An Introduction To Barry Long
"Tantric Master of the West"
"Don't fall in love.
Be in love."
- Barry Long
While your rugged, dashing, and huggable LiveReal Agents have been valiantly exploring the cultural mine-field of modern sexuality, we have encountered one particular figure who really, really stands apart from the crowd: a man named Barry Long.
Barry Long is a character. And the more we investigate him, the more questions are raised come up: Who was this guy? Is he for real? What the heck was he really saying?
We can't say we've gotten to the bottom of it yet...but for our faithful fans and loyal supporters - well, we're going to keep digging away.
Here's a sketch of what we've found so far.
In the midst of the vast and encompassing research expeditions of the LiveReal exploratory committee (umm, that's us) - we encountered an enigmatic, controversial, and seriously interesting Australian named Barry Long.
No doubt, some people strongly resonate with Barry Long, and some disagree with him. This, of course, makes us think he must be doing something right.At the very least, he is talking about answers to questions that most psychologists or other thinkers haven't even asked yet, and then makes some pretty interesting points.
His message in a nutshell:
Long is depicted as a "Tantric Master of the West." Meaning, he says he knows the real score (on real Tantra, not the popular kind), inside and out, about life, sexuality, and spirituality, first-hand.
As LiveReal custom, we do not endorse any individual or system of thought unreservedly, and as usual with any non-ordinary thinker, there are millions of ways for his message to be taken out of context, abused, or misunderstood. Still, so far, we think his overall message is well, pretty interesting.
Was he a genius ahead of his time?
A seer and sage?
A ranting madman?
Here are a few of his thoughts. See for yourself.
(Editor's Notes: All quotes below are from Barry Long)
First of all, Long's thought addresses not just sexuality, but practically every "big picture" topic around, and essentially will go as deep on matters as you want. (If you want something way over your head (and if it's not over your head, send us your resume) - just check out his book The Origins Of Man and the Universe.)
However, Long's unique "specialty," most unique and compelling feature, is on love and sexuality.
For many people, sex is basically an activity that you can do (primarily when you're young) that feels good, and that makes babies.
Long says it is, or can be, much more. This is one major theme of his work: what is the difference between just "having sex" and truly "making love"? For Long, the sexual act can either be a degrading, neurosis-inducing practice, or it can be a real, true process of actually, almost literally, making "love." Of course, many people think they are always making love, when according to Long, they are not.
Overall, Long claims that there is much more to "sexuality" than most of us realize, most of us have no idea what sex is really about, or what it can be.
We will include a few brief, small samples of Long's message. This is not intended to be a substitute for actually studying Long's work directly, and can only be understood properly within that larger context.
"Your only problem is your sexuality, man. Nothing else."
"Woman's basic unhappiness, her perennial discontent, is because man can no longer reach her physically."
"Her emotional excess, depressions, tearful frustration, even premenstrual tension and the conditions leading to hysterectomy . . . are due to man's sexual failure to gather or release in lovemaking her finest, fundamental, female energies. These extraordinarily beautiful divine energies are intense and exquisite and when left untapped in woman, as they are now, they degenerate into psychic or emotional disturbances, and eventually crystallize into physical abnormalities."
"No matter how much a woman loves her man and wants to give her love to him, she will not and cannot give up all her divine energies if he is not yet himself, fully integrated or aligned with love. As very few men are themselves, the gap of unhappiness between man and woman keeps on growing."
"Man's basic unhappiness, his perennial restlessness, is because in forgetting how to make love he's abandoned his original divine authority and lost sexual control of himself. His emotional or psychic degeneracy manifests as sex obsession. All men, without exception, are sex obsessed."
"To be a fully integrated male, a man has to assimilate in his body the divine female energies that woman can only release to him through right physical lovemaking. But the man has to be man enough."
"This requires pure love."
"The penalty for man (man's failing) is woman's tyrannous emotionality."
"To man, the fiendess of emotion in woman is hell on earth. This is the part of her he cannot handle or understand. The demon of his own failure to love comes to life to scorn, abuse and torment him. He is terrified of it. He bluffs and blusters his way through. But finally, as he grows old in the relationship and gives up for the sake of some peace, the fiendess will conquer him and force him to surrender the last vestige of his manliness and authority. Then they both grow old together, feeling safe, but half dead as they lean on each other in the awful world of compromise." (See The Typical Cycle)
"All emotion in woman is the demand or the cry to be truly loved - not used as a sexual spittoon."
"The only valid authority man can have over woman is through love . . . His trumped-up economic and physical authority over her during the last few thousand years has been a nasty bit of work."
"All self arises from sex."
". . . you must learn how to make love rightly; that is, without self-indulgence, without seeking emotional satisfaction and self-gratification."
"Man’s sole task in love is to free woman, in freeing woman he frees himself — in bringing woman to life, he brings himself to life. That is the truth or the myth behind my teaching."
"Real love is pure and natural; it is not selfish and emotional like human love . . . Human love is the love that cries over lost objects or persons. Human love is not fulfilling for long. It doesn't last. It brings pain and heartbreak."
"Woman knows deep down that love is not sex. Her main fault is that from childhood she fantasizes about romantic love and daydreams of mythically amorous situation. The selfishness of man's actual physical loving of her collides violently with this entrancement. Very soon she subconsciously acquires emotions of disappointment, disillusionment and frustration with man's idea of love. But what can she do when experience shows her that there's nothing else but sex and selfishness? That love is apparently a dream? So she joins man in his fantasizing, his dream, and leaves her dream behind. The suppression festers in her as doubt, fear, and in extremes a subconscious hatred of man for his failure or betrayal."
