Blog Poetry

Great Words Of Alan Watts

1. “We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.” – Alan Watts

2. “Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal, for the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever….” – Alan Watts

3. “There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering.” – Alan Watts

4. “Every individual is a unique manifestation of the Whole, as every branch is a particular outreaching of the tree.” – Alan Watts

5. “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts

6. “But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.” – Alan Watts

7. “When you get free from certain fixed concepts of the way the world is, you find it is far more subtle, and far more miraculous, than you thought it was.” – Alan Watts

9. “There is always something taboo, something repressed, un-admitted, or just glimpsed quickly out of the corner of one’s eye because a direct look is too unsettling. Taboos lie within taboos, like the skin of an onion.” – Alan Watts

10. “No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now. I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” – Alan Watts

11. “This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” – Alan Watts

12. “If you really understand Zen… you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because… the sound of the rain needs no translation.” – Alan Watts

13. “Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.” – Alan Watts

14. “Only words and conventions can isolate us from the entirely undefinable something which is everything.” – Alan Watts

15. “Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.” – Alan Watts

16. “The sense of wrong is simply failure to see where something fits into a pattern, to be confused as to the hierarchical level upon which an event belongs.” – Alan Watts

18. “You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.” – Alan Watts

19. “To be free from convention is not to spurn it but not to be deceived by it.” – Alan Watts

20. “The more we struggle for life (as pleasure), the more we are actually killing what we love.” – Alan Watts

21. “Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself.” – Alan Watts

22. “Life and love generate effort, but effort will not generate them. Faith in life, in other people, and in oneself, is the attitude of allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time.” – Alan Watts

23. “Parts exist only for purposes of figuring and describing, and as we figure the world out we become confused if we do not remember this all the time.” – Alan Watts

24. “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” – Alan Watts

25. “What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.” – Alan Watts

26. “Your body does not eliminate poisons by knowing their names. To try to control fear or depression or boredom by calling them names is to resort to superstition of trust in curses and invocations. It is so easy to see why this does not work. Obviously, we try to know, name, and define fear in order to make it “objective,” that is, separate from “I.”” – Alan Watts

28. “The problem comes up because we ask the question in the wrong way. We supposed that solids were one thing and space quite another, or just nothing whatever. Then it appeared that space was no mere nothing, because solids couldn’t do without it. But the mistake in the beginning was to think of solids and space as two different things, instead of as two aspects of the same thing. The point is that they are different but inseparable, like the front end and the rear end of a cat. Cut them apart, and the cat dies.” – Alan Watts

29. “Total situations are, therefore, patterns in time as much as patterns in space.” – Alan Watts

30. “There was never a time when the world began, because it goes round and round like a circle, and there is no place on a circle where it begins. Look at my watch, which tells the time; it goes round, and so the world repeats itself again and again.” – Alan Watts

31. “We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.”” – Alan Watts

32. “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” – Alan Watts

34. “To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath.” – Alan Watts

35. “If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid.” – Alan Watts

36. “But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.” – Alan Watts

37. “You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.” – Alan Watts

39. “The menu is not the meal.” – Alan Watts

40. “We seldom realize, for example, that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.” – Alan Watts

41. “What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.” – Alan Watts

42. “You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.” – Alan Watts

43. “The greater part of human activity is designed to make permanent those experiences and joys which are only lovable because they are changing.” – Alan Watts

44. “You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” – Alan Watts

46. “Philosophy is man’s expression of curiosity about everything and his attempt to make sense of the world primarily through his intellect.” – Alan Watts

47. “Parts exist only for purposes of figuring and describing, and as we figure the world out we become confused if we do not remember this all the time.” – Alan Watts

48. “How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.” – Alan Watts

49. “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.” – Alan Watts

50. “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the Gods made for fun.” – Alan Watts 

Why man suffers

“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”

“The answer to the problem of suffering is not away from the problem but in it. The inevitability of pain will not be met by deadening sensitivity but by increasing it, by exploring and feeling out the manner in which the natural organism itself wants to react and which its innate wisdom has provided.”

