Excerpts with additions from a radio interview with Barry Long by Lois Hunt ­ first aired on Bay FM Radio, Byron Bay Australia, 16 September, 2002

Listen to this interview online at www.spirit-radio.com

Lois: Barry, it's amazing to me what the mind does. I'm honoured to be doing this interview with you. I sat down and contemplated and created the questions from love. Then later the mind says, 'No, it's not good enough'. You know, it's never good enough with the mind.

Barry: Of course it's not, because the mind divides everything. It always looks into the past, compares it with what is now, invents the future, then looks into the future and tries to reproduce the good parts of the past. It's a most unreliable instrument except perhaps for remembering where you left your car keys. Sometimes you can even forget where your car is. The mind reflects on the memory, on past experience after the actual event. So there's much room for error. Reflection is the problem in everybody's life. People love to reflect, to think ­ but thinking has a price. It causes unhappiness, depression, confusion and uncertainty. Its other name is worry.

Lois: Throughout the years you've certainly taught the gift of living in the now, being now. Were you preparing your students for the time when humanity would experience the end of the world as we know it? Today we are faced with obvious corruption, and dissolution of everything we believe in on a global scale: in religion, science, medicine, government leaders, hospitals, schools, government welfare systems, and even the superannuation funds. How do we live now? We have nothing that we can depend on.

Barry: If you are dependent on anything, you are attached to it. If you are attached to anything ­ a lover, your mother, your father, or your job ­ you're going to suffer pain because they will fail you in one way or another. If you are not attached and you have what I call love ­ not human love, because human love is based on attachment and dependence, but a love that is the absence of choice, wanting, hoping, wishing; if you have that love which is equilibrium, no ups, no downs ­ then you're free. That's a very, very rare state as you probably know.

Lois: So how do we even begin to enter that state?

Barry: First of all don't use the word 'we'. Use the word 'I' because that puts the responsibility where it belongs. Politicians, scientists, radio shows and media commentators all use 'we': 'Why are we here?' But the only reality is 'I'. I am responsible for my life. I am responsible for what I am saying now. I am responsible for any consequences. No one else is to blame for my life. It is my life, meaning I have done it. That's where the responsibility lies. But most of us like to put it on the government, on something else.

It is true that we live in an objective world, objectified by the mind and the senses so that everything appears as an object outside us. If the objectified world has to end, does it mean that the end of the world is your own death? When you die, the world disappears. So the whole idea of an objectified existence is going to fail me if I believe in it. But as I face the fact that my body is transient, that all my thoughts and emotions are transient, I become more detached ­ until I am not bothered about the death of the body. I'm not bothered about leaving, for instance, this beautiful scene out your window, this wonderful panorama of sea. It's beautiful but it's the beauty that traps everybody and attaches them to existence. It is all going to disappear with the brain and senses.

Lois: Even the beauty of nature is going to disappear. Does it go into us?

Barry: No, it doesn't go into us. We are it. The nature we see came out of us. Nature is our nature that by the way of things was brought into existence as a companion for man and woman in their objectified state. They weren't always objectified. Once, man and woman were a psychic principle. That means there wasn't any form. Before that, it was oneness with what I call God, the whole, the inexplicable one, that which can be roughly identified as 'spirit'.

There's been a progression over the millennia of man and woman being objectified until eventually we appeared as a body with senses. The senses relate only to the objectified existence. The senses have no knowledge at all of the inner psychic state. They're not supposed to. They are what create our world. But nature, by the way of the great intelligence behind existence, accompanies us. That's why we love nature so much. When anyone is under stress and strain they just want to walk in nature. 'I want to relax in the sea. I want to walk in the forest. I don't want all these problems. I just want to be with the sky, the rain or whatever is natural and be free.'

Why wouldn't we love the sky and all that's natural? We brought them to remind us of another place within us, where they originate. People unfortunately get attached to nature. It is one thing to love something ­ and you can love the objectified nature ­ but if you become attached to it you won't want to die. Not that anyone wants to die. I'm not saying you should want to die. But you will resist the actual fact of dying, and make the transition more difficult than perhaps it need be.

