New Life Foundation
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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.”
Christmas banquet of 2023 was a week-long celebration with five energetic classes filled with vital guidelines for living a new life. Speakers were increasingly firm in sharing insights and motivating students toward vigorous changes in our inner development. Classes abounded with the encouragement to be cheerful while working, “to attune yourself with cheerfulness.”
Beginning Wed. Dec. 20th, speakers examined a talk [10/29/88] in which Vernon Howard urged us to “eagerly, wholeheartedly seek out, welcome and embrace experiences that prove you were wrong about something.” That surely threw down the challenge to the social lies that we are “all good people, just a little flawed.” They said to look at our mechanicalness, and to see that our reactions are always either offensive or defensive and to then go higher, to rise above them. Bill revealed that we “can’t take anything,” but that for inner change, “ego-humiliation is a marvelous experience.” Moe talked about how we weakly say, “I feel bad,” while Vernon forcefully said, “I can chase out demons; why can’t you?!”
The classes began to establish the amazing, mind-boggling fact that while seeing what’s wrong with ourselves, we can learn to separate from the artificial nature, from reacting to being called “dumb,” and to be cheerful and to laugh at ourselves at the same time. This healthy invitation continued throughout the week.
Friday night, the entire class was asked to remember and to explore their three top lessons learned from New Life classes and Vernon Howard’s higher teachings. This exercise encouraged a zealous right use of spiritual memory to grasp and share more and deeper perceptions.
Spiritual revelations were the special topic investigated in Saturday morning’s class. (See also The Power of Your Supermind, chap. 2.) Some uniquely truthful principles emerged: that “Dark revelations must come before Bright ones”; and that you can be happy, but first our egotism must suffer 100%. If we don’t follow the right order, we fall into the delusion and pretense of the know-better trap of being mental only.
Bill recalled the “Excedrin headache ads in which you were taught that your headache is especially unique,” one of the many lies picked up from our past conditioning. Being alert to our identification with a particular thought can lead to Right Rebellion. And ways to go beyond thought were explained by Paul, who said, “Human thought can’t get us out.... The thought is not holding you; you are holding onto the thought.”
Solid spiritual principles continued to be strongly introduced on Sunday morning, as we were told how to be rightly aggressive in kicking out dark forces, to not be intimidated by them and to “have no mercy on what is trying to kill us.” Moe quoted Vernon saying, “we are here to wake the dead!” — the sleeping parts of us, the “dormant ability” to be awake and aware. He said, “If you think you can do this on your own, you’re crazy.” The classes and books and talks are vital for our awakening.
All these firm, healthy talks were injunctions to raise our spilling level above our present PDFs [precious darling feelings] in order to receive the deeper messages of Truth. These peaked on Monday, Christmas Day when New Life director Richard Wooldridge and Paul used chapter 4 of The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power as a basis for study. Paul said we can learn to break the entrenched pattern and separate from the false “it” which mechanically runs our lives, making us go from desire to fear to anger.
Richard described an illustration which occurred in the local Pine, Arizona cafe. He observed a father rightly correcting his sullen young daughter to “drop the attitude and knock it off.” Like the horses which were once free and then captured, we can be freed of our own programming that has imprisoned us — if we refuse to remain fiercely attached to our ego, our conditioning. “Come out of your stupor!” “Come out from among them! Don’t you think God can take care of you?!” Richard questioned us fervently.
The hearty Christmas meal, with turkey, dressing and all the trimmings and luscious pies and other desserts, was superb. The formal entertainment full of hilarious jokes added to the gaiety, while wonderful traditional songs by our outstanding lady singers Lynne, Kyle and Nancy lifted our spirits even more. Dancing as well was merry, bright, and exhilarating.
Our yearly exercise for 2024 was given: NO COMPLAINING for the whole year! That healthy resolution for inner change can put our false nature on notice that it will not be tolerated.
What a wonderful way to celebrate a traditional holiday! Vernon Howard students were grateful to come together once more to share this holiday of gratitude. Students were peppy, appreciative, warm, and direct, as they worked for conscious awareness. What an enjoyable experience it was to learn more about the higher world. Pure energy came through the speakers, and as it has been said before, the entire banquet was spread before us.