“Like too much alcohol, self-consciousness makes us see ourselves double, and we make the double image for two selves – mental and material, controlling and controlled, reflective and spontaneous. Thus instead of suffering we suffer about suffering, and suffer about suffering about suffering.”

“Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”

“Here is the vicious circle: if you feel separate from your organic life, you feel driven to survive; survival -going on living- thus becomes a duty and also a drag because you are not fully with it; because it does not quite come up to expectations, you continue to hope that it will, to crave for more time, to feel driven all the more to go on.”

On the present moment

“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”

“If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish into the abyss of death.”

“The art of living … is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”

“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”

“Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live. There is no other reality than present reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly.”

“If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.”

“Stay in the center, and you will be ready to move in any direction.”

“For unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax. There is no point whatever in making plans for a future which you will never be able to enjoy. When your plans mature, you will still be living for some other future beyond. You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, ‘Now, I’ve arrived!’ Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future, instead of showing you how to be alive now.”

On the meaning of life

“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

“It’s better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”

“If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so. If this world is a vicious trap, so is its accuser, and the pot is calling the kettle black.”

“You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.”

“If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing thing you don’t like doing, which is stupid.”

“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”

“The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”

“You see, for all life is an act of faith and an act of gamble. The moment you take a step, you do so on an act of faith because you don’t really know that the floor’s not going to give under your feet. The moment you take a journey, what an act of faith. The moment that you enter into any kind of human undertaking in relationship, what an act of faith.”

“Paradoxical as it may seem, the purposeful life has no content, no point. It hurries on and on, and misses everything. Not hurrying, the purposeless life misses nothing, for it is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world.”

“But you cannot understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it. Indeed, you cannot grasp it, just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket. If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed, for in the bucket the water does not run. To ‘have’ running water you must let go of it and let it run.”

On the mind

“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.”

“We have made a problem for ourselves by confusing the intelligible with the fixed. We think that making sense out of life is impossible unless the flow of events can somehow be fitted into a framework of rigid forms. To be meaningful, life must be understandable in terms of fixed ideas and laws, and these in turn must correspond to unchanging and eternal realities behind the shifting scene. But if this what “making sense out of life” means, we have set ourselves the impossible task of making fixity out of flux.”

“Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.”

“Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.”

“Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself.”

“No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time: he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle.”

On letting go

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”

“If we cling to belief in God, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go.”

“A scholar tries to learn something everyday; a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily.”

“Real travel requires a maximum of unscheduled wandering, for there is no other way of discovering surprises and marvels, which, as I see it, is the only good reason for not staying at home.”

“Zen is a liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality.”

“We must abandon completely the notion of blaming the past for any kind of situation we’re in and reverse our thinking and see that the past always flows back from the present. That now is the creative point of life. So you see its like the idea of forgiving somebody, you change the meaning of the past by doing that … Also watch the flow of music. The melody as its expressed is changed by notes that come later. Just as the meaning of a sentence…you wait till later to find out what the sentence means … The present is always changing the past.”

Potent advice for any creatives

“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”

“There is nothing at all that can be talked about adequately, and the whole art of poetry is to say what can’t be said.”

“Where there is to be creative action, it is quite beside the point to discuss what we should or should not do in order to be right or good. A mind that is single and sincere is not interested in being good, in conducting relations with other people so as to live up to a rule. Nor, on the other hand, is it interested in being free, in acting perversely just to prove its independence. Its interest is not in itself, but in the people and problems of which it is aware; these are ‘itself.’ It acts, not according to the rules, but according to the circumstances of the moment, and the ‘well’ it wishes to others is not security but liberty.”

