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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.”
Here is a Vernon Howard radio interview from the late 1970’s which you should find very helpful on your spiritual journey toward enlightenment. Read, enjoy and ponder carefully. There are five parts so just click on the arrow to read each section.
Interviewer: Vernon, what is this thing all about that you teach?
Vernon: You might say the basic principle is to become the commander of our own lives, each individual to be in charge of himself, instead of being dictated to and tyrannized by exterior events, including people and circumstances. In other words, to be able to meet all of life — every minute — from yourself, from your true nature (True Self, if you want to use that phrase), so that there is no contradiction and no battle and no disappointment, no hurt when “who you are” meets the exterior event. And that, of course, is a long story in itself, but that’s the basic idea.
Interviewer: In all of your writings I have found the idea of practicing and starting with the idea of True Self. I was wondering if you could give our listeners a definition so that we have a place to start here.
Vernon: Yes, fine. We have to approach it not by trying to find our True Self at the start. Otherwise, we’ll go into imagination based on our past experiences — which would simply be memory describing us, So rather than trying to find out who we are at the start, we want to find out “who we are not” — and that can be a very interesting process.
For example, we might have an idealized image that we are courageous, or that we are in charge of ourselves. Then some unexpected event — a broken-up marriage or a discharge from work — reveals to us that we’re really not in charge of ourselves at all!
Now, the part that is not in charge is definitely not our real nature. It’s certainly not of Truth, of God, of Cosmic Consciousness, but it’s something unnatural to us.
Now, if we can begin very earnestly to study this unnaturalness, to see how it’s tearing us apart, disturbing us every time we step out the door in the morning — from morning until night — we can understand that we are operating from something that is not really us, although we are quite sure it is! But we have so many — hundreds — of wrong ideas about “who we are”!
Again, very briefly: A very honest observation of how our invented personality meets events and gets rebuffed, knocked down, hurt, made tearful. If we can begin to see that the way we’re presently operating is “not doing it” for us, then we can go to the next step of dissolving it through higher knowledge. And when this invented self is out of the way — when the cupboard is bare — we can put new products into it.
Interviewer: Excellent! I really think these ideas are special gifts.
Vernon: Well, the Truth, of course, comes down from something much higher than we are. And with our receptivity, by making just a little tiny empty space there at the start, then Truth has the opportunity at least to begin to tell us something different from what we’ve had in the past. Our part — to repeat my previous point — is to get the “junk” out of the way, and to admit that it’s there, which is not as easy as it sounds because we resist anyone trying to tear down our structures of all these years.
When Truth starts to penetrate — even just a little bit — it gives a very distinct, unique kind of feeling that is unlike anything we have ever felt before … and we know we’re on the path at last.
Interviewer: Yes … it’s a great feeling. And it’s nice to know that there are other people in the world who are reaching for these ideas and who are willing to go the route in order to live them. And there are people — people all over — who are on this path.
Vernon: Yes, yes. Quite right … quite right.
Interviewer: When this Truth begins to glimmer, and we are beginning to see the “junk” — then there’s a point where you know you’ve got to do something else. Would you give our listeners an example of finding that “junk” and then moving into the Light?
Vernon: Ah … yes, yes! There is a very, very DEFINITE point along the upward path (the path up the mountain) where what we’ve been doing begins to get through our heads — our thick heads! (Chuckle) We see the ideas that we’re clinging to, the concepts, the stubbornness, our whole “life style”. And then it begins to dawn on us, that instead of giving us something, it is simply punishing us!
When we get to the point where we’re able to recognize unconscious self-punishment as self-punishment, it begins to fade away of itself. No conscious man, no man or woman who is even beginning to wake up ever wants to cling to something that is actually hurting him. But it takes a long, long time because our pride, our vanity, always says, “Don’t you tell me what to do! I know …” A man who is destroying himself will insist that he’s doing something for himself!
And it’s indeed very, very frightening at first to let go of our prison cells because we’re used to them; they’re comfortable. We’re taken care of by our own neurosis, so to speak, never seeing that it confines us to one little part of our own inner world. So, to break out we have to have a little bit of courage to start — and anyone can start. That’s the encouraging thing!