Lois: You once said that the separation of the world is required for spirit to enter. Is this what's happening now to humanity?

Barry: Oh, yes. Humanity is attached to what I just described: not just nature, but to human nature. Now nature is the purity which is in every plant and grass and animal and sea and sky and rain. That is pure. It doesn't matter what it does, what damage it does to us or to what we own, it is pure. It has no intention in it. It is just what it is.

Because we are so attached to the objective world, we have created another nature: human nature. Human nature is the devil to us all. It is behind our fluctuating emotions. Today we love, tomorrow we're not so sure. What we loved once fails us. We are depressed or we believe in things. It is human nature to believe in things.

One of the things that was evident on September 11 was that everyone believed everything was alright. The greatest error you can make is to believe everything is alright, particularly in a loving relationship. Everything is not alright. You don't have to be pessimistic about it, but the whole of living is an exercise in being intelligent, being vigilant. This is called 'consciousness' by spiritual people. But 'conscious' to me implies reflection on the past. If you are conscious, you are reflective. If you are intelligent, you are not reflective. The world doesn't know that.

Reflection is to reflect on your memory, to reflect on your emotions, to reflect on where your lover is, on what he's doing, on how your mother and father are. All that is reflection.

If you want to know how your mother and father are, the intelligent thing to do is to get on the phone and get it straight from the horse's mouth. 'Hi, how are you, Mum?' That's using the objectified existence rightly.

Or if your children are out late and you can't sleep because you're worried about them, it's best to hop in the car and go see if you can find them. That's a pretty big exercise so probably best that you stop worrying and see what you can do practically. If there's nothing practical you can do, then shut up.

Be practical. Most people do not live a practical life unless they're building a house. It is the body that builds the house. The mind's still going on reflecting on the past: what the lover's doing at home. And of course you hit your finger with a hammer if you start thinking too much. But it's the body that builds the house.

Lois: Are you saying this intelligence is about looking now and always being true to the situation?

Barry: Yes. That's something that people find hard to do: to be true to the situation. What they've learned from their parents, teachers and everyone around them is to be true to their self and their emotions. Now if you're true to your own emotions, which are your feelings, then you're not going to be true to the situation. You won't be intelligent enough. Your emotions are not intelligent: they're a store-up of the highs and lows you've experienced. |

The situation is the only true thing we have because the situation doesn't vary. It's like nature: a situation is what it is.

But most people, due to the human condition, are true to their self ­ true to their feelings, their thoughts, their beliefs. If you're true to your beliefs you're going to suffer because your beliefs are going to fail you or let you down or show you that they have flaws in them.

Lois: So if I have no beliefs what do I have left? What is there?

Barry: Do I have to believe that I am speaking to you? Do I have to believe that I am in this room? Do I have to believe that I'm sitting here? No. I'm sitting here. I'm speaking and I'm in this room. Clearly demonstrable. No belief. That is the truth but it is very hard for people to live like that because they've got into the habit of the human condition: talking about the past, thinking about the past, wondering about the future which is only a reproduction of the past. So they can't be now. What I've just said is a description of now. I don't believe in anything. If I did, I would be corrupt. I wouldn't be able to speak with you. I would have some intention in me, some unconscious motivation.

Lois: A man recently told me, 'I'm so angry that my partner died last year. I miss her so much. I miss holding her, the smell of her. I don't want to live without her. How do I let go of this grief?'

Barry: Be practical. What else can I say? Everybody has been dying since time began. But we get angry because someone we love dies. That's ridiculous. I do understand the human grief involved but there doesn't have to be anger. What you need is understanding of what life is. Life here is death, living and death. Being born to die. That is the fact of it here. It doesn't matter how optimistic you want to be.

Someone once said: 'A pessimist is an optimist with experience'. Experience will teach you that you're going to die and everybody that you love is going to die, even your pet dog.

I do understand the grief associated with the loved one dying because I have experienced that very, very closely ­ but you can't be angry about it once you accept that everything must die.

