap the rewards of reaching higher inner states. Saturday’s feast, spread over several long tables, included barbecued beef, pork and turkey with salads and much more.
After an especially tasty and bountiful BBQ dinner with deliciously tempting and numerous desserts, we enjoyed the formal entertainment. Drifting through the entertainment were reminders of the Southwestern theme of Rocky Mountains, yodeling cattle calls and cowboy hats. Beautiful harmonious songs included “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and “In My Colorado Home.”
The most popular skit performed was the family tree of Vincent Van Gogh (such as Winne Bay Gogh and her magician uncle Where-diddy Gogh) with Bill and Jeff. ‘Circle dancing’ throughout the afternoon provided a secret to the few who know it: when one participates in the dancing and all other activities all the way to the end of the afternoon, one’s state completely changes and he finds himself in a truly new place within!
Vernon gave us the format of the banquets for us to learn necessary lessons available in no other way, for example to learn to enjoy clean healthy fun with good jokes, pretty songs with melodies, and lively, pretty dancing of polkas and waltzes. We come face to face with vanity and embarrassment in order to break out of our frozen self-absorption in thought.
Newcomers are often puzzled at first by this and finally freed of negativities if they participate, persist, and come back in spite of the false nature’s wish to escape and hide out. We don’t even suspect how frozen we are until we begin to thaw out and our inner and outer states start to alter naturally.
New students from Montana, Virginia and Washington took part in the activities, driving alone many miles to come, because something about the teachings of Vernon Howard touched their hearts and they were compelled to know more. “Only super effort counts” and they made that effort. As one first-time visitor said, “I’ve read a lot of Vernon Howard books and seen a lot of Vernon’s videos, but it’s just not the same as being in the class.” He and many others recognized that these unique banquets provide special experiences that nourish the spirit and if allowed, will immensely deepen our understanding of these very high teachings.
Spring sprung an invigorating surprise on us at this March banquet, as snowy weather alternated with sun and bright stars. One morning students were greeted with fresh snow that sent us scurrying about for winter boots and mittens. As one southern California student said, you don’t have to come to Strawberry just at Christmas to see snow. Reminders to pay attention and to be extra alert driving and walking were appreciated.
One supreme lesson, as mentioned by director Richard Wooldridge and others as well, is that we want to “see directly,” without the interference of habitual thought. Bill pointed out, “A thinking mind cannot know all is well.”
The Irish banquet was rich with inner growth and outer good cheer. New Life banquets are truly a time and place for learning new lessons. Even though we likely have read or heard the principles before, they emerge as fresh and personal when we gather together to learn, have new encounters with others and experience more.
For example, in the kitchen and in the entertainment, surprises and yes, mistakes appeared as opportunities for seeing more. As one student reminded us, “When we fail, we learn.”
In spite of the long hours of work for some, unusual cooperation abounded everywhere, in the food prep, at the work parties preparing the new spring newsletter for mailing, and with men cleaning snow off cars and assisting ladies safely with transportation up and down the hill. With a right spirit of relaxation, we had fun while working. Two new ladies joined us from Montana and Phoenix and jumped right in enthusiastically with the dancing and the work.
The Wednesday night class began the beneficial talks of the banquet week using The Higher Teachings of Christ talk (MP3 CD “Heavenly Help Awaits You”). Bill reminded us of the enmity of thought toward spirit (“Thought doesn’t want/hates Spirit”). Eric recalled the vibrant and immediate presence of Vernon Howard, and gave us encouragement to be aware as we interact with others.
Saturday morning Richard set a high level for banquet day, and returned to the topic of the limitation of thought. As Vernon said, “You cannot do with the mind what must be done with the spirit.” The chooser must overcome dependency on the intellect in order to awaken and transcend to the higher. To receive higher impressions, we must observe how we ourselves block them. The problem, as Richard explained, is that “you can’t be without disturbance.” The mind is nothing but a tormentor, but “relaxation is your natural state.”
