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“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.”
Vernon Howard’s Higher World — MP3 CDs
By Doug Stewart
In that wonderful old Warner Bros. classic film, “The Treasure of Sierra Madre”, Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt and Walter Huston play prospectors who climb the rugged mountains of Mexico looking for gold. Bogart and Holt know nothing about prospecting but grizzled old Huston does. In a famous scene, Bogart and Holt argue about what gold looks like. Huston bursts out laughing and dances a jig. He tells his partners they’re so dumb they can’t see the riches they’re standing on.
Only a trained eye could see that what looked like dry and worthless soil was really unrefined gold. Huston explains that to get to the real source of wealth, they’re going to have to climb up the mountain. The same story might apply to the new series of “Dated Talks” released by New Life in the MP3 CD format. They’re called “Vernon Howard’s Higher World.”
Here is an opportunity to own all of the talks Vernon Howard gave from 1986 through 1992. Nothing new about that, you might say, because those talks have been available on audiocassettes for years. This new series in the MP3 format, however, provides students with all 638 listening hours of genuine spiritual gold, but now in a manageable and more convenient form. There are prayers, higher instructions, spiritual laws and a treasure trove of tough truths all given by Vernon for your lasting benefit. He explains how Truth solves all of the difficulties you may have with business, male-female relations, money, family and more. You’ll also come across all of the priceless stories told by Vernon as only he could. Here, indeed, are the authentic answers to life, showing you what real gold is so that you can drop the useless, false gold you’ve been carrying around all your life.
New Life Director Richard Wooldridge spent months converting old analog tapes to digital files. “It was important,” he said, “to move these wonderful recordings to a more lasting format because cassettes and cassette tape players are being phased out in the technological world. The MP3 CD format makes them much more accessible for people to use today.” This collection is the equivalent of 437 previously issued audio cassettes plus a special bonus talk, The Writer’s Class. This lecture hasn’t been available since Vernon Howard’s passing in 1992.
New Life has heard from many people who are grateful for all of the hours of instruction now available in this convenient and up-to-date format. A lot of students listen to this new series of MP3 CDs in their cars, enjoying the ease of having about 25 or more talks on each disk in their player. This is a big change from having numerous audiocassettes tumbling around in your vehicle, getting lost or damaged. One student who recently traveled by car from California to the New Life Colorado banquet said that it was a most pleasant and relaxing trip because of being able to listen to these marvelous talks nonstop. The new MP3 CDs are economical too, with an average cost per talk of $1 instead of $4 as was the case in the cassette versions. There are even greater savings if you purchase the entire collection of all 35 disks. Check with the bookstore at any class for more details. MP3s also load easily on to your personal digital device giving you even more of an opportunity to take Vernon Howard wherever you go. Get one or more of these new MP3 CDs and start digging for your spiritual gold today!
Doug Stewart has been attending New Life classes in Southern California for the past nine years. He has been in the entertainment industry for over 35 years. He has worked as a producer, director and editor and has had a long affiliation with television shows like the Oscars, the Emmys and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. “As glamorous and exciting as having a career in show business appears to be,” he says, “I was still confused about life and was not very happy. I started searching for the reasons why and found that nobody had any answers that made sense. One day I picked up a Vernon Howard book and later started going to the classes. I had found the answer to all of my questions! Now my life is so much more rewarding because of the authentic truths Vernon Howard reveals.”
Technical data on MP3 Compact Discs:
863 talks — 21.35 GB — 638 listening hours; mp3 Pro® (FhG) (*.mp3); 80 kbps, 44100 Hz, Stereo (17:6:1), CBR (Constant Bitrate)
Beautiful Pagosa Springs, Colorado was the setting for the three-day annual New Life July banquet. Those who have benefited from the higher teachings of Vernon Howard and want to know more came for the powerful classes on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday mornings.
July 11: Arrivals on Friday evening found an irresistible array of appetizers and fruits awaiting them. Even more captivating was the colorful display at the book table which highlighted all of Vernon Howard’s books, booklets, CDs, MP3CDs, flash drives and more.
Friday night moderator Doug Stewart invited students to think about and comment on “Why you came to banquet.” Speakers used the MP3CD The Key to Spiritual Life-Healing as the basis for their talks. Doug made this point: “The tragic mistake is, we always turn to ourselves for the answer. Truth is the healing medicine that just about everybody doesn’t want to take.” Dave Netherton reminded us to “Ask Heaven what to be, not what to do” and emphasized that obstacles exist only in the mind.
July 12: Saturday’s all-day activities were launched with a bountiful breakfast buffet provided by the New Life ladies that included trays of summer melons and a variety of mouthwatering quiches, omelets and sweet rolls.
New Life Director Richard Wooldridge led the Saturday morning meeting and opened his talk with this light-hearted but serious comment, “Dave, please close the doors. We’re going to wake the dead. Satan does not want you to be here but this is the most important thing you’ll ever do in your life.”
Richard said, “Vernon Howard used to ask when arising, ‘What else can I learn about myself today?’ Very few people like him have ever walked this planet. Vernon asked us, ‘Please work together. Please get along.’ See, right now, you are contrary. You’re unable to submit to discipline. We must stop being contrarians.” Richard also called us “thinkaholics” — always in thought. “Realize that thought cannot change you!”
