Barry Long's revealing introduction to his book 'To
Man in Truth'
The first thing an ordinary man has to do
to help him realise his spiritual yearnings for God,
truth or enlightenment, is to examine his everyday
life. He has to see where he is wasting his energies
on distractive activities, and start making changes.
Every man has inside his body sufficient energy to
take him through to the realisation of truth or God -
God realisation, as it's called.
For God realisation is the original natural state of
man. But over the thousands of years of increasing
interest in the distractions of the mind and the
world, man has in most cases lost the state and the
keen spiritual perception that goes with it.
Identifying Distracting Habits & Emotions
Within man's daily life there are various habits he
has to identify. He has to really see for himself that
each is a form of distraction. For instance, he may
have made a habit of talking too much, or frequently
phoning his friends to see how they're going. He does
these things because he can't stand the silence that
is natural in him and because he can't stand to be
alone without a constant supply of information. The
habitual reading of newspapers, the regular listening
to the radio or excessive watching of TV, all fall
into this category of wasting valuable energy.
There are also his emotional reactions which disturb
him and others and destroy his spiritual energies.
Anger is one of the most destructive. He has to
gradually withdraw from this emotional habit. He does
this by genuinely seeing that there is no excuse for
anger: he is either trying to do the impossible and
getting angry about it; blaming somebody for upsetting
his life which means he is not responsible for his
life; or he is stubbornly trying to get his own way
when the situation doesn't allow it.
Withdrawing Emotional Dependence
The man has to look very closely at his relationships.
As a beginning, he has to ask himself, `If anyone I
love died or left me, would I be in pain?' If the
answer is `yes' it means he has an emotional
attachment to that person; for it is attachment that
causes pain, not love. He is dependent on the person
and therefore they have the power to hurt or
manipulate him. Such attachments destroy the man's
spiritual power; while they exist in him he can never
really be free. So he has to start withdrawing his
emotional dependence on people close to him. If it is
his mother for instance, and he is terrified of her
dying, he must stop phoning her every day or week when
there is no need.
The Distraction of Work
He must also examine his work and see whether he's a
workaholic and what that is doing to his love-life.
When he complains, `I'm so busy', is he lying to
himself because he's really enjoying the momentum and
excitement - even the problems? Is he aware that he's
on an endless continuity wave that closes him off from
much of the rest of his life?
Work is one of man's main distractions. If he gets too
immersed in it he won't really be able to be with his
partner or children when he gets home. Half of him -
his mind and emotions - will be on the momentum of
work. His attachment will not allow him to leave it
behind: for what you are attached to obviously follows
Also, after what he calls a hard day at the office he
is likely to need a drink or a drug to slow him down
and relax him. Really he should have already slowed
himself down and been relaxed at work instead of
getting emotionally identified with it.
As he gradually withdraws from these many distractions
in his daily life, the man's self is going to play up.
His and everybody's self consists of a block of
resistance to any form of spiritual discipline or self
denial. It is the opposite to the pure intelligence
and goodness of the man. Faced with such intelligent
action his self will feel restless and threatened. His
self loves him to be distracted and doesn't want him
to have the extra spiritual power that is available
when he learns to contain the energies he's been
That power takes the form of a greater authority which
the man realises is coming into him; a greater sense
of being what he is. He will not give in to people's
emotional demands as he used to, either in his
love-life or in the family. He will get a right
aloofness from it all. He won't be dragged into
emotional situations because the people around him
will know that's not his game any more. For instance,
he won't argue with anyone. He'll say, `I don't argue.
I just look to see the fact for myself.' Eventually he
will say, `I don't discuss things. You can ask me a
question and I will reply as best I can, but I'm not
into discussions.' Discussions solve nothing in the
spiritual life; what counts is action.
The man will continue to love the people close to him,
not according to their expectations, but according to
the truth in him. As he does that, his inner authority
increases and he has a greater perception of freedom.
Living this way he sees more clearly through the
distractions of existence in which he's been burying
himself, to something indescribable behind it all. He
starts to have intimations of `the one', the one
unnameable Being behind everything. That's another
name for what I call God, life, love or truth. He will
then have quieter moments, stiller moments of
communion with that in his own being.