"Woman's subconscious dependence on the fluctuating sexual attention of men rules her choice of partner. She may go for either an exciting man whom she thinks she can control, or an agreeable and safe partner whom she can quietly bend to her wants. Both kind of partnerships usually end - either in disaster, or boredom and indifference."
"Are you aware of the reason for love between man and woman on this earth? Well, now I will tell you. It is virtually to crucify each other so you become yourself. Man and woman cannot live together until they are true man and true woman."
"Don't fall in love. Be in love. - Falling in love is closing your eyes, shutting down your beautiful consciousness and tripping off into dreamland while you're awake. It's bound to end in disaster because you'll be in imagination; you won't see what's going on. But be in love. Always be in love when you are in love. For to be in love and to keep love fresh and new requires tremendous awareness, tremendous presence."
"From the beginning of western culture the story of Genesis has been the fundamental myth of the West. It records that in the beginning there was spiritual principle, an energy called Man, the one and only, and out of that principle came what we now call man and woman. As stated in the myth, woman was taken out of the one and only Man's side. Or as I would put it: woman is man's love and his love was taken from him and make separate. The one and only became the two of us and one thing led to another, right up to today and our problematic life in the modern world."
On Emotion and Psychology
"What is emotion? . . . Emotion is the living substance of the past, what you believed in and what you were in the past. It's your self. It lives on in your subconscious. It's not you now, the intelligence reading this now, in the present. But it's there now, just under the surface of your awareness. And it will rise and take over your relaxed intelligence the instant you are reminded of someone or something in the past which disturbed you or caused you pain."
"Whenever you are resentful, depressed, angry, or jealous you are feeling the emotional substance of your self in the past. And because your intelligence identifies with it you become your past self and repeat the behavior of all those old emotions, often much to your intelligent distress.
"Your emotional self is always trying to come back and live on in you, to take you over and use you as it always has done."
"The condition of schizophrenia can loosely be termed an overdose of perception."
"The robot in us is memory. Worry, fear, every thinking reaction comes out of memory. This must be understood first. You can demonstrate this to yourself now by asking yourself a question, any question, and following what happens."
"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."
"We're convinced we're going to die because we're identified with the body"
"You are the eternal contradiction. Since before conception you are the sexual craving of immortal life itself, you are the paradox of life craving for life and death at the same time: immortality craving for a fleshly form of life that will inevitably die."
"Half the world says God exists, the other half disagrees. One of them is wrong. You might believe the wrong one. To believe either is robot thinking because neither knows."
"When self-knowledge reveals the answer it will be a living fact in your own experience . . . You will know, while the rest of the world is arguing and speculating."
"When consciousness is free and emptied of self, I remain; and neither life nor death nor dreaming sleep can obscure my reality. The man eventually senses, and then knows, he is being informed in every moment of everything he needs to know about life and death without the necessity for emotional or physical participation to teach him the hard way. The hard way - alternating pain and pleasure - is the constant demand of a self-conscious existence." .
"You are a player in this rigorous game of living . . . The first rule is: every player dies; none knows when it's coming; the youngest and best often go first. Everyone has to play. The game goes on forever - or until you win. You win by finding death before it finds you. The prize - is life."
Long has been causing quite a wonderful stir, not only from his overall position and philosophy, but from his bold and outspoken statements and criticisms regarding other spiritual teachers of the east and west.
He has been producing books and tapes prodigiously, his businesses appear to be growing rapidly - by his reports, his "Making Love" tapes have been sweeping the nation.
As is LiveReal policy, we have not yet found any single teaching, teacher, or overall message that can be endorsed wholeheartedly and without reservation, and we do our best to remain open to constructive criticism, feedback, and thoughtful commentary.
Here are some of them:
* Of course, some critics argue that sexuality and spirituality are incompatible, period. The more spiritual one is, the less sexual one is; the more sexual, the less spiritual. Long, well, disagrees. (We'll plan to explore this one in more depth later.)
* Of course, some critics argue that sexuality and spirituality are incompatible, period. The more spiritual one is, the less sexual one is; the more sexual, the less spiritual. Long, well, disagrees. (We'll explore this one later)
* Some individuals find that Long's message conflicts with their political beliefs, and therefore, they belief that Long's message must be mistaken.
* Others argue that Long's personal history seems a little shady, for example, when he left his family many years ago (at age 36) to travel to India. This discourages some readers from listening to his message.
* It is rumored that some types of "Tantric Masters" have sex with their students, as a "method of teaching." LiveReal, thus far, has not confirmed this one way or another. It does raise some questions, however. For example, for many, this is seen as by definition, scandal-worthy. Yet, is this a matter of "cultural differences"? What about long traditions of, say, spirituality in other cultures? The lines get blurry in matters of is he "abusing a position of spiritual authority," verses mutual agreement between two consenting adults...and so on.
As usual, Long makes many direct and forthright statements which are easily taken out of context and misunderstood, which leads to further hostility towards his message.
1 See D.T. Suzuki: "This body of ours is something like an electric battery in which a mysterious power latently lies. When this power is not properly brought into operation, it either grows mouldy and withers away or is warped and expresses itself abnormally. It is the object of Zen, therefore, to save us from going crazy or being crippled." - (Essays in Zen Buddhism, First Series, 13)
2 Also see Roy Masters: "When male need and its counterpart, the female's need to be needed, join, the man's weakness evolves to the point of crippling and eventually killing him." (Understanding Sexuality 228)