Speaker Bill Brown emphasized the need to recognize we are stabbed by pain and we easily forget that Truth wants to come to us. He cited the vital Vernon quote, “Human interest in studying human evil produces the miracle of self-transformation.” Bill said, “We’re all sentimental idiots! … Anyone who doesn’t want Truth is your enemy and an enemy of God…. Only Truth can combine the Blunt and the Beautiful.”
Dr. Terry Roche of Southern California, who made a tremendous effort to attend the banquet, provided this insight: “Our false self is evil to the core. That is the greatest secret of this class, that evil exists. My real nature has no pain. Start watching the false nature. Find out what’s running your life — it is not you.”
Richard reassured us that “there is a healing atmosphere here that’s going to help you.” And as the day progressed, the atmosphere became more electrified with higher energy, which is mysterious but real and can be felt at all New Life banquets.
The activities surrounding the classes are all situations perfectly constructed years ago by Vernon in order for us to apply and practice the ideas presented in the talks. The healthy work required for the event illustrates what Vernon and both Richard and Lynne often emphasize, that you must exhaust yourself in order to go beyond your limits.
The huge western banquet table was spread with endless choices of BBQ beef, pulled pork, moist delicious smoked turkey, chicken and sausages, together with potato salad, cole slaw, and baked beans — just for starters. A separate dessert table held fruit pies, brownies, cheesecake, key lime pie, berry and pineapple fruit salad, ice cream and more.
With emphasis on the Western theme, students then provided songs, skits and humor in the formal entertainment. The singers were particularly outstanding this banquet, presenting both old standards (“I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart”) and new favorites. A group of ladies, Kyle, Lynne and Vanessa, joined by Doug, beautifully harmonized on the lively and playful “If I Had a Wagon.” The peak of country singing (if not of harmony!) had to be the “Woe is Me” HeeHaw songs, “Where O Where are You Tonight?” and “Gloom, Despair and Agony,” which made fun of our love of suffering and misery (Woe!).
Many jokes and skits were exceptionally funny and well done. Regina surpassed herself in roles as shopper, grandmother and an 80-year-old marrying for the fourth time. A high spot was when Pagosa Dave offered to donate his “grandmother” to the man collecting for the old people’s home. In another well-acted joke, the be-wigged Karen impersonated the proverbial beautiful but dumb blonde on an airline flight. One student added that Dave did “a remarkable job memorizing ‘Paul Revere’s Ride’” in honor of July 4.
To conclude the formal entertainment, the Pretties’ dance was extraordinarily vivacious and bouncy. Informal dancing followed, while the last dance of the day was once again a highly rewarding experience.
July 13: After a generous breakfast buffet on Sunday morning everyone scampered (and some struggled) up the Happy Trail to the open-air Pergola where a final class took place. The walk was humorously described by someone this way: “It makes you happy when you finally reach the top.” Dr. Terry was rejuvenated and left Sunday’s class in the Pergola hopping down the Happy Trail.
Sunday’s moderator Moe Janosec set the stage with a light and jovial air. He quipped, “Paul and I just made a truce of sorts. I agreed he was slightly better looking than me, and he agreed I was vastly more intelligent than he is.” This brought a big laugh. “See? We can have a good time with this.” Moe began by stressing that we have to remember what we’re here to do. “We always forget spiritual facts. It’s up to me to remember the facts and apply them. You don’t need a priest or any other authority; no higher ‘intermeddling’ is needed. All organized religions will lead you further away from God.” Moe offered these encouraging comments: “It is possible to become a different kind of human being. We’re here to lose that evil false nature that’s trying to ruin our lives.”
The extra effort required for banquets was clarified in Paul Wolfe’s talk as well: “In order to be transformed, great heat and great pressure are required, like turning coal into diamonds.” Paul referred to Vernon Howard’s talk entitled “The Field of Diamonds,” available along with four other talks on the MP3 CD The Key to Spiritual Life-Healing. This talk concludes with the fact that you absolutely cannot lie about your nature. Paul added, “Your job is to see your actual condition. Something higher is just waiting for you to not do anything else about your problem.” Speaker Tom Geiger from California also stressed we cannot keep on living a life of pretense.
Following the talks, comments about the banquet and its benefits were made by participants. Richard addressed the issue that there is something sinister which does not want even one person to escape. He noted, “Many people faced difficulties and obstacles getting here and some who had planned to attend didn’t. Be very watchful for the attack that comes when you’re about to do something right.” He said you shouldn’t miss classes. “Only a true class will ruffle your feathers, for it challenges and ‘offends’ your false self.”
Sherry Day was one of many who overcame difficulties to be at the banquet and sensed that by calling the bluff on these barriers, she went beyond them. She said with emotion: “Darkness does not want me here. I have to say, No! You’re not keeping me from the banquet because I want to know the Truth.”
Jeff from Arizona, who attended a banquet for the first time, was more than a little excited to have finally found other people with whom he could share these truths.
Doug said, “I was corrected this weekend. I would not have experienced or gained from the correction if I hadn’t come to banquet.” Dave of Pagosa encouraged us: “Never lose your enthusiasm for the Truth. Don’t take these classes for granted.”
Before leaving for home, everyone enjoyed one last buffet meal set out on the deck at the New Life property and found a place to eat at picnic tables in the scenic surroundings of giant spruce trees and the rippling Rito Blanco stream on a pleasant summer day. (By the way, Vernon Howard once mentioned in a 1986 talk that “New Life may have a branch by a stream someday.”) A little begging golden-mantled squirrel delighted all, and quickly trained visitors how to feed him from their hands.
