Alan Watts Quotes (92) Spiritual Sayings

===> Alan Watts Quotes, Spiritual Quotations, Inspirational Affirmations and Motivational Sayings, Slogans from Awakening Intuition. A Collection of some of the best sayings offering words of wisdom to live by.

About the Author: Alan Wilson Watts (6 January 1915 – 16 November 1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. Born in Chislehurst, he moved to the United States in 1938 and began Zen training in New York. Pursuing a career, he attended Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, where he received a master's degree in theology. Watts became an Episcopal priest but left the ministry in 1950 and moved to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies.

Watts wrote more than 25 books and articles on subjects important to Eastern and Western religion, introducing the then-burgeoning youth culture to The Way of Zen (1957), one of the first bestselling books on Buddhism. In Psychotherapy East and West (1961), Watts proposed that Buddhism could be thought of as a form of psychotherapy and not a religion. Like Aldous Huxley before him, he explored human consciousness, in the essay "The New Alchemy" (1958), and in the book The Joyous Cosmology (1962). Towards the end of his life, he divided his time between a houseboat in Sausalito and a cabin on Mount Tamalpais. His legacy has been kept alive by his son, Mark Watts, and by many of his recorded talks and lectures that have found new life on the Internet. According to the critic Erik Davis, his "writings and recorded talks still shimmer with a profound and galvanizing lucidity."  See website for more info - http://alanwatts.com/
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“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


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


“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“The menu is not the meal.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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 Wilson Watts


“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 Wilson Watts


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


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


“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 Wilson Watts


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


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


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


“The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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 Wilson Watts


“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 Wilson Watts


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


“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 Wilson Watts, The Culture of Counter-Culture: Edited Transcripts


“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 Wilson Watts


“The world is filled with love-play, from animal lust to sublime compassion.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


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


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“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 Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Way of Zen


“We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. 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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“I am what happens between the maternity ward and the Crematorium”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“...[W]ords can be communicative only between those who share similar experiences.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, Psychotherapy East and West


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


“Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery -- the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets -- is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe. ”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“People become concerned with being more humble than other people.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, Still the Mind: An Introduction to Meditation


“Most of us assume as a matter of common sense that space is nothing, that it's not important and has no energy. But as a matter of fact, space is the basis of existence. How could you have stars without space? Stars shine out of space and something comes out of nothing just in the same way as when you listen, in an unprejudiced way, you hear all sounds coming out of silence. It is amazing. Silence is the origin of sound just as space is the origin of stars, and woman is the origin of man. If you listen and pay close attention to what is, you will discover that there is no past, no future, and no one listening. You cannot hear yourself listening. You live in the eternal now and you are that. It is rally extremely simple, and that is the way it is.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“Like love, the light or guidance of truth that influences us exists only in living form, not in principles or rules or expectations or advice, however widely circulated”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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 lila, lila 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”
― Alan Wilson Watts, Zen and the Beat Way


“But my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“We feel that our actions are voluntary when they follow a decision and involuntary when they happen without decision. But if a decision itself were voluntary every decision would have to be preceded by a decision to decide - An infinite regression which fortunately does not occur. Oddly enough, if we had to decide to decide, we would not be free to decide”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Way of Zen


“Although the rhythm of the waves beats a kind of time, it is not clock or calendar time. It has no urgency. It happens to be timeless time. I know that I am listening to a rhythm which has been just the same for millions of years, and it takes me out of a world of relentlessly ticking clocks. Clocks for some reason or other always seem to be marching, and, as with armies, marching is never to anything but doom. But in the motion of waves there is no marching rhythm. It harmonizes with our very breathing. It does not count our days. Its pulse is not in the stingy spirit of measuring, of marking out how much still remains. It is the breathing of eternity, like the God Brahma of Indian mythology inhaling and exhaling, manifesting and dissolving the worlds, forever. As a mere conception this might sound appallingly monotonous, until you come to listen to the breaking and washing of waves.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“Hospitals should be arranged in such a way as to make being sick an interesting experience. One learns a great deal sometimes from being sick. ”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Essential Alan Watts


“The religious idea of God cannot do full duty for the metaphysical infinity.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“Our pleasures are not material pleasures, but symbols of pleasure – attractively packaged but inferior in content.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“The source of all light is in the eye.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“You are that vast thing that you see far, far off with great telescopes.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“But 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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Joyous Cosmology


“The morning glory which blooms for an hour differs not at heart from the giant pine, which lives for a thousand years.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“In reality there are no separate events. Life moves along like water, it's all connected to the source of the river is connected to the mouth and the ocean.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Essential Alan Watts


“If we cling to belief in God, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“You will never get to the irreducible definition of anything because you will never be able to explain why you want to explain, and so on. The system will gobble itself up.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Essential Alan Watts


