You cannot see straight if you are emotional. That means, in any situation where you’ve got a feeling about a person or an event – a reaction – you cannot look straight. Your intelligence becomes degraded, corrupted by your emotional condition.

How often do you really think you’re seeing things straight? Emotions always go in circles. So when you’re emotional and you try to look straight, you’re really going round and round and back on your self. It takes great straightness – which means great intelligence, great presence – to be able to go through all the emotion which surrounds us, arising from all the unhappiness in this world; our own emotion and the collective ignorance of the entire society. You’ve got to be able to go straight through that and see the fact.

The fact is not an interpretation. If you are emotional, you’re interpreting events. That’s what makes you emotional. You have to see the fact in the event. That reveals what is true in the situation.

You’ve got to understand that if you’re emotional in any way whatever, you are not seeing straight; and if you think you’ve really seen something, you are deluded. You’re going round and round in circles – like society; dishonest, unhappy, depressed one day, joyous and excited the next – instead of being straight now and able to see through all the rubbish of emotions and unhappiness.

As I say, it takes enormous presence to really see through to the fact. The more I am able to practise seeing the fact, by giving up my emotional interpretation of things, the more I can see the fact in my everyday life, in every moment of my life. And then it is possible to see the truth.

You cannot see the truth until you see the fact. That’s the law. That’s how it is. People come and want to get the truth from me. They go to different masters hoping to get the truth, when all they get is a change of mind, which they think is the truth. A change of mind is so refreshing, but does it endure? Any change of mind that occurs is to the mind’s satisfaction. But a change that comes from the truth is absolutely forever.

You have a change of mind, but do you go back to thinking about the good old days, about the love you made then and how good it was, compared to the love you’re making now? That’s all interpretation, expectation and ignorance. You cannot compare any moment now with a moment before. I know you think you can – the whole human race thinks you can – but it’s not the truth.

Barry Long

© The Barry Long Trust 2009

Edited from a talk at Bond University 25 March 2000