The highlight of this special weekend was an awakening life force felt within, but which cannot be described with words. It is what true teachings are referring to when told we are asleep but with work can awaken.
(*The above picture was taken by Doug Stewart as he was taking a moment to check his e-mail one afternoon prior to the banquet. Doug could not pass up this photo op. The golden-mantle squirrel is affectionately known as Chipper.)
A festive, cheerful and highly energetic five days were spent in Southern California for the May 2014 “Americana” Banquet. “Setting the whole tone for the entire weekend,” as Doug Stewart put it, the Wednesday night class in Pasadena was given by New Life Director Richard Wooldridge.
Richard related an experience while driving from Colorado to New Life in Southern California. A fire on an under construction overpass over the I-15 caused a detour, which all sources consulted said would cause a 4-hour delay driving into the LA area. Finding a way on a map around it that was shorter and through a lush green and beautiful forest drive instead, Richard and his passengers were given a natural gift and some completely unexpected lessons. Richard said, “I thought, now here’s my chance to work. The world says there’s no way around your difficulties. But God wants you to succeed. Truth can handle it for you. See how it is you who is blocking the Truth. You say, ‘See how he insulted me. The world is against me.’ Say NO! to this nonsense and mean it!”
On Friday night, after ladies had prepared the upcoming meals for the banquet, three men presented talks based on Vernon Howard’s book Inspire Yourself. A speaker emphasized it is good to see the bad, “because if you don’t see there’s an inner battle going on, it’s gone underground and you don’t know it.”
Banquet day Saturday was filled with all sorts of activities which could be used for spiritual work. Talks by Richard and California New Life director Dr. Terry Roche were based on the incredible booklet, Powerful Guides for Spiritual Freedom. Terry talked about our insane love for pain, and gave examples of anxiety driving on the freeway, of the woman on TV crying for the camera, and of memorials like pet cemeteries. He added, “Beauty is the greatest tyranny there is. You reflect that you were once beautiful though perhaps a bit stupid. Now you’re stuck with just being stupid!”
Richard, using the powerful “The Sheep and the Wolves” transcription from a Vernon Howard talk, cautioned how oblivious people are to the dangers in society. He emphasized how practical this work is, connecting it to awareness. “Little things lead to big things. Learn to handle little things properly, and you’ll learn to handle the big things. If you can’t handle the little things, forget it.” He quoted the MP3 CD talk 11:16, in which Vernon calls us “frustrated, panic-stricken neurotics — and those are your good points!” He mentioned efficiency in driving, walking, grocery shopping, and in being on time. “There’s nothing to worry about, ever. Just stick close to this Work. That’s all you have to do. Evil has already lost. If you want out, you can get out, and any mistakes you make are as nothing. Truth is ready to handle anything at all.” One exercise given: “For the rest of the day, don’t be negative. Let’s get to work.”
The day continued with our bountiful dinner of delicious Mexican tacos and salads and a generous dessert table with cakes and pies available all day. Formal and informal entertainment followed. Highlights were the beautiful harmony of Colorado singers Lynne Wooldridge and Kyle Rickert with their duet of old fashioned songs, and the concluding energetic Pretties dance to “The Orange Blossom Special.” Kyle later said, “A special moment occurred when Lynne and I came out to sing during the entertainment. We started to sing at too low a pitch. But instead of getting nervous about it, we just stopped, started again, and the song went off beautifully. It was so pleasant to not be so wrapped up in the results.” Added CA student Ken Inouye, “The informal dancing was great. It’s so much fun; it’s for our enjoyment. I don’t have to care if others approve of me.”
Humorous skits and jokes added to the healthy laughter. As Paul Wolfe mentioned in his talk, ”We really are meant to have a good time with this. The whole point is to see what’s wrong with you and be able to laugh about it, not be morose and angry all the time.” This is a vital part of banquet rewards. As Vernon said in a recent Secrets of Life quote on the New Life website, "A sense of humor indicates at least a small degree of separation from the falsely serious thought-self.”
Sunday’s speakers talked about the difference between beliefs and facts. [See “The Two Gates” in The Power of Esoterics]. Doug Stewart connected this to the old Dragnet radio show: “All we want are the facts, ma’am.” A cosmic fact “has no opposition, while belief is always opposed by another belief.”
The New Life banquet in March celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day is a favorite time for donning green (or orange) attire and hearing again the beautiful old Irish songs. But unique experiences always occur since Truth is ever fresh with uplifting new energy.
Students arrived from several states early in the week in order to help with the many preparations and to attend Wednesday night’s class. Moderator Bill Brown launched the banquet talks with an investigation of why we don’t do what we’re capable of doing and what we’re instructed to do by Vernon Howard. “Why,” he asked, “is there a wish but no ignition, no lift-off?” All of the strong and encouraging banquet talks showed us how to make the teachings a reality in our lives, to “Do it and get it done!”
Our group work in the time leading up to the banquet included much practical activity preparing food, cleaning the buildings and sprucing up the outside as well as helping with the latest 2014 newsletter mailing. The inner work is of course to observe ourselves and others, and to go against the usual sleep state by making efforts to come awake and to be in the present moment so that higher energy can reach us. This is an energy that is rarely felt in today’s world of sleeping humanity. Extending throughout the Saturday banquet and on into Sunday, endless opportunities for esoteric work were presented, which New Life students are so fortunate to have available.