Wednesday night’s class was moderated by Moe, and speakers Jeff, David N. and Brad spoke with reference to Chapter 2 in Vernon Howard’s book Pathways to Perfect Living. It was emphasized that if we can’t tell the difference between the real and the counterfeit, we always pay the price.
Moe commented that excitement and thrills are counterfeit; it’s lasting contentment that is real. David N. mentioned that gem experts recognize real gems. Like those experts, we can know the gems of Truth from ourselves
Jeff pointed out that if a person looks at a problem with a calm mind, he or she can understand what is really going on. Unawareness is the only problem; awareness is the only solution. There is no such thing as conscious stupidity!
Brad noted that we don’t deal with people purely because we deal with them from memory. But what we really want in our hearts is to be free from people and events.
Thanksgiving Day was Banquet Day, truly a celebration of life, energy and spirit.
New Life Director Richard Wooldridge asked in his pre-talk — why are people so cold, distant, and guarded? He explained that it relates to eight things:
Bill B. spoke from The Power of Esoterics, Chapter 8, the importance of self-command. From a talk on 7/11/92, Vernon said to say, “Please make me want to understand.” In the talk, Vernon said, “To seek Truth is to seek the truth about yourself and what you are really like.”
Richard reminded everyone that Truth is on our side, it wants us to do well. His topic from The Power of Esoterics was “The Liberating Discovery.” He reminded students that Christ told his followers, “There are none good but God.” Richard also commented that you must not feel guilty when ignoring those who tell you how much you owe them. And he remembered that Vernon instructed couples to "be nice to each other."
The banquet food was delicious, and the entertainment hilarious and wholesome. Students delightfully danced to express their emerging freedom and to feel new life energy flowing through them.
In Friday night’s class, Paul gave the exercise, “What can I sacrifice that is causing Truth to keep its distance from me?” “What arrogant attitude can I get rid of to have a different kind of a life?” If the Kingdom of Heaven is closer than my own breath, then I can enter it any time I want.
Tom reminded students that we need to make more space and time for this Work. If we get out of our own way, something can come in and do it for us. We’re carrying a lot of baggage that has been accumulated over a lifetime. It is like swimming with weights on, but if we leave space, the weights drop off and the light will come in.
In the Sunday morning class, Asa shared that to fly the flag of Truth referenced in the book Your Power of Natural Knowing is to abandon the false nature. Ken commented that as individuals, we must see all of this for ourselves.
Paul reminded students that with spiritual awakening, you are in charge of the entire universe. But knowledge is not enough. The collection of knowledge is like an airplane sitting on the runway without a propellor. Step outside the confines of the airplane and something higher will provide the propellor to fly above this world. This means to begin to see things as they actually are. This body is going to come to an end, so we have from now until then to see this, in this lifetime. There is only one way for the mess, the collection of thoughts and feelings that I call me, to get cleared up and that is to do the work.
David H. also declared it is essential to understand that mental knowledge alone will not get you out. We have all had experiences and done things in life, but it isn’t necessary to keep living from those things.
Those students who attended this banquet and went against their conditioning and false nature were rewarded with gold from another world. It was mentioned that your Heavenly Father is calling you home. Make a super-effort to come to the next banquet, and new life-healing lessons will be revealed to you.
“Go to work. You're here to work.” These words from Vernon Howard in A Treasury of Trueness focused our purpose at New Life’s fall banquet.
On Saturday we were told by New Life director Richard Wooldridge that when you put forth an effort, the higher does the work for you. He said something drives us to act, but all we must do is to see and get out of our own way. When we don't act from memorized behavior, we can be spontaneous.
Bill also pointed out that we make a mistake if we believe we of ourselves are doing this work, since there is no "me" to get it done. Jeff also stressed that "as long as we know nothing, God can tell us everything.”
