Welcome to New Life Foundation
Vernon Howard Founder
“It is wise to seek immortality for time defeats all other ambitions.”
“What you want also wants you. If you seek the celestial, the celestial also seeks you. There are no unanswered requests in the universe. If we do not like what we are receiving, we can learn to ask for something different.”
Here is a series of articles which will be ongoing for some time by New Life Students who have been attending classes for a number of years. They have experienced the benefits of coming to class on a regular basis for themselves. Read and enjoy these helpful and inspiring essays.
Paul Wolfe CSP (Certified Sales Professional) has worked in the wholesale air conditioning industry for more than 35 years. He has been a student of these teachings since the early 1990’s and is currently the Southern California Director of New Life Foundation.
Like many people, I spent a lot of time out in the world trying to add something to my life to make myself happy. But nothing worked. Genuine and lasting happiness seemed to be something elusive and out of reach. At the time, I didn’t know that this was an error in thinking, a fundamental misunderstanding. Since coming to New Life Foundation things have become much clearer.
Vernon Howard, in his wonderful way, simplifies the misunderstanding in one sentence, “Happiness is the absence of misery”. This isn’t very gratifying if we think that happiness should consist of living in a constant state of worldly excitement and euphoria, which by the way would be a dreadful burden because the excitement always turns to gloom. Instead, if we simplify our lives, as God, Truth, Reality (we use these terms interchangeably), would have us do, we could just say that happiness is the same as being content, not needing anything to make this day, this moment, just fine the way it is. Living in a state of happiness is much simpler than we think. It is not the acquisition of something or someone – it is the voluntary loss of whatever mistaken beliefs and feelings keep us from that contentment.
A story I heard in one of Vernon’s talks gives the example of a man whose car’s gas mileage keeps diminishing, so he takes the car to a mechanic to find out what the problem is. The mechanic checks and tells the man that everything looks fine under the hood, there isn’t anything wrong with the car. But the mechanic looks in the back seat and sees that it is filled with a bunch of things, books and clothes and such. He also opens the trunk and sees that it is stuffed with collected things – in other words the car is overloaded with unnecessary junk. He tells the man that if he’ll remove the worthless clutter, his mileage will improve immediately.
It’s the same with us because our lives are filled with unnecessary junk – those childhood resentments, the grudges we carry from long ago (or recent) slights, the fears we have of disappointing other people, among many, many others. If we’re honest, we don’t have to look far to see what is stealing our energy and our potential happiness, what is blocking genuine peace of mind from coming to us. The job is to get rid of what is wrong and negative in our thinking life and in our feeling life, and when this is done, we are left with what is good and right and truly positive. All we need to do is ask ourselves, “What can I get rid of today that stands in the way of having what Truth wants me to have?” God, Truth, Reality is on our side and will provide the answer if we will yield to what wants to help us.
Barbara Alpher began looking for something meaningful from the time she was quite young, but she didn't know what. After extensive reading and joining and/or experiencing a series of religions and study groups, there seemed to be no satisfactory answers. Some of it was helpful along the way, but only in a limited sense. She finally decided that what she was looking for was neither a religion nor psychoanalysis, but simply personal development ... a way to get to a higher life level. What follows is her story of discovering and applying Vernon Howard’s teachings.
I found my first Vernon Howard book at a yard sale. I read and reread that book till I found another in a used book store and the search continued for more. The writings of this man seemed to convey the essence of personal growth. Here were satisfying, clear answers and exercises to foster the understanding of oneself and of the world.
Moving to New Mexico from New Jersey brought a whole new group of book finds. But after a ‘dry spell’ I finally thought to type Vernon Howard into a Google search. Low and behold, up came New Life Foundation!
At the first opportunity, I drove to Strawberry, Arizona where New Life is headquartered. It was for a Christmas banquet. My Mom, for whom I had been the caretaker, had died so I was able to go and find out who else was reading Vernon Howard. That's how I thought of it.
I found the whole experience (a Wednesday night class, the banquet and helping with a newsletter mailing) astounding and delightful. All these people seemingly on the same wave-length. And now I had an on-going source of new Vernon Howard materials.
Later, I was able to attend regular classes and the July banquet at the New Life branch in Pagosa Springs, Colorado for two summers. I purchased the most extensive flash drive of Vernon's talks and it was the best thing I could have done. Hearing him speak adds so much to reading his books.