Saturday was an all-day celebration with a bountiful breakfast served by New Life ladies and followed by a 9 am class comprised of three speakers who covered a variety of inner-life subjects based on the teachings of Vernon Howard. Leaving us with a strong message, director of New Life Richard Wooldridge set the stage for shocking us awake and filling the atmosphere with even higher energy, ending the talks in a booming voice: “Get fierce and go against the wrongness inside. Say NO!”
The book table where all of Vernon Howard’s books, talks, DVD’s and more were assembled was super busy and some new items were available (also now for sale on the New Life website). These were USB-flash drives with Vernon Howard talks. One tiny USB-flash drive contains all the available classroom lectures given over many years (minus the talks on DVD). Imagine the power in that! Vernon himself said this teaching was only taught verbally four or five times in all of history, so the Truth which can save us has perhaps never been so widely available on earth before for the relatively few who want it. Yet as Vernon Howard said, “The Kingdom of Heaven has existed for trillions and trillions of light years.”
The talks were followed by pretty old-fashioned music and an opportunity to enjoy the traditional “dancing in a big circle.” Scrumptious corned beef, potatoes and cabbage plus much more was served in keeping with an Irish theme. Introducing the formal entertainment were two old favorite Irish songs, “The Rose of Tralee” and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.” Humorous 5-second jokes and skits were interwoven with songs and a Pretties dance. A highlight was the unusually beautiful Welsh lullaby, “All Through the Night” about a guardian angel, sung by Lynne Wooldridge and Kyle Rickert with accompaniment by a guitar.
In the evening we gathered to finish the Newsletter mailing and have pizza in a relaxed and congenial social setting, followed on Sunday morning by a warm welcoming fire and another great breakfast. After a unique period of silence before class started, moderator Doug Stewart introduced the talk topic ‘Methods for Beneficial Action’ from Esoteric Mind Power. Speaker Paul Wolfe said that while the world tells us, “Don’t just sit there; do something,” we can turn that around and say, “Don’t do something; just sit there” in order to watch the mind and to embrace the quiet.
Like a refreshing vacation from the old nature which is suspended temporarily, some faces began to glow with new life as higher energy penetrated. As one grateful student put it, this has been the only spiritual discipline she’s found “that is stronger than my mind.” So yet another banquet experience sent us home excited to – in Vernon’s own words– “Vow to go all the way to eternity in spite of everything.”
We gathered to celebrate the birth of a new life this Christmas in Strawberry, AZ. It was yet another chance to expand our awareness and knowledge of truth, to stretch our muscles shoveling snow, dancing and lifting stuffed turkeys, and to be infused with delicious physical and spiritual food.
“Let nothing stop you!” This was the strongest message of the talks emphasized by New Life Director Richard Wooldridge during the many classes. For those who could have attended but didn’t, he advised to become aware that “Satan will use every device to trick you so you won’t come to a banquet or to classes. I’m not going to let anything stop me. Let nothing stop you.”
Moe Janosec also touched on how students limit their own growth when he fiercely admonished us: “Stop limiting yourself! Stop dragging around like a dog with its tail between its legs. Stand up. Take right initiative, right responsibility for your inner life.”
On Christmas Eve, speakers often referred to the New Testament gospels, to The Higher Teachings of Christ talk and to the section in Treasury of Trueness by Vernon Howard entitled “Christ.” Paul Wolfe emphasized the “words in red” spoken by Christ, identical to Vernon Howard’s message, including many passages which he noted are usually ignored by Christians (such as “I come not to bring peace but a sword … A man’s enemies are those of his own household” from Matthew 10).
On Christmas Day Bill Brown also referred to the section in Treasury of Trueness about the difference between religion and spirituality. He explained that one popular misconception of deluded religionists is the concept of “instant salvation.” We actually must “endure unto the end; you have to keep going way beyond anything your mind can comprehend. The persistence of evil is beyond belief.” He added, “We must bear uncertainty until we are exhausted and give up,” as he illustrated by the couple in the movie The African Queen.
Bill also talked about new technology where humans and machines are being put together. With a picture showing a computer chip inside a human hand, he said, “It’s like the ‘mark of the beast.’ You’re not protected from this by just knowing how to quote from the Book of Revelations. In fact, if all I have are mental ideas, I’m not protected at all.” As Vernon said in The Higher Teachings of Christ talk, “Thought doesn’t want spirit.”
Richard illustrated how we must make spiritual connections with everything that happens (to use everything). He detailed the excellent opportunity for this on the drive from Colorado to Strawberry when several red and orange warning lights went on in the car.
When stopping at a gas station with the hood popped up and looking at the engine, he said that a man came up. He had grease all over his jacket and looked scruffy, but was polite and turned out to be a diesel mechanic. He had just what was necessary to fix everything with the push of a button — a code reader that reset the sensors and solved the problem. Richard said, “What are the odds of that happening? It wasn’t an accident we ran into that man and that he helped us. God will prove Himself to you if you will just let Him.” The spiritual connection is this: “Truth is the code reader which can erase all your problems.” Whenever you’re faced with what seems to be an overwhelming challenge, remember: “Don’t you think God can handle this?!”
Light-Hearted Entertainment and Superlative Turkey
A light moment of laughter occurred in one talk with Doug Stewart’s recollection of the French cliché cherchez la femme, “look for the woman.” Laughter and lightness continued to pervade the afternoon’s delicious turkey dinner and entertainment.
