Vernon Howard


Vernon Linwood Howard (March 16, 1918 – August 23, 1992) was an American spiritual teacher, author, and philosopher. Howard was born near Haverhill, Massachusetts and began his writing career, in the 1940s, as an author of humor and children’s books. He began speaking on the principles of personal development in the late 1950s while living in southern California. In the 1960s, he began writing books that focused on spiritual and psychological growth. These writings emphasized the importance and practice of self-awareness. By the early 1970s, he had moved to Boulder City, Nevada and had begun teaching spiritual development classes after being contacted by numerous individuals interested in his writings.

Howard drew from what he perceived as being a “common thread” among several different philosophical and spiritual traditions for his insights and teachings. These included: Christian and Eastern mysticism, Gurdjieffian Fourth Way teachings, the Gospels of the New Testament, Jungian psychology, J. Krishnamurti and American Transcendentalism. He taught that there is a way out of suffering, and advocated self-honesty, persistence, the study and application of spiritual principles, and a sincere desire for inner change, according to Psycho-Pictography. He explained that a new and higher inner life is found through releasing the negative conditioned ego, which he described as the “false self”. He asserted that this new life can only be found through awareness, and that the human ego is a barrier to this awareness. Thus, he taught that inner liberation is a ridding process, and that the false self is a fictitious collection of self-images or pictures about who we think we are.

In 1979, Howard founded the non-profit learning center New Life Foundation, where he continued to teach until his death in 1992. The foundation, now located in Pine, Arizona, continues Howard’s legacy via personal classes held by some of the students who studied with Howard, as well as the marketing of his writings and recorded talks. After Howard’s death, several non-profit Foundations were established as a result of his many years of teaching. Mark L Butler, who studied with Howard from 1972 until 1992, established the Eagle Literary Foundation in Eagle, Idaho in 1994. Guy Finley, who studied with him from 1978 until 1992, established the Life of Learning Foundation in Merlin, Oregon in 1993. Both Butler and Finley are authors and teachers continuing with the spiritual principles learned from Howard’s work. Tom Russell also studied twelve years with Vernon Howard and founded the nonprofit SuperWisdom Foundation to bring these principles to the internet through free weekly podcasts. An “Archive of Work by Vernon Howard” has also been made available for viewing online from the estate of one of Vernon Howard’s long time students and New Life Foundation Board member until the time of Vernon’s death, Concetta (Connie) M. Butler.


The following quotes from

Vernon Howard and Richard Rose had very different presentation styles but in certain aspects they were closely aligned:

Reverse path

Direct confrontation of the ego

Emphasis on the seeker making effort, within a group setting

Insistence that total dedication is necessary

Zero tolerance for untruth

Although never really highlighted as such, a large percentage of Vernon Howard’s teaching is framed in terms of the “reverse vector”, i.e., confront the false and let it go, rather than postulate what truth might be and work positively toward it. He does occasionally say that a higher state exists, a state of freedom which he calls the natural Self, but he emphasizes that the higher is reached only by leaving the the lower: “You can’t enter North Carolina without leaving South Carolina.” And then he returns to confronting the lower.

The quotes below illustrate Mr. Howard’s reverse-path and direct-confrontation attitude. They are taken from the New Life daily quote archives linked at the left. They will be updated occasionally.

“Human beings sell their soul by the minute, not by the year, not by the week but by the minute to whatever comes along.”
– From a talk given 9/19/1986

Any unpleasant fact about yourself you can bear to face can be eliminated as a fact about yourself. Any unpleasant fact about yourself you cannot bear to face will continue to be a fact about yourself.
– 700 Inspiring Guides To A New Life, # 207

You don’t have to try anymore to give importance to your life. You’re not going to find it!
– A Treasury of Trueness, # 902

The wise person replaces toys with medicines.
– Treasury of Positive Answers, p. 111

Where did you ever get the notion that the spiritual rules are your enemy? The enemy in you calls them an enemy. The simple action of yielding to rightness when you don’t want to yield will make you a skilled locator of lost parts inside of you.
– SOLVED The Mystery of Life, p. 112

Unpleasant behavior is sick behavior. If another person is unpleasant, realize that your wish for sunlight must have nothing to do with his darkness.
– A Treasury of Trueness, # 476

