The Picture is Not Me

From a talk titled Find Heaven on Earth By Vernon Howard

When you are depressed, that has nothing to do with you at all. So go ahead and let the depression do what it wants to do. When you feel lost…life has no purpose and meaning for you, and you’re in despair and sad and afraid… when you experience those feelings, I want you to know that they are completely unimportant to you. You think they’re important. You do. That’s why you go along with them. Now fight back.

The next time any kind of dark spirit from your dark intellect leaps up and tries to make you sad…you’re all alone in this world, and nobody can really help you, you know you’re on your own, you don’t have any friends, you don’t have anybody close and your finances are bad… when any kind of gloomy thought or feeling comes up to you, I want you to assert firmly and forever: “That strong feeling I am feeling has no importance at all to me.”

What’s the connection with you? There’s no connection. You think there is, from years and years and years of believing the lie.


  1. Lisa on August 9, 2022 at 11:10 am

    We get a sense of self from negative emotions. When we engage in strong feelings of sadness and gloom, we are perpetuating this false self and making it stronger. We must sacrifice these strong negative feelings to live from our true, free nature. It’s hard to do and takes years of practice and asking God for help, but it very well can be done.

    • John on October 1, 2022 at 8:32 pm

      After many years of self-observation, I’ve come to see that negative thoughts (such as fear, loneliness, or anything else negative) are nothing–they are thoughts and nothing else. They are ethereal; they lack any substance whatsoever. The problem comes with rumination. When we wrongly believe these thoughts are “me” and start running them over in our mind, we not only generate a false sense of separate self, these ruminations also trigger physiological responses like fear, anxiety, anguish–real physical responses that we feel. The physical body is only doing its job of responding mechanically to a perceived threat in order to protect itself. When we feel those physical sensations we are really caught in the separate-self illusion. Vernon once said that what we are really doing with spiritual development is learning how to use our minds properly. This I think is a good example of what he was talking about.

  2. Steve on August 9, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    “You think there is, from years and years and years of believing the lie.” It’s a total nightmare listening to your mind for life instructions. There is no separate self to protect, just crazy thoughts directing you to do this or that so you feel safe. That mind is sure it is real and works hard to keep you involved with it, by supplying false solutions one after another, after another. Keeping you distracted and mesmerized with an endless supply of useless solutions. We tell ourselves we will be arriving at inner peace at any moment, but it has been years with no real success. Waking up to this inner scam is like waking up in your bed at night from a terrible nightmare and realizing you were dreaming and that monster that was chasing you -isn’t… ‘Poof” gone. You are free right at this very moment…realize it.

    • John on October 1, 2022 at 8:37 pm

      “It’s a total nightmare listening to your mind for life instructions.” Oh, so true, & so well stated!

  3. Leo on August 14, 2022 at 12:11 am

    I liked the mental picture Vernon gave in this talk about mailing a picture of yourself that goes through adverse weather conditions while you stay safely at home. Likewise I can use the gold Vernon has given us – ‘That strong feeling I am feeling has no importance at all to me’ to remind myself I can stay home from the negative feelings of sadness, gloom and depression, even whilst out in the world and even while I see them passing through me.

  4. Steve on August 16, 2022 at 7:46 am

    Yes Leo, well said. It’s like having wings where we can fly out of wrong inner situations by simply remembering that harmful inner states of mind don’t belong to us and warrant none of our energy or self-absorption. This separation is the 1st step in walking away from the self harming state. We have better things to do with our day than feeling bad. Yippie!

  5. Henry on November 19, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    Hello Leo, along with mailing the picture thru all kinds of adverse conditions and thru deserts and mountains and then coming to an understanding the picture is not me he added another thing.
    He said to write on a piece of paper “the picture is not me”. Write this phrase for ten days. Me. Howard said if you do this there would be something for you down the road. Something akin to a reward but he never like using a word such as reward. Inner work is never to be thought of having rewards. Rewards to a sleeping human being conjures up great many misunderstandings.
    Here is another interesting instruction from Mr. Howard. There was a paper titled “You Do Not Exist”.
    The instruction was to read this, and it was a page in length, he said to read the paper for 30 consecutive days. I do not recall further instructions on said paper.

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