On change

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

“The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”

“There is only this now. It does not come from anywhere; it is not going anywhere. It is not permanent, but it is not impermanent. Though moving, it is always still. When we try to catch it, it seems to run away, and yet it is always here and there is no escape from it. And when we turn around to find the self which knows this moment, we find that it has vanished like the past.”

“Without birth and death, and without the perpetual transmutation of all the forms of life, the world would be static, rhythm-less, undancing, mummified.”

“The startling truth is that our best efforts for civil rights, international peace, population control, conservation of natural resources, and assistance to the starving of the earth—urgent as they are—will destroy rather than help if made in the present spirit. For, as things stand, we have nothing to give. If our own riches and our own way of life are not enjoyed here, they will not be enjoyed anywhere else. Certainly they will supply the immediate jolt of energy and hope that methedrine, and similar drugs, give in extreme fatigue. But peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”

On the universe

“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”

“We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe ‘peoples.’ Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.”

On who you truly are

“Jesus Christ knew he was God. So wake up and find out eventually who you really are. In our culture, of course, they’ll say you’re crazy and you’re blasphemous, and they’ll either put you in jail or in a nut house (which is pretty much the same thing). However if you wake up in India and tell your friends and relations, ‘My goodness, I’ve just discovered that I’m God,’ they’ll laugh and say, ‘Oh, congratulations, at last you found out.”

“A man does not really begin to be alive until he has lost himself, until he has released the anxious grasp which he normally holds upon his life, his property, his reputation and position.”

“I find that the sensation of myself as an ego inside a bag of skin is really a hallucination.”

“Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know.”

“And people get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words … As if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning.”

“How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.”

“What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”

“But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.”

“You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”

Learn about who you truly are according to Alan Watts by getting his book, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, which discusses the underlying misunderstanding of who we truly are.

On death

“Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.”

“When you die, you don’t have to deal with everlasting nonexistence because that’s not an experience.”

“If you are afraid of death, be afraid. The point is to get with it, to let it take over – fear, ghosts, pains, transience, dissolution, and all. And then comes the hitherto unbelievable surprise; you don’t die because you were never born. You had just forgotten who you are.”

“Suppressing the fear of death makes it all the stronger. The point is only to know, beyond any shadow of doubt, that ‘I’ and all other ‘things’ now present will vanish, until this knowledge compels you to release them – to know it now as surely as if you had just fallen off the rim of the Grand Canyon. Indeed you were kicked off the edge of a precipice when you were born, and it’s no help to cling to the rocks falling with you.”

On religion

“We know that from time to time there arise among human beings people who seem to exude love as naturally as the sun gives out heat. These people, usually of enormous creative power, are the envy of us all, and, by and large, man’s religions are attempts to cultivate that same power in ordinary people. Unfortunately, they often go about this task as one would attempt to make the tail wag the dog.”

“Just as money is not real, consumable wealth, books are not life. To idolize scriptures is like eating paper currency.”

“He who thinks that God is not comprehended, by him God is comprehended; but he who thinks that God is comprehended knows him not. God is unknown to those who know him, and is known to those who do not know him at all.”

“The transformation of consciousness undertaken in Taoism and Zen is more like the correction of faulty perception or the curing of a disease. It is not an acquisitive process of learning more and more facts or greater and greater skills, but rather an unlearning of wrong habits and opinions. As Lao-tzu said, ‘The scholar gains every day, but the Taoist loses every day.’”

“It is interesting that Hindus, when they speak of the creation of the universe do not call it the work of God, they call it the play of God, the Vishnu lilalila meaning play. And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance — lila perhaps being somewhat related to our word lilt.”

“A priest once quoted to me the Roman saying that a religion is dead when the priests laugh at each other across the altar. I always laugh at the altar, be it Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist, because real religion is the transformation of anxiety into laughter.”

“The whole history of religion is the history of the failure of preaching. Preaching is moral violence. When you deal with the so-called practical world, and people don’t behave the way you wish they would, you get out the army or police force or “the big stick.” And if those strike you as somewhat crude, you resort to giving lectures.”

“Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive un-faith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. Faith is, above all, openness – an act of trust in the unknown.”

“The clash between science and religion has not shown that religion is false and science is true. It has shown that all systems of definition are relative to various purposes, and that none of them actually ‘grasp’ reality.”

On love

“Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command.”

“But this is the most powerful thing that can be done: surrender. See. And love is an act of surrender to another person.”

“So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.”

“The consequences of fake love are almost invariably destructive, because they build up resentment on the part of the person who does the fake loving, as well as on the part of those who are its recipients.”

“The essential point is to consider love as a spectrum. There is not, as it were just nice love and nasty love, spiritual love and material love, mature affection on the one hand and infatuation on the other. These are all forms of the same energy. And you have to take it and let it grow where you find it.”

“One of the peculiar things we notice about people who have this astonishing universal love is that they are often apt to play it rather cool on sexual love. The reason is that for them an erotic relationship with the external world operates between that world and every single nerve ending. Their whole organism — physical, psychological, and spiritual — is an erogenous zone.  Their flow of love is not channeled as exclusively in the genital system as is most other people’s. This is especially true in a culture such as ours, where for so many centuries that particular expression of love has been so marvelously repressed as to make it seem the most desirable. We have, as a result of two thousand years of repression, “sex on the brain.” It’s not always the right place for it.”

“To live, and to love, you have to take risks. There will be disappointments and failures and disasters as a result of taking these risks. But in the long run it will work out.”

“People, of course, tend to distinguish between various kinds of love. There are ‘good’ kinds, such as divine charity, and there are allegedly ‘bad’ kinds, such as ‘animal lust.’ But they are all forms of the same thing. They relate in much the same way as the colors of the spectrum produced by the passing light through a prism. We might say that the red end of the spectrum of love is Dr. Freud’s libido, and the violet end of the spectrum of love is agape, the divine love or divine charity. In the middle, the various yellows, blues, and greens are as friendship, human endearment, and consideration.”

“When you find out that there was never anything in the dark side to be afraid of … Nothing is left but to love.”

On relationships

“When we attempt to exercise power or control over someone else, we cannot avoid giving that person the very same power or control over us.”

“I found in personal relations of this kind a very wonderful rule: that you never, never show false emotions. You don’t have to tell people exactly what you think ‘in no uncertain terms,’ as they say. But to fake emotions is destructive, especially in family matters and between husbands and wives or between lovers.”

“For if you know what you want, and will be content with it, you can be trusted. But if you do not know, your desires are limitless and no one can tell how to deal with you. Nothing satisfies an individual incapable of enjoyment.”

“Other people teach us who we are. Their attitudes to us are the mirror in which we learn to see ourselves, but the mirror is distorted. We are, perhaps, rather dimly aware of the immense power of our social environment.”

“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”

“Human desire tends to be insatiable.”

On music

“Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.”

“When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.”

“You do not play a sonata in order to reach the final chord, and if the meanings of things were simply in ends, composers would write nothing but finales.”

“When somebody plays music, you listen. you just follow those sounds, and eventually you understand the music. The point can’t be explained in words because music is not words, but after listening for a while, you understand the point of it, and that point is the music itself. In exactly the same way, you can listen to all experiences.”

“No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.”

On anxiety

“One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt.”

“To remain stable is to refrain from trying to separate yourself from a pain because you know that you cannot. Running away from fear is fear, fighting pain is pain, trying to be brave is being scared. If the mind is in pain, the mind is pain. The thinker has no other form than his thought. There is no escape.”

“The centipede was happy, quite, until a toad in fun said, ‘pray, which leg goes after which?’ This worked his mind to such a pitch, he lay distracted in a ditch, considering how to run.”