The idea that, as Vernon said, I am not that false self or ego with whom I was so identified came as an enormous relief. Thus, it surprised me to be so resistant to being able to let go of the old nature/self. ”And I know your next question,” Vernon yelled on one talk ... “If I'm not that self ... who am I?” That was me! I could not for the life of me come up with an alternate self! Then he let me know I was a nobody! Huh?!? That took awhile to work with, but was eventually liberating. No need to be “somebody” ... a success, wealthy, recognized ... all that future stuff. And, no need to feel guilty, resentful, sad ... all that past stuff.
My whole job is to constantly work to stay awake and aware in the moment. Easy? No! That was a shock too. Once I ‘knew’ that, why was it so difficult to maintain? Vernon constantly zeros in on this in his talks. He summed it up nicely in a recent talk I heard. Simply knowing is not enough. In answer to the question of how to reach a higher level, he said that only a “massive assault” on the state of mechanical sleep and against the wickedness of the world will do it. That I must shake myself constantly and wake up to know what I'm doing in the moment. He ended the talk with, "Make a massive assault against your own inertia.”
This sounds like it was a short journey, but it was not. It began with coming across that first book in the mid to late 80’s and it’s now 2017.
What has been consistent is that I never looked back. No more confusion or searching. My ongoing challenge is to constantly work to follow Vernon's teachings by making use of the excellent exercises he put out there for us. It keeps life extremely interesting.
David Netherton returned to the Rocky Mountains in 2008 from Phoenix after having grown up in Colorado in the 1970’s. Through playing college and semi-Pro basketball in Europe he learned of the world of intense competition and "winning at all costs.” David is presently a realtor and also works as a ski instructor with children (a.k.a. Wolf Pups) at the Wolf Creek Ski Area during the winter season. His work with the young ones in particular has helped to reveal that he hasn't quite as much patience as he once thought. In his spare time, he enjoys recreating in the mountains and just experiencing the peaceful mountain atmosphere.
Remember when you were a kid and you had chores to do? Perhaps it was the first time you had specific duties that were to be taken care of routinely. I recall thinking they weren't much fun. For the first time you were responsible to get those chores completed on your own. Maybe it was taking out the trash, helping in the kitchen, cleaning the house or at least straightening up your room.
My primary chore was mowing our lawn. My father showed me how to safely operate the mower, fill it with gas and start it, be attentive when the grass was wet and be extra careful around my mother's prized flowers!
Well, lawn mowing soon became my favorite chore. After all you got to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine and if you were smart you started in the morning before it got too hot. The smell of newly cut grass filled the air. You could even experiment by cutting different patterns in the lawn ... maybe your initials. It actually became fun and interesting.
Afterwards the lawn looked healthy and well kept. There was improvement and a sense of accomplishment. You may have even earned an allowance. Then you could actually afford to buy an 8-track of your favorite music. 8 tracks?? I guess I’m really dating myself here.
So it is with the adult task of maturing as a human being. No longer do your parents remind you to do your chores. Now it's up to you. You are the one who must see the need to grow up spiritually. You are the one who must see yourself as you really are. Maybe you become aware of how restless thoughts cause sleepless nights, of how easily offended you are or of how important it is that others like you. Eventually the realization can dawn that this approach to life is an enormous burden. And with indispensable insight from Vernon Howard, we can conclude that hey, maybe all this discomfort is completely and utterly unnecessary. Maybe there really is another way to live without pain and angst!
Vernon advised us to observe our lives with great interest. When this authentic interest comes alive, self-observation becomes a favorite activity instead of something we want to avoid. When it becomes FUN to see what a grouch you've been you're actually making spiritual progress. Boredom and repetitiveness slide away as interest grows in learning all about how to dismiss the influence of the false nature and to invite the guidance of the true nature into daily life. We do not have to live as a prisoner of our own tormenting thoughts and emotions. We’ve been given the key to the prison cell; now we just have to use it. When the old nature is seen through, Truth will lift our negativities away. Then we feel better both inside and out. Genuine inner work cannot help but spill over into outer life events and relationships. Everything starts going more smoothly; our hearts become lighter and we begin to receive a spiritual allowance from above. Vernon assured us that if we do the work, this break-through can be ours and we will have fulfilled the purpose of our life here on earth.
Jack Carter lives in Los Angeles County where he works as a building and safety inspector for insurance companies. He found the Vernon Howard teachings and New Life in 1999.