Richard referred us to a 5/2/92 talk (MP3 CD 34) which tells us when we see the destruction of society on this planet, we should have no reaction, no emotional reaction whatever to the news. It was pointed out in Sunday’s talks that we prefer the storms; something in us loves the agitation. We are compelled to get involved in the chaos. So, we must want to transcend those raw emotions to live on a much higher level of understanding. Clearly seeing that clinging to the storm is destructive, we’ll have the desire to drop it. Drop the past and come back to this moment in time right now.
Paul emphasized that God doesn't punish anyone. You get back what you are, your level, the “fruits of your labor.”
From a Secrets of Life quote posted about ten years ago Lynne read: “Understand with your whole being, you have nothing to do but be happy. That means you have nothing to do but be content. Look, let the world go by, let it do anything it wants. You’re not going to be carried away by it, it has nothing to give you, nothing.” (Vernon Howard on DVD #36, Talk 2). On Sunday, we were also reminded of a great exercise from the Pagosa Springs classes: “Don't think. Just know where you are!”
The banquet feast was the most delicious roast beef ever, with real mashed potatoes, veggies, luscious pies and more. Entertainment allowed us to dance, hear beautiful songs by Lynne and Kyle, and to laugh at many goofy jokes. One skit by Jeff and Gary described how even vegetables have emotions and suffer, such as the blueberry's parents who were in a jam, and the banana who went to the doctor because he wasn't peeling well. After fun work parties to send out the new fall newsletter, we had an end-of-the-day cleanup party, which we finished in record time due to cooperation, efficiency, and harmony.
The stars were unusually bright and clear the week of the September banquet. One night their magical sparkling utterly stopped thought so the old self could disappear into the boundless splendor of something immense in the universe. One could sense it was possible to know that “the stars up there are in you.”
Echoes of “Great Banquet” were heard in reference to New Life’s event held July 7th, 8th and 9th in Pagosa Springs, CO. Banquets always present just what we need to grow: a light and pleasant atmosphere with new challenges to the old nature that encourage change. Although the structure of the banquets is consistent, each of these unique gatherings provides a much-needed opportunity to lift our level of understanding and transform our lives through Vernon Howard’s life-healing teachings.
At the very beginning and throughout all of the talks we were told, “We should prefer a disturbing situation over a comfortable one, for we can learn from disturbance but not from comfort which makes us too lazy to see the predicament we are bringing about” (Chapter 10, Pathways to Perfect Living). So we were made aware from the get-go that this is a rare place offering insights which the world rejects but which we can take to heart and learn to love. It provides a safe and friendly atmosphere in which pretense can be dropped and we’re free to be honest with ourselves about our inner states.
The banquet began Friday evening with talks elaborating on the topic “How to Abolish Life’s Troubles,” also from Chapter 10 of Vernon’s book Pathways to Perfect Living. Introducing another theme which continued throughout the weekend talks, Bill B. said the only way to get rid of the pain is to completely experience it. We must not avoid our fears but fully face them. “The real motive for why we do things unnecessarily is to escape pain,” for then our energy goes into evading reality instead of overcoming our troubles. Bill said to relax. “For you to relax, you [the false nature] can’t be there.” From 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle, he read #799: “A right response to a higher truth is to relax and let it tell its whole story.”
Dave N. explained how we must not confuse love with dependency, quoting Vernon: “To the exact degree that we are dependent upon another, we will be unconsciously hostile toward him.” Real love springs from the same force that created the universe and it is on our side.
Talks on Saturday, banquet day, emphasized the need to see ourselves honestly. New Life director Richard Wooldridge said you attract what comes to you. “When you complain about having so much on your plate, who put it on your plate?” He explained that once you understand your true nature, you’ll be immune to all fear. “Fear is caused by fixed mental positions.” And since fear and hostility go together, being in fear is always followed by psychic attacks. Then you try to “play it safe” by hiding out or taking refuge in the intellect and thinking you know. You’re processing with the mental, relying on what causes your problems in the first place. He emphasized we should work to feel or sense Truth rather than think about it.