Interviewer: So to start, we say “Help!”
Vernon: Fine! Yes!
Interviewer: I think that’s a very good beginning prayer — “Help!” And then that glimmer starts.
Vernon: Right! And then we must have the courage not to look at our own confusion and neurosis for help, but rather — to repeat the previous point again — to let it GO! We begin to give up everything we’ve depended upon before for the answers because it hasn’t given us the answers. It’s only gotten us deeper into the marsh — for example, our stubbornness that we have the answers. See?
We begin to have the honesty to see that my answers have given me nothing but grief and misery and heartache. Then we have just a little bit of courage to say, “I’m going to drop it just to see what happens if I drop my stubbornness.” That leaves the opening so that something higher than my stubbornness can come in and begin to operate.
Interviewer: Excellent! I think that we can all identify with stubbornness, just a little bit! (Laughter) I can hear the ideas spinning in heads, and they say, “That sounds really good! How do I do it?”
Vernon: You start exactly where you are! Don’t have any ideas of where you’re going — you don’t need any! What we do need to know is exactly where we are — that is, we are lost! (Vernon and the interviewer both laugh.)
It may not sound like fun, and it isn’t at the time, but we have to go beyond the shock. I have to go beyond the shock of seeing quite clearly that I am lost and that I have been deceiving myself all my life! And beyond that shock is what I have been yearning for all my life! What’s the matter with seeing that we’ve been wrong all our life? Nothing the matter with that! Isn’t that better than suffering from it forevermore?
Interviewer: It sure is … it sure is.
Vernon: This is a major operation. The sooner we submit to it — to this Great Surgeon — the better off we are!
Interviewer: Yes! Would you give us a definition of that Great Surgeon?
Vernon: Yes. It is something that is not a part of my past, something that is not a part of my conditioned beliefs about “who I am”, what life is all about, about where I want to go in life. The “lower level surgeon” is all my past. When I am willing to give that up I make room — and something else comes in.
Interviewer: One of the things that people ask me, I think more than anything else, is “How do I release? How do I release that past? I have all this hurt and fear — what’ll I do?”
Vernon: Here it is: We’re very peculiar people. Do you agree with that?
Interviewer: (Laughing) Oh, yes!
Vernon: We’re very peculiar — in that we love our misery! If we take a very good honest look at ourselves, we see that we love our misery; we love our complaints! What would we do with ourselves if we couldn’t complain all day long, find someone to accuse, someone to blame!
So, if we can see that we’re treasuring that, and then see the punishment in treasuring false ideas about myself, that in itself will cause the release. The consciousness itself — of the false — will release the true.
Interviewer: I think that’s good to know. People keep thinking they have to do — do it themselves. And we can’t do anything for ourselves!
Vernon: We’ve been trying all our lives to do it ourselves — and look at the mess we’ve made out of it! But we’re very confused because we don’t know — at this point — any other self but the confused, awkward self that keeps getting us into one trouble right after the other, one day after another.
When we see that we’ve been all wrong — and drop that — something else happens.
Interviewer: And what a relief it is.
Vernon: Yes. One clue as to what we have to release is to observe tense and angry self-defense in ourselves. And then just simply look and say, “What on earth am I defending?”
And we’ll find out that we’re simply defending every idea and emotion that has got us and kept us in this state. We’re loving our jailers! Now, isn’t that strange!
Interviewer: We do it all the time!
Interviewer: I have the great pleasure of visiting with Vernon Howard. I highly recommend the classic bestseller, The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power. He has beautiful ideas and it’s a very refreshing viewpoint because he has a knack of telling it like it is. And that’s a real gift. You don’t find many teachers around that are willing to just lay it on the line — it is not only refreshing, but it’s a very freeing action.
Vernon, I think you should talk about the jailers that you spoke of a little bit. This is something that our listeners are very interested in because many of them are ready to let go of these jailers.
Vernon: Yes, fine! To comment on the jailers. If anyone wants a very simple and short statement that will make this clear, it would simply be — Our jailers are our unconscious negativities.