Spiritual perception is above the mental, Bill also explained. Vernon said, “Deep down no one is smarter than anyone else.” But the ego always wants to compare in order to keep its identity going. So, it falls for false fears, everything from the humorous “static cling,” an old advertising gimmick sold to us to cause us worry and embarrassment, to the current and constant stream of negative headlines meant to keep us off-balance. Problems keep the false self going and growing unless we refuse them. We came together for this weekend to get rid of more of that ego and not to feed it.
On Sunday we got more great reminders of our purpose and aims here on earth. For example, one step down into hell also takes you one step up into heaven. Or leading a useless life does not take eternity into consideration. And quoted from a dated talk (on MP3 CD, Vol.10, 3/7/87), “You don’t want to be free of your hatred of that person.” But as Richard once said at a banquet, “You can change your choice.”
Paul said the only problem you have is YOU. A good explanation emerged of how we suppress negative emotions until we “lose it” and then explode. The steps for the solution are to bring the negativity up to consciousness, be overwhelmed, and see I can’t do anything about it, until I collapse and finally get a glimpse of the higher way which offers me real help. As Lynne later recalled from Vernon, “God will not lead you into a dark place within only to abandon you.” He can go with us in our journey, to reach the other side of the valley of the shadow.
We were offered a clear choice, either a return to more earthly success and desires and distractions in the world, the job and more money, the family, our health and diet, or a firmer commitment to these principles and classes. It’s not an either-or choice but a question of what really comes first. (Vernon Howard, June 1985, “Put God first, last and always.”) We have been offered the keys to the kingdom. If you want to see deeper and higher, come to every class and every banquet you can. You will grow and be of good cheer.
“There’s only one way to win. It’s to replace your earthly nature with the heavenly nature, moment by moment.” — Vernon Howard. That sums up what the September New Life banquet in Strawberry, Arizona aimed for.
As we arrived in preparation for the fun, feasts and powerful talks to come, the spark which brought us to Strawberry began to grow and flourish. An inner ‘miracle’ started to happen, something which frequently occurs at New Life banquets. Something began to awaken. This happens when our essence begins to stir. It is truly the most unique and nicest experience on earth!
The banquet always starts before the actual banquet day when you make the effort to come early. You can include Wednesday night’s class in your schedule and begin rehearsals for entertainment. Friday brought more ladies into the kitchen to help prepare the food than we've had in a long while. The growing spirit of cooperation and awareness helped the tasks to run smoothly and led to some delicious meals.
The unique cooperation with others emerges when the spirit yearns to be lifted, rather than to unload burdens on others. Those who worked together could experience the growing hint of Oneness which Vernon and other true mystics taught, sensing that the egotistical, false part of us could actually be dropped with work and awareness. Before our very eyes appeared the choice: whether instructions and corrections would be taken with a light spirit, or taken with resentment, self-reference and holding a grudge. Hundreds of lessons were offered to us each day and night to nourish the healing growth.
Spiritual growth only happens when a student makes a special effort to go against life. And on banquet weekend, the more we went against ourselves and participated in the many activities, the more we experienced the miracle of a New Life.
Saturday morning, comments before the talks began reminded us to be consciously pleasant. A point was made about cheerfully following directions and how the ego will do anything it can to resist obeying what Truth instructs us to do. The earthly nature doesn’t want to be replaced and it will fight back with everything it has.
Director Richard Wooldridge began with a description and examples of the “irrational fear” in the current social, political atmosphere. He vociferously commanded, “You don't have to be afraid of anything! NOTHING!”
Saturday’s talks were based on The Power of Your Supermind, Chapter 9, which is all about solving problems.
Nothing is easier than to blame someone else, Jeff Fisher illustrated; instead we must FACE what’s wrong inside squarely. We can observe our fear about life events, look directly at it, and it will disappear out of existence.
Richard was unequivocal: “You’re the only problem you have. Your negative nature duplicates itself outwardly.” He said to ask ourselves, what is blocking answers and higher impressions from coming to me? For starters, “Stop blabbing! You just won't shut up!”