Gary B. reminded us of the talk about a devils’ convention where Satan told them to “keep people comfortable.” To change we must “seek the uncomfortable.” At another devils’ convention, they were told to triple the attack on spiritual memory, to make people forget the higher. He emphasized that we must study both light and darkness at the same time, using the example of a bird’s wings to illustrate the point. One wing represents studying Truth; the other represents studying evil. To fly, to soar like a bird, which we were meant to do, we need both wings.
FEAST & ENTERTAINMENT
Food at the banquet feast was bountiful and tasty, including barbecued meats, cole slaw, potato salad, green salad and many outstanding desserts, with the lemon buttermilk pie getting the most raves.
Entertainment gave us more opportunities to relax and enjoy hearty laughter and beautiful songs. Lynne and Kyle topped the acts with their fun western songs, “Sioux City Sue” and the soothing cowboys’ lullaby for the roundup, “Cattle Call.” It was also clear in “If I Could Only Learn to Yodel” that they did learn to yodel well. Many light-hearted jokes and skits followed, such as the unhappy mother glowworm whose children were not all that bright, and the coach who yelled at the vending machine, “Give me my quarter back.”
After a delicious Sunday morning breakfast of steak and eggs, quiches, fruit and much more, we cheerfully made our way up the Happy Trail to the pergola. We enjoyed the refreshing atmosphere, inhaled the fresh scent of pines, and listened to more inspiring talks, accompanied by the chirping of robins.
Moe J. reminded us we “could actually be at peace” when we follow Truth’s instructions. Rebelling against our wrong thoughts is critical. As he clarified we can either ignore them or feel free to yell “get out of here”; it’s only the mind which can’t make sense of what to do.
Both Jeff F. and Robin K. emphasized that we must go through the storm, “go through the valley of the shadow of darkness,” and keep moving forward no matter what, in order to come into the Light. What is required is willingness and perseverance. Moe read what Vernon told us in Pathways to Perfect Living: “Are you willing to pass through the darkness necessary for the destruction of your false self?” For remember it’s just a haunted house which must collapse, nothing real.
Enduring to the end of the banquet reaps extra rewards in spite of the usual and unexpected challenges, as the moppers, dishwashers, cleaners and packer-uppers know. We heard many exuberant comments on Sunday describing the events, talks and acts. Kyle mentioned that doing things outside of the usual routine shows you more. Karen spoke of developing an increasing gratitude for the banquets and the work.
Lynne W. mentioned something Vernon once said about entertainment: “You’re there to entertain the audience, and not to be self-contained. Look out at the audience and make contact.” This contact of course applies to speakers as well. Moe said he saw how a performance will depend on the person’s state, though the lines may be the same, such as if one is more or less worried about an act. Other reminders from Vernon also came up: Don’t depend on the audience. Dare to not be nervous. Get outside of yourself. And finally, we’re here to wake the dead!!
A wonderful story by Vernon was recounted of a man trying to cross a river to reach the other side. It became too difficult so in the middle he stopped. A guide on the other side of the river hollered loudly, “DON’T YOU DARE TURN BACK!” We left for home inspired to keep working regardless.
Launching the spring May banquet in Westminster, California on Wednesday evening, director of New Life Richard Wooldridge said we need to come from a position of understanding, not from mental knowledge alone. He stated that everything on this planet is designed to put us deeper asleep. When the world is constantly trying to draw us in, we have the power to say NO! “We were not put here to suffer.”
Preparation for the banquet feast and rehearsal for entertainment followed, with efforts to do our work consciously. Friday evening speakers based their talks on Vernon Howard's talk on DVD 23:2. Dave N related the story of an airplane that crashed, leaving passengers stranded in the desert. The pilot told the passengers to stay with the plane, but not one of them did. They all wandered out into the desert, desperately believing they could find the way out. Finally, one man came to his senses and returned to the plane to wait with the pilot. Following instructions, he slowed down, gave up, waited and was rescued.
Asa went on to explain more about this same talk, “Let Rescue Come to You.” We make so many excuses, thereby missing so many opportunities to grow spiritually. Christ said to let “Thy will be done,” not your will. Instead of making excuses, we can give up in the right way and let higher rescue come.