Any time we’re unconsciously negative, that means we don’t really see it. We may feel it, and we may be punished by it. For example — anger. When I am angry, I am punished by that anger. If we very honestly look at ourselves we can see how we burn when we’re angry, how it’s an escape from facing something we don’t want to face within ourselves, for example. So this is one jailer.
Now, if we can just stick with that and study it for just a minute. Why do I get angry at anything at all? Why do I prefer this jailer? It’s because my anger has a certain fiery feeling to it — I feel as if I am doing something! If you hurt my feelings and I flare up at you I get a certain feeling of identity, of being someone — and a certain wrong idea that I am doing something intelligent about the disturbance that I assume you caused me. Of course, I caused it myself by my wrong reaction, did I not? But not knowing that my reaction is a jailer, simply not seeing how I’m submitting to “his” treatment of me, I love this jailer rather than the man with the key who could get me out! I have unconsciously preferred this jailer because I know of no other way to react — and this is the way I have been 40-50-80 years! If I go out … I won’t have this false feeling of life I get from blowing up!
Again, if I can see that blowing up punishes me, keeps me miserable, then makes me feel guilty later, of course — I can then recognize the jailer as someone who’s keeping me away from the Good Life, from True Life. And when I see that, I want nothing more to do with him!
This does not happen overnight; it doesn’t happen in a week. It happens definitely though, as I continue to gather all the knowledge about these things that I can, and then put it into practice down at the supermarket, at home or wherever I am — and regardless of whether anyone else wants to work on themselves or not. I must want Truth more than I want anything else. And when I have that attitude Truth hears it, understands it … and races to the rescue.
Interviewer: One of the things that has meant a great deal to me is the statement you made that everything depends upon the way that we take the Truth. And the way is the living of it, is it not?
Vernon: Quite right — the living of it, yes. And one way we can do that, to add another point to that, is to look at our lives, even the physical body — the physical body, the emotions, the thoughts. If we will look we can see how we’re racing, always racing, always running around trying to do something, build something. And here’s a two-word sentence some may wish to write down. It’s very simple, but far more profound than it sounds, and is simply this: “S-l-o-w D-o-w-n!” (Laughter) “Slow down!”
Interviewer: Yes, I think we all need that written right across our foreheads in red letters!
Vernon: Right! If I’m running at top speed through the woods I won’t be able to recognize anything around me, not the pit, not the tree — and I’ll fall down, won’t I? Or bump into the tree!
If I slow down, then my eyesight becomes much better, and then I can see the pit and avoid it. I can avoid the wolf out in the woods there. I can run away from him — because I’ve slowed down to see him in the first place. If I’m running madly because I’m scared, how can I see?
Slow down! Slow down and see!
Interviewer: Oh, yes! There’s a beautiful scroll called “Slow Me Down, Lord” that you may have seen …
Vernon: (Laughing lightly) No, but if …
Interviewer: A lot of us have it on office walls around — and it’s really one of the major things that we have to do. People say, “You know, I don’t have the time to meditate.” That’s really a shame because that’s where it all comes from.
Vernon: Yes. Real meditation can go on 24 hours of the day — simply watching what is happening inside of us, and NOT being afraid of it. Or, if we are afraid of it, don’t be afraid of the fear.
Interviewer: Ah-h-h, excellent point! “Don’t be afraid of the fear.”
Vernon: Correct. Let it be there! Why fight it? That will only continue it!
Interviewer: We energize it, don’t we?
Vernon: We have a little saying in our class, which is, “If you’re shaking, Stand and shake! Stand and shake!”
Interviewer: Let it happen and get it over!
Vernon: That will break the power of it, yes!
Interviewer: I wonder why all of us are afraid to be people, and to hurt and to shake.
Vernon: I’m afraid it’s because we sense we’re pretty artificial down underneath. And we’re not only afraid that other people will see through us, but we’re afraid that we will see through ourselves! And that’s kind of embarrassing, isn’t it?
Interviewer: (Laughing) Yes, it is!