New Life studies have taught me facts I never would’ve discovered on my own in a dozen lifetimes. For 34 years, I tried to conform to the tight, awkward, cookie-cutter role this world had laid out for me. I didn’t understand it at the time, but the pain was telling me I wasn’t living as nature intended. Your pain is telling you the exact same thing – the pain is the message. Many people try to cover up the pain, paint over it, or pretend it isn’t there. They spend their lives seeking security where it cannot be found, all the while pretending they’ve got it made in the shade, and that nothing’s ever going to affect “magnificent me.” Eventually, something always does affect them, for Reality has a way of making all of us recognize it, at one time or another. The study of Truth is to awaken you to the Reality of what your life is all about, and why you were put here in the first place.
The pain begins to ebb the moment you realize you’re a square peg who was never meant to “fit in” anyway. You have been called out from among them. Our purpose here is to reconnect with the exact same force that put us here in the first place. We were created to recognize the natural energy that simply wants to be honored as the sole force that created you, me, and everything we can see. We connect with that energy by looking inside and seeing what’s really happening.
Some people might be content to understand that fact alone; to know they’ve finally come to the point where they actually know why they’re here. The beauty of Truth is, it literally takes you by the hand – “lest you be like children…” – and it reveals to you in its own special way hundreds and thousands of other higher facts about life and human nature that you would never have discovered had you tried understanding such things on your own. When the student is ready, the teacher really does appear. It’s good to ponder the fact Vernon Howard did more work than you or I can ever imagine.
With Truth, while the rest of the world painfully grinds its way through the day, you can sit, walk, and move quietly about, caring for nothing but coming home to yourself and knowing you are safe and sound in the best hands possible. This is Truth Principles at Work, and they work for you, like hundreds of tiny workers at your beck and call, every moment of the day and night.
For example, you may observe others wasting their lives and ruining their health in a vain – meaning “empty” – attempt to become rich, successful, or powerful. As a student of Truth, you know the only true riches come down from God, and are discovered as you come home to yourself as often as you can, over and over again, throughout your day. You know the only kind of “success” is higher success, that all other forms of “success” are tied to personal vanity, identification, and possibly even a neurotic need to “prove” the existence of a self that doesn’t exist in the first place. Honestly, doesn’t this world have enough “rich” people as it is? Aren’t you excited to break away from the herd and try something truly new and different?
The only kind of power that satisfies is power over yourself and your own thoughts and emotions. You can observe a negative thought come in and tell it, “No!” which stops it in its tracks. You observe some people caught up in a quest to dominate a situation and control others, which is akin to herding cats – it simply can’t be done. People are going to do what they’re going to do, period, due to their level and states. The only thing you can do is let go and let it unravel as God wants it to.
Pick up any New Life book or booklet and begin reading anywhere, on any page. Listen to a Vernon Howard talk. In a moment, Truth will transport you far from your worldly problems and fears to a higher place where the Light is bright and everything is right. Then you will clearly see and finally understand your purpose on this earth
Kyle Rickert moved to Pagosa Springs, CO in 2009 after attending New Life classes in Southern California for a few years. She graduated with a BS in Fashion Design and has worked in the fashion industry since 2002. She now owns a clothing alteration business and creates custom designs on her own. She is a certified yoga instructor and teaches regularly in Pagosa Springs. She likes to spend time in the outdoors mountain biking, skiing, boating, rock climbing and hiking.
On a Sunday morning, after a New Life Class in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, I was floating down the river in my kayak and I made a connection. I felt like I was moving perfectly within the flow of the river and felt a wave of inspiration. Obstacles would come up around every bend, but there was an understanding there that put my mind at ease. I knew if I stayed in the moment, kept my attention on what was in front of me and stayed relaxed, an intuition would show me the next move to make. I drew a parallel to Vernon Howard's teachings. He tells a story of water flowing down a river, not resisting the forward motion or the rocks that it hits, but following the path that it was intended to follow no matter where it leads. My heart felt a warmth and it was a natural reminder as to why I have been coming back to these teachings for years.
Despite the impact of lessons like these, many days can pass where I let negative thoughts and impressions take me over and pull me away from that natural flow. Finding these teachings at the early age of 19, I have had a vast number of chances to see myself wander off the path, but luckily, I have had these classes, talks and books to use as guides to find my way back to a safe place. I have seen my mind try to substitute my own ideas and plans of how life should go and fight the direction that truth naturally guides me in. At some point though, the pain of certain decisions directs me back to where something tells me what my life should truly be.
I know in my heart that the life I am supposed to live has a joy and energy that cannot be touched by politics, fearful news in the world, a seemingly impossible work situation, a family disaster, or another relationship that I was just sure would work out this time. An understanding has grown over time that none of these situations or feelings have any real power over me and it is 100% my choice how they affect me.
