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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 5

     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.

  • Suspend and See

         I want to give you a phrase to write down and ponder: Suspend and see. That is the only answer you’ll ever find to being lost where the world is sniping at you. You have to send up your distress signal and I’m giving you part of it right now: Suspend and see.
         What does that mean? Well, you have to suspend something. How many have griefs, anxieties, worries over what’s going to happen to you? All right, why do you so persistently hang onto these snipers? You hang onto your sorrows because you feel that there is a ‘me’ there. There isn’t but you think that the sorrow indicates a ‘me.’ So feeling lost you want to do something about it and you do the wrong thing. Now, suspend your grief the next time it arises in you. Suspend your wish to explain to others why things aren’t going well, and of course, it’s someone else’s fault, not yours. Suspend any kind of wrong, sour reaction or feeling. You’re going to have the battle of your life.
         Let’s take one point in particular: suspend anxiety in general. Your response: “No, I don’t want to suspend my feelings of anxiety, worry and depression; I want to keep them because if I suspend them I won’t know who I am.”
         You try it; you do it. And what I’m going to say next you should read a thousand times a day for ten days. Don’t fear to be without an answer. Ah, that ties in perfectly with suspension, doesn’t it? When you’re suspending something, you have no attitude toward it, there’s no action there, there is merely you. And you can do this — you remain in a state where there’s nothing at all that comes along and says, “Do this, feel that, accuse someone, feel gloomy.” All these mental images, thoughts that come up in you have been your answers, right? Yes. What have the answers done for you? Nothing at all.
         Well, what is going to happen to you if, when you’re about to blow up at someone, probably inwardly rather than outwardly,  you recognize the presence of this enemy sniper? I’ll tell you what happens. You think you had anxiety before, that’s nothing compared to what you’re going to feel when you refuse to accept yourself. You’re in the process, the marvelous, healthy process of getting rid of what you called yourself.
         It is going to change everything when you suspend and see, and a tremendous realization will come to you, which is I must do something that I’ve never, ever done before. First, I’ve refused to consult my twisted mind, and so I am face to face with something that I call dreadful, which is to have no one, nothing to turn to, to help me solve my problems. The intensity of your wonder at it — it is a wonder, it’s marvelous, it’s beautiful to not have anyone, especially yourself. You’re struggling with that, aren’t you? I know you are.
         So, find some little place, what is it, where you have constant conflict with another person, that’s a good place to start. Some little thing with someone else that bothers you and all that, and you want your own way. Why do you want your own way? Why do you demand to have someone else yield to your position? Because your demander is your ‘I’ and just to demand something makes you feel alive. Aren’t you a little bit suspicious — you should be — that what you call yourself is the enemy? Well, this is mental and emotional and life-sickness. Now, you’re to do the exact opposite of what you usually do. Instead of standing up for your rights, you’re going to understand why you have that terrible person inside that’s demanding his rights. It’s because he or she refuses to see that he or she is his own problem and nothing else.
         Spiritual work, what we’re doing here now, is extremely difficult, very hard, and there are traps all along the way, which you fall into. Never mind that. The only question is, do I want to be free for eternity or not? Do I want to find out what’s higher than this quarrelsome, brutal life that we’ve all been living? Everything revolves around an individual’s frantic attempt to try to preserve his delusions about himself. Look, now what’s the solution? Obviously, drop the delusion.
         You’re the chooser. You don’t want to give it up, you want to argue. If you want to lie and say you know more than what you heard here, it’s your privilege. It’s also your privilege to say, “The next time my demands are refused, I’m going to remember what I heard and the only thing I’m going to do is be very, very watchful of my reactions, and the man said, if I do that long enough, I will begin to see this so-called person called ‘I’ will do anything to preserve itself.”
         You ruminating: “But wait a minute, I’ve heard that if I allow my mind to be enlightened by the bright power of Truth, it will transform me and I’ll be what’s called happy. I’ll really be in charge of myself. Oh, I have been lying to myself atrociously all these years … I have said that if I get my way, then I will have this happy state in which I don’t have any worries at all. But I don’t have peace of mind. I’m afraid of everything. I do not have a free, content, pretty, marvelous, beautiful life. I do not have it.” See you’re now thinking logically.
         Now, now, you are face to face with something you have refused to face and which has been hurting you incredibly, right? Hopefully what has happened is that all the nonsense has been knocked out of you. We’re talking about you in your crisis, small or large, where you come face to face with what you have avoided, and what the world insists on avoiding. You’ve come face to face with the stark fact of your own emptiness.
         At last something marvelous has happened and don’t you dare miss it. It’s going to go on for quite a while, weeks, months, years even, depending on the magnitude of the crisis, but all the time there is something trying to get through to you that you refuse to let get through to you. What is trying to get through to you is the simple fact that you are nothing but an egotist who loves his, her, misery. You love it. You won’t give it up. The tears, the rage — you won’t go about your way content and happy and a nice person. All right. The crisis, the blow is incredibly hard, shocking, stunning. You don’t even know the problem yet, and if you will find it and face it starkly, you’ll then be willing to drop your egotistical concepts of yourself.
         A lot is asked of you, isn’t it? Let’s ask for even more. Suspend the usual you, the phony you, the self-destructive you, suspend that and see. You have to do your part. You have to cooperate with Truth when it tells you how to save yourself.
         Do you know the kind of people who are saved for eternity? They’re the kind of people who absolutely know that at one time they worshipped their own sickness. The true plan of individual salvation is fixed; it can’t change. It won’t change. You have to change. It’s all or nothing. You’re either going to get all that heaven has to offer or you’re going to get nothing, worshipping destructive emotions. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
         You’d better take a very close look at your own shudderings. Then you remember the talk, Suspend and See. You have to try it. It’s not going to work overnight, but try to break the mechanical flow of your mechanical mind which has been hurting you so badly. Give it a small interruption. Interrupt that poisonous pleasure of getting back at the world, of getting what you want, getting your own way. If you got everything you ever demanded in the world from this day on, you would be among the most miserable of human beings on earth, and it’s about time you saw that.
         Do you want life or do you want un-life? Do you want your way or do you want God’s way? You have got to stir things up. It’s nerve-shattering proving to yourself that you’re right, defending yourself, arguing and lying to everyone. No wonder you’re a wreck. You stick with Suspend and See. As you suspend you’ll begin to see. You’ll understand these points. Understand
    ing is everything. Go after it.

  • The Voice of Reality
  • Exclaim NO!
  • Stay Home Psychologically
  • You Never Have to Create Anything
  • Action and Reaction
  • Stop Self-Reference
  • Stop Yourself
  • Win Your Own Life Back
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     “Thank you so much for the newsletters. I’ve been enjoying them for many years. I am so thankful to you because you have kept Vernon Howard’s teachings available to us to enrich all our lives. Please accept this donation for all you do to make this world a better place.”

— Note from Lady in New Mexico

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

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