Vernon: But it’s healthy — if we take that shock. It’s a very healthy shock to see through ourselves.
Interviewer: I loved the statement that you made last night about taking your own tears and using them creatively, and work through those hurts. That is so important. We must be willing to take those energies and use them creatively instead of letting them destroy us.
Vernon: Correct. Look at all the energy — again, in anger. Look at the tremendous amount of energy that has simply been turned toward the wrong thing! If we could have taken that and turned it toward self-awakening, the anger would — all by itself — have to weaken because we’re not feeding it any more!
Interviewer: We must realize that energy is just energy.
Vernon: Right! It is pure energy at its source.
Interviewer: And we use it however we want to. We’re really shortchanging ourselves when we are using it destructively.
Vernon: We don’t know what we’ve missed as long as we are not actively trying to find ourselves. We’re living in dreamland, thinking that it’s moonlight and roses — and we wake up with tears!
Interviewer: Sounds like a sad trip we’re on, but it’s really not …
Vernon: Ah-h-h! This is the most positive path we could ever be on! It’s going to get rid of the tears finally — providing we cease to love our tears!
Interviewer: Right! We must take a good look at what we love. And we are loving whatever it is we are hanging onto. But you know, we hear people say, “I can’t get over my fear — and it’s overwhelming me!” And to tell someone like that that they’re loving their fear is almost cruel.
Vernon: Yes, and besides people say, “Well, if you take away my fears, what will take their place?” Well … (pause, followed by laughter) … we have good news! What will take its place is something that is not fearful! But we’re afraid of the unknown, of the “not tears”. This is all we’ve known, and you take away my tears, “who” will I be? See?
Vernon: And so — we have to have the courage to find out what is beyond the false identity of being tearful, of being hurt. And beyond that is True Life … the Good Life.
Interviewer: Yes … The Good Life … and it’s called Happy.
Interviewer: We’re going to pause now for station identification and then we’ll be right back with The Good Life.
Interviewer: I’d like to invite you now to give us a call here and let’s limit calls today to questions. I think it would be a great thing to ask Vernon a very basic question — something that has great meaning to you in an area that you are working through right now. Your answer will be invaluable.
Caller: Yes, Marilyn. This is Beth, and I would like to speak to Dr. Howard.
First of all, I really enjoyed his lecture last night. It was fantastic! But I spent all last night dreaming I was in search of my True Self! (Laughter) I was out there taking journeys like crazy! It was rather an exciting dream though.
But what I would like to ask Dr. Howard is this: Now, I will see a negative. But it’s like a pair of mice, male and female. And just about the time I think I’ve trapped those little devils, I find that that pair of mice and that negative has already bred a whole litter of little negatives.
Caller: (Laughing) This means I’ve got to set a whole lot of traps! How can you stop the breeding of the litter of small negatives from the larger negatives before it happens? Can you stop that or do you have to work on the little negatives after they’ve already gotten born?
Vernon: May I ask you … yes (laughter) … I understand your question. May I ask you … how much are you in love with your little negativities?
Caller: … Uh-h …
Vernon: (Laughing) Did we trap you?
Caller: Yes, you trapped me! Gee, I must really be in love with them or I wouldn’t be hanging on to them, would I? (Laughter)
Vernon: Remember what we said during the discussion part — that we have a certain peculiar fondness for our negativities because they seem to give us a sense of security, a sense of the familiar?
Are you willing to let them go and not know what will replace them? Are you willing to stop being the “you” who has a peculiar fondness for any kind of a negativity — anger, upset, feeling cheated, or whatever?
Caller: Most of the time … I think … yes. But I’m not sure I can say, you know, a wholehearted 100% “yes.” And that’s a difficult thing to admit because it must mean that I have become hypnotized and obsessed by these little negativities that I have made such an important part of my life.
Vernon: That’s right. They’re …
Caller: Now how do I get rid of the hypnosis and obsession? (Laughter)
Vernon: Stop trying to do it by yourself. You see? The part of you that is trying to get rid of them is on the same level as the little negativities themselves.