It gives me strength and motivation every time I use these higher spiritual tools we have been given. The darkness gives way to something that lifts the burdens I've created in my mind and lets me not be a victim of the negativity. I have seen an important change in my life. The alternating peaks of exhilaration and depths of depression have lessened and now look less like the terrifying roller-coaster ride they once did. I have learned to not allow either extreme to take so much of my energy.
The ease of the water flowing down the river is how our lives should feel and the relief that comes from connecting to that powerful truth can be ours whenever and wherever we want to make the effort – it is our individual choice.
Eric Pendleton lives and works in the Pine/Strawberry/Payson area of Arizona. As you will find out in his article, he has held many different jobs in order to make a living but credits Vernon Howard’s marvelous teachings with opening his eyes and heart to his life’s real purpose. He regularly attends New Life’s classes in Strawberry, Arizona.
I was looking for something, but I did not know what it might be. In the beginning, I searched for answers in several Christian religions, but I saw the pastors’ contradictions about what they preached. I also went into astrology and many new age writers, but thankfully, I finally came across Vernon Howard through his classic book The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power which, interestingly enough, I found to be based on authentic Christian principles.
I was living in Las Vegas, and to my surprise, I found that Vernon Howard was giving a talk at the local library, so I decided to go and listen to him speak. What he said made so much sense. It went directly to your heart. Interestingly enough, the man next to me said he did not understand anything Vernon Howard was saying. This really surprised me, because for me, the talk really hit home. My mind was always troubled about how to live life. What I had heard about how to live one’s life always seemed false. Certain ideas and principles that were supposed to make me happy just didn’t seem to work.
After the lecture, I found out that Vernon Howard was teaching classes in Boulder City, Nevada, and I started attending them regularly. At the time I was working as a cook at a large hotel and I began to apply the principles - these truths that have been around forever – in my daily life.
One truth, which I remembered quite well, was “You are not your thoughts.” This made so much sense. It helped me immediately, because I began to realize that it was my thoughts that were causing me the terrible problems I had.
When I moved to Arizona in the mid-1990s, I was faced with many new challenges, including finding employment and other life conditions. I was aware that I was apprehensive, because I had no idea what the future held. In Las Vegas, I had been a cook. But in Arizona, I was many different things — a carpenter, landscaper, detention officer, and Police Officer. Now I work as a Fitness Gym Director and a Reserve Police officer. Going into the unknown and unfamiliar is always scary to the old nature. But unlike most people out in the world, I had these truth principles to work with and to guide me. They saved my life and got me through the many obstacles my mind had created for me. As Vernon Howard said on many occasions, “You do not have problems. They are manufactured in your mind.”
I have experienced Truth working in my life, but my false nature is still causing difficulties. I realize more and more that I need to let Truth in more and more. When I worry, it’s a useless thought. The worry is very negative, so I need to apply the principles more faithfully in my everyday life.
I am so glad I went to that library lecture in Las Vegas. It really did save my life. There are so many Vernon Howard stories I have heard since coming to New Life that have been of great help to me. I strongly recommend listening to Vernon Howard CDs and MP3 CDs and reading the books and booklets. They will help you so much
Jeff Fisher grew up in a small town in Indiana and is currently working as a Sales Tax Analyst.
When I was a teenager I was a missionary. I traveled to Brazil and Egypt working at Christian orphanages. I remember back then I always felt there was something more to life than being a so called “good Christian.” I had always been searching for something to explain this world to me; however, all the so-called spiritual books I read never gave me any satisfying answers. Years ago I was looking at an order form in the back of one of my books, and that’s when I saw the title The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power by Vernon Howard. The name of the book really intrigued me so I went to my local bookstore and ordered it. I remember reading the book and realizing it was something totally new to me. I sensed the truth in what I was reading, but I also noticed something in me that did not want to hear what the book was saying, which was that we are the cause of our own pain and suffering. I could not believe that I alone was responsible for my pain, but I could not get this out of my mind after reading the book. I called New Life, which was then in Boulder City, Nevada and talked to one of Vernon Howard’s students. I had an order form sent to me with all of Vernon’s books and tapes and I ordered several of the small booklets, which I literally could not put down. There was something very powerful in these booklets. One of my favorites was Your Power to Say NO, which said we should not try to please other people in order to get them to like us, to approve of us. I used to say yes to people all the time, doing things for them while secretly resenting it. Vernon said we have the right to live our own life and the first way to do that is to stop trying to please others and not feeling guilty over it.
