MAN'S SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE
Barry Long's revealing introduction to his book 'To Man in Truth'
first thing an ordinary man has to do
man has inside his body sufficient energy to take him through
to the realisation of truth or God - God realisation, as
Identifying Distracting Habits & Emotions
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 doesnt allow it.
The Distraction of Work
Work is one of mans main distractions. If he gets too immersed in it he wont 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 you.
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.
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 peoples 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 wont be dragged into emotional situations because the people around him will know thats not his game any more. For instance, he wont argue with anyone. Hell say, I dont argue. I just look to see the fact for myself. Eventually he will say, I dont discuss things. You can ask me a question and I will reply as best I can, but Im 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 hes been burying himself, to something indescribable behind it all. He starts to have intimations of the one, the one unnameable Being behind everything. Thats 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
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 mans 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. Hes 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
That requires a pretty intelligent partner, so in this Im not just talking to man. Woman has to be honest, too. If he finds that shes 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 Im doing something then I want to change that. I love you, so I dont want to make you unhappy. Were 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 shes 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, Youre making me emotional. Thats ridiculous. Only my self makes me emotional.
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 dont 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 whats not immediately present. If he does think or fantasise about her while shes there, he is lusting, not loving. And if he thinks about sex with her when shes not present, hes still lusting.
The man has to be able to see the beauty of her. If there wasnt 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 his existence.
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. Hes got to give up looking. Hes got to go through a stage where he actually denies himself the right to look at women in the sense Im talking about. It may be said that thats suppression. But its not, because he knows what hes doing - hes practising containment. Suppression is when you feel as though youre doing something because somebody has made you do it.
Woman of course often dresses to attract mans 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, Im not going to do this habitual thing that most men do in their unconsciousness. I wont look any longer and indulge my sexual self.
Being True to One Woman
It is imperative for a woman, once she is impersonally mature enough, to have her mans 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 mans 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
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
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, Youre doing what most people do. Youre throwing out too far. Youre 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