The opening songs of the formal entertainment were truly the highlight: the beautifully sung and uplifting “Joy to the World” and “Christmas in Killarney” encouraged us to move lightly with a spring in our steps in our many “jigs and reels” all afternoon and into the energetic days to follow.
Hilarious jokes and skits followed, as in the “wisdom of the aged” from the ladies at the beauty parlor. Coming to every class and banquet aids the development of a natural, relaxed, clean sense of humor. As Bill quipped the day after banquet, “As a result of being typecast as a cop in the jokes, I developed an uncontrollable urge to finish off all the doughnuts.”
Talented songsters brought us much festive music of the season, and the Christmas carols sing-along allowed all of us to join in on old favorites, like “Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.”
Do More Work
We were reminded it should be Christmas every day, all the time. Richard said, “God wants to give you the whole universe, but evil is trying to distract us from our mission. The whole world is busy trying to keep you at its level.… Say ‘I have to do more work.’ You want somebody else to do it for you, when in reality you have to do the work yourself.” We left for home with our work cut out for us yet filled with the much higher energy to do it.
How to gain Higher Energy and how to end the hoax of pain were but two of the encouraging topics discussed by Vernon Howard students at New Life Foundation’s 2013 Thanksgiving banquet.
Truth students from across the southwestern U.S. gathered at the group’s New Life Plaza location in Westminster, California Nov. 27-30 for four days of strong classes, lively entertainment and delicious homemade food. “We can learn so much from being together,” said longtime student Judith Anderson.
Sunshine greeted our Thanksgiving celebration of Truth. Blooming red and white roses at the Westminster building welcomed fellow traveling students from Colorado snow and ski country, as well as from Arizona and California.
Wednesday night’s speakers began the official holiday (after food preparation and rehearsals) with a story from The Power of Esoterics, entitled “The Prosperous Farmer” [p. 167]. Vernon says to tell yourself, “There is always one little thing I can do, so I will do that.” As speaker Paul Wolfe said, “If you do something right, you’re asking for more light.”
With Thursday’s talks based on The Answer, New Life Director Richard Wooldridge and Dr. Terry Roche both elucidated the hoax of pain and suffering. Terry said, “Reality is painless; but we’re told it should be painful.”
Richard exemplified this by explaining how this Work becomes fun as we grow. After making a right aim to refuse to be negative when tired, he experienced first-hand an enjoyable 14-hour all-day drive and then going into LA’s rush hour traffic! So can we all relax, refuse negativity, and experience higher energy, just as much as we are receptive and willing to give up our old selves.
He added, “But human beings are addicted to pain … so our higher energy gets stolen.” For example, Richard told us we students “can get contrary — willful, defiant, mulish, pig-headed.” “You have to start working together … stop fighting.” An exercise was given to refuse negative impressions, to use throughout the day and weeks. “Darkness does not want you to escape. It wants to destroy you.” Vernon Howard said to rightly fight for yourself: “Don’t you dare give up!”
In a new, transcribed tidbit now available at the Booktable, entitled “Being Alone,” Vernon calls us “clingers.” Richard said to “stop clinging to people … Dare to do this work alone … Let go of everything and everyone.” He also encouraged us by saying: “You can grow every day, no matter what your age ... This work will give you a sharp mind, even when you’re old. You can be infused with energy despite your physical age,” a fact that was definitely in evidence throughout the banquet week.
A really delicious Thanksgiving feast was spread on the banquet tables, always homemade by the New Life chefettes, full of traditional favorites — excellent turkey, real mashed potatoes and gravy, wheat-berry dressing, cranberry conserve, and more. Desserts — attractively displayed and available all day — included double-layer coconut cake, organic apple pie, and moist brownies.
During the “Philosophical Follies,” emcee Paul Wolfe explained, “One purpose [of the formal entertainment] is for students to observe their inner reactions before, during and after they perform in front of others.” Students enacted some especially funny jokes, portraying jolly or goofy characters. The elevator joke and the School Daze skit were particularly hilarious and well performed. Karen, who played a genie, left us wishing for more. The pretty music and harmonizing singers were outstanding, especially the beautiful old favorite “Indiana” and the modern western song ”Three on the Trail.” And “Glad to be Back Home Again” was a great reminder, as Vernon said, that we can get back home, as we wave “Bye, Bye Blackbird.”
Lots of festively dressed Pretties danced a perky polka to conclude the formal entertainment, which motivated us to get up and join them in the informal dancing. And this provided many chances to remember the exercise assigned by speakers to know we rose from or sat down in our chairs.
“This Work is about energy,” Richard told the class. “Energy comes to you, but it doesn't belong to you, and it doesn't belong to me. It comes to us, we receive it, and we have to give that energy back. We're here to give it away. It’s your duty to raise the level higher and give it back.”
Work harder! That was the exhortation and invitation given by director Richard Wooldridge at our September banquet in Strawberry, AZ. In a telephone conversation with long-time New Life student Dr. Bruce Tracy just before he died, Bruce told Richard he thought he had more time, and implored us to work harder and to not be fooled into thinking we have plenty of time to wake up. Richard said no stress or strain is necessary. Just watch what goes on in your mind, observe and do nothing else. He added, “Christ said, ‘what I have done you can do also.’”