He described a specific event during the meeting in Howard Hall when some ATVs drove by the several open windows. They could be heard approaching, driving by and disappearing down the road. We can watch our thoughts do this and let them go. A deeper point was that this revelation simply came to him because he was receptive; he didn’t create it. Heightened awareness makes an unforgettable experience, as we release the mistake of clinging to thoughts. Richard concluded with Christ’s invitation, “What I have done you can do also.”
Sunday speakers used MP3 CD 17: 20, #427, talk dated 1/30/88. Dave Netherton quoted, “There is one way to transcend what’s torturing you, and it is not your way. It’s to moment by moment replace your earthly nature with the heavenly nature.” Vernon explains at length the exercise to practice being One with the Room, with the “absence and suspension of all negative thought,” specifically when you get up from your chair today.
Gary Blatchford asked us to consider, “You want your way all the time, but how is that working out for you?” He gave examples of how to mine spiritual gold when going to a supermarket or to Walmart by not being just another zombie. He gave an illustration of how an unconscious customer caused difficulties for the cashier and for those in the checkout line. Gary later added, “Shocks are friendly.” Stop fighting reality.
Paul Wolfe, describing the one right way, said there’s no room for negotiation with Truth; you have to do the work. In the thought-factory, there’s a neurotic “insane demander,” a protester. “There’s no such thing as a peaceful protester and there’s no satisfying it. When you give in to it, it just keeps demanding more.” Paul concluded with that great instruction from Vernon that we so resist: “Stay with the pain,” stop running away from it.
Speaking from the heart, Dave H. said we say we want a happy life, but do we really? “We want our torment; we don’t want the paradise offered. There’s a devil in all of us. Devils may come in here, but this is the last place Satan wants to stay.” Wrongness was put on notice that it wasn’t welcome and just naturally skedaddled.
FEASTING AND FESTIVITY
As food prep and music for informal entertainment began, cheerful songs brought an immediate call to a light and festive atmosphere. We dined on homemade Italian fare: Parmesan chicken was out of this world, as was the lasagna, roasted veggie marinara, a Bolognese sauce, salad and garlic bread. We left a little room for scrumptious pies, cakes, and cannoli to enjoy throughout the afternoon.
Formal entertainment began with lovely songs sung acapella by Lynne and Kyle. Five-second acts and skits were witty, leaving the audience in robust laughter. In the informal dancing, if you were there you could have learned to dance like a chicken, or a bear “who went over the mountain/ to see what he could see.” Or to laugh at bachelors sharing their views on housekeeping. Or hear Karen tell the timely fable of “Chicken Little,” who cried “the sky is falling” when an acorn fell on her head, which certainly parallels current events. Or you could have heard the hauntingly beautiful “Waltz of the Hills” sung with superb harmony by Lynne and Kyle. Or be charmed by the graceful Pretties dance to “The Ash Grove,” which provided a soothing calm before the final thunderous applause for a banquet greatly enjoyed.
In the inspiring comments on Sunday, someone said, “It been pretty incredible, hasn’t it?!” Students said it was so nice to hear people laugh and see people acting normal. One said people who want to get help come here; another noted the energy builds the longer we’re here. One quoted Vernon, “There's no thrill like the thrill of finding your own soul.”
Often repeated was the phrase “We are so lucky to be here” in this harbor of safety from a dangerous world. A wish for more of this encouraging atmosphere was expressed by many, along with plans made to attend more classes and the next upcoming banquets. New Life is truly a lifeline as we escape the sinking ship of a world gone utterly mad.
Our next banquet is Thanksgiving weekend, Wednesday thru Sunday, with Thanksgiving day on Thursday, November 26, held on the New Life property, Westminster, California. $25 total for the entire day. Make an aim now to attend and make reservations at www.anewlife.org or phone. Go against the ton of resistance from your temporary earth-bound nature in order to find the heavenly nature that lasts forever.
Something beautiful happened at the New Life banquet in Pagosa Springs, CO, while we were engaging in a variety of activities throughout the weekend. Our efforts, including striving to be conscious, resulted in experiencing higher energy and spiritual gold! Here is the proof of the Vernon Howard statement, “Only super effort counts.” What the heart and spirit really want penetrated our essence.