Now, there is something that is above what you call “you,” and therefore above the companion to that, the little negativity. When the “light” from this “something that is above” shines on negativities, it will dissolve them. But you must understand the necessity simply to drop the negativity. Don’t — whatever you do — don’t you ever hold a conversation with a negativity. That is why they breed! Do you understand so far?
Caller: Yes, I certainly do.
Vernon: You understand how you converse — and even embrace them? Stop conversing with them. You turn your psychological back on them! Turn away and walk away! And don’t you dare listen when they call back, “Come back, dear friend … I need you!” They may need you but you don’t need them!
Caller: That’s when you say, “Fine, but I really don’t need you!” And you just keep walking on.
Vernon: You keep walking — and remember: you walk on, not knowing what you’re going to hear next and not caring — because you don’t need to know! When the higher voice — Truth, God — begins to speak, you will recognize it. And it will not be part of imagination if you just keep walking in silence long enough and far enough.
Caller: Oh. Very good … very good. Thank you very much.
Vernon: You’re quite welcome.
Interviewer: Thank you, Beth.
Caller: Yes … Bye-bye.
Interviewer: Bye-bye. Excellent analogy.
Hello … you’re on the air. Could I have your first name, please?
Caller: Yes, this is Donna. My question is: How in the world can you ever get over my grieving and mourning … (inaudible on tape)? He was the first boy I ever dated — I was 14 — and I was married to him for 37 years.
Vernon: Yes … I …
Caller: ... And he dropped dead at my feet and he’s been gone for 10 years and I still grieve and mourn and cry over him. How in the world can I ever get over that?
Vernon: You want to know how to get over grieving over your lost husband? Was that the question? How to get over your grief?
Vernon: Have you been listening to the earlier part of the program?
Caller: Yes. (Inaudible remark)
Vernon: Did you perhaps see the answer to your question in what we spoke about before? Remember that we talked about how we’re so much in love with our past, and especially with our grief’s, that we cling to them because we’re afraid that we might be empty without them? Can you simply drop your grief — and see what would happen to you without it? Instead of clinging to it? You understand what I am saying? Try to see how you have a fondness for your grief … that you …
Caller: This man I am speaking of was my first boyfriend. He and I started dating when I was 14 and he was 15. We married when I was 20 and he was 22, and we lived together in marriage 37 years and he dropped dead — sat right in front of me — at my feet with a heart attack. (Tape inaudible)… and I can’t get over it.
Vernon: Let me ask you … (Donna is speaking inaudibly in the background) … let me ask you, please … please let me ask you a question.
Caller: All right.
Vernon: How hard … how earnestly and how persistently … will you work on your inner nature in order to change it?
Caller: I’m not working on the change — that’s my problem.
Vernon: All right then, how do you expect to solve your problem unless you do something right toward it?
Caller: I’m doing something terrible, I know.
Vernon: All right … all right! If you’re confused about what to do, never mind about that. That’s all right. I’m asking you, are you ready to start right now, this very minute, whatever time it is, to change directions — in order to understand why you love your grief? Are you willing to try to understand why you love your tears? That’s my one question to you.
Caller: Am I willing to understand what?
Vernon: Why you love your tears. Are you willing to try to find out why?
Caller: I love his memory.
Vernon: I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about you loving your grief.
Caller: No, I don’t love my grief.
Vernon: Yes, you do love it or you wouldn’t have it.
Caller: I kiss his picture good morning, good afternoon, and good night — and I know that’s not right.
Vernon: Yes, let me add one more point and then perhaps we’d better stop.
Vernon: You understand that these truths, that Truth itself is not harsh? It’s not your enemy? It’s not trying to hurt you? The Truth itself is the most gentle compassionate Power there is — and the ONLY compassionate Power. And if you take your grief even as a source of pleasure, then that is a wrong way to look, a wrong place to look. Simply understand that Truth is trying to give you something that you don’t presently have — and yield to it, instead of yielding to your tears.
Interviewer: Thank you very much for calling. We have to pause now for a quick message.
Caller: I have read Mr. Howard’s book, and I have been through three years of metaphysical studies. And for the last two years I have worked on the problem of unemployment.