“To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”

“This, then, is the human problem: there is a price to be paid for every increase in consciousness. We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain. By remembering the past we can plan for the future. But the ability to plan for the future is offset by the “ability” to dread pain and to fear of the unknown. Furthermore, the growth of an acute sense of the past and future gives us a corresponding dim sense of the present. In other words, we seem to reach a point where the advantages of being conscious are outweighed by its disadvantages, where extreme sensitivity makes us un-adaptable.”

“Your body does not eliminate poisons by knowing their names. To try to control fear or depression or boredom by calling them names is to resort to superstition of trust in curses and invocations. It is so easy to see why this does not work. Obviously, we try to know, name, and define fear in order to make it ‘objective,’ that is, separate from ‘I.’”

On thoughts and words

“What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously. A convention is a social convenience, as, for example, money … but it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth … In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are “coins” for real things.”

“Philosophers, for example, often fail to recognize that their remarks about the universe apply also to themselves and their remarks. If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so.”

“Let’s suppose that you were able every night to dream any dream that you wanted to dream. And that you could, for example, have the power within one night to dream 75 years of time. Or any length of time you wanted to have. And you would, naturally as you began on this adventure of dreams, you would fulfill all your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure you could conceive. And after several nights of 75 years of total pleasure each, you would say “Well, that was pretty great.” But now let’s have a surprise. Let’s have a dream which isn’t under control. Where something is gonna happen to me that I don’t know what it’s going to be. And you would dig that and come out of that and say “Wow, that was a close shave, wasn’t it?” And then you would get more and more adventurous, and you would make further and further out gambles as to what you would dream. And finally, you would dream … where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.”

“It is hard indeed to notice anything for which the languages available to us have no description.”

On where you come from

“What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”

“It’s like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, it’s dense, isn’t it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourselves as being only that. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated little curlicue, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space, and way out in time. Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you’re a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off, and don’t feel that we’re still the big bang. But you are. Depends how you define yourself. You are actually–if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning– you’re not something that’s a result of the big bang. You’re not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as–Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so–I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I’m that, too. But we’ve learned to define ourselves as separate from it.”