Some of us are killed at twenty, perhaps in a car accident or on a motorbike. Someone who's too young to die, as they say. You're always too young to die, too valuable, too something or other to die, but you die. As far as men and women are concerned, it's a lottery how long you live. But that's alright. That's how it is here. There are no guarantees for anybody.

You can't really get angry about what is ­ the weather for instance ­ because you have no control over it. It's what it is.

The love of a loved one is beyond question but most people become attached when they love. They then become dependent. If you become dependent on somebody you love you naturally want them to go on living. This is very dangerous because it might be that they have to die and one of the purposes behind such a death is to bring the grieving one to their senses ­ for them to realise that death and destruction are here to break attachment to the objective life so that we give up our old habitual way of seeing things. For example, has everything been said to the loved ones so that should they die suddenly there is no remorse?

We don't give up loving; we can't, because our very nature is love. But the human condition or the human way is to love with attachment and that is a prescription for future unhappiness. Whereas if you just love and are intelligent, you know what life's about because you've been through it. You were born. You've heard of thousands and thousands of deaths and people dying every day from earthquakes etc. It doesn't really mean much to us. We may say, 'Oh, isn't that a pity?' but we don't see that life here in any form is cheap, demonstrated every day by life itself. But life itself is not cheap. Life is only inside. Life is wonderful. It's not outside us. Outside us are only forms of life and that includes our own body. Life inside us is our love ­ because what do we love most? We love life.

Without the life in it, this body would not be able to perform. It would fall down like a pack of cards. But life goes on ­ as we do, because we are life.

As far as I see, it is the purpose of existence to bring us to a state where we, I, realise life. What we realise most of the time is living, knowing instead of knowledge. To realise life, which is immortality, is a knowledge ­ self-knowledge. Knowledge is not knowing, meaning it can't be remembered. The whole world knows: the scientist knows the result of his experiments; the doctor knows from his experience with cancer patients what is possibly best to do next. But none of that is knowledge. Knowing relates to sense perception, the objectified existence, whereas knowledge relates to life, the wonder within and the great revelation of immediacy of truth which is now. That comes from life, not from knowing.

Knowing will drive you mad, make you doubt, make you fear. 'What next? What'll happen next?' If you just got a promotion and are celebrating, I say be very, very careful. It was only to give you the opportunity to be more intelligent because what goes up has to come down.

Knowledge, as I've said, is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge accrues from many, many previous occurrences. It is not accessible to the conscious mind. Knowing, however, accumulates from this current living life and doesn't survive death of the body as self-knowledge does.

Lois: Are you saying that knowing comes from the movement of the mind and knowledge comes from the stillness of the mind?

Barry: Yes. Knowledge only comes when the mind is neutralised in its constant activities. And that's the purpose of all meditation. The body is intelligent in its own right, a wonderful natural intelligence. But the mind and emotions make the body unstill. So the purpose of meditation is to return to the natural stillness of the body.

In our love lives we are continuously endeavouring to rise above the separation of having physical bodies which can never really unite. It is the intelligence alone in the physical bodies that can realise union. Everybody's trying through love to be one with the other body. But then the other body's going to die or depart or love another. Very, very dangerous because it means suffering.
Where love is, there's no suffering because it doesn't have attachment. So the question is, 'Can I love my children without attachment? Can I love my lover without attachment ­ or my husband or my partner?' That is the question for everyone. Surely to love them is divine. To be attached is devilish.

Lois: You once said that to rid yourself of attachment you have to have a higher love than human love. How do we come to this higher love?

Barry: Yes. That is true. A higher love is to love the mystery of life. There's also the mystery of living if you take it as a whole. But then you can't just look at the mystery of the objective existence without also considering the mystery of the one who's seeing it. The two together make a whole.

The objective existence is the product of my senses and my senses are there because of the life in the body. Therefore the only way to love the mystery, the mystery of it all, is to be able to encompass the inner and the outer at the same time. To do that requires a considerable speed of intelligence which the human condition with all its anxieties doesn't allow.