It is entirely possible for you to live unburdened by one crisis after another.
– Psycho-Pictography, p. 74

I live and feel only my own nature. So my inner location, whatever and wherever it may be, is the only factor that determines whether I’m going to be happy or unhappy, free or chained.
– From a talk given 9/3/1988

Q: You have urged us to see ourselves as we are, not as we like to picture ourselves. What are most people like? A: Like a thermometer. Their feelings rise or fall according to the social atmosphere. Never living from themselves, they remain at the mercy of exterior events. Everything outside tells them how to feel inside. They are slaves to bad news, or an angry look, or an unex- pected change of plans. And, of course, the more a man is influenced by exterior events, the more he will angrily insist that no one tells him what to do. It is not necessary to live like a mindless thermom- eter. Any man can learn to live from himself.”
– The Esoteric Path to a New Life, p. 39

If life is difficult it is simply because the person has not corrected his difficult self.
– 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle, # 1179

Never accept the gloomy attitudes of unhappy people.
– Esoteric Mind Power, p. 63

Q: I am afraid we rarely see ourselves as others see us. A: Ah, yes. The more obnoxious the man the more he is sure that others cannot survive without his charming company.
– Treasury of Positive Answers, # 177

Never anchor yourself to anything, for only in detachment can you feel what you really want to feel.
– Inspire Yourself, p. 145

Q. How can we change unpleasant facts about ourselves? A. By seeing and accepting them as unpleasant facts.
– Pathways to Perfect Living, p. 76

We find the light only after total defeat of our attempts to deceive and outwit it.
– 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle, # 667

Develop sincerity by questioning your sincerity.
– Cosmic Command, # 1101

When a frantic world tries to carry you away, remind yourself that you need not go.
– 40 Inspiring Guides to a New Life

One man is the echo of the next man, both wrongly assuming they are original sources.
– 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle, # 56

It is just as much a mistake to feel unworthy as to feel superior, for both cling to a false sense of self.
– The Power of Esoterics, p. 167

What exactly is suffering? Our pains are caused by our wrong viewpoints toward things. The false self throws up an imaginary picture of how it insists things should be. And every time this ‘should be’ clashes with what actually happens, we react painfully. The problem is not what actually happens, but our demands that something else should happen. Don’t take my word for this; experiment for yourself.
– The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power, p. 110

The low world tells you what to do; the high world tells you what to learn. And when you learn you won’t want to do anything that the world tells you to do any more.
– From a talk given 3/21/1987

Never try to turn failure into success; instead, try to turn your failure into understanding.
– From a talk given 4/3/1987

How much of my life is wrongly determined by external influences?
– Cosmic Command, # 911

Stop giving bothersome people false rewards and they will stop bothering you.
– 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle, # 881

The feeling of self-worth of every person is like an elevator, right? Your feeling of self-value goes up, stays up for a short time, plunges down again. Something favorable comes across your path and the elevator goes up. Up and down. Up and down. Always restless. Never stable, never still. Always making a racket and making movements. This a form of self-betrayal, which you have not as yet detected.
– From a talk given 4/29/1988

Anytime you are unhappy, instantly realize it is a wrong thought which is unhappy, not the essential you.
– Secrets for Higher Success, p. 163

Esoterically, slowing down is rushing forward.
– A Treasury of Trueness, # 1184

There is no danger whatsoever in not knowing your psychological future, in not knowing what will happen to you. The only danger is in insistently predicting what it should be, for sooner or later your desire will smash itself to pieces against the wall of reality. To prevent this, never protect yourself against the next moment.
– Pathways to Perfect Living, p. 132

Have you noticed that you never succeed in convincing yourself that the problem is out there?
– How to Sail Smooth Seas DVD #10, Talk 4

‘There is something wrong inside of me.’ Stop right there. Stop right there until the responsibility is so fixed there is no way you can get out of it. You’ve trapped yourself and that is a marvelous thing to do because when you do that you have taken a certain amount of the right responsibility for facing a problem where it exists, inside yourself.
– How to Sail Smooth Seas DVD #10, Talk 4

When someone tells you what they are, they are telling you what they are not.
– A Treasury of Trueness, # 585