The only way to make sense of change is to plunge in and join the dance WONDER & PLAY  “This is the real secret of life— to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now— and instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” Work as Play ~The Essence of Alan Watts “As Aristotle says, the beginning of philosophy is wonder. Philosophy is man’s expression of curiosity about everything.”   Relevance of Oriental Philosophy IDENTITY “You are all Vishnu playing that you’re in this mess, which is part of the cosmic dance. So, if that’s the case, dig it! You see? I mean, get with it! Be that!” ~Zen And The West (audio) “Everybody is ‘you’. Everybody is ‘I’. That’s our name. We all share that.” Audio? “Your real self, the real you, is everything there is… but concentrated and expressing itself at the point called your physical organism.” ~Introduction to Zen (audio) What you are in your in-most being escapes your examination in rather the same way that you can’t look directly into your own eyes without using a mirror, you can’t bite your own teeth, you can’t taste your own tongue, and you can’t touch the tip of this finger with the tip of this finger.” audio Myth of Myself or Ego “When you look out of your eyes, at nature happening out there, you’re looking at you. That’s the real you. The you that goes on of itself.” ~A Conversation with Myself  TRUST & FAITH Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.        On Yoga from The Ways of Liberation album Of course, you can’t force your mind to be silent. That will be like trying to smooth ripples in water over the flat iron. Water becomes clear and calm only when left alone. Art of Mediation 4:20 The first rule is don’t try to, because if you do, you will be like someone trying to make rough water smooth with a flat iron. And all that will do will stir it up. On Yoga 20:00 To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. Relevance of Oriental Philosophy ?  A rigid bridge will be blown down by the first hurricane (find original)  CONTINUITY “Before you were born there was this same nothing-at-all-forever. And yet… you happened. And if you happened once, you can happen again.” ~AW Biography (audio) Illusion of the Self “It’s one of the great wonders of life: What will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up? And if you think long enough about that, something will happen to you. You will find out, among other things, that it will pose the next question to you: What was it like to wake up after never having gone to sleep? That was when you were born. You see, you can’t have an experience of nothing. Nature abhors a vacuum.” Nothingness OR DEATH? The More a thing NOTHING & DUALITY Something and nothing are two sides of the same coin.  The positive and the negative; the something and the nothing go together      Nothingness video We say ‘you can’t get something for nothing.’  But I would say you can’t have something without nothing.To be or not to be is NOT the question. Because you can’t have a solid without space; therefore you can’t have an “is” without an “isn’t”; a something without a nothing; a figure without a background. And we can turn that right the way around.     Nothingness video  CONNECTION & UNIVERSE We do not “come into” this world; grew out of it –  just as an apple tree apples, the earth peoples.  Myth of Myself?   “There is no such thing as a single, solitary event. The only possible single event is all events whatsoever. That could be regarded as the only possible atom; the only possible single thing is everything.” ~Buddhism, The Religion of No Religion “A baby has for a long time been part of its mother and has floated in the ocean of the womb. So it has the sense from the beginning of what is really to an enlightened person totally obvious—that the universe is one single organism.” ~The Philosophies of Asia “Your skin does not separate you from the world. It’s a bridge through which the external world flows into you. And you flow into it.” Audio? “We have been hypnotized—literally hypnotized—by social convention into feeling and sensing that we exist only inside of our skins… That we are not the original big bang, but just something out on the end of it. And therefore, everybody feels unhappy and miserable.” Nature of Consciousness Audio?  Missing: Curlique Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts.  THE SELF “If we came to our senses, we would be aware of ourselves not as only on the inside of our skins… But we would be aware that the outside is us too.” ~ Ecological Awareness (audio) “This very moment, this very world, this very body is the point. Now. You see? But, if you’re seeking something beyond all the time, you never get with it. You’re never here.” ~Zen And The West (audio) “What do we mean by ‘I’? We mean the symbol of ourselves. Now ourselves, in this case, is the whole psycho-physical organism—conscious and unconscious, plus its environment. That’s your real self. Your real self, in other words, is the universe as centered on your organism.” Audio “When you are not getting in the way of yourself, you will begin to find out that all the great things you do are really happenings. All growth is something that happens. For growth to happen two things are important. You must have the technical ability to express what happens. And secondly, you must get out of your own way.” Audio?  “The word ‘person’ comes from the latin word ‘persona’ which referred to the masks worn by actors in which sound would come through. The ‘person’ is the mask—the role you’re playing. And all of your friends and relations and teachers are busy telling you who you are and what your role in life is.” “What happens if you know that there is nothing you can do to be better? It’s kind of a relief isn’t it? You say ‘Well, now what do I do?’ When you are freed from being out to improve yourself, your own nature will begin to take over.” Audio?  SPONTANIETY AND MUSIC “The physical world is diaphanous. It’s like music. When you play music, it simply disappears. There’s nothing left. And, for that very reason it is one of the highest and most spiritual of the arts, because it is the most transient.” ~Comparative Philosophy (audio)  “We love to see a child lost in the dance and not performing for an audience. To be happy and know that you are happy is really the overflowing cup of life. To dance as if there was no audience.”  ANXIETY & THE MIND To go out of your mind at least once a day is tremendously important, because by going out of your mind you come to your senses. 2-5-04 Mediation 27:45 And if you stay in your mind all the time, you are over rational. In other words, you’re like a very rigid bridge which because it has got no give, no craziness in it, is going to be blown down in the first hurricane      2-5-04 Mediation 28:00 No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen.      Audio source? “You are in relationships with the external world that are, on the whole, incredibly harmonious. But we have this rather myopic way of looking at things. And we screen out from attention anything that is not immediately important to a scanning system based on sensing danger.” Audio RELATIVITY & PERCEPTION “There is no such thing as ‘the truth’ that can be stated. In other words, ask the question: ‘What is the true position of the stars in the Big Dipper?’ Well it depends on where you’re looking at them from.” ~Comparative Philosophy (audio) Not picking and choosing doesn’t mean that you have to cultivate being detached. You can try that, sure. But then you find you’re terribly attached to your non-attachment. Like you’re proud of your humility.” ~Zen And The West (audio) “Consciousness is a radar that is scanning the environment to look out for trouble, in the same way that a ship’s radar is looking for rocks or other ships. The radar does not notice the vast amount of space where there are no rocks and other ships. By and large we scan things over but we pay attention only to what our set of values tells us we should pay attention to.” “Light is a relationship between electrical energy and eyeballs. It is you, in other words, who evoke the world and you evoke the world in accordance with what kind of a ‘you’ you are.” ~Philosophy of Nature (audio) “Let’s ask, ‘How big is the sun?’ Are we going to define the sun as limited by the extent of its fire? That’s one possible definition. But we could equally well define the sphere of the sun by the extent of its light.” ~Time  video Essentials “The possibility of seeing down into something goes on forever and ever. When you work with mantras, you can learn to hear similar infinite depths in sound.” ~Buddhism The Religion of No Religion “When you get to a deep ethical problem—where there is no easy decision on way or the other—you must look at the problem from the point of view of an artist. Which way of doing this is, in some sense, greater? It may be better to go off with a bang than a whimper.” Audio  THE PRESENT “You can’t live at all unless you can live fully Now”  Time, Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life “Reality itself is gorgeous. It is the plenum; the fullness of total joy.”  Nature of Consciousness   THE  FUTURE “Supposing you knew the future and could control it perfectly, what would you do? You’d say: ‘Let’s shuffle the deck and have another deal.’” ~Image of Man (audio) “Nirvana is right where you are, provided that you don’t object to it.” Audio?    EDUCATION “Education, in the real sense, is not preparation for life, it is actually living. It is the child participating in adult concerns. And doing it now and realizing that the point of the process in which the child is engages, is not to prepare the child for the future, but to enjoy doing the thing today.” Audio?  THOUGHT“Thought is a means of concealing truth, despite the fact that it’s an extraordinarily useful faculty.” ~Veil of Thoughts 1 (audio)   MONEY AND MATERIALISM “Money is an abstraction. It cannot, of itself, buy any pleasure whatsoever. Because all pleasures involve skill and love.” Pursuit of Pleasure “We’ve run into a cultural situation where we’ve confused the symbol with the physical reality; the money with the wealth; and the menu with the dinner. And we’re starving on eating menus.” audio? Art of Meditation “Money is the same order of reality as inches, grams, or lines of longitude and latitude. It is an abstraction. It is a method of bookkeeping to obviate the cumbersome procedures of barter. But our culture, our civilization, is entirely hung up on the notion that money has an independent reality of its own.” audio Veil of Thoughts 1 “If you say making money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living. That is, to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid. Better to have a short life, which is full of what you like doing, than a long one spent in a miserable way.” audio Do You Do It… USE OF TECHNOLOGY “Man has to realize that he is an integral part of nature… that he is just as much a natural form as a seagull or a wave, or a mountain. And if he doesn’t recognize that, he uses his technical powers to destroy his environment… to foul his own nest.” ~Future of Communications (audio) NATURE “The physical world—clouds, mountains, humans—is wiggly. When you try to pick up a fish with your bare hands, it wiggles and slips out. What do you do? You use a net. And the net is the basic thing we have for getting hold of the wiggly world. And then somehow we think we understand when we have translated it into terms of straight lines and squares. But it doesn’t fit in nature.” A Conversation with Myself “When you look out of your eyes, at nature happening out there, you’re looking at you. That’s the real you. The you that goes on of itself.” ~A Conversation with Myself MYSTERY “The more complete kind of mind, which can feel as well as think, remains to ‘indulge’ the odd sense of mystery which comes from contemplating the fact that everything is at base something which cannot be known.”audio?  ~Become What You Are “I prefer not to translate the word Tao at all because to us Tao is a sort of nonsense syllable, indicating the mystery that we can never understand—the unity that underlies the opposites.” ~What is Tao? (audio) “Absence speaks. Nothing is important. But, we are brought up… We are so brainwashed, we are so bamboozled, we are so hypnotized, that we don’t know that.” ~Comparative Philosophy (audio)   CHANGE The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless     Audio source? “Transiency is a mark of spirituality. A lot of people think the opposite… that the spiritual things are the everlasting things. But, you see, the more a things tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.” ~Philosophy of Nature (audio) “We’ve run into a cultural situation where we’ve confused the symbol with the physical reality; the money with the wealth; and the menu with the dinner. And we’re starving on eating menus.” audio? Art of Meditation “We can see that the eternal is the transient, for the changing panorama of sense experience is not just a sum of appearing and disappearing things; it is a stable pattern or relationship manifested as, and by, transient forms.” Audio? LOVE “People who exude love are apt to give things away. They are in every way like rivers; they stream. And so when they collect possessions, and things they like, they are apt to give them to other people. Because, have you ever noticed that when you start giving things away, you keep getting more?” ~Spectrum of Love (audio)  “Love is a spectrum. There is not, as it were, nice love and nasty love… spiritual love, and material love… mature affection on the one hand and infatuation on the other. These are all forms of the same energy, and you have to take it and let it grow where you find it. If you find that only one of these forms exist in you, if at least you will water it, the rest of the plant will blossom as well.” Spectrum of Love ~Comparative Philosophy (audio)  JOURNEY Music differs from say travel —when you travel you are trying to get somewhere and of course we because being a very compulsive and purposeful culture are busy getting everywhere faster and faster and faster until we eliminate the distance between the places— with modern jet travel you can arrive almost instantaneously, and what happens as a result is that the two ends of your journey become the same place. The Japanese have a phrase which is just like our phrase ‘follow your nose’ but they say ‘follow you feet’ because, unlike the United States, Japan is an easy place to wander in.  Here is a difficult place to wander in— it takes narrow streets and funny courtyards— you need curly kinds of places for effective wandering   Here you are not allowed to wander, and if you go wandering in a nice part of town the police will stop you to ask where you are going …  and everything is straightened out, the shortest distance between two points, no wandering allowed.  Pursuit of Pleasure 3@25:30  Real travel requires a maximum of unscheduled wandering, for there is no other way of discovering surprises and marvels, which, as I see it, is the only good reason for not staying at home.         Audio source?  WAY OF THE TAO / NIRVANA “There’s no need to possess [the Tao]. You are it, and by trying to possess it you imply that you’re not. So, by trying to catch hold of it, you as it were, push it away… Although you can’t really push it away because the very pushing is all it. You see?” ~Ecological Awareness (audio) “When you know that this moment is the Tao, and this moment is considered by itself without past and without future—eternal, neither coming into being nor going out of being—there is nirvana.” ~The Philosophies of Asia  WATERCOURSE WISDOM “We are all floating in a tremendous river and the river carries you along. Some of the people in the river are swimming against the current, but they are still being carried along. Others have learned that the art of the thing is to swim with it. You have to flow with the river. There is no other way. You can swim against it, and pretend not to be flowing with it. But you still flow with the river.” Audio Swimming Headless? “When you know that you have to go with the river, suddenly you acquire—behind everything that you do—the power of the river.” Audio see ‘force of the river’ SH? “You hear the sound of water… And that’s quite as important as anything I’ve got to say.” ~Ecological Awareness (audio)  THE BUDDHA “Buddha is the man who woke up, who discovered who he really was.” ~Buddhism the Religion of No Religion “A buddha would see you all as being exactly right; just where you are, all of you are buddhas. Even for those of you who do not know it, it is right for you not to know it at this moment.” Audio?

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