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     “There is no real happiness for those on the wrong side. The greatest pleasure in life is the security of the true side. You can vainly try to win over the world or you can nicely be over the world. Your task is to change your operating center from strained imagination to relaxed reality.”

Special Spiritual Exercises 4

     Below are spiritual exercises and special lessons taken from classroom lectures by Vernon Howard. They are marvelous tools that can be applied to your life and will help you better understand what these teachings are
all about. Use them and gain the wonderful rewards and benefits which they can give you.

  • Self-Reliance

         Vernon gave the class this beautiful practical exercise of Self-Reliance, and the benefits derived as a result of doing it.
         When we were children, we were told quite often about certain virtues which we commonly called the old- fashioned virtues. This morning we’re going to take the virtue of self-reliance and its power.
         If you want to build some self-reliance, obviously you have to work on yourself. There are endless ways in which you can do this, one being to find some small way where you would normally ask for assistance from  someone else and do it yourself. For instance, when around the house and you can’t find the salt shaker, your first impulse is to ask your husband or wife, “Where’s the salt shaker?” You be self-reliant in such a little thing as this, which forces you to think and to not mechanically call out, “Hey, where’s the salt shaker?” Instead, look around and find it, and obviously if you can’t find it after a thorough search, then you might ask because it might be out for repair.
         Here’s an exercise for you to do:  After class and by yourself take a piece of paper and write at the top, “How I Can Build More Self-Reliance,” then number the items, 1, 2, 3 and so on. Force yourself in little everyday matters to do things for yourself so that you’re not so lazy about it. You’ll have a different feeling by breaking the mechanical habit of asking someone else. There’s also the habit of relying on your essence,  rather than on ideas. Fill the page out as much as you can, add to it and then practice it.
         On the writing exercise, this time you’re not to show it to anyone at all. You’re not to show it to your wife,  your husband or anyone else. This is to be strictly and one hundred percent a private project. You see, nothing is fixed. There are times when we get together to discuss ideas back and forth, and there’s also the opposite of that where you must keep everything to yourself. That’s part of your self-reliance.
         Another thing is when you get to point five and you can’t think of anything else, increase your self-reliance by staying with it, and don’t get up to fill your coffee cup, but force yourself to think. This will bring your memory out properly because whether you know it or not, for every five ideas, you could think of ninety-five more if you’d just sit and force yourself to do it. It’s very easy to write five points, then stop and say, “I have accomplished something.” Always push yourself far more than you want to, never spare yourself. Find ways to make yourself uncomfortable which will force your mind to yield what it actually has for you.
          Vernon then asked the audience to finish this sentence: “I can make myself more self-reliant by:” Some of the responses were making my own decisions, doing my own cooking, forcing myself to do something that  I’ve never done before, not depending on comfort from others, not being concerned about another person’s business, and seeing how unconscious and mechanical I usually am.
         There’s something in every one of us that senses the rightness of being self-reliant.

  • The Fundamental Error
  • Right and Good Association
  • I Have Nothing to Say to That
  • The Kitchen Exercise
  • Are You Willing to Be Wrong
  • Just a Minute
  • Spiritual Seriousness
  • Know Who You Are
  • Don't Interfere

     “Vernon Howard has made such a really big difference in my life. I love how he teaches. I loved it when he told me I’m just as free of this person now as I was when I first met him. I love that I have learned so very much from Vernon Howard. Thank you so much for your Secrets of Life Daily Quotes.”

— Lady via e-mail

All of the above exercises were transcribed by Sally Forrest or Regina Netherton from a class lecture.

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