Wednesday night’s class launched our esoteric studies when we began preparing the new Fall/Winter newsletter for mailing at the work party. Bill Brown then introduced the powerful section from Cosmic Command, “Do Not Be Gullible.” Vernon Howard said gullibility comes disguised as loyalty, love and faith. Doug Stewart characterized his own life as “Gullible’s Travels.” Bill emphasized how the elementary, simple, basic instructions we are given at New Life are huge; for example he recalled the earlier directive in July to “Speak Up.” Observation of this simple instruction throughout the banquet activities indicated clearly a direct connection between people’s speech and their awareness or sleep.
The necessity for awareness in everything was repeated on Saturday when Richard referred to hiking and enjoying the mountains: “You cannot enjoy nature unless you’re conscious.” And as always he encouraged us to move away from what we know mentally to reach an intuitive spiritual understanding, to “taste truth for yourself.” One principle later quoted on Sunday from Cosmic Command is that the world does not have to be held together by frantic thought and that the antidote to our incessant mental movement is quietude.
Speaker Dave Netherton emphasized the benefits to our growth and learning when we participate fully in all of our life as well as in New Life and banquet activities. So while engaged in listening to the speakers, partaking in the wonderful array of Italian cuisine, enjoying and participating in the formal and informal entertainment and interacting with other students, we were also working on ourselves by watching what was going on inside and seeing more clearly into deeper levels of ourselves. For it is the light of consciousness that stirs things up inside but also destroys what has been hurting us.
Sunday’s spokesmen clarified that with a quote from Vernon Howard, “We’re doing just fine when we see with increased clarity just what a great problem we are to ourselves.” Gary Blatchford added, “It’s that something different from this world you feel at banquets that helps us see with increased clarity.”
Comments on Sunday included the often-repeated feeling that banquets bring to us “such a different day than when out in the world.” Yet also it was said, “No two banquets are the same; it’s wonderful that it’s new and unpredictable.” David Hurst reiterated “New Life has saved my life … It’s easy to see out in the world what’s wrong with other people. Here the Work is seeing our own wrongness.”
The formal entertainment brought added lightness and fun, such as Lynne and Kyle’s delightful and charming song, “Be my Little Baby Bumble Bee,” and Katherine and Karen’s humorous dialogue on chocolate. Laughter and seriousness were again well balanced, and the cleanup and relaxing, pleasant work party were the perfect conclusions to a full day.
After the last dance of the entertainment a spontaneous and continuous applause arose, an expression of our enjoyment and appreciation for the special day. The banquets were laid out by consciousness, through Vernon Howard, for our personal learning and growth. “When two or more are gathered in my name, I/Truth will be there.” God and higher cosmic energy was there. And those who joined with it were tremendously uplifted.
A group of truth seekers including travelers from both coasts met in Pagosa Springs, Colorado July 12−14 for another New Life Foundation banquet and for a truly good time in an unmistakably higher atmosphere.
Classes reflecting the teachings of Vernon Howard and esoteric Christianity were spread over the three-day weekend, ending Sunday morning on a Rocky Mountain hillside far above our daily cares and routines.
When you enter a New Life banquet you are leaving the world to “come out from among them,” for banquets offer experiences quite unlike anything else in the world. Our activities — events originally planned by Vernon Howard — provide ideal circumstances to practice true principles. As student David Hearst said, “The point is not to think a truth but to live it.”
Here’s how the July banquet in Pagosa was different from the world: Talks were very high and practical. The men were in charge and the ladies wore flowers and dresses. Dancing was wholesome and pretty; the songs were old fashioned and harmonious; jokes were clean, fun and not vicious or sarcastic. Set-up and cleanup was well organized, orderly and corrective, anticipating sleeping human beings and the unexpected (like the temporary loss of electricity).
Arriving before class on Friday evening, students greeted other students from different parts of the country. Speakers based their talks on a Vernon Howard talk entitled “The Original World” from one of the five transcriptions available in the newly printed publication Powerful Guides for Spiritual Freedom, about how distorted our money system and values have become. The basic message was “the only thing you have to do is make it back home to the Father’s house.” The moderator for Friday evening’s class Moe Janosec told us we must “go against our lethargy” and “be active toward Truth.” We must welcome it into our lives because everyone lives from either the higher force or the lower force and “cannot serve two masters.”
On Saturday after breakfast (almost a banquet in itself with its array of quiches, coffee cakes, fruits and hot drinks), director Richard Wooldridge exhorted us to speak up louder and to not mumble when behind the microphone and when talking to others. This forces us to be more aware and prevents the forces of unconscious timidity from being in charge. Based on the talk transcription “Let’s Play Fair”, he illustrated with his experience of being called for jury selection and using that to work hard to stay awake for two days. “You must be learning from every experience and to be given more insight, you must want to understand the actual state of human nature.” Like the baby birds flapping their wings and leaving the nest, we also have to learn to fly all by ourselves; it’s individual work.
The banquet table was a bountiful display of BBQ beef, chicken, sausage and baby back ribs, homemade potato salad and cole slaw, fresh green salad and much more, together with a favorite feature — the dessert table — mostly prepared by the New Life ladies. Student-provided entertainment followed. The southwestern theme of the entertainment brought to life beautiful old and new Western songs like “Cattle Call” and the joyful and exuberant “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” One outstanding act was the harmonizing by Lynne and Kyle on “Wild Montana Skies.” Jokes and skits took us from the beauty parlor to the golf course, and the Pretties’ dance was the best and liveliest ever. The man in charge of the clubhouse building where the banquet was held was quite impressed by our efficiency and the thorough cleanup. Perhaps best of all, a transformation of one’s state was a definite result. Participants found that they were able to do much more than they ever thought possible. And this was perhaps the most positive and cheerful group of students ever to assemble at a New Life banquet. During the weekend, it was observed, people became more alive, more bright and cheery.