Next Paul emphasized that everything Vernon did and said was to show there is a way out. People think they can keep the old life and still somehow acquire the new life. The plane wreck describes our life on this earth. We try to rescue ourselves — with relationships, food, getting angry, buying things, feeling sorry for ourselves and in many more ways. Stop trying to rescue yourself and let rescue from God come to you. See your actual condition and don’t assume you know what rescue looks like.
On Saturday banquet morning the topic for the powerful talks came from Vernon Howard's Pathways to Perfect Living, Chapter 8. Gary warned us that darkness is working overtime to pull you away from this work. The devil tries to make attacks seem frighteningly real, “but only zombie people like to watch zombie movies." Victory is possible by practicing “Silent Seeing,” an awareness that comes from above. Watch your thoughts silently; for example, it's just an idea that “Life has cheated me.” “Something else comes in to help us by seeing, not thinking.”
Richard, speaking from a section called “How Happiness Comes All By Itself,” said people willingly put themselves under the tyranny of wrong thought, never thinking for themselves. For example, “Politicians do not speak from themselves, they always read from a script.” We can practice “mental silence” and see this clearly for ourselves. “The only thing that matters is that we love Truth more than we love this world.”
Three beneficial exercises were given for our inner work for the rest of the banquet and beyond:
We gathered for our delicious, bountiful meal, all prepared and served by the New Life ladies. Fresh and nourishing food was followed by more physical and spiritual work in the wholesome entertainment segment. We are fortunate to have extremely talented singers and spirited dancers, as well as students who provide clean jokes and welcome laughter for relaxation and friendly camaraderie.
Sunday Bill started the class using chapter 10 of 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle, “Let your Mind Work with Full Power.” He also emphasized that we are under constant attack by things both inside and outside of us.
Jeff said to remind yourself constantly of these lessons. He mentioned Vernon's idea that "the devil’s pitchfork is always in time." In the latest MP3CD The Truth About This World, Vernon said if you want to control people, just make them afraid. #920 says,“Deliberately interrupt your thoughts during the day to ponder an idea of special interest to you.” Jeff also described how things go more smoothly with his job when he slows down.
Ken, with a section about “The Power of Real Intelligence,” noted the difference between real intelligence and wrong thinking: "AI is us using Artificial Intelligence, while 'the Kingdom of Heaven resides in the space between two thoughts.'"
Bill went on to explain that our gigantic self-deception makes us ascribe virtues to ourselves and others that don't exist. We can't do anything, but we can see and feel when a higher power in us is in operation. Nothing is more beneficial than to realize that “we can't do.” He gave that great instruction to just do a little more inner work than you want to do each day and you will make it.
Dave H concluded the talks from a section in 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle, “Let Your Mind Serve You.” It says in #990, "Just let the thought occur to you that there is another way to live, for that is a true and powerful thought." Dave said this world has become a horrible place because we don’t have God in our lives.
The banquet concluded with comments by other students. Karen mentioned how at a banquet — while hearing the Truth and in the atmosphere of a right place where it is spoken — we can experience true inner joy. And Kyle realized the banquet provides a glimpse into what our lives could be like all the time. Using these banquet experiences and higher insights, we can learn to “nurture our soul every day of our lives.”
The right action of making the effort to attend New Life’s spring Irish banquet in Strawberry put us in the position to receive tremendous energy and insight from all the activities offered and all of the events that occurred. Messages in the powerful talks were heaven-sent reminders to seek rightness. Director of New Life Richard Wooldridge reminded us at the start, “Don’t think. Just quietly observe.”
Nothing was missing to teach us how to wake up, pay attention and enjoy our lives. New Life banquets bring us everything needed to raise the mind, body, and spirit to higher levels. Despite our negative resistance, we push forward and keep walking — or dancing! How uplifting — to leave this awful world behind and to build a firmer foundation for a new one.