The Process of Containment
What I have described is a process of containment to
develop a spiritual consciousness. It is the
troublesome and distracting self that has to be
contained. The self is a hard lump of emotional
cunning that has formed in the subconscious out of all
the disappointments and hurts the person has
experienced since birth, particularly those of a
sexual nature. It is terrified of being seen for what
it is and directs most people's decisions and
reactions from the safety of the dark of their
subconscious. Being an unhappy entity, its influence
spoils good relationships and situations and
inevitably makes choices that are soon regretted.
Under the light of spiritual scrutiny the self squirms
and does everything it can to deflect the attention.
In any situation of self-denial or withdrawal, the
self will be felt as an uncomfortable disturbance or
restlessness in the belly, as everybody has
experienced. It will try to move the man's body when
he is being still; make him go for a walk, read the
paper or turn on the TV. It will pressure him to think
about giving up the process, to feel that he is being
hard done by or even misled. The man must not give in
to this. He's just got to stay with the self and not
try to get rid of it, knowing that by containing it he
is gradually reducing it. The authority he has gained
is the intelligence with which he surrounds his self.
But it must be without thought. And any pain is simply
his self dying. He must not look for overnight
miracles. He must remember that he himself made this
restless old unhappy self and it is only right that
now he should take responsibility for dissolving it.
Honesty in Partnership
One of the most difficult things for man (and woman)
to grasp is how to withdraw from attachment to the
partner. For this he has to introduce truth into the
relationship. Normally people fall in love, make love
and that's pretty well the end of it - until the
misunderstandings and arguments start. When there is
truth in the relationship from the beginning, the
chances of conflict are reduced enormously. It means
putting honesty before the love of the man or woman.
The man must see that if he takes his emotions and
negative reactions into a relationship - as everybody
does - the partnership is going to be problematical.
To avoid that he has to be prepared, with his woman,
to give up his emotions and find out what causes them,
in him and in her.
That requires a pretty intelligent partner, so in this
I'm not just talking to man. Woman has to be honest,
too. If he finds that she's emotional, in order to
introduce truth or God into the situation he has to be
able to say, `What are you emotional about?' And
particularly to ask this very rare question, `What am
I doing to you, or not doing, to make you emotional?
If I'm doing something then I want to change that. I
love you, so I don't want to make you unhappy. We're
together to enjoy being together and if there is
anything I can remove in myself that has come between
us, I will endeavour to do it.' Of course the woman
will say and do the same, if she's a real woman. And
neither must react in the old defensive ways of the
past. So the principle is: honesty before love.
Otherwise you will have a dishonest love no matter how
hard you try.
Honesty in love is the process of detachment. It
brings reality into the partnership, reducing selfish
and irresponsible emotional expressions. Each one
takes responsibility for their own emotions instead of
trying to put their emotions on the other by accusing
or blaming them and saying, `You're making me
emotional'. That's ridiculous. Only my self makes me
A man endeavouring to live the spiritual life has to
practise loving woman. For the essence of woman is God
or love in existence. Every man knows that woman is
what he thinks about most throughout his life - from
boyhood to the time of his death. He might say he
doesn't want woman but he will still think about her.
He will have thoughts about how he needs or wants to
love her; or what he would like to do with her body -
he's always thinking about that. This is true of all
men. It indicates that the truth of love for man must
be in woman. However, the one major obstacle to his
loving her is his sexual lust for her. Now, how does
he get rid of lust?
He gets rid of it by loving her physical body. I said
loving her not sexing her. Love is utterly different
from sex, although love is expressed through the
sexual act. To love a woman is to enjoy her. And I
don't mean just to enjoy her for five minutes in
physical lovemaking. First man has to see he loves
being in the presence of woman for the pure sensation
of that enjoyment - holding her hand, walking with her
- without any thought process. Any thought process
about woman turns to sex. When the physical woman is
in front of him, does he need to think about her? No,
you only think about what's not immediately present.
If he does think or fantasise about her while she's
there, he is lusting, not loving. And if he thinks
about sex with her when she's not present, he's still
The man has to be able to see the beauty of her. If
there wasn't this recognition of her beauty somewhere
inside him, why would he think about her all his life?