And, yes, New Life Foundation is different! In his talk, director Richard Wooldridge began with these stunning statements: “You don’t know anything at all. You don’t understand anything at all.” That was a shock Vernon once gave him as a young, new student. And it applied to all of us because if we did have genuine spiritual understanding, we’d be free of anything and everything that now bothers us.
Using Vernon Howard’s There is a Way Out (chapters 3, 4 & 5) as a basis for all of the talks, this banquet included how to learn from the current social, political and health scares which are all trying to put us under more and more fear.
Moe Janosec got things off to a rip-roaring start: “What’s wrong with you, being afraid of this world? Don’t do it!” Moe quoted Vernon, “We’re here to wake the dead!” We had to laugh when he said that “some people say I don’t need a microphone.” He encouraged us, “You can know everything you need to know.”
Speaker Gary Blatchford clarified to the audience, “You’re in prison and need strong shocks to break out.” In a story he related, a friend is shaking a sleeping man to awaken him. The man can choose either to resent and resist the shaking or use it to wake up. Our classes and banquets are especially good and necessary to jolt us out of the stupor of our usual mechanical ways. We definitely benefited from this exceptional effect throughout the three days of the banquet while the spirit was energized and encouraged to come alive.
Saturday banquet day
Lessons were legion and provided welcome guides to know ourselves. Richard said firmly, “You can’t get this with your mind. It can be done but you can’t do it.” You must feel the truth, but this can only happen when you begin to voluntarily ally yourself with God’s will.
Richard explained how Truth comes in brief glimpses and quiet insights; there is no sudden transformation. In MP3 CD, Volume 34, Talk 15 Vernon said to hang on to the flash of light. Don’t be impatient; wait on God.
Paul Wolfe also emphasized giving up our habitual ways. He talked about the sentry, who is on guard to keep the riff-raff out of the mind. “When you fail utterly and can’t help yourself, that’s a right prayer…. God loves a failure,” because the student can then admit, “I need help.”
The highlights Sunday morning are trekking up the scenic “Happy Trail” to the open-air elevated pergola for class on the New Life mountain property and partaking in an outdoor picnic lunch with more of the barbeque feast and desserts. Squirrels and birds accompany the talks with tweets and chatter. But as speaker Dave Netherton said, tourists who come here to “get away” can’t stand the silence. “We make our own lives difficult with our demands.” He gave an example of an acquaintance who is dating online looking for a lady — well, in particular a rich one from a warm climate! He warned us, “Don’t let the voices pull you away” from these teachings.
Jeff Fisher later added, “Silence. That’s where God is, because we’re not there.” He reminded us that “Everything is trying to keep you from waking up.” So being aware you are asleep is a good thing, like the exercise of trying to notice the mile markers when driving and realizing you missed most of them. “See the fact without feeling bad.”
Bill Brown gave an excellent summary, a précis of the weekend talks, which served as a great reminder of the many uplifting lessons given. We must come to class with complete humility, as Vernon said, even down on our knees if necessary. “My world is a battle. Relax instead of fighting.” Bill said to say this prayer, “God help me in spite of myself.”
Feasting and Entertainment
The banquet goes far beyond the classes. It was working together in the kitchen, where breakfasts with quiches, tasty fruit and snacks, and a bountiful Texas BBQ buffet were created. Tempting meals were provided throughout the weekend. Gratitude for that goes to the ladies who worked long in the hot July kitchens.
The banquet was also men busy rearranging tables and chairs and keeping everything clean, and packing and unpacking supplies. It was providing all of Vernon’s books and talks for sale at the appealing book table. It was participating in the entertainment segment, and dancing to pretty old-fashioned music.
The formal entertainment afforded even more opportunity for fun, inspiration and observation. Western songs by Lynne, Kyle and Judy gladdened us all. The three ladies performed an amazing rendition of “Lonely Yukon Stars,” combining unique harmony with an exquisite bell-like sound of yodeling in a round. Entertainment was also accented by hilarious skits and fun light-hearted parodies, like the western song “I’m an Ole Cowhand” (“Step aside, you ornery tenderfeet, let a big bad buckaroo pass”), and a joke about a dude ranch (I’ll take a saddle without a horn, not much traffic around here).