One of my favorite books is Inspire Yourself. It has a story titled “Paper Chains” explaining how our problems are nothing more than paper chains. Wow, I thought, what an inspiring message to hear! We no longer have to be victims of our past. For years I believed we had to live with the pain, and that we would always have to live with our past faults and failures in life. Vernon said we are not our past, in fact we are not even the same person we were five seconds ago. Whenever I get carried away by some negative event or circumstance, I always try to use the instant recovery exercise, which means to immediately come back to the present moment. Vernon said that in the present moment we don’t have a problem in the world because “I” am not there to cause a problem.
For some reason after a few years, I drifted away and stopped reading the books and listening to the tapes. It wasn’t until I was going through a very painful time in my life about five years ago that I picked up one of Vernon’s books I had stored away in a box. I said to myself, “There is something to these teachings and I am going to find out what it is.” I called New Life in Arizona, and ordered several of Vernon’s taped talks, and began listening to them every day. There were no classes in Indiana, but I wanted to go to one of the banquets where these principles were taught. There was a job opening in my company in Phoenix, Arizona, so I applied for the job to give me the opportunity to go the classes and banquets in Strawberry, AZ. The first banquet I went to, I volunteered to get up and to speak in front of the class. I was so nervous, my knees were literally shaking. I did not like speaking in front of everyone, but Vernon said it is imperative that we to go against ourselves, even if we are afraid to. Now, I attend all of the banquets and as many classes as I can and find they inspire me to change my life, showing me there is a way out. The banquets especially provide a spiritual experience like no other.
Ann Pendleton – I grew up in North Carolina and as I got older, I traveled all over the United States until I ended up in Las Vegas, Nevada where, miraculously, I heard about a teacher, Vernon Howard, who “taught in the desert.” Intrigued, I visited a class in Boulder City, Nevada. I walked out of that first class totally stunned. Actually, to this day, I cannot find the proper words for what and how I felt. I only know I had never felt like that in my entire life.
I now work in a library in the small town of Pine, Arizona, where I deal with all kinds of personalities on a daily basis.
Finding New Life — My whole life I was looking for something. Even when I was very small, I remember thinking what a strange place I was in, how strange people were with all their contradictions and pains. And, of course, when you are young, you are under the whims of the adults in your life, for good or for bad.
I was always trying to escape. In my teens, I explored religions, books, and groups, but always ended up disappointed in the people who certainly did not practice what they preached.
I drifted through life, and one day I was shown a brochure listing all of these wonderful booklets and books with magical titles that promised answers to all my questions. The brochure was plain and simple, and the titles listed gave me such an incredible feeling that I can still remember it to this day. The brochure was a list of books written by a man named Vernon Howard.
I remember the day I met Vernon Howard, and something in me sensed, knew, this man was the real thing. After leaving the first talk, I also remember thinking I had a decision to make, the most serious decision I would ever make – to make a commitment to what he was speaking about or go back to the life I had been living up to that point. But, I sensed that if I went back to the life I had been living, it would be the saddest decision I ever made for myself.
These higher spiritual teachings have literally saved my life. I meet life with them and try to apply them in every aspect of my daily commitments. There is no area in which you cannot apply these principles. You can use them when you have physical illness, when meeting people, when shopping, when driving to work, washing dishes, sleeping, in your relationships, or seeing scary events in the world. These principles are always with you, protecting you, teaching you, and opening you up to a new kind of world that has nothing to do with this world that is so defeating and confusing.
My favorite Vernon Howard principle is to use every event that happens to me for spiritual growth. For example, if I’m nervous to speak to a person who has an unfriendly facial expression, I can go up to that person and say what I need to say, all the while watching how the fear operates inside of me. This act of going against my fear forces me to face it, to call its bluff. And, I have found that the fear will get less and less if I continue to challenge it in this way.
Once in class, I heard Mr. Howard say something that really impressed me. He said you could take these principles out into your daily life and prove them for yourself. “Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself!” He was right. I had to find out for myself. It is the only way. This man gave us pure gold.
Judy Parsons – Vernon Howard’s teachings were first introduced to me by a young man in a bookstore who pointed out the many booklets Vernon had authored, with titles like Freedom from Harmful Voices and 50 Ways to Get Help from God. I decided no one could possibly have so many answers, so I walked away from them.
Then …Vernon’s book The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power came to me through rather mysterious means. I didn’t realize it was by the same author until later. After reading just the first few pages, I felt something new. I immediately checked the internet and found out there were New Life Classes in Pasadena, California, so I began to attend those, and later the classes in Westminster, as well as every banquet possible.
