You Cannot Submit To Truth, Stay With The Pain

by | May 27, 2022 | Personal Insights

From a talk By Vernon Howard

Surrender, submission means that you say to yourself—listen—“Nothing but my hell,”—This is very advanced. You won’t get it but you—“nothing but my pain,” but knowing that it’s there. Now, you’ve arrived at the state of no choice, of no selection of what you are going to do about the pain.

You want that event tomorrow—the expectation, the hope, to make you feel better. You’re in pain. Of course, you are. All expectations, all hopes are in pain. You stick with the pain itself without giving yourself any escape, any alibis, any explanation, no comfort, no hope till there’s nothing but pain. What have you done?

The pain, belonging to the lower levels of the psychic system, of the mind and of the feeling, if this is all there is, if there’s nothing but agony, then there can’t be an opposite which will continue it in another disguise. You’ve destroyed the opposites and when you destroy your escape from the pain, you destroy the pain itself because the pain and your escape—your whole, “Ah, tomorrow it will…”—that is destroyed too. Understand?

When you do this, you have risen above the opposites thinking of the ordinary intellect and risen up above it to consciousness, to awareness where there can’t be any pain at all. That’s how you escape the prison camp, by understanding the working of the prison camp itself. 


  1. I like the example he gives of the prison camp. I will do anything to avoid waking up and realising I am living in a prison camp! I do not want to see the camp guards, I want to dream that they are my friends. Take gloom for example, gloom has been my false friend, my pernicious pal for so long I have forgotten it is there and take it’s worrisome whisperings for my own. Vernon Howard gave us the exercise ‘slow down’ to help start to see the workings of the prison camp. Now I know what I need to do, slow down, and the reluctance, even refusal, to do this that I feel is the prison guards screaming in terror that ‘slow down’ will expose their scam. I will fail and fail many times but even the fear of failure and the voice that tells me to feel bad when I catch myself failing are just two of the phoney guards quaking in their boots at the power of ‘slow down’.

    • Worrisome whisperings are such a good description, Leo!
      Also, I like what you said about the phony guards quaking in their boots at the power of ‘slow down’.
      We need to remember to stay on the right side again. Quietly and calmly.

  2. This whole post makes you realize my mind whom in the past, I have held to the highest is not the highest, in fact it is a mind that turns on itself constantly. Seeing that my mind instructs me to do this or that and then when things go bad it then accuses me for coming up with the idea and tells me how dumb I am. I buy this weird situation over and over again. It’s the same mind and has done what it does best – divid everything up. My beloved mind is not my friend when it comes to psychological matters. It is good for math and planning, etc. but is a total disgrace at leading me daily. The sooner I realize this the sooner I can live a pain free life. This exercise is tough but not as tough as listening to my mind which will turn on me at some point. Thank you Vernon Howard!!

  3. “Nothing but my hell.” How’s that for a completely different approach. My entire life has taken the path of “Anything but my hell.” Trying, but never succeeding in escaping the pain at every turn. Going somewhere, doing something, thinking, eating, pretending, all in an attempt to avoid my pain. Vernon Howard comes along and says do the opposite, do nothing, face the pain and understand what’s really going on. Since there is no self as I’ve imagined it, then there’s no one to escape it. The attempt to escape only recreates the imaginary self which is causing the pain in the first place. Ceasing to escape the pain, cancels the self and the pain together since they were both part of the hoax that I am someone who experiences pain.

    • So what an amazing choice I have…Continue as I always have and drive myself deeper and deeper into my craziness or explore something I know little or anything about. The True adventure lies in making the correct choice. What a wonderful situation to find oneself in. No more blaming anyone for my choices and this leads to taking total responsibility for all reactions which leads me finally to the happiness I told myself all those wrong choices would bring. War, Hatred, Revenge? -Who has time for all that nonsense?

  4. Since there is no self as I’ve imagined, there’s no one to escape it. That is the key!


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