Sunday’s class was held on the New Life property mountainside pergola, where deer sometimes grazed and an occasional golden-mantled squirrel could be seen scampering about. Speaker Dave Netherton called our attention to being aware of all of the physical senses and to the setting in the forest where gentle breezes wafted and sunlight danced through the trees. He said you have to work to climb up the “happy trail” but the result is an unmistakable feeling of elevation.
Bill Brown retold the story of the Veteran and Apprentice angels who came to earth looking for just one person who wouldn’t sell his soul for earthly riches, then asked us the deeply profound question from the story: “Do you qualify?” The stories about “Vet and App” and the Angelic Weekly reminded us to be aware when we think we’re sincere and know it all; then the Veteran angel must tell App, “You’re still fooled by people — that’s why you’ve been an apprentice so long.”
Comments after the break about the banquet experience included one from a new student from the East Coast who said she felt like a beginner and was reminded that Vernon said “God loves a beginner”. And the new people all jumped in to participate fully with a right spirit. Long-time student Regina Netherton spoke of what she learned: “It is almost unfathomable to realize the immense amount of work that was put into bringing about the banquet. So why do students work so hard at it? Because the invisible rewards of sensing a new existence and beginning to live above the crazy mind and this crazy world provide more than enough reward.” There is nothing more exciting than truly embracing this work.
A main object of the Vernon Howard teachings is to see ourselves as we actually are. This is hard on the vanity and why Truth classes will never appeal to the masses. As Moe said, “Most people won’t even get close to seeing their negative states unless they’re pushed to do so.” A banquet provides the atmosphere to see our “spilling level” [see The Power of Esoterics, p. 113], which we must determine to raise higher every day and at each banquet. As Bill said, we must allow ourselves to be uncomfortable and stop lying; only then will we receive help in spite of ourselves. This is why New Life is such a contrast to the world — which wants to be falsely comforted and flattered. We use the activities to see more deeply into human nature, welcome healing correction and rise above our fears and delusions, all the while being given new flexibility and natural spontaneity.
Enthusiasm — “being inspired or possessed by God.” A speaker traced the Greek origination of this word, and it perfectly describes the higher energies present at this May banquet in Westminster, California. Students from across the southwestern U.S. gathered May 8 thru 12 for four days of strong classes, robust entertainment, and delicious homemade food.
A forceful talk by Director of New Life Richard Wooldridge on Wednesday night in Pasadena began by raising the level of the bar which continued throughout the entire weekend. The atmosphere fairly sizzled with energy, providing the opportunity to get outside oneself and stop being “a pusillanimous putz”! Look these words up in the dictionary and you’ll find that they perfectly describe the nature of the false nature. “Vernon Howard told us, “all evil originates in the mind.” Richard characterized us as thinking machines, trying to process everything with the intellect. But “when the spirit guides the mind, there is heaven on earth.”
“Vernon Howard established these special weekends to teach us unique spiritual lessons,” Richard reminded the class. “We are here for Something Else besides what this world has to offer.” You could observe that during the entire event, students’ natures actually changed.
At Friday night’s class Tom Geiger gave a personal illustration — his son’s preparations for college — as a worldly situation for using the principles of truth for guidance, which come to us precisely when we need them if we’re receptive. Using the example of moving out old furniture to make room for the new, Paul Wolfe explained that our inner space must be emptied of “I already know” before we have room for anything else.
On Banquet day, Dr. Terry Roach, New Life’s Southern California director, reminded the class, “The enemy is within …. See the pain is inside of me. It exists nowhere else …. Ask yourself, ‘If I’m so smart, how come I’m in pain?’” Terry, a longtime podiatrist, said that our psychological pain can often affect the health of the body and that from personal experience he has observed that the amount of neurotic and psychosomatic illness in this world is legion.
Next, Richard told the group: “Last night outside the hotel, I looked up at the sky. With all the city lights and smog, I counted about eight stars. In Pagosa Springs, CO, I can see two galaxies.” This exemplified the limitations of the mind, and how we can always see more. He added that despite your physical age, you can be infused with energy. “Your job is to always be enthused …. There is no circumstance in which you should feel bad — ever.” He emphasized self-examination: “You have to start turning it around. When you react to someone, ask, ‘What is it in that other person that makes me react like this?’”
During the banquet weekend’s final class on Sunday, speakers discussed the perils of using bad language. Paul Wolfe said, “Profanity determines your level.” On the use of curse words, Doug Stewart shared his observations from his career in television: “I’ve learned TV is all about pushing the envelope [of crudity and vulgarity]. Producers and programmers are always asking, ‘How far can we go?’ Also, nothing on TV is spontaneous. Everything is scripted well in advance, believe me.”
Paul also astutely observed that “The world has ‘improved’ itself to the point that it has become almost unbearable.” He also cautioned, “I am personally responsible for the level of this class. You are personally responsible for the level of this class. I’ve got to knock it off; you’ve got to knock it off.”