I have a masters degree in clinical therapy and work as a counselor and writer.
I was always on a spiritual path. My earliest childhood memories are of trying to find God and to figure out who I was. By the time I came across Vernon’s book The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power I’d already tried so much, read and studied many philosophies, both eastern and western, and was familiar with many ancient spiritual texts. I ‘knew’ a great deal — but all I’d really done with all my years of spiritual seeking was to strengthen this idea of my ‘spiritual’ self — a false self — composed of images and concepts of what I thought it meant to be spiritual.
As I read that first book, I became aware that Vernon was speaking the language of ancient scriptures in such a clear manner that I could understand what he was saying and more importantly, apply the principles of truth to my own life.
What I love about these teachings is their application to everyday life. Vernon’s teachings have taught me that there isn’t and ought not be a separation between ‘spiritual’ work and daily life. It isn’t about meditating an hour a day or traveling to India and living in an ashram — because we always return to our life in the world, and if we can’t apply spiritual teachings to our everyday lives, if they aren’t also practical, of what use are they?
Every minute can be used for higher work. Vernon gives countless exercises for this. I love his teaching that there is no one else responsible for my spiritual growth. No one can do it for me. I have to show up and do the work. The more I do, the more fulfilling and exciting it becomes.
Vernon is the most humble and honest teacher I know. He said he was always working on himself. He didn’t make spirituality something remote and far away. He made it here and now. Attainable. He broke through to another world and, he said, so can we. The example of his life and teachings show that this is so. Life is never boring when I can use each moment to work on myself.
A tool I use everyday is writing. Vernon encouraged writing as a means to self-understanding. I take a phrase from one of Vernon’s books or talks and start writing. I happen to be a writer, but anyone can do it. As I write, a kind of synthesis happens. Something higher comes through and does the writing for me. I connect with the Inner Teacher that is here for each one of us. The words become my actual experience. They take root deep within and blossom and grow into spiritual fruit that nurtures and teaches me at every level.
Jeanne Long is a Minnesota artist who has been a grateful student of Vernon Howard’s teachings for many years.
Vernon advised us to welcome trouble and pain, but to use them as a school to increase our understanding of life. These two states are never far away so using them is always possible, and the particularly strong jolts are the most helpful. As Vernon said, “If you can take it you can make it.”
Recently I attempted to advise a niece that she was focusing on the wrong solutions to her pain. She was quoting a popular author who advised writing and travel as keys to happiness, and I suggested to her that she shouldn't follow that person since that person was obviously not happy. This seemingly gentle suggestion on my part unleashed a torrent of anger on me from my niece who accused me of being unhappy myself and thereby unable to point out a better alternative for her. Her attacks seemed to escalate way beyond a simple difference of opinion as she became more and more hostile. I saw myself get defensive and resist her aggressive barrage until finally I realized that it was all my fault and that put an immediate stop to the hostility. It was my fault because I hadn't been aware enough to see that she did not have ears to hear my suggestion. I could have known that and not spoken as I did, had I been more alert.
Her angry accusations about my own state also woke me up to how she was perceiving my actions. I had declined to attend family events and wasn't sending the requisite gifts, so that behavior, along with my defensiveness when accused of being unengaged and uncaring, had been interpreted as “a lack of happiness.” I was reminded that Vernon said breaking away from relatives would not be easy. They know exactly where our weak areas lie. And in this case, going after those areas even succeeded in getting me to send more gifts!!
But, as I reflected later on the exchange and what preceded it, I remembered again the state of my relatives and realized that we had no real common interest in learning about Truth and that my pursuit of it would have to create a breach between us. We have to go alone. We can't take our relatives or anyone else along with us.
The jolt my niece provided helped me to take a harder look at myself. I saw how I had not been wise about putting the Truth in front of her in other ways. I'd usually been “wiser than thou” in my approach, which guaranteed a rebuff. I've also become aware that I spend a lot of internal time trying to defend myself and to reclaim a feeling of being right on a personal level, as opposed to seeing if there was any rightness in our exchange and, more likely, where there was wrongness.
What started as a shock to my pride became a profound lesson about my own state and a resultant further examination of how I elicit certain behaviors from others out of my own unawareness. So as Vernon said we should do, I will continue to say to troubles and pain, “Bring ‘em on!”
“Thank you so much. I am grateful to God to have these resources available to me.”
— Lady in Canada via e-mail
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