This book is about you and it is all true. It contains no theories and no arguments. But you must not believe me for I might be a liar or a fool.

No man can teach another self-knowledge. He can only lead him or her up to
self-discovery - the source of truth. You must not believe anyone in the search
for truth; you have to find out for yourself. But although you are on your own,
help will come when it is really needed.

You are either ready to discover yourself or you are not. Ready means you have been knowingly or unknowingly practising self-observation.

The book is an experience in energy. It is not a book about knowing yourself:
to read it is knowing yourself. If you are ready it is going to disturb you. You are
going to feel elevated, excited, confused, uncertain, irritated, resentful, hostile or
even physically agitated. All these are normal reactions in different personalities
to the energy which is released during the process of knowing yourself.

If when you finish reading the book you feel left up in the air, wondering what it
was all about or what you should do next to know yourself better, then read it
again, and again; and gradually, or in a flash, you'll find the solution.

You don't gather knowledge when you are getting to know yourself; you lose it.
Many of your firmest ideas go out the window. You may feel naked, vulnerable,
threatened, argumentative, angry. But if you are really looking for the truth and
not for some personal vindication you will start to discover you have access to
the same source of truth as the wisest teachers who ever lived.

Truth is of the moment, never of the man. And 'man' as I use the word includes
all of us, men, women and children.

It is a little known fact that truth cannot be memorised. Truth has to be
discovered now, from moment to moment. It is always fresh, always new, always
there for the still, innocent mind that has experienced life without needing to hold
on to what has gone before.

To know yourself completely is to have experienced being God and to have
access at any moment to the truth this tremendous experience reveals.

The experience gives the continuous certainty of being responsible for every
moment of your life: that whatever happens, the good, the bad and the indifferent, is your own will.

Within this all-sustaining knowledge is the unquestionable certainty of immortality; but at the same time it is also possible to experience responsibility for the
immediate environment and finally for the entire universe including the earth's
apparent discord of war and suffering.

What I have just described is not intellectual possibility but living experience -
more intense in its reality and perception than the experience of being alive.

But you must not believe me. You must realise it in yourself, know it, for it is beyond words and thinking. And it has to be experienced without recourse to
drugs or insanity.

Then you must live your knowledge; be your knowledge. For truth is for all men
and women, not just for yourself.

You stopped believing in fairy stories when you found out that magic wands were
not a fact of life in your experience. But in the days when you listened to them
you were not so sure. As a child you did not have sufficient experience of life to
prove them false.

Children do not listen to fairy tales for entertainment or escape. They live them,
and believe them as though they were life itself. The developing mind is so
devised that before reading and writing occurred, even before the advent of
language, it apprehended all experience in living. With language occurred the
first corruption, the first lies and the first fairy tales. So children continue to
believe such things are true until life itself proves them to be false. You can make
children believe anything, even that you are magical and wise, but your pose is
doomed because life will instruct them by experience that you have deceived
them and are not wise; and eventually they will not listen to you or consult you.
Later, having failed as grown-ups to find wisdom in themselves, they will pretend
to their own children that they are wise, with the same tragic results.

Self-knowledge is the process of becoming de-hypnotised. When you are
hypnotised you see things as they really are not, mistaking the false for the
true. A self-deluding process is required ‹ a robot imagination. Without imagination man would not be man, yet is the main obstacle to self-knowledge. The trouble
begins when we allow imagination to use us, and this occurs whenever it draws
images from the impressions in the memory. Then we suffer. And if we use our
misery to observe ourselves we discover that this type of imagination is the
curse of man, the thing that separates us from God, if there is a God.

Countless men and women have contributed in their own way to progress but
have contributed not one fact to answer the question 'Where am I going? What's
it all about?' Are the ones who came before you your hypnotists? Are you in turn
the hypnotist of your children? There is only one way to find out. You have to see
yourself exactly as you are - not as you imagine you are.

There is no escape from the old in the old, or we would all be free. Self-knowledge
is the discovery of the new: it looks beyond the world that has all the answers
and no solutions.

You buy a diamond ring. It costs a lot of money and for years you wear it with
the satisfaction that goes with owning something beautiful or valuable. One day
an expert proves that it's a worthless imitation. Do you continue to wear it with
the same pleasure? No. You discard it. You leave it in the drawer or let your
children play with it.

The truth is that once you discover something is false you lose interest in it. Man
no longer treasures what he thought was genuine once he discovers it is false.
In this way truth is its own solution.

Self-knowledge is the discovery of the false. You do not have to find what is true:
when the false is discarded truth is there. It always was.

from "Knowing Yourself" - pp. 1-2, 5, 15-16, 17-18

© Barry Long

© The Barry Long Trust