This is the biography of Flower A. Newhouse, written by Dr. Stephen Isaac. The story of this Christian mystic is beautifully told, revealing her past incarnations and the unfolding of her mission this lifetime. This book gives a glimpse of an extraordinary initiate and the work she founded at Questhaven Retreat.
I met Flower for the first time when I was ten years old. It was 1935; she was on a speaking tour into the Pacific Northwest and had an engagement in Medford, Oregon, where my family lived. My mother, who had been searching for her true spiritual path, noticed the advertisement in the local newspaper and was prompted to attend the lecture. It was my great good fortune that she took me with her. To this day I can relive that moment which has never dimmed in my memory. The lecture hall was in a downtown building. We were sitting near the front in wooden folding chairs. Suddenly, Flower entered the room. She was dressed in white and walked to a chair, turned and looked at the audience, her face radiant and smiling. I stared at her, scarcely believing my eyes. I was sure I was looking into the eyes of an angel. I remember nothing of what she said that night. My eyes alone stored the deathless impression of this first meeting. I couldn't fathom the significance of the transformation that took place on that occasion, but something changed in my life, and things were never to be the same again. I am told that when I returned home that evening, I said to one of my family, "I saw an angel."
How did this affect my life? Looking back, it was as if I had been asleep and that evening I was awakened by this wondrous being and reminded that it was time to set childish things aside and take up the path once more. I was slow to stir, but the invitation was absolutely irresistible.
I was rather backward in school at this stage of my life, preferring to daydream those hours away rather than settle down to the work at hand. Soon after that fateful meeting, my schoolwork began to improve, and I took an interest in things previously neglected. Though a part of me was still holding back, longing to remain in the sleepy shadows a little longer, gradually the light prevailed and, more and more, I paid heed to every word from Flower that reached our home.
After that, we would see her each year for a lecture visit. These occasions stretched out for a week of meetings in the summertime-called the Medford Hilltop Conclaves, after the name of the ranch where they were held. A small group formed to study the emerging teachings that Flower and her husband, Lawrence, were publishing together. Word came in 1940 that they had at last found the property so long searched for to establish their work-at that time, 440 acres of land with a small stone cottage in the remote hills near Escondido, California. Soon, World War II brought both the need and the opportunity for my family and several others from the Medford area to move to Southern California and join the beginning of Questhaven Retreat.
For myself, it marked the end of occasional reminders of life's purposefulness and the onset of daily endeavor Godward. During the summer of 1943 I was privileged to spend several weeks as a guest in the Questhaven home of Flower and Lawrence, just before entering the U.S. Army. Those memorable days proved to be the most insightful and formative of my life yet. I was to learn what it was like to live in the presence of one whose own consciousness was unbrokenly linked with the Inner Worlds. As the days passed, I listened to her every word and watched her every movement. Her tranquility never fluctuated; her outshining love never lapsed. Nor was there anything about her reminiscent of a façade or of a preoccupation with keeping up appearances. Everything she was flowed from an inward Source unencumbered by guile or ego. The impression this made on me was profound, penetrating to the foundations of my being. After these many years, I can still see her cleaning her kitchen, singing as she alone could sing-joyfully and with a beauty belonging to another world.
It was then I realized that what was hers to do, she did with the same spirit and gladness, whatever it was-housework, caring for her pets, attending Lawrence or her guests, answering letters, preparing a lecture, or speaking to one seeking her counsel. In all these things she was one and the same soul. I was to realize her nature was vastly different from mine, and though she understood the nature of others, hers was true to the kingdom of her origin. She was indeed an angel among us.
From that point onward, I found my life changing and accelerating. I woke up to the fact of both my lower and higher selves. The necessity to conquer the former was much on my mind after that. A few months later, while serving overseas in England, I received a letter from Flower in which she foresaw for me a career in psychology. Nothing could have been further from my mind-one of those "out of the blue" events that characterize the hand of God turning our lives in new directions. It was to be a rich and rewarding journey.
As the new knowledge grew, adding itself upon the foundation of Christian Mysticism laid in place by Flower, I gradually realized something more. It was not enough simply to acquire knowledge. The more I became aware of Flower's reality, the more I understood that, without application, spiritual knowledge was empty. It never impressed her what I knew about something unless she saw how my life was changed because of it-how I lived my life differently as a result. Reincarnation, karma, the Hierarchy, the great initiations and illumination, the kingdom of the angels, the Inner Worlds and, most of all, the reality of the Living Christ-all of these, if they were no more than concepts, missed "the many splendored thing." What counted was that you lived by these truths and that they shaped your destiny. Nothing less sufficed. She was like a gardener whose purpose was to foster growth, and that alone was worthy endeavor.
Though I have failed more times than I can remember, because of her steadfastness, her tireless exampleship, and her fathomless love I have also crossed over thresholds in consciousness, any one of which would make this incarnation marvelously worthwhile.
Of all the lessons I've learned as her pupil, not one matches the value of aspiring toward unbroken spiritual integrity-what the Great Ones call centeredness-keeping true to the Presence of God, a Presence that is everywhere, in everything and everyone, always. She exemplifies this in a manner unequaled in my experience. It is synonymous with agape love, and what makes Flower's expression of this love unforgettable is that it flows out of God's World, not out of man's. It is the love that the Lord Christ taught to his disciples, a love that is altogether pure and truthful.
Finally, there was about Flower such a deep imprinting of her life with our Lord Emmanuel, that it rekindled inklings of remembrance in those around her-perhaps the sense of wonder one would have felt in His presence or the thrill of sharing the revelations of the Sermon on the Mount to friends in a distant village. Altogether, there was about Flower the mysterious and unmistakable recreation, awake and alive, of this One who was the greatest of earth-born souls, the Lord Christ. Of all of her gifts that was her finest.
Dr. Stephen Isaac