Gratitude is a sure way to speed up the intelligence ­ being grateful for what you have now. Everyone has something to be grateful for ­ even if it's only that you can breathe freely. If you've ever been in a place where you couldn't breathe freely, you would know what it's like. We take so many things like breathing for granted.

We can be grateful for the nature that we have around us. We can be grateful for so many things. Practise saying, 'Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.' for what you see you have in the moment. Eventually you'll be grateful for the whole of life now. And that to me is God.

Someone could say 'Well, what if I've lost my dearest love or lover or child, how can I be grateful?' I don't wish to insult anyone, but I'd say first of all, you've got to be more intelligent than the bulk of humanity by understanding that death is the most natural thing in the world. And because it is the most natural thing in the world, it has to have an integrity to it, a meaning to it which is available to us all, every one of us. If only, instead of mourning the dead as we do, we examine with those who are close to us before they die, 'What is this death?'

Eventually you will find that death is life. But we think that death is just the finish and that's not true. That's unintelligent. It means that there's not enough self-knowledge, not enough love, not enough speed of intelligence to have learnt from what's been happening in the world since time began and in our own lives.

We hear that someone died, some movie star and we are briefly sorry. But what's behind this death of everybody? Do I really know that everything and everyone that I love is going to die? Or that I might die before them? What does death mean?

We believe in the resurrection, or we believe the houris, the beautiful maidens of Islam, will be there . . . all these beliefs. There's not enough intelligence in it, not enough 'I am responsible'. Jesus is not responsible for my life. God, the whole, whom Jesus loved, is responsible for my life. It then follows that I am responsible for my life. And in the deepest part of me I can see that nobody else is responsible for my life. I am.

But if I haven't looked sufficiently at this question of death, if I haven't looked at the mystery of life which is the mystery of death and have just written it off ­ then I will mourn or be sad.

I understand the sadness because we are human creatures and there's a certain attachment that occurs in love of anything outside of us. But that doesn't go on for long. Like our cows. You take the calf from them and they're unhappy for 48 hours. They're unhappy because they have a form of attachment which all objective creatures have. But they soon get over it because they can't think. They can't reflect on the past like us. Reflection is a devilish thing. If we understood death we would not be sorrowful when somebody dies, although I understand that it requires a deep state of knowledge not to be sad if the one closest to you dies. But it still is possible.

Lois: Your students are now facing their greatest attachment as you face death now Barry. What truth about life are you revealing to your students?

Barry: Only what I have ever revealed to them. I am going to die like everybody is going to die. It is no good getting attached to me. There is nothing about Barry Long to be attached to. The only thing that you can love about Barry Long is the truth that comes through Barry Long. You may hear the truth or you may not. If you hear it, you can love it. That's what brings people to Barry Long.

But it is not Barry Long's truth, although I am responsible and there is no distinction here as far as I am concerned between Barry Long and what he says. Barry Long, my life and the truth are one because I am responsible for them.

However I am not responsible for the fact that I am going to die. That is due to the great mystery I speak of. You can only love the mystery. You can't work it out like the scientist is trying to do and like the geneticists are trying to do. Not in its entirety, which is the objective and the subjective. If you can solve the mystery it is no longer a mystery and then you'll be looking for something else to love.

This mystery of life and death, the great cycle of life and death, can't be worked out. When you love it sufficiently it reveals its truth to you. Like anything, when you truly love someone, they reveal their inner truth to you wordlessly. And so it works with the mystery. I never want to solve the mystery of life and death. What I have realised are parts of the mystery, but that only makes the total mystery more wonderful.

Lois: Does life continue on through death?

Barry: Yes. I use the illustration again that life is here now. It is motivating our bodies. It animates our bodies. If we go to the morgue or see a dead body, it will be obvious that life the sustainer has withdrawn.

Does life go on? Life has been in this body and your body since it was born or it couldn't have been born. Life doesn't go anywhere. It always is. It is bodies that come and go, but not life.

