Every once in a while, a great spiritual teacher comes along in an unlikely form. In the case of John T. Long, he was not born of a virgin in a manger preceded by three wisemen following a star in the east. Instead, our story begins with a lawyer from Alabama who speaks with a Southern drawl and loves to smoke and swear.
He also possesses the rare gift of inner alchemy, which is the ability to transmute life’s most difficult situations into greater understanding and soul growth. The sole reason why we are all here.
It is truly fitting for this literary masterpiece to be named after a book in the Bible due to the highly transformative nature of John’s experiences. In much the same way Moses was given 10 commandments on the top of Mount Sinai, written in stone by the fiery finger of God, these divinely inspired pages are the revelations of a sincere and honest man who found love and gratitude after great tragedy and loss.
Perhaps one of the greatest misconceptions we have today is that spiritual books must be full of candy coated, sanctimonious stories devoid of the hard facts of life that make us all human.
We can see this firsthand when meandering down the aisles of the spirituality section at the local bookstore, as most "paperback suppositories” lose the reader in a maze of unrelatable, cryptic nonsense about get-rich-quick schemes, barely decipherable by the so-called gurus who wrote them. These “spiritual books” claim to have countless law of attraction theme (scheme) stories about their authors’ seemingly delusional, self-absorbed, and illustrious saintly lives.
This is not the case with the Book of John; what you see is what you get. Actually, if we examine the lives of most spiritual teachers throughout history, we find that nearly all of them had a troubled past before completing their life’s mission.
It has been said that we can learn the most from others by walking a mile in their shoes. Therefore, sometimes you have to stare through the serrated edges of a broken whiskey bottle or a half-imbibed whiskey glass sitting on the countertop of a bar in the middle of nowhere and pierce through the veil of pungent second-hand smoke to discover the meaning of life hidden within the lyrics to a familiar song playing on a dusty juke box full of quarters from across the room.
However, this sad music is the soundtrack to a magnificent story which is raw, uncut, and pure spirituality in its finest form. John demonstrates over and over again that even if we stray off course in life, we can always find our way home.
This book is undeniable proof that we are all chemist living out our experiences by experimenting in the laboratory of life, which is why the word experience is the same as “experiment” in French!
What makes John’s sometimes disturbing, often hilarious, and wonderful tale so unique is his remarkable ability to use introspective-humor to transcend his pain and suffering and to laugh at himself.
Perhaps one of the greatest secrets to life is not to take ourselves so seriously and to accumulate a sense of humor. By seeing the gift of wisdom in everyday situations, even our pain and suffering can become our greatest teacher, allowing us to grow and evolve.
Keeping in mind, the pages ahead contain a journey into the bizarre and strange world of a spiritual dynamo, filled with profound wisdom, supernatural experiences and laugh-out-loud situations that are sure to warm your heart in a way that warm milk, calcium bicarbonate and antacids cannot relieve.
In fact, these true-life stories let the author into the heart of the Mysteries. In the spring of 2017, I had the great privilege of traveling with him to Egypt. It is there that I met this gentle giant and first encountered his sense of humor, kindness, and humility.
This book is a true pleasure to read from start to finish; not only is it written just how the author speaks, but its living words jump off the pages in mid-sentence, traveling up the optic nerve to two visual cortices through the rods and cones in your eyes, acting like nitrogen and hydrogen exploding in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain until you are left swimming in a maze of new and exciting realizations.
These are the strange, ostentatiously weird, and dark experiences of a man not afraid to face his inner demons and come back to talk about it. I hope this book finds a special place in the hearts and minds of every reader. And may you always remember that you are the author of your own story.