He has to see her intrinsic beauty instead of his own
habitual sexual wanting to possess her. He has to
realise that he loves her because she has an
indescribable essence that he, man, does not have. She
is his missing love, the missing expression of God in
Man cannot love a woman truly - as woman needs to be
loved - while his sexuality is rampant. That means
while he excuses his sexuality; while he watches
pornographic movies, reads pornographic magazines;
while he excites himself with photographs of naked
women or parts of her - and any of that sort of
distraction instead of loving a real woman's body; and
while he masturbates which means having sex with
himself. Also, man cannot make love to a woman while
he is fantasising about her or another woman because
that's introducing a phantom woman into the
relationship. Man often does this to keep his self
excited but it means he's not really there, and he's
not loving. He has to give it up.
Something man does habitually is to look at women in
the street. In doing this he is subconsciously feeding
his sexual self. His sexual self actually turns his
head and looks out of his eyes at a woman, often
before his attention has even noticed her. The sexual
self is faster than the mind. There are two ways of
looking at a woman. One is to see her beauty. The
other is through the sexual self which has a phantom
affair with her in a glance. He's got to give up
looking. He's got to go through a stage where he
actually denies himself the right to look at women in
the sense I'm talking about. It may be said that
that's suppression. But it's not, because he knows
what he's doing - he's practising containment.
Suppression is when you feel as though you're doing
something because somebody has made you do it.
Woman of course often dresses to attract man's
attention because she has a sexual self too - due to
our sexual society. Some women go to excess and
exhibit their breasts more to make them more obvious
to man. A man trying to give up his lust has to turn
away and not dwell on such a woman as he would
otherwise have done. If a naked woman walked down the
street, all the men would be gaping for as long as
they could see her. But the man practising love would
say, `I'm not going to do this habitual thing that
most men do in their unconsciousness. I won't look any
longer and indulge my sexual self.'
Being True to One Woman
I teach that it is important for man, as soon as
possible, to stay true to one woman and take her on.
This helps to bring him to his senses and out of his
imaginative sexual mind. The key is that he takes her
on and together they practise honesty first in their
relationship (as I have described) and discover how
far they can go together into the mystery of love. If
a man still wants other women, how can he take on one
woman? He can't. He's not mature enough yet. Wanting
other women, he will be restless and discontented; or
he will dishonestly pretend that all is well and
because it is not, emotional friction will arise
between the couple - a common cause of disharmony in
It is imperative for a woman, once she is impersonally
mature enough, to have her man's total focus. But he
will not be able to give her this while she is still
distracted by her emotions and the lure of the world
of experience. Woman has been so disappointed, so
wounded by man's itinerant and casual loving of her,
that despite what man and woman think, she cannot
yield her love - the essence of her body - to him
completely until she knows that he truly loves her.
When she realises that - it is a deep psychological
subconscious place - she can give her extraordinary
divine energies to him in their lovemaking. These
rarely invoked energies are the God coming forward
through the woman. But while he is half-hearted in his
love he cannot bring her or himself to the
consciousness of this God within her.
The purpose of physical love between man and woman
(who are the dual embodiment of God in existence) is
for her to give him what he can never have on his own
- the glorious female essence that lures him all his
life. This divine energy purifies him immensely of his
restlessness and negativity, as it does her.
The Noble Man
I have described man who truly loves his woman as a
noble man. He is noble because he is willingly dying
to his own notions of love and independence. He is in
the process of realising the consciousness of God or
truth in his woman and in the reality of his own love.
A quality of love or truth shines through him.
Whatever he is called upon to do, there will be
nobility in his action. For instance a noble man can
love his children rightly because he is not attached
to them. He speaks to them from a place of divine or
impersonal love beyond the fluctuations of clinging
and selfish human love. A noble man is he who reveals
the human spirit in love, in looking after the sick,
in caring for the suffering, in sacrificing himself in
wartime or simply not allowing his unhappy emotions to
sully love. It's all a matter of love.
So, the key to man rising within to the wonderful
heights which the spiritual life makes possible is to
first identify the distractions in his daily
activities that are consuming the precious energy he
needs. If he is honest, these are always there to be
seen immediately in front of him.
He must not look to absolutes, to God, to
enlightenment as something to be achieved. If he does
he will overlook the immediate distractions that are
impeding him - and continue on a futile search.
When I was a young man I used to go fishing off the
surf beach of an evening with my first father-in-law.
He was catching all the fish, and good ones too. I
said, `What am I doing wrong?' He said, `You're doing
what most people do. You're throwing out too far.
You're throwing over them. The fish are right in close
at this time of day.'
An extract from 'To Man in Truth'
© The Barry Long Trust