Caller: I have counseled. I have studied. I have tried to use all these truths, and yet I have no employment.
Vernon: And you want to know the answer to that?
Vernon: I wish I could talk with you for about … uh … six months.
Vernon: I wish I could talk with you about six months — because it would take that time to cover the subject thoroughly. But let me cover it briefly in a minute.
Caller: All right. But we don’t have six months or … uh … so what is the use …?
Vernon: Um-huh. Are you concerned over the welfare of your physical body — that you won’t have enough money to feed your body? Or are you concerned over psychological factors? Do you perhaps feel rejected by life, seeing that you haven’t been able to find work? Do you feel that life is against you? See, that’s quite another thing than trying to find work in order to get money in order to put bread on the table. Do you feel rejected by life? Do you feel that perhaps it’s overwhelming you and the world is against you? Do you ever have such thoughts as that?
Caller: Uh-h ... yes, I believe so ... although health wise I have used the metaphysics. I am perfectly healthy. I am perfectly competent.
Caller: I am an employable person.
Vernon: May I ask you … do you feel a bit bitter toward life?
Caller: Yes, I do.
Vernon: Do you think that that is a good thing for you or a bad thing?
Caller: Well, I know it is a bad thing.
Vernon: Why do you treasure it then?
Caller: Uh ... I don’t treasure it. Every day I take my thoughts and I turn them around 180 degrees and say … you know … “I am …”
Vernon: May I tell you something, please?
Vernon: If you were to work with these truths that you said you’ve worked with for several years, keep with them, going deeper, deeper, deeper, you would find out that there is no real problem out in that world at all! I will tell you — there is no real problem as far as you’re concerned with that sick society out there. It is a sick society — no doubt about that — with its wars and crimes and its general madness and its cruelties, masquerading as love.
If you were to find yourself, that is, find out who you really are, you would be, as we discussed last night at the lecture, like Daniel in the lions’ den. You would be right in the den of this fierce world — and it wouldn’t be able to touch you at all!
And let me add something, very quickly, to that. What I just told you is not simply a religious phraseology, not something that I’m saying to make you feel good. It is something — if you will work with every ounce of energy you have — you can see for yourself! And THAT will answer your question concerning employment, so that you either have work or you don’t have work — but you’re a free, whole human being!
Now which do you want — to be a free, whole human being or to find work? Which do you think is the most valuable?
Caller: Well, of course ... to be a free, whole human being.
Vernon: All right! Then will you place first things first?
Vernon: You understand? Why do you let the problem DISTRACT you and TEAR YOU AWAY from being who you really are — which is part of the Whole, part of the All? Why do you permit it to tear you away? You’ll refuse that from now on! Say, “NO!,” at the top of your psychological voice! You’re being hoaxed and you don’t realize it.
Caller: You’re being what?
Vernon: You’re being hoaxed. You understand? Deceived … fooled … but you don’t realize it yet because the hoax is so complete. When you wake up you will see that there was no problem at all except as your psychic sleep created and perpetuated it. And THAT is a fact!
Interviewer: All right?
Caller: All right.
Vernon: Will you work hard?
Caller: (Laughing lightly) Yes.
Vernon: That’s a girl!
Interviewer: (Laughing) You’ve got quite a project! Thank you for calling.
Interviewer: That is the major project for all of us ... all of the time. It doesn’t make any difference what the problem is.
Vernon: Indeed …
Interviewer: I hope that everybody took notes on that answer. Thank you. Hello … You’re listening to The Good Life. Could we have your first name, please?
Caller: Hello. This is Mike. Vernon, I’d like to ask you one thing.
Caller: I met you last night and I wanted to say that it was a terrific pleasure to really meet you in person. When I shook your hand I had this feeling that I have always known you before — and even seen you, and yet I can’t remember where I saw you.
Vernon: You know something? Even if you didn’t meet me before, that certain familiarity was a deeper kind of friendship. You understand that?
Caller: Yes sir.
