Born and raised in Australia with little formal education, Barry Long’s early career was as a journalist. He became the editor of a Sydney Sunday newspaper, The Truth, (later the Sunday Mirror) and then worked as Press Secretary in the New South Wales Parliament. In his early thirties he became disillusioned with material life and in 1964 he abandoned career, wife and family to meditate in India. There he experienced a spiritual crisis culminating in a mystic death, his "Realisation of Immortality".|
After leaving India he moved to London and worked at first as a sub-editor in Fleet Street. In England he met his second wife, Julia, whom he called his bhagavati, or divine woman, and his inspiration. In 1968 he underwent a second intense spiritual crisis which culminated in a "Transcendental Realisation". From this his knowledge of universal reality was derived.
The partnership with Julia lasted 13 years and Barry nursed her as she died of cancer. By then he was teaching meditation in London and was soon able to support himself by giving seminars. In 1986 he returned to his native Australia with his third wife and young stepson, living at first on Mount Tamborine in Queensland. After their separation and divorce, he eventually moved to Northern New South Wales and there were two more long-term partnerships with the women who supported him in taking his teaching around the world.
In Australia he taught regularly in Sydney and on the Gold Coast of Queensland, and for ten years he also made annual trips back to England. In the early 1990s he travelled extensively to present his seminars The Truth of Life and Love and A Course in Being. He toured North America, teaching in Boston, Boulder, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver. There were annual residential retreats in the UK (in Leicester and Bristol) and often also in The Netherlands (Zeist and Eindhoven). He drew large audiences for seminars in London, Amsterdam, The Hague, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Helsinki and also taught groups in Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand, Jamaica and Russia.
From 1994 an annual residential meeting was organised in Australia, which many of his worldwide audience attended. Most of these Master Sessions were held for two or more weeks at Cabarita Beach near Byron Bay. The last was held in October 2002 at Bond University on the Gold Coast.
Barry Long did not seek a mass audience. He said he spoke only to the individual - even when there were hundreds present. He did not speak to the media, was opposed to the formation of groups meeting in his name and allowed only a small Foundation to organise his work.
He considered himself to be an original teacher outside the established spiritual traditions. He had no spiritual master himself but acknowledged his gratitude to J Krishnamurti in particular. Other teachers whose writings inspired his early spiritual self-enquiry include Gurdjieff, Meher Baba and Sri Aurobindo.
He was a naturally gifted orator and author who wrote what he described as "energetic books" about self-discovery and the spiritual life. He also communicated the same energy of truth in a series of audio books about meditation, consciousness, death, love and karma. His work has been published in more than a dozen languages. Recordings of many of his talks and his seminars are available on CD, DVD, tape and video.
The most popular works include Meditation A Foundation Course and Start Meditating Now. The metaphysical basis of his teachings is in The Origins of Man and the Universe. The insight of his early realisations is in Knowing Yourself. Most of what he had to say about self-discovery and the spiritual path is in a book of short statements:The Way In.
Barry Long became widely known for his teachings on love and sex, especially after his "Making Love Tapes" were circulated in the 1980s among the community of Osho sannyasins. The revised text of these tapes is in Making Love: Sexual Love The Divine Way, which contains the essence of his "original tantra".
All his teachings have the purpose of freeing us from habitual unhappiness. This is the theme of his seminal work Only Fear Dies. Some commentators have seen similarities with the work of Eckhart Tolle, who attended Barry Long’s regular meetings in London when the book was first published (as Ridding Yourself of Unhappiness 1985).
Barry Long died of prostate cancer at the age of 77. His books remain in print and the archive of audio-visual recordings of his talks is kept by The Barry Long Foundation International, which publishes and promotes his teachings from its base in New South Wales.
Barry Long’s Teachings: Key Points
1. He said that he spoke only of Life, Love, Truth, Death and God; and that he lived what he taught.
2. His teachings focus on freeing the individual from unhappiness, which he defined as ‘happy today, unhappy tomorrow’.
3. He attacked the prevailing sexuality of western society and claimed that most of the unhappiness on earth arises because man and woman have forgotten how to love one another.
4. He attacked progressive scientific materialism because of its ignorance of spiritual truth and its avoidance of love and the divine.
5. He taught ‘the way of love, truth and stillness’. This way is to be found through direct personal experience rather than any belief or religious tradition.
6. He advised people to face ‘the truth of life and love’ in the circumstances of daily living, at work, with their partners and children. The way to the truth is ‘to get your life right’.
7. He said he was concerned with the evolution of consciousness on earth and presented his teachings within the bigger picture of a cosmology, which he called ‘The Myth of Life’.
Author Bio :
Clive Tempest worked for Barry Long from 1982-2003 and is editor of Barry Long Books. For more about Barry Long’s life and work go to http://www.barrylong.org. For information in other languages and articles in translation go to http://www.barrylongweb.com.
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