The more a man neglects his own life the more he will be compelled to wrongly involve himself in the lives of others. This accounts for the neurotic reformer, the busybody, the general troublemaker. Being self-deceived he will always credit himself with noble motives. This is a good example of the wrong use of natural energy.
– Treasury of Positive Answers, # 176

The truly practical person is the one who is trying to understand and end his inner warfare.
– 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle, # 204

Realize that ordinary thoughts cannot contact God. This explains why past attempts to reach higher help have failed. Usual thought is filled with egotism, which blocks contact.
– 50 Ways to Get Help from God, # 28

The last thing on earth which should bother you is the sudden failure of your carefully laid plans. Do not take your plans as being you and the disruption of any plan will be as nothing to you. Your plans are not you; they only appear to be so because of that human mistake called identification.
– Esoteric Mind Power, p. 86

Anyone weary of stumbling in the dark has taken the first step toward walking in the Light.
– A Treasury of Trueness, # 1406

A confused mind calls itself a clear mind, and that explains the entire human horror story.
– 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle, # 59

Realize that truth disturbs in order to cure.
– There is a Way Out, p. 44

Knowledge of divine nature is possible only by entering and passing through the dark tunnel of human nature. Any other way leads to self-trickery and self-isolation.
– A Treasury of Trueness, # 411

Try not thinking about happiness and a purposeful life. It is possible to be happy and purposeful, but not with a hypnotized mind.
– The Power of your Supermind, p. 43

All troubled people, which is all people, must if they are going to be delivered from themselves, must make the concession that there is a force, an entity, a power that is higher than their own present nature.
– From a talk given 6/29/1988

The capacity for remembering what you must do is increased by awareness that you cannot remember.
– Cosmic Command, # 576

A sour apple tree deceives only those who admire the blossoms without tasting the fruit.
– 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle, # 633

We should be encouraged, not discouraged, by seeing how much work we have to do on ourselves. It means we are awakening to our actual condition, we are seeing our self-defeating attitudes. People who live in self-images of being positive and wise and pleasant see no need whatever to work on themselves, so they remain in the suffering caused by living in dreamland. The worse we see ourselves to be, the more encouraged we should be, for if you know all about darkness, you also know about dawn.
– Esoteric Mind Power, p. 84

You get more out of a _No_ from life than you do from a _Yes_.
– A Treasury of Trueness, # 1682

Self-centeredness is incapable of learning a lesson from an experience, having only a wish to feel a neurotic thrill.
– Cosmic Command, # 932

One value of self-observation and self-knowledge is to see who you are _not_.
– 1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle, # 609

Everyone wishes to receive kindly treatment, but few people see how harshly they treat themselves by living without esoteric science.
– The Power of Esoterics, p. 119

An outlaw to Truth is an in-law to pain.
– A Treasury of Trueness, # 1635

It is possible for you to sincerely decide to become a new kind of human being without knowing how you are going to do it. Sincerity is independent of methods and means.
– From a talk given 3/25/1987

Make every appearance of discomfort your signal for winning insight into it.
– Cosmic Command, # 543

Write down the word _gullibility_. Look it up in the dictionary. Study it.
– A Treasury of Trueness, # 978

Q: Why do I suffer so much pressure from other people? A: You wrongly give them power over you.
– The Power of your Supermind, p. 102

Honestly face your inner poverty as a means of discovering your inner wealth.
– The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power, p. 166

Admiration is a terrible thing. It is division. The idea stands between you and the good life.
– A Treasury of Trueness, # 993

Truth does not hurt, rather, it is our resistance to its message that causes pain.
– 40 Inspiring Guides to a New Life

Never let other people tell you who you are.
– Cosmic Command, # 1153

Living from the outer to the inner, that means that you have roving eyes and alert ears to look out at the panorama of society and wonder and hope and contrive to try to get something from the outer that will satisfy the inner.
– From a talk given 3/4/1988

Remove the dark cloud of negative thought and the guiding star of understanding brightly appears.
– A Treasury of Trueness, # 1787

Whenever troubled about something, ask yourself, “Exactly who is troubled?” Now, if this troubled person does not truly represent your real nature, could the trouble exist except in wrong thinking? No, it could not. Do not pass by this idea. Stick with it for all you are worth, for it is the secret of secrets.
– Esoteric Mind Power, p. 88