“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 enviornment.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“But nirvana is a radical transformation of how it feels to be alive: it feels as if everything were myself, or as if everything---including "my" thoughts and actions---were happening of itself. There are still efforts, choices, and decisions, but not the sense that "I make them"; they arise of themselves in relation to circumstances. This is therefore to feel life, not as an encounter between subject and object, but as a polarized field where the contest of opposites has become the play of opposites.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, Psychotherapy East and West


“What we have to discover is that there is no safety, that seeking is painful, and that when we imagine that we have found it, we don’t like it.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“Naturally, for a person who finds his identity in something other than his full organism is less than half a man. He is cut off from complete participation in nature. Instead of being a body, he 'has' a body. Instead of living and loving he 'has' instincts for survival and copulation.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“You have seen that the universe is at root a
magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate
"you" to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed. The
only real "you" is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws
itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For "you" is the
universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that
come and go so that the vision is forever new.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“We think that the world is limited and explained by its past. We tend to think that what happened in the past determines what is going to happen next, and we do not see that it is exactly the other way around! What is always the source of the world is the present; the past doesn't explain a thing. The past trails behind the present like the wake of a ship and eventually disappears.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, What Is Zen?


“Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge
of oneself.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“The art of meditation is a way of getting into touch with reality, and the reason for it is that most civilized people are out of touch with reality because they confuse the world as it with the world as they think about it and talk about it and describe it. For on the one hand there is the real world and on the other there is a whole system of symbols about that world which we have in our minds. These are very very useful symbols, all civilization depends on them, but like all good things they have their disadvantages, and the principle disadvantage of symbols is that we confuse them with reality, just as we confuse money with actual wealth.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“One's life is an act with no actor, and thus it has always been recognized that the insane man that has lost his mind is a parody of the sage who has transcended his ego. If one is paranoid, the other is metanoid.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, Psychotherapy East and West


“For man seems to be unable to live without myth, without the belief that the routine and drudgery, the pain and fear of this life have some meaning and goal in the future. At once new myths come into being – political and economic myths with extravagant promises of the best of futures in the present world. These myths give the individual a certain sense of meaning by making him part of a vast social effort, in which he loses something of his own emptiness and loneliness. Yet the very violence of these political religions betrays the anxiety beneath them – for they are but men huddling together and shouting to give themselves courage in the dark.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“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 Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“To the philosophers of India, however, Relativity is no new discovery, just as the concept of light years is no matter for astonishment to people used to thinking of time in millions of kalpas, (A kalpa is about 4,320,000 years). The fact that the wise men of India have not been concerned with technological applications of this knowledge arises from the circumstance that technology is but one of innumerable ways of applying it.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“What we see as death,
empty space, or nothingness is only the trough between the crests of this
endlessly waving ocean. It is all part of the illusion that there should
seem to be something to be gained in the future, and that there is an
urgent necessity to go on and on until we get it. Yet just as there is no
time but the present, and no one except the all-and-everything, there is
never anything to be gained—though the zest of the game is to pretend
that there is.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“For every individual is a unique
manifestation of the Whole, as every branch is a particular outreaching
of the tree. To manifest individuality, every branch must have a
sensitive connection with the tree, just as our independently moving and
differentiated fingers must have a sensitive connection with the whole
body. The point, which can hardly be repeated too often, is that
differentiation is not separation.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“Do not let the rapidity with which these thoughts can change deceive you into feeling that you think them all at once.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“Make a spurious division of one process into two, forget that you have done it, and then puzzle for centuries as to how the two get together.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“In looking out upon the world, we forget that the world is looking at itself.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“We therefore work, not
for the work's sake, but for money—and money is supposed to get us
what we really want in our hours of leisure and play. In the United
States even poor people have lots of money compared with the wretched
and skinny millions of India, Africa, and China, while our middle andupper classes (or should we say "income groups") are as prosperous as
princes. Yet, by and large, they have but slight taste for pleasure. Money
alone cannot buy pleasure, though it can help. For enjoyment is an art
and a skill for which we have little talent or energy.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“In the Gestalt theory of perception this is known as the figure/ground
relationship. This theory asserts, in brief, that no figure is ever perceived
except in relation to a background.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


“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.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


“The more we try to live in the world of words, the more we feel isolated and alone, the more all the joy and liveliness of things is exchanged for mere certainty and security. On the other hand, the more we are forced to admit that we actually live in the real world, the more we feel ignorant, uncertain, and insecure about everything.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


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Alan Watts Quotes - (92) - Awakening Spiritual Quotations
Keywords: Alan Watts Quotes, Quotations, Sayings, Inspirational, Intuition, Wisdom, Motivational, Life, Journey, Awakening, Spiritual, affirmations, UK, South Africa,

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