Right use of the principle to “risk rejection” in the speaking, dancing, entertaining and working was a signal to dismiss the ego and leave an empty space for higher guidance and a new life. One secret to acquiring higher energy is in going against ourselves, and participating in all the activities. The more we worked, the more our spirits soared — a cosmic law uniquely experienced at New Life events.
All throughout the weekend, great energy miraculously appeared which left no room for negativity to disturb the atmosphere. Our states were changed, confirming we are on the right path at last, something that is exceedingly rare in this wicked, lying world in which we presently live. Richard pointed out at the conclusion of the banquet that it was evident from being there that we had “Let Truth breathe life into us.”
In a talk, Vernon said, “You’re not going to find anyplace in this world like New Life where you can come and purify yourself.”
“This Work has to be the most important thing in your life.” This fact was emphatically stated by Richard Wooldridge, New Life director, and also emphasized by Lynne Wooldridge and many others at the banquet. It was underscored that we mustn’t be either lulled to sleep by the world or frightened by society’s insanity. The only solution which can rescue us from the world’s madness and from our own minds are these powerful principles and frequent, robust classes.
Many strong lessons and methods were given; talks were loaded with helpful instructions as well as encouragement for our spirits. Saturday’s class on banquet day reiterated that we must go against ourselves and against all attempts to drag us down to the very low level of this world. Richard gave a good direction to use for the weekend while working together: “Allow Truth to unveil me for the phony I am…,” then not believe in the false nature. As Vernon told us, people are “ruled by unconscious attitudes,” and a prevalent one that is frequently exhibited right now is false sympathy, which Richard said we must see as phony. And “you can’t go around hating people either…. Try to bear being healed.” An essential exercise was given to see a fear-thought when it comes up and to immediately drop it.
Bill Brown mentioned making a “cheerful effort” to get out, while at the same time we must “make it worse, worse, worse…7 times worse,” as Vernon said. In A Treasury of Trueness, #1505, Vernon says, “Make everything, every day as hard as possible on yourself.” Now where else are you going to get such direct truths to work with?! These forceful principles often illustrate that we must do the exact opposite of what everyone and everything out there tells us to do.
Another really useful guideline from Secrets for Higher Success was read from the section The Outcasts Who Came Back: “The most profitable time to apply these principles is when you feel it is the most hopeless or difficult to do so. Nothing scatters darkness so quickly as sudden surprise by light.”
Much practical information about the turbulent state of affairs in the world right now emerged over the weekend. It was emphasized how people allow themselves to be vulnerable to manufactured fears designed to drive everyone even more insane. As Vernon said in a 1985 talk, “When people are afraid, they’re easy to manipulate.” Talks 20 and 22 from Vernon Howard’s Higher World MP3 CD – Volume 10 were featured and read from when the book table specials for the weekend were announced. In these talks he makes it clear that “The aim of society is to drive you crazy, because then it can control you…. The aim of society is to cram everything down your throat.” And the higher meaning of “social distancing” was revealed years ago on that same disc when he said, “Get two people together and they argue…. STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE!” This will help you spiritually and also improve your immune system! As did the unusually high energy generated at the banquet. Fear depletes, Truth heals.
As always, our task is to look within ourselves, at our own mental and emotional reactions. Bill said, “Your house is on fire… and you think you’re going to somehow fit this [teaching] into your already existing life.” He referred to the new Spring/Summer New Life Newsletter that quotes: “There is heaven on earth when the spirit guides the mind.”