The whole problem is to get an unaware person to see that he is unaware, which is not easy. How can he see what he will not see? But there are ways, and one of them is to listen to the lesson of suffering. But even this lesson is resisted, for people love their pains in preference to reality. This is because they have not as yet tasted freedom. An animal accustomed to the confining comforts of his cage will fear the open spaces, and will snap at whoever tries to force him out.
– Pathways to Perfect Living, p. 138

The Following Quotes From

1500 Ways to Escape the Human Jungle:

Consciously risk the loss of something before losing it, and you will lose the fear of losing it.

Take disturbance as an awakening sign that you misunderstand something you assumed you understood.

To win real rewards, we must firmly decline the deceptive rewards offered by society.

We need not hide anything from Truth, for it never condemns us, but only wishes to help.

You are not responsible for anyone who stubbornly chooses to ruin his own life.

Turning to God, Truth, Reality, simply means to let go, even fearfully at first, of our self-centered ideas.

40 Inspiring Guides to a New Life:

Truth does not hurt, rather, it is our resistance to its message that causes pain.

700 Inspiring Guides to a New Life:

If you hand a man a lemon and tell him that its sourness lies outside the lemon, he will think you are joking. Yet, with a perfectly straight face, that same man will tell you that his sour life is caused by external events. When will man learn that he is the cause of his own feelings for either happiness or anxiety?

The power of fantasy is so strong that people think they are having a good time when they are merely wasting money.

When we associate with others we really associate with ourselves. We like or dislike in others whatever we like or dislike in ourselves.

A Treasury of Trueness:

Mental sickness has set up a system by which it never loses. No matter what you do and no matter what the results are, you will win an ego-victory. That means that when you send your desires out into the world: 1. You will get what you want, or 2. You won’t get what you want. Of you get what you want, the pseudo-nature says, “I have at last been given what I so richly deserve,” and the sickness feels affirmed. If you don’t get what you want, you feel sorry for yourself. You still feel affirmed because you get a feeling, and that’s all that neurosis wants is a feeling.

Worried thought prevents practical thought which could prevent worried thought.

Cosmic Command:

Mental silence is the perfect response to a challenge.

Self-righteousness loves to pounce on an evil which by sheer accident is not its particular evil.

The delusion of having wisdom creates the dangerous delusion of having power, leading to disaster.

Esoteric Encyclopedia of Eternal Knowledge:

A person obsessed with the need to be happy will never be so. The obsession is the obstruction. He does not really seek happiness, rather he seeks for a condition which matches his personal idea regarding the nature of happiness. But happiness is not a mere idea, for one idea will always have competition from another idea. The is why the unhappy man chases for ever from one attraction to another. Happiness will come when he stops chasing, that is, when he stops thinking that an idea about happiness is the same as happiness. A man enjoying the sunshine does so without analysing it.

Ask spiritual questions with intense integrity, and inspiring answers will surely arrive.

Esoteric Mind Power:

The need to impress others causes half the world’s woes. Don’t add to them. Be real, not impressive.

It is not a disaster to discover that you are not the person you assumed you were. To the contrary, it is the beginning of the end of disaster. Experiment: How you feel if you were neither a success or failure in life? How would you feel if you were neither popular nor unwanted?

You are not your cluster of memorized ideas about yourself. Awareness of this dissolves both the cluster and the belief that others can control you. If you have a self-image of being a desirable person, others can control you by flattering it, but can they control if you have no such image?

Inspire Yourself:

Astonishingly, if you will have absolutely nothing to do with suffering, suffering will have nothing to do with you.

Remember that an answer to a difficulty resides at a higher level than our usual thinking, so seek this loftier level.

The only activities of true value are those which aim at inner transformation.

Pathways to Perfect Living:

Human opinions are formed by accident and hardened by repetition. We cling to acquired opinions only because they give the illusion of being wise opinions. This creates division and hostility between people.


Everyone has imaginary ideas of himself as being this or that sort of person. And you can be sure that the images are highly complimentary! But since they are purely imaginary, they are highly sensitive to assault by reality.