The new speakers’ chair for the talks was the topic of many jokes, including Bill’s warning that it possesses an ejection seat. The Wednesday evening talks, based on an MP3 CD talk, Reach the Ocean of Oneness, presented the image of a stream heading to the ocean. The stream persists thru many obstacles to finally complete its natural purpose of returning home. One of the lessons of the story was to not think of yourself as a personality, but as a flow whose goal is to merge with the All. The story was also told of a man passing angels on a path who was repeatedly given the warning, "You're going the wrong way." If the man finally heeded the warnings, he could turn around and start heading in the right direction.
On banquet Saturday Richard used the Conquer Harmful Anger 100 Ways booklet and talked about our hidden hostility and wrath, and how to “cheerfully study the false nature.” He explained how the world's power brokers, who have given over their lives to the pursuit of earthly influence and the crazed control of every aspect of society, manipulate people and try to divert us from the wish for eternal life. "The timeless life is real. But you say only Vernon could do that. No, you too can do it. But you're lazy.... Help is here but you fight it with everything you've got." In his talk, Eric P. mentioned that "All the pain we have is because we are thinking in the wrong way” and he gave the essential reminder that any effort “to impress others is pathetic nonsense.”
Several exercises were given over the weekend for reminders of our work, including these:
1. For 30 days, don’t ever get mad again! You can’t do it because you are trying to make something grow where nothing can grow.
2. Self-interruption: When talking to someone, stop and notice that you are talking to someone.
3. The next time you get into a car, notice the first thing you say after you get out of that car.
4. Look up! “Let this remind you that there is God, who is above all human beings.” The world wants you to be downtrodden and wrongly worship fear and other negativities, while telling you the opposite. Look Up and feel the difference.
The delicious traditional St. Patrick's feast of corned beef, taters and cabbage was the best ever. Entertainment followed. In the first act of the formal entertainment, Lynne and Kyle's spectacular, energetic singing of “MacNamara's Band” roused us out of sleep to get our toes tapping and hands clapping.
Many classic Irish songs were sung, including two poignant ones about going Home. The purity and harmony of the lady singers’ voices touched and lifted our hearts. Another pretty song was the Irish version of the popular Scottish song “Loch Lomond” called “Red is the Rose.” And everyone had fun participating in the Sing-along of some familiar and favorite tunes. Also presented by students were limericks, sports and elephant puns, a poem on chopping wood in “Mudtime,” and silly weekly workout suggestions, such as “Fish for compliments” or "Make mountains out of molehills." More goofy puns followed, such as the waiter's job interview in which he felt he “brought a lot to the table.” The final act of the Pretties dance inspired an Irish student to rise for a standing ovation. Nearly everyone made special efforts to work from “dawn to dusk” to complete the new spring newsletter mailing and to make the informal dancing a rousing success.
Sunday’s speakers referred to a talk by Vernon from 3/6/88 on MP3 CD Volume 18, where a Devil's convention in hell planned to make people even more scared, sick and miserable than they already are. Gary B. noted that people often refuse to leave awful situations for fear of abandoning the so-called comfort of the “familiar.” Why do they stay when it would be so much better to leave? Well for one thing, the false self does not act swiftly in its own best interest because it is quite attached to its misery. But seeing where we don't want out and where we resist Truth’s help can start to break the pattern.
Paul W. said what he likes right before the class begins is that “There comes a time when it just gets quiet.” In his talk, Paul mentioned our biggest roadblock is the statement, “I think I know.” “We’ve got to stop giving ourselves our own answers. Give up your way. Then wait to be shown.”
Dave H. quoted, “In this room God is active and Satan is passive.” He said we are divided, we are not whole; banquets are unique events that “nurture the spark of essence.” The difficulty of waking up is nothing compared to the pain of staying asleep.
Before enjoying a final meal and returning home, students commented on the banquet's wholesome camaraderie, great food, the fantastic singing, and how people changed from when they first arrived for the banquet. One new student from Texas stated that it was his first banquet, that he went against himself and was so impressed that no one at New Life had an agenda like the rest of the world does. And as a final helpful reminder of what we had learned, Richard said to make an extra effort, and to get over yourself!
