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A key statement of Barry Long’s spiritual teaching and a challenge to anyone prepared to face the truth. How to find enlightenment by ridding yourself of unhappiness in each moment.
I am going to tell you the truth of life on earth. But you are not going to like it.
You are not going to like it because you already know this truth and have chosen to forget it. You are determined not to be reminded. So you are going to make excuses for not hearing it, for avoiding it and for continuing to forget it.
Here it is: You have no right to be unhappy — ever.
But you think you have. So in your ignorance you live intimately and willingly with unhappiness; you have made a partner of it in your life. At any moment you are likely to be depressed, sullen, worried, resentful, frustrated, fretful, moody. No one can rely on you to be without unhappiness for long. It is closer and dearer to you than any man, woman or child in your life. So it regularly comes between you and others, plunging even your cherished relationships into discord and argument. Undeterred, however, you persist in living through your troublesome, spiky emotions, forcing those around you to live through them too, until it suits you to be agreeable and nice again . . . till the next time.
The horror is, you believe that living this way is natural to life on earth. So you tolerate and excuse your sordid, unhappy moods. And by your example you infect the children with this terrible, unnatural disease. While throughout, you think you are lovable or that you deserve to be loved more. You are irresponsible. You dishonour life on earth. Because you love your unhappiness, and not life.
Are you doubting this? Then let us test your integrity.
Next time you are moody, irritable, worried, sulkily silent, impatient or depressed, will you give it up immediately, now, and come to life? Or will you hold on grimly to this ugliness, your unhappiness? Will you defend it? Buckle down with true grit to your right to be unhappy? Fight for it? As perhaps you are inclined to do now? Anything you cling to with such devotion and loyalty you obviously love.
You have conveniently chosen to forget that your unhappiness is yours alone. You alone are responsible for it as your personal contribution to unhappiness on earth. It can be there in you only for as long as you are sufficiently selfish, immature and insensitive to put up with it. No one else can be rid of it for you. No one else wants your unhappiness, only you.
So why are you dishonest with yourself? Why when you are unhappy do you pretend and complain that you don’t want to be unhappy? When it is you all the time doing it, holding on to it?
Now let me remind you of the rest of the truth of life on earth: You have no right to be unhappy, ever – because life is good.
And life is always good now. Let someone press a pillow over your face now, or when you are unhappy, and you will get the point. Be told that you have cancer and a month to live – and watch every problem, every pathetic bit of unhappiness in your life now, vanish miraculously. Instantly you will discover that life is good. And that it is good now, this moment and every moment.
You will realise that life is not in yesterday or tomorrow, not in that past and future dreamland of unhappiness where you breed and hatch your moodiness and resentments.
Whatever day you die and it is always closer than you think – your one wish will be that you had realised the truth of life. Must you be forced to face death to know that life is good?
There is no unhappiness in events. Any unhappiness is in you – in your holding on to the right to be unhappy because things have changed, as they must. No one can escape the events of life. But in the blindness of being unhappy you fail to see that shocking events only exist to shock you into waking up and realising the truth of life. That is the purpose of living – which you have also chosen to forget.
You always have a good excuse to justify your unhappiness. Always someone or something is to blame – but never you, who is the only one to blame. You smoulder angrily because of what someone has done to you. You are bitter or moping because someone has failed you, betrayed you, let you down. Or you are inconsolable, lost in grief, because a lover, a loved one, your job or your money has died or left you.
That is living like most people do. But it is not life. Living that way and ignoring the truth of life has to be traumatic or painful because everything you live for must die, change or pass away – while you keep hoping it won’t. Trying to live with such hopelessness, such pointlessness, is unhappiness.
But you are not just living. You are life. You are life itself, personified on earth. And you are life all the time, behind the incessant ups and downs of the personality – not just some of the time. Life does not change or pass away. Life goes on. Has there ever been a moment when you did not go on, when you did not get through even the direst crisis? Of course not.
Life is good because life is true. And it is every moment – once you surrender the right to be unhappy. Surrender it now and you are free.
© The Barry Long Trust
Author Bio :
Barry Long (1926-2003) was an Australian spiritual teacher and author. This article was first published as a poster and newspaper advertisement in 1985. It was later included in his book Only Fear Dies (Barry Long Books 1994). http://www.barrylongbooks.com/ofd.htm. For more about Barry Long’s life and work see Esoterica Library Article Number 1299
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