The Con Is On

The first time I ever heard Vernon Howard speak, he referred to a man running a shell game. And he said this, “Never blame the con man.” And I had no real idea what he meant except anything that he said was designed to shake one to their very core. I was trembling any time I sat before him. And I never had anything close to a personal relation with him. He was far above that.

When my son and I were having a difficult time, I flew out to hear him speak. Before the meeting I told a friend what was going on. And after the talk she came up to me and said softly, “He gave that talk for you.” It was blistering, believe me. As I recall, he spoke about a prisoner taunting a little girl when he was allowed out in the yard for exercise. But once back in his cell, he felt the inner penalty of his misbehavior.

At the end of the talk, he told of a military leader who was giving orders and an underling tried to argue with him. He barked, “I have come to deliver the message, not discuss it!” Another directive to me that left me feeling so guilty, so puzzled. But true words hit their mark sooner or later.

I was to fall down and be conned again, say cruel things again, but I would listen to that talk on tape over and over. The wisdom in it remains. There is something in us that is always conning and being conned. Its name is ego. There are parts of us that destroy innocence and that too is called ego. The true battle has already been won. It takes a teacher willing to deliver the message without getting personally involved in the outcome. They are rare and they come from love.

I always suspect someone delivering messages of love and hope because they are allowing the ego to run riot. There is love and hope but it isn’t touchy-feely. I have survived the deaths of half my nuclear family. I need tough teachings to get me through the illusion. The dreamer cannot rescue himself from the dream. Vernon Howard knew that. He used whatever means he chose to deliver the message. And he never discussed it. He was it.

Vicki Woodyard

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