“We may see each other as being individual in physical appearance and as being different in human personality, but we do not see others as being different in spiritual awareness. We are One.”
The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power by Vernon Howard (New Life Foundation, 2015, originally published in 1967). This choice deviates from my usual book selection in that the author is neither a mystic nor writing about a known mystic. Rereading this classic, though, was connecting to an old friend. Many years ago, I taped “Ways to Gain New Strength” (see below) to my computer stand. When I replaced the book that had disappeared in one of my many moves, I was amazed to see the list was only one small part of the total message. The volume itself is a treasure of ideas I have read before but needed to hear again. Perhaps the same is true for you.
I recommend this as a beginning primer into the metaphysical world, and I also recommend it as a refresher read. Before I ever thought of my mystic journey, Vernon Howard was presenting many of the necessary components. He explains his ideas simply and clearly. I quote his words for most of this review.
Don’t be overwhelmed with the information. Simply choose the ideas or statements in this article that resonate most strongly with you. Spend time with those that seem most significant. Often the ones we are most resistant to are the ideas we most need to address. “Observe your resistance.”
Ways to Gain New Strength
- See the attractiveness of the higher life.
- Don’t accept unhappiness as necessary.
- Increase your self-awareness.
- Abandon self-defeating attitudes.
- Insist upon strict self-honesty.
- Try to understand your desires.
- Make simple and persistent efforts.
- Refuse to sacrifice your integrity to anyone.
- No longer take excitement as happiness.
- Stop wasting energy in negative emotions.
- Make self-change your aim in life.
- Want the Truth more than anything else.
On your mystic/spiritual path, “you may have to work alone a good part of the time. You may have no one with whom you can discuss things. Never mind. Even that is part of your adventure. Just keep working as best as you can.”
“The greatest love you could ever offer to another is to so transform your inner life that others are attracted to your genuine example of goodness.”
“We cannot recognize a virtue in another person that we do not possess in ourselves. It takes a truly loving and patient person to recognize those virtues in another.”
“All worry — and there are no exceptions — all worry springs from false notions about ourselves…Fear is totally unnecessary.”
“We are exactly where we have chosen to be. But we belong where our original nature longs to be.” On some level, we know exactly where that is.
“Your happiness does not depend on what they think of you…Your happiness depends on what you think of yourself.”
“You must stop living so timidly, from fixed fears of what others will think of you and of what you will think of yourself.”
“You have nothing to do. You have everything to be…Choose to be a new person.”
“Demanding things from the exterior world is an endlessly agonizing process…Turn all demands inward. Demand your own power.”
“Be good-humored toward everything that happens to you.”
“One minute of experiencing the free flow of life for yourself is worth a thousand hours with books and lectures.”
“Think for yourself always.”
“You have the power to remain perfectly calm in every difficult and unexpected event in life…Start with this: When faced with a difficulty, do not ask, ‘What should I do?’ but rather, ‘What must I understand?’”
“Why are we afraid of others? Because we want something from them. The desire can be almost anything – – companionship, approval, sex, security. The mistake is this: Not having found the true self which is free from compulsive desires, we seek gratification from people. This creates fear that we won’t get what we want, or anxiety that the other person will make us pay dearly for it.”
“The Mystic Path has no moral judgments. We don’t consider a five-year old child inferior to a child of ten. We simply realize that everyone is on a different level of insight and awareness.”
Perhaps after reading Howard’s words, you might want to make your own list from his ideas. Then use that list as a frequent reminder in your quest for personal, inner growth.
“Can you be without noise and stimulation and not be afraid? Can you be inwardly still, without demanding a distraction from the strange stillness? If so, the fearsome silence turns magically into the peaceful harbor you have been seeking all of your life.”