Barry Long was born and raised in Australia and had little formal education. In his twenties he became editor of a Sydney Sunday newspaper, The Truth and later press secretary in the New South Wales Parliament. At this time he was married with two children. In his early thirties he began to experience a disillusionment with his material life and in 1964 he abandoned everything, including his family, to go to India. There he experienced a spiritual crisis culminating in a self-ascribed "mystic death," which he called his "realisation of immortality," followed four years later by a "transcendental realisation"; a contact with a depth of consciousness from which he stated his knowledge of universal reality ultimately derived.
Leaving India he moved to London, living in Highgate and working as a sub-editor in Fleet Street until he was able to support himself from teaching and publishing. In 1986 he returned to his native Australia, living on Mount Tamborine QLD with his wife Kathy and young stepson, Simon, then in Burleigh Heads QLD when they divorced, and finally moving to Crabbes Creek NSW where he lived until his death from prostate cancer in December 2003.
Long stated that he was a tantric master and that unhappiness arises because man and woman have forgotten how to love each other. In 1984 he recorded a double audio cassette Making Love: Sexual Love the Divine Way, later published as a book and CD.
He started his public teaching in England and later went on to teach in Australia and New Zealand, Europe, the USA and Canada. His last public seminar was the tenth annual 14 day Master Session held in Queensland, Australia in late October 2002. He continued to write new material after this and his observations on the approach of death were published on his website.
The story of his realisations is told in a book published in July 2013; My Life Of Love & Truth: A Spiritual Autobiography which describes his life up until the death of his second wife in 1982. His works are published by the Barry Long Foundation International, based in NSW, Australia and his last writings are yet to be published.
Barry Long's teaching
Long's teaching focuses on freeing the individual from unhappiness which he defined as 'happy today, unhappy tomorrow'. He stated that this fluctuating condition is set in motion and maintained by an addiction to thoughts and the emotions they create. These emotions encourage other thoughts and so a vicious cycle is initiated. We are trapped in this cycle, he suggested, until we follow "the way of truth". It includes:
- constant vigilance in observation of one's thoughts, emotions and actions;
- meditation to still the mind and connect with life within i.e. what "I" call "me"; "feeling the well-being in the body";
- being, without thought; the next step on from meditation;
- getting your life right, taking action in those areas of your life which disturb you because something is wrong.
The sexual aspects of his teaching gained great notoriety, assuming a greater prominence in the public mind than Long wished. He maintained the relationship between man and woman caused the greatest unhappiness in the post-industrial West. He taught and wrote in detail about sexual love between man and woman and its use to purify them both, ridding them of what he called 'personal, human love.' He responded to controversy by pointing out that getting one's life right in all its aspects, and prolonged selfless giving were more important. He suggested that a person practicing this would naturally attract a loving sexual partner. In response to an article by Andrew Cohen he wrote "One notion I would like to correct is where you say that in my teaching "the primary spiritual practice is making love rightly." The primary spiritual practice... is self-denial, giving and honesty practiced over a long period out of an inner perception of rightness and goodness."
Long also wrote about many other aspects of "Love, Life, Truth, God and Death". In The Origins of Man and the Universe he presents his cosmology. Speaking of this book he stated, "There's so much in this book ....it's like a base which my whole teaching goes back to, or extends from. My current teaching might be more refined, but is always consistent with it." He taught and spoke about family life and the importance of raising children from birth in justice and truth not just love. In response to the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA, an extract on terrorism from his Origins book written in 1983 was published separately as well as a new book A Prayer for Life: The Cause and Cure of Terrorism, War and Human Suffering.
Barry Long acknowledged his respect for J Krishnamurti and his teachings. His teaching also owes a lot to the practicality of the Gurdjieff Work, nonetheless he considered himself to be an original teacher.
He himself had an influence on a number of other teachers, writers and therapists. The most prominent of these is Eckhart Tolle, best-selling author of The Power of Now, who is on record as saying he loved Barry Long's teaching.
Marital and relationship history
Long married or lived monogamously with five women; Betty, his first wife; Julie, whom he married in England and lived with for 13 years until her death from cancer; Kathy with whom he moved to Australia with his stepson Simon; Jade who was his partner when he was travelling the world and then Sara, who was with him when he died.
For about 3 years in the 1990s he openly had a relationship with five women which he spoke about in connection with his tantric teachings.