Lois: If these were your last words, Barry, what would you say to those who are willing to listen . . . what final pearl of wisdom?

Barry: These are my last words. Whatever I am saying now are my last words, because every moment is new. These words, or the ability to speak these words, might not be here next moment.

My last words have already been said to those who love me, to those who hear the truth I speak. I have said all that I have to say. I don't have to bother about not having loved enough. I have loved all enough. I have spoken the truth as best I can to all the people who come to me around the world. I have done all that I can. I don't think, 'Oh, I should have done this' or 'I shouldn't have done that', because when I speak the truth, my words every moment are my last.

I have a great bank of books and tapes and videos with all sorts of approaches to what I am speaking about here. They are in the past. But if someone hears the truth in my words ­ and lives or practises what they've realised ­ then that truth lives on in them and is no longer in the past.

Lois: Speaking of attachment, the saying in the Bible comes to mind: 'To be in the world but not of the world'. Is it to be in the world but not be attached to it?

Barry: Yes, indeed. To be in the world but not of it. This is precisely a description of every one of us. We are indeed in the world of our senses, in our body brains, all of us. But what we have neglected to do is go beyond the body brain into the place of stillness and silence which is the deep subjective ­ the opposite to the objective existence. That is never ending.

If I have spoken any knowledge today, it comes from the realisations of that which is here of the subjective mystery of reality, out of which every thing comes. The more we give up being anxiously concerned about things, the more we realise that it is all determined by something beyond our control. But the bad things, the things that really hurt us, are due to our own selfish decisions, our own attempts to manipulate what is.

We are always endeavouring to manipulate what is ­ and that comes back on us because it can't be done. All we get back is the result of our manipulation, which is worry, problems, difficulties.

But then, as life is in all of us, this indispensable, immortal life comes forward into the objectivity and so we have those wonderful days when our problems seem to leave us and we are what we call free. Life has then manifested itself through the ever moving mind and emotions and has neutralised them temporarily. We then know, 'Oh life is great, life is good.'

But it's not long before we start thinking again because we haven't dealt with our emotional self which powers the mind and makes it think and believe in things. So life then is obscured. It doesn't mean that life is not there. Life is always there.

Lois: So is it a good way to give up attachment by 'willing' to be nobody, to be nothing?

Barry: No, I don't think you can 'will' to be nothing. To be what I call being nothing is absence. Absence is the result of giving up your attachments. It can't be intellectually imagined. It is a state. Absence is a state not a condition so it is not accessible to any intellectual or emotional decision to be this or that. It is the result of having seen what causes me to be unhappy in this existence and to attend to that. I have to examine my living life. Eventually I will see that the decisions and choices I keep making are what have made me fundamentally unhappy.

There is no choice or decision in the state of absence: if it is the state of absence, there is nothing there. Not the other way around, trying to be nothing.

Lois: So in the state of absence do we ever take action?

Barry: Action is the very nature of existence. Everything just happens. Your body will move. It doesn't matter how much you decide that you are going to sit here and do nothing, you will have to get up and do something. Events will make you move. You will speak which is action, you will move your hand, you will scratch or do something because it is all action here.

Absence ­ the divine nothing ­ is the great mystery that motivates everything into movement or motion, the nothing into the something. But the human mind gets attached to how to do this, get this. The human mind is concerned with getting; it is not concerned with giving because giving is a natural state of love.

You can't give because you decide to give. You can of course and people do it all the time. They send Christmas cards or they give presents. That is giving in the human condition, but true giving can't be a decision.

All you can do is give up what gets in the way of your absence. And that is your self ­ what you think, what you believe in, what you want, what you don't want, your hopes and wishes. They all have to go because they are part of what makes us unhappy. When you get what you wished for that's good; but if you celebrate, you are going to have disappointment because you have to fail. Everybody has to fail. Everybody has success in some way or other, and everybody has to fail. But in absence there is no failure because there is no success. There is just what is.

Barry Long

© The Barry Long Trust

Listen to this interview online at www.spirit-radio.com