“LOOK UP!” is our new yearly exercise given at the December banquet in Strawberry AZ. This exercise serves as a reminder that there is a God, there does exist something higher that wants to reach us and to help us. See further expansion of this theme on the New Life website’s What’s New page. Another excellent exercise for the banquet weekend was to come awake when you pick up or put something down.
Beginning the Christmas banquet week of celebration, we were told by Richard Wooldridge, director of New Life, to “have fun!” As Lynne related from a talk she heard, God and Vernon gave us permission to be happy! As Vernon once said, gratitude can take us all the way out.
Beginning on Wednesday night of the winter solstice (which means that while it’s getting colder, there is more light) many powerful talks did not fail to uplift the spirit and give us new insights. Speakers referred to The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power, chapter 13, to provide numerous reminders of Truth and their own experiences for illumination. Richard told us about what he saw in a supermarket because he had an aim to stay out of people’s way. Bill told us to do one thing right, right now. We were also reminded that we must study darkness and light equally.
“The Truth about this World,” a chapter title in A Treasury of Trueness, was the jumping off text for the wisdom extended to us on Friday evening. You can review this incredibly high chapter yourself for especially profound principles regarding the battle between God and Satan playing out in this world right in front of our eyes. As Moe explained, a wrong part of us wants to cling to this world, so we absolutely must put first things first and value what we’re learning here above all else. We were also reminded that anyone can learn how to achieve worldly success if they put enough effort into it, but that is not the point of this life. Everything is upside down in the world and getting more so all the time. But we do not have to live on society’s level of suffering and despair.
The morning of Christmas Eve, a story about two trains colliding (from DVD 21:3) was used by speakers to illustrate why we have collisions in life. The problem is that both trains are in me; I’m divided inside, and when the crash comes, the personal damage extends itself out to other people and to events and experiences. Psychic criminals are responsible for the division. But if there is only one train, if I’m internally unified, there can be no collision. Happily, the cosmic police can stop the criminals because they know more than the criminals.
Christmas morning we were greeted with merry good cheer and coffee, tea, bacon and eggs, cranberry and banana breads, fresh Arizona grapefruit and fresh doughnuts. Speaking from Esoteric Encyclopedia of Knowledge, Richard and Moe gave us vital facts and energized us to work harder. We were encouraged to go on to read the sections in the letter I (see “Information and Explanation,” and “Intuition”). With true intuition it’s not necessary to process with the mind but to “get beyond the intellect and emotion to direct perception.”
Moe talked about the biblical reference, “Physician, heal thyself,” explaining the higher meaning of self-correction. Talking about instructions Vernon gave us and how we disobey and think we can fake it, he said, “If you really want to get more, you will, you can.”
We can have Christmas every day. Richard said that we can actually hear the angels sing. Truth is coming down to us all of the time to help us. By faithfully coming to New Life classes and banquets, we can begin to see how we have unknowingly sabotaged ourselves our entire lives. We resist and fight what is best for our own growth. In order to make more room for Truth to be taken in, we are to see how defiance creates a harmful roadblock that must be replaced with welcoming receptivity.
A traditional Christmas dinner again excelled and surpassed all others with roast turkey, stuffing and all the fixings, prepared with care, while striving for awareness and cooperation in the kitchen.
The entertainment augmented our learning and is always a special treat. With exquisite harmony in two favorite Christmas carols sung by Lynne and Kyle, there was also a special appearance by Alvin and the Chipmunks with Moe and Jeff joining in the fun of the novelty song, “Christmas, Don’t be Late,” followed by “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.” Many Christmas jokes, puns, skits and a poem on the “Winter Chill” were performed by students. Bill, the “genius jokester,” again had us in stitches with his monologue on actual employee evaluations (such as “This woman is one neuron short of a synapse” and “It takes him 2 hours to watch “60 Minutes.”). A Christmas sing-along and a Pretties dance enhanced the formal entertainment. Informal dancing allowed us to loosen up our limbs and express holiday joy. All of this was very healing for mind, body and spirit.
Come to the next banquet, so you can find out for yourself! Invite the Light! Like Vernon Howard, we too can become real and authentic. As one student described him, his life did not have pretense; he was a genuine and unique human being.
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.
“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