His marital and relationship history was described by Clive Tempest in the foreword to "Making Love: Sexual Love The Divine Way" as such: "All this time Barry Long's love of woman has remained constant. She is always by his side. Through deep and lasting partnerships he has made his realizations of love real in the midst of everyday living."
- The Origins of Man and the Universe (1st edition Routledge & Kegan Paul 1984) ISBN 0-7102-0337-3 (Barry Long Books, revised edition 1998) ISBN 1-899324-12-7, (excerpts)
- Meditation: A Foundation Course, (The Barry Long Foundation, 1996) ISBN 1-899324-00-3
- Stillness Is the Way (Barry Long Books, 1996) ISBN 0-9508050-4-1
- Knowing Yourself: The True in the False (Barry Long Books, 1996) ISBN 1-899324-03-8 (excerpt)
- Only Fear Dies (Barry Long Books, 1996) ISBN 0-9508050-7-6 (excerpt)
- To Woman in Love: A Book of Letters (Barry Long Books, 1996) ISBN 0-9508050-8-4
- Making Love: Sexual Love the Divine Way (Barry Long Books, revised edition 1998) ISBN 1-899324-14-3 (excerpt)
- Raising Children in Love, Justice and Truth (Barry Long Books, 1998) ISBN 1-899324-13-5
- To Man in Truth: Enlightening Letters (Barry Long Books, 1999) ISBN 1-899324-15-1 (excerpt)
- The Way In: A Book of Self-Discovery (Barry Long Books, 2000) ISBN 0-9508050-5-X (excerpt)
- A Prayer for Life: The Cause and Cure of Terrorism, War and Human Suffering, (Barry Long Books, 2002) ISBN 1-899324-17-8
- Where the Spirit Speaks to its Own: - The Passion of Spiritual Awakening, (Barry Long Books, 2003) ISBN 1-899324-16-X (excerpts)
- Start Meditating Now, How to stop thinking (audiobook - Barry Long Books 2007) ISBN 1-899324-20-8
- A Journey in Consciousness, Exploring the truth behind existence (audiobook - Barry Long Books 2007) ISBN 1-899324-21-6
- Seeing through Death, Facing the fact without fear (audiobook - Barry Long Books 2007) ISBN 1-899324-22-4
- Making Love, Sexual love the divine way (audiobook - Barry Long Books 2007) ISBN 1-899324-23-2
- How to Live Joyously, Being true to the law of life (audiobook - Barry Long Books 2007) ISBN 1-899324-24-0
- Behind Life and Death; The Boundless Reality, (The Barry Long Foundation 2008) ISBN 978-1-899324-18-7 (excerpt)
- My Life Of Love & Truth: A Spiritual Autobiography (The Barry Long Foundation 2013) ISBN 978-1-899324-19-4
- Guru went from The Truth to Enlightenment, The Sydney Morning Herald
- Tempest, Clive (16 December 2008). "Barry Long : Life and Work". Esoteric Library. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
- Barry Long Biography
- Interview with Andrew Cohen, What is Enlightenment?
- Making Love
- About the Barry Long Foundation
- "Statement - The Truth of Life". Retrieved 15 July 2009.
- "Statement - Man's Spiritual Challenge". Retrieved 15 July 2009.
- "Statement - Being Present". Retrieved 15 July 2009.
- "Statement - Meditation". Retrieved 15 July 2009.
- Barry Long on making love
- "Transforming Sex into Love". Retrieved 15 July 2009.
- Tantric Master of the West at Live Real
- "Letter to 'What is Enlightenment?' magazine". Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- Reviews of The Origins of Man and the Universe
- Barry Long speaking on the inspiration behind the 'Origins....' book
- Barry Long, Raising Children in Love Justice and Truth
- Barry Long on terrorism
- Barry Long, Talks from Tamborine Mountain, 4th Series (recorded on audio tape) - Long states: "His contribution of truth to the West was enormous. All the teachers and masters who have subsequently appeared on the scene have unavoidably been influenced by his genius. The practicality of my teaching owes much to his inspiration."
- Barry Long, An Open Letter to those who try to use my teaching to teach others
- Barry Long, Knowing Yourself, p5
- Barry Long, The Origins of Man and the Universe 2nd ed. Introduction
- Eckhart Tolle Australian TV Interview, Seven Network
- Barry Long, When the Spirit Speaks to Its Own