A Brief History of Herman

Dr. Herman Jan Aaftink
Founder — Director of Life Enrichment Centre
Calgary, Alberta. Canada
President of Quimby Foundation

Herman was born and raised in the Netherlands and as a child lived there during WWII under 5 years of Nazi occupation. He witnessed a great deal of human suffering. His life was spared when a large bomb fell in the family back yard but it did not explode. Under these horrendous conditions he began to search for answers to the great questions of life, such as: How can we reconcile the horrors of war with the will of God? He had a solid background in the Protestant faith and knowledge of the Bible, however, traditional answers were not satisfactory so he began researching existentialist authors such as Simone de Beauvoir, Jean–Paul Sartre and Karl Jaspers and also the great ancient philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus.

Dr. Herman J. Aaftink After the war he was one of the first exchange students to go to Germany to seek understanding and reconciliation. Along the way he finished school, started his higher education in accounting and got drafted into the Dutch military service, fortunately not being sent to the Korean War as the 1953 armistice was then signed. Herman was employed in the Dutch Army’s liaison office for NATO in the Hague. On completion of his military service he decided to immigrate to Canada because Canadians had liberated his country and he was looking for new opportunities in a land of freedom and greatness.

After coming to Canada he worked in accounting and foreign exchange at a bank and later as an office and credit manager in retail and wholesale as well as a cost accountant, purchasing agent and comptroller. These jobs took him from Victoria to Montreal and then to Calgary. While doing all this he took the Dale Carnegie course in public speaking and then became a director of the program. It was the Dale Carnegie training that led him to attend a New Thought lecture delivered by Dr. William M. Graham of Portland Oregon who was at the time executive director of the Churches of The Truth. This was a life altering experience. Herman was enrolled in the Ministerial education programs of the United Church of Canada, The Churches of the Truth and the International Association of Religious Science Churches and earned the degrees of Bachelor of Metaphysics and Doctor of Divinity. He served as United Church minister for four years in British Columbia and enjoyed a 50 year friendship with Dr. Max Warne a prominent leader in the United Church.

While in Montreal Herman taught New Thought, especially Thomas Troward courses under the mentorship of the great Dr. Raymond Charles Barker of New York City. Forty–Five years ago he arrived in Calgary to take over leadership of the Church of the Truth later named Centre for Positive Living. He also founded the Life Enrichment Centre and taught courses in the business community as Impact Seminars Ltd. Herman was also active in civic affairs and worked closely with the awesome Ralph Klein, then mayor of Calgary, later Premier of Alberta, on improving social conditions. In addition he worked with the eminent Tommy Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan on his project for universal health care in Canada. Herman initiated the honoring of Canadian Diplomat Ken Taylor for his efforts to release the American hostages in Iran. In 1969 he became active in International New Thought Alliance and started meeting many great people. He worked and lectured with Dr. Ervin & Elva Seale, Dr. Errol Collie, Dr. Stuart Grayson, Dr. Alan Anderson, Dr. Deb Whitehouse, Dr. Joseph Murphy, Dr. Larry Morris, Dr. Donald Curtis, Frank Goble, Dr. William Hornaday, Drs. Gene Emmet & Jeanie Clark, Dr. Carmelita Trowbridge, Dr. Jesse Longe, Dr. Carleton Whitehead, Dr. Laura Holman, Dr. Margaret Stevens, Betty–Jean House, Dr. Catherine Ponder, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, Dr. Robert Winterhalter, Dr. Jack Holland, Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Robert Bitzer, Paul Kikimoto, Roy–Eugene Davis, Sig Paulson, Rev. Dale Batesole, Dr. Emma Smiley, Dr. Jack & Connie Addington, Rev. Ike, Dr. Johnnie Colemon, Dr. Barbara King, Dr. Marcus Bach, Dr. Blaine Mays, Dr. Mimi Ronnie, Dr. Fred Vogt, Dr. Jackie & Rev. Robert Darby, Dr. Buckminster Fuller and many many more.

Although Herman never got to meet Emmet Fox, Ernest Holmes or Joel Goldsmith, as they had already passed away, he researched their lives by interviewing their closest associates which were Herman Wolhorn, Reginald Armor and Lorriane Sinkler, all of whom authored books on these great New Thought teachers. Herman lectured for the Emmet Fox students in New York at the Plaza Hotel and also lectured at Lincoln Centre & Steinway Hall in New York City several times and all across the United States while working with the Internatial New Thought Alliance as the Executive Treasurer and Vice President. While here in Calgary he delivered Sunday lectures and taught many courses eventually making the Fairmont Palliser Hotel his outstanding venue. He also spread his message speaking on radio CHQR Calgary, AM1140 High River and in Honolulu as well as television in Honolulu, Palm Springs — California and video in New York City. Herman introduced Calgarians to many of the great new thought authors and orators through the annual Banff and Lake Louise seminars which he chaired for over 25 years. He was also the founder of a retail book store in Calgary called New Age Books and Arts. The International New Thought Alliance was founded in 1914 by Thomas Troward in London, England. For 100 years it annual conventions were being held in the United States with one exception, in 1985 when the Congress was featured in Calgary at the Palliser Hotel presided over by Herman and co–chaired by Dr. Jackie Darby of Life Enrichment Centre, Edmonton. Herman is widely recognized for his educational and editorial efforts. He worked for many years with Dr. Ervin Seale, the Editor–in–chief of the publishing project of the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby manuscripts as a contributing editor. Quimby is considered the Father of New Thought. Herman is co–founder of the Quimby Foundations in Canada and the United States and directed The Quimby School of Metaphysics. He was also an executive director and lecturer for the academic Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion known as S.S.M.R. Because of these functions and his courses in Canada he was recognized as an educator in this field by the famed Templeton Foundation.

Herman has written many articles and book reviews for the New Thought quarterly. He is the author of two books – Brand New MeThe Art of Authentic Living (in print since 1995) and New Thought a Way of Life (which is out of print) and is working on several others.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is but a brief history and I think you will agree: as a result of all these years of activity we now have many New Thought centres across Canada and Herman has inspired many to become New Thought leaders in Canada. On a personal note, the best thing about Herman is he doesn’t tell you what to think, he shares with you the awareness to think for yourself and find your own philosophy of life, so you become enlightened and empowered. He covers many disciplines from metaphysics, world religions, the Bible and its symbolic interpretation, to the great philosophical ideas. Also: psychological insights of such great thinkers as Carl Jung and Abraham Maslow. In addition he introduces his audience to the latest scientific discoveries that confirm spiritual principles. Self–help is also important, because the message is practical. Herman teaches to believe what you have evidence for. He often says “Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself and your life will improve.” The bottom line is: you’ve got to do your own thinking! In closing, the following quotation from the great philosopher Albert Camus, applies, in my view to Herman:

Don’t Follow me —
I may not lead
Don’t Lead me —
I may not follow
Walk beside me and
Be my friend

Author; Denise Galambos
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
May 4, 2014


Calgary Life
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This friendly invitation is
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from the Calgary

Life Enrichment Centre

Sharing Inspiration and Encouragement with Calgarians for over Forty-Seven Years