During the banquet day feast, students dined on crisp tostada bowls piled high with grilled chicken, spicy ground beef and refried beans, topped with fresh salsa and guacamole made from local avocado trees. After helping with food prep, David Hearst told the class, “I learned something new at this banquet — how to shred chicken!” He and many others have learned the benefit to their spiritual growth of pitching in to help in lots of activities at these events.
After Saturday’s meal came the “Philosophical Follies”: entertainment skits, emceed by Paul, including lively comedy acts and beautiful, harmonious songs (such as “Lonely Yukon Stars” and “Long, Long Trail a’Winding”). One purpose of the acts is for students to observe their inner reactions before, during, and after the performance. “You never know what’s going to happen, or what’s going to get a laugh,” Paul chuckled. Some of funniest moments were the ‘flubs,’ people forgetting their lines or their props. We’re learning to laugh at ourselves without blame, seeing how unaware we are and understanding that we can change that.
One skit described as “perhaps the funniest act ever in Westminster” was the hilarious enactment of the old WWI song “I Don’t Want to Get Well” (with the obvious esoteric connection). Doug sang in the uniform of the wounded soldier boy while California Judy, as the nurse, took his rising pulse and fed him with a spoon.
Lynne Wooldridge explained the state she experiences while dancing with the colorfully dressed “Parisian Pretties” troupe: “When we’re dancing, the world in those moments just does not exist.” The last dance for everyone was even more crowded than the first dance, with Richard reviving the old Scottish jig learned in Boulder City, NV, and Dr. Terry joining in leading the rousing finalé.
Comments on Sunday described the banquet as “the best ever” and “they just keep getting better and better.” Something spontaneous, light and profound occurs at banquets, with a continual effort to keep the teachings of Truth and the Work pure.
Our traditional March banquet celebrating St. Patrick’s Day once again was held at New Life Foundation in Strawberry, Arizona with events from Wednesday night’s class thru Sunday’s class and another delicious meal before students headed home to California, Colorado and Arizona.
During this time we were challenged by director Richard Wooldridge to go against ourselves and to do more work than we thought we could, participating in as many activities as possible. As one speaker said, “This is the first time you’ve ever been at this 2013 Irish banquet – it is NEW.”
A snowstorm provided the very situation necessary to go against ourselves, proving again God gives us just what we need. The appearance of the cold, wet snow, while challenging the negativities in us while shoveling or driving or walking, made us see more, adding a wonderful, unexpected dimension. One speaker said the covering of pure white snow reminded him of the biblical phrase “being washed as white as snow.” Another said the sunlight on the snow makes the light even more powerful. Snow also added to the fun and laughter, with some students spontaneously erupting into a snowball fight, boys-against-girls with no losers. “Lots of laughter” was one way a student characterized the whole weekend. Nature provided the backdrop and truth turned an “inconvenience” into a special opportunity to learn.
On banquet Saturday morning to a sea of green attire and a bit of orange, director Richard Wooldridge explained that “stupid human solutions always make everything worse. There’s only a cosmic solution.” He reminded us of that crystal clear truth from Vernon that “this earth belongs to Satan,” and also that “we have to see that Satan is a bluff.” Richard was inspired to give us this special, exciting explanation: “Surface personalities can never get along, but transformed we can…. By getting rid of ourselves we will have a unique cosmic personality, or cosmic essence.”
So, although being at banquets always makes our old nature uncomfortable, students went against themselves, participating in many activities in spite of the inner voices screaming not to do so. Sunday morning’s moderator, and long-time student Bill Brown explained that people say, “I don’t want my life to be upset by Truth.” Bill quoted Vernon saying you must make the sufferer [false self] scream – until you see there’s no one there who “can’t take it anymore.” And to our amazement, again what we found is that we experienced something NEW and nice.
Therefore, banquet activities are the perfect opportunity provided by Truth itself, originally through Vernon Howard, to do things our body, mind and inner voices warn us not to do. For example, many made extra effort to get to the banquet from far away, or to gave a little talk about the principles they had learned, or to dance or tell a joke in entertainment or enjoy the evening work parties where we helped to get out the new Spring/Summer 2013 newsletter, which now goes to thousands of people.
Despite mud and snow, the banquet format unfolded uninterrupted and went beyond the expected. A scrumptious traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage dinner was cooked and served by ladies with the aid of a couple of gentlemen and a talented baker. Included were outstanding breads like homemade Irish soda bread, as well as sticky buns, cinnamon rolls and breakfast quiches.
As snow fell outside, the formal entertainment opened with emcee Doug Stewart entering in an Irish green top-hat and singing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…,” setting an atmosphere of laughter and lightness. Poems were interspersed with jokes; several beautiful Irish songs were sung in harmony by Doug, Lynne and Kyle, enhanced by the guitar and mandolin. A lively Pretties dance completed the formal entertainment.
On Sunday comments were invited about the banquet experience. We recalled that so many essential and uplifting points were made by the speakers. ….. One California student liked that our gathering does not emphasize or enhance our self-esteem as the world tries to do. Another attendee commented on the natural and unpretentious atmosphere.
A final reminder by Lynne summarized our aim: “Let’s not forget what we learned, and continue to go beyond ourselves.”
“Thank you so much for your instructions on how to get Vernon Howard’s eBooks and eBooklets. It is as if I am dreaming; today I bought Psycho-Pictography, The Power of Your Supermind, Cosmic Command and six of the wonderful booklets. I thank God for this esoteric knowledge. No other information could give me this kind of insight so I can know how to think, feel and react in a different way.”
— E-mail from man
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