What a dawning appears to the man or woman who earnestly inquires, ‘Who is living my life for me?’ Am I really thinking for myself or am I unknowingly projecting acquired ideas which may be all wrong?

Solved:The Mystery of Life:

The less life in a person, the more he will try to live off your life.

The only way you’re going to have a good relationship with anyone is to have a good relationship with yourself.

Whether a person is aware of it or not, he is assaulted constantly by misleading and hostile voices within the mind. They speak both through you and to you. Everyone is their target, but because of their extreme cunning, few people ever detect and dismiss them. So the only problem is a lack of information about these foreign voices. The curing facts are as close as your desire for them. It is extremely important for you to remember the following truth: these hurtful voices are not you, and they do not belong to you, but merely speak through your psychic system. Don’t take them as being your own voices, any more than you take radio voices as being your own. They simply use unaware human beings. Your true nature has nothing to do with them. When finally dismissing these sinister speakers you make room for spiritual health and true life.

The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power:

All heartache is caused by wrong viewpoints.

A perfect method for awakening is to examine the results of our daily actions. If they are harmful, we know we need more consciousness.

Honestly face your inner poverty as a means of discovering your inner wealth.

The most marvelous experience of life is to transform life according to reality, not imagination.

The real prize is never delivered by memory or by imagination, but by something above them.

Constantly ask yourself, ‘What level is above this one?’ This makes things different. Take personal problems for example. Problems are not solved by choosing between this and that. The very need to choose indicates misunderstanding. Problems are solved by outgrowing both this and that.”

The Power of Esoterics:

The power of the present moment is so immense it is capable – when lived in fully – of destroying forever every past mistake and regret.

Try to see what attitudes rule your day, then ask what kind of a day you usually have.

The Power of Your Supermind:

If we choose the easy way, by letting another think for us, we must eventually tread the hard way. If we select the hard way, by insisting upon our own mental integrity, we eventually come to the easy way.

If we will repeatedly suffer the humiliation of admitting that we really do not know what we’re talking about, eventually we will.

No man is really interested in getting what he craves. He is really interested in being at peace with himself, but dosen’t know how.

We burden ourselves with useless ideas which we carelessly take as facts. Instead of letting reality come as a new surprise, we insist that it conform to our habitual concepts, and thus, we spoil everything.

There Is A Way Out:

People fight to preserve their frozen beliefs and then complain of the cold!

Procrastination is illogical from every viewpoint. It is like the man who wanted to cross the stream, so he sat on the bank to wait for all the water to run by.

Why do you permit a mere word to stand in your way? Forget the word “difficult” and take your next step.

Treasury of Positive Answers:

Trying to command life without studying one’s own mind is like trying to play the piano without studying music.

You are not really bothered by what others think of you. You are bothered by what you think of yourself.

Bitterness is the outcome of a wrong mental movement – the attempt to force external events to conform to internal fantasy. The cure is to see fantasy as fantasy, which will reveal it as neither necessary nor rewarding.

Your Power of Natural Knowing:

God himself has made it possible for you to live without the dark place and the pains that rush out and flood out and take you over. Your choice of wanting to see and work is essential to you if you want to get rid of your feeling of emptiness, of futility. You’ve lied to yourself and said, ‘I know what to do to get rid of the pain.’ You’ve never gotten rid of the pain and that’s evidence of self-deceit. You have to stop playing cruel tricks on yourself. So stop. Now.

Vernon Howard’s website:

About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have a number of blog sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: Essays on the Conscious Process: Compiled Poetry and Prosetry: Verses and ramblings on life as it is: Verses and Variations on the Investigation of Mind Nature: Verses on the Play of Consciousness: Poetic Fiction, Fable, Fantabulation: Poems of the Mountain Hermit: Love Poems from The Book of Yes: Autobiographical Fragments, Memories, Stories, and Tall Tales: Ancient and modern spiritual texts, creatively refreshed: Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: Thank You!
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3 Responses to Vernon Howard

  1. Pingback: Австралийская социальная реклама шокировала интернет « Видео Роликки

  2. Brant says:

    Thank you for sharing this page about Vernon Howard and his thoughts. This is rather new for me as I discover that the beliefs that I grew with do not really help me within!

    Liked by 1 person

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