The traditional Irish banquet dinner of tender corned beef, cabbage and mashed potatoes with all the fixins’ was the best ever. How does it keep getting better?! The informal dancing of polkas, waltzes and other light, harmonious music was also very enjoyable. Formal entertainment included many beautiful Irish songs to uplift our hearts, such as “Loch Lomond” and “The Rose of Tralee.” In the jokes and skits, Bill reminded us of some funny Burma Shave signs; Karen had a humorous list of “What I Want in a Man” as a woman changes with age; Judith read a description of the new season called “Hours of Spring,” and Doug added some new jokes to the perennial humor about forgetting things in a poem called “My Rememberer is Broke.” The funniest joke was about Democrats and Republicans, but you definitely had to be there for that one.
As Vernon continually reminded us in talk after talk, keep coming back to every class and banquet. Thank Heaven our studies here are out of this world and can provide us with unfailing comfort and protection in an increasingly wobbly and crazy world.
“The singing was the best ever,” commented someone after the 2019 banquet in Strawberry, Arizona. This Christmas banquet was unique for its grand abundance of song — Christmas carols bursting with joy and good cheer.
New Lifers had the opportunity to attend four classes in five days, which greatly increased the power of the truth to change us while working together to apply the higher principles being taught. Strawberry is a little town about 90 miles northeast of Phoenix, where a fresh snowfall made it an ideal white Christmas, adding to the atmosphere of the five-day event.
Like the strength of Truth and Vernon Howard, our true natures were heartened and strengthened by high spirits in the talks that were given. Vernon Howard’s “vocally vociferous” voice was echoed, especially in strong talks by director Richard Wooldridge and Moe Janosec.
Richard recalled to us Vernon saying, “This message is the greatest gift ever given to mankind.” In no way did anyone there miss a tree surrounded by earthly gifts at this special celebration of the higher teachings of Christ. In fact, we were reminded that “happiness is the absence of me” — meaning the absence of all of my past memories, both what I call painful and what I label as thrilling.
In the talks the day before Christmas, Moe was on fire with strong truths, explaining how “our suffering comes from defending the false self.” He quoted Vernon, who said that “I can chase out demons. Why don’t you?” To accomplish this, as Bill Brown mentioned, we must first strive to know that we’re presently wrong but can invite real rightness into our lives. And as another speaker expressed with right emotion, “We are loaded with hostility, but must understand that ‘my badness is not me.’”
In the classes, students passed on lessons given through Vernon Howard books and talks, all available at the New Life book table and website at www.anewlife.org. All the materials are designed to transcend the mental level and reach a higher world that exists right now.
Former opera singer Nancy Shade dramatized her rendition of “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” so well we could almost smell the comforting aroma of roasting nuts. She then contributed piano accompaniment and a strong, encouraging voice for all other songs and singers. Her powerful mezzo-soprano provided depth and volume, to enhance the other singers’ confidence and projection. Among others, we heard “Joy to the World” and “All Through the Night,” and joined in singing the frolicsome “Sleigh Ride.”
Everyone working on themselves took part in the entertainment in a variety of ways, in humorous short jokes, skits, songs and light poetry. The buoyant finish to the formal entertainment was a dance by the perky Parisienne Pretties.
The New Life banquet atmosphere provided the perfect “Santa’s workshop” for working to expose and give up the false personality in exchange for a completely new nature. This can happen when allowing banquet activities and circumstances to provide a place for the higher spirit to guide us.
Students worked hard to make the holiday gathering a huge success, but the secret lies in the reward of the higher energies received both while at the banquet and after returning home. (For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among you. Matthew 18:20.)
Richard left us with this precept: “I have to relax and let myself go so something else can come in.” Then he gave us this work project for the year 2020: Be consciously pleasant.
“Thank you so much for the newsletter. Each one is a delightful treat to receive in the mail and is a sheer little treasure of fresh inspiration and relevant comments from Mr. Howard. I have made a vigorous determination to devote myself to my freedom and wholeness. This determination and continuous study of Vernon Howard’s writings yielded life saving results nothing short of miraculous.
Anyone who really wants an ‘authentic’ life filled to overflowing with the good Life can’t afford to ignore Vernon’s writings and powerful insights into the human condition. His writings answer a life-time of real and imagined concerns that have mystified the most learned minds.”
Marie N., Palm Springs, CA