Vernon: You understand, for example, that there was no — or at least let’s say a minimum of pretense between us, and that we were both being real, at least for the moment?
Caller: Oh, yea. Yea, it was a positive feeling — very definitely!
Vernon: Right! Yes! And a right good feeling, wasn’t it?
Caller: It was!
Vernon, I have been working since 1973 on changing my life, and I have tried many things. They say you have to make up your mind to do it, and I’ve thought many times I made up my mind. But one of the things that keeps getting in the way is anxiety. My awareness is getting to the point where I can see this anxiety always hopping in the way.
One thing you said last night that caught my direct, pinpoint attention was your phrase, “When these things come up to take control of you, or to take you over …” That hit home with me and it kind of struck a fear in me to realize that these anxious thoughts were controlling me.
Vernon: Right. You were becoming aware of that?
Caller: And I just wondered how … what, sir, what would be your method or your technique for working anxiety out? I’ve tried about everything …
Vernon: All right … in answer, let me ask you a question.
Vernon: I want you to give me a list of all the positive benefits that your anxiety has given you.
Vernon: Ah-h-h! (Chuckle)
Caller: And yet I hold on to it as something that is so painful that I have to hold on to enjoy the pain — and not the goodness and richness of life!
Vernon: Now! That was a very good sentence! The gentleman said he enjoyed the pain! See how self- honesty is creeping into this? We enjoy the pain! Now — can we go beyond that … to not enjoy the pain any more because we see that it is keeping us out of the Kingdom, out of being a simple, self-commanding human being — which is what we want!
Caller: Vernon, I do believe, deep within myself, that it is possible to program it out, to get rid of it — and then more anxiety gets in the way. I’ve got your book The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power, but in taking care of this anxiety, is there any general lead-in that you could give me? I’m the type of person that if somebody says something and it strikes something in me, like you did last night, I most generally follow it out until I find and perceive the truth in it and how I’ve been deceiving myself.
Interviewer: We’re going to have to pause for a quick message, so we’ll have a message and Vernon will give you the answer. Okay?
Interviewer: I’m visiting with Vernon Howard this afternoon. He has some very important answers for us all. We’ll probably have time to pick up about two more calls before the end of our show, so bear with us. We have an important answer waiting on anxiety.
Vernon: Yes … all right. Follow this please.
Anxiety always … always … always exists on the level of the intellect, on the level of the mind. I’m speaking of what you call your ordinary mind, even the mind that buys groceries and builds buildings, and which includes memory, imagination, and connects with feelings, emotions.
When you see that you cannot do a single thing on the intellectual level about your anxiety, except to continue it, except to find false answers to it — when you SEE this, you’ll see it with a shock! You’ll see it with a shock because you’re getting an identity that you can do something about your anxiety. But the “you” who’s going to dissolve it is on the same level as the anxiety itself! Two men sinking in the marsh can’t save each other. Something outside of the two men, something outside of the marsh, has to do it for them. And the last thing our vanity — our sickness — wants to see is this simple fact!
Now — when I cease, when I completely give up trying to put an end to my anxiety — it ends! Because I, in my ignorance and vanity, wanted to be my own savior — and it just can’t be done!
When I dissolve the idea that I can save myself, I also dissolve false personality. When THAT dissolves, the problem dissolves — and something higher than “me” is there!
Interviewer: I think that would help the caller a great deal. Thank you. Hello … you’re on the air with The Good Life.
Caller: Yes. I’m going to ask something pertaining to many single people. Uh … I just wondered — it’s a twofold question, really — but … uh … if you follow the precepts of your wonderful books, do you become so complete within yourself that you really don’t need other relationships, or do you still feel that this is necessary for a total life?
Vernon: You can be in the world, be related to it rightly, and still be a quite free human being! Didn’t Christ walk among the publicans and the sinners? Didn’t he live right in the middle of everything?
You see, we have so many false ideas as to what it means to be spiritual. And we have so many imaginations that it means we’re going to be so spiritual that we’re going to walk three feet above the ground — or something like that! Do you know the way to become really spiritual? I’ll tell you how. Would you like to know? (Laughter) Better find out!
Caller: Yes, very much!
Vernon: You go right out into that mad, raging, sick world — not foolishly … don’t do anything dumb! (Well, we already do that anyway, don’t we!) (Laughter)You go right out in the middle of that raging world — and dare it to do its worst to you! When you do THAT you’ll so scare it, it will tremble and run away from you! Then you’ll be truly spiritual. To hide from the world, you’ll simply have an idea that you’re now above it, and quote books and stuff like that.
But listen! Here’s the difference — You go out and begin to understand what it means to take every event and every meeting with another human being CONSCIOUSLY — instead of mechanically, instead of in a state of sleep. Take it consciously — and if you don’t understand what that means, start out anyway! It doesn’t make any difference!
Go out and observe whatever happens to you — what you call “good” or “bad”. Observe it and see that it can’t hurt who you really are — or — it can’t even reward who you really are! We want the rewards without the punishment, don’t we? They can’t be separated. If I want your applause and seek it, tomorrow I’ll be afraid you won’t applaud me again, won’t I?
Caller: That’s right!
Vernon: You understand so far?
Caller: Yes. Yes, I do.
Vernon: So go right out into the middle of the world! Don’t be afraid of it! OR … if you are afraid of it, GO ANYWAY!
Caller: I wonder if you answered the second part of my question …
Caller: And that was going to be that if you meet someone who has no interest in metaphysics as I do (because I have a tremendous aspiration in this direction ) — in fact, they even repudiate it, and yet they represent very nice qualities …
Vernon: I understand … yes …
Caller: Would you suggest that it would be possible to have a satisfactory close relationship with such a person?
Vernon: Yes, I understand. Well, first, let me tell you that someone that is not interested in metaphysics may be far more spiritual than you are!
Caller: Oh, that’s very nice! That’s very reassuring, in fact. So that’s …
Vernon: Now … now look!
Vernon: You’re going to meet a man, are you? You want to meet a man, do you?
Caller: (Laughing) Of course!
Vernon: You’re giggling. I think you do! (Laughter)
Caller: Yes, it sounds like a pleasant idea …
Vernon: All right! Now you listen to me! You look … very, very carefully at that man. You watch his behavior! And when you see that he’s very, very polite to you for the first date — you watch how it may gradually fade out. I don’t want you to be deceived by him because you want him to be as you want him to be. See him as he IS! And don’t be afraid if he goes away when you see him as he is!
(Interviewer laughs) You’re far better off!
Caller: That’s true!
Vernon: And then you’ll be … listen! Would you like to be in charge of every man you ever meet from now on?
Vernon: In the RIGHT WAY?
Caller: Yes! I’d love to hear it!
Vernon: All right! Continued this Saturday! (Laughter)
Caller: You’ve got thousands of women that are … ah …
Interviewer: (Laughing) Yes, they’re going to throw themselves at your feet! (Vernon laughs) Thanks for calling.
Caller: Thank you so much. Bye-bye.
Interviewer: Bye-bye. I’m sorry, those of you that wanted to speak to Vernon Howard today. Our time is up. It has just been a SUPER hour, Vernon. Thanks a million!
Vernon: Thank you.
Interviewer: Thank you all for joining us today. Take the ideas we’ve used today and talked about today. Put them to work in your life. And I know that you’ll find yourself walking a beautiful new path.
“I thank you wholeheartedly for sending me these quotes by Mr. Howard. I discovered Mr. Howard at a local book market. I picked up a book and the title seemed rather unknown to me. Yet I was prompted to buy it. I read it three times to begin to grasp the concept of the book as it was contrary to my social beliefs and norms. I realized that in my search for newness, authentic power, peace, detachment, awareness, self- reliance and so on, I was looking in the wrong direction. Vernon Howard has set the sails and I am eternally grateful. The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power is a timeless gem.”
— Man via e-mail
“I have been reading Mr. Howard’s materials for a few years now and hold a special reverence for these profound and wonderful teachings. When I think about it the entire course of my life has been altered since first reading his books. I